Few garden sheds are put to good use.
They’re places for people to potter about in – either hiding from their spouses or trying to nurture plants in the wrong season.
But an engineer from Hampshire has just spent the past five years in his dad’s shed building a Batman-style leisure powerboat (or Batboat, as it’s known in the DC Comics series).
And he’s just won the backing to start mass producing them.
Chris Phillips, 35, had to sell his Maserati to fund the project and spent £40,000 on producing the four-seat boat which can reach speeds up to 60 knots (69mph).
It’s also got a marine-adapted 9.4 litre engine that was originally designed for American NASCAR racers.
‘By the time it was completed, I was completely out of money and had to sell my car to get it down to Southampton for the boat show,’ says Chris.
‘Thankfully that seems to have paid off.
‘We are about to sign a significant deal with an investor so we can produce them on a larger scale, and we already have several potential buyers lined up.’
He already has five orders, and plans on making them on a premises near his home in Fordingbridge.
‘It’s not at all practical, but you don’t get a power boat to be practical,’ Chris says.
‘You get it to have fun and show off.’
He sprayed it black after people started to compare his creation to something from a Batman movie.
‘It wasn’t supposed to look like Batman’s boat when I made it, but after we sprayed it black, everyone was saying it and we’re embracing it.’
The boat’s called Alpha-Centauri after the brightest star in the southern constellation of Centaurus.
It’s design was heavily influenced by the Bluebird turbo jet engines used in the 1950s and ’60s, which were used to break a string of water speed records.
With an accelerator pedal instead of a throttle lever, this is the only model which is designed to be used by ‘anybody who wants to have fun’ on the water.
‘This is the first hydroplane to be built for the luxury market – until now they have all been racing boats,’ Chris explains.
‘It’s been designed primarily as a super-yacht toy and I am hoping that this will completely change the face of power boats and allow people to show off like never before.
The boats will be available for around £120,000 each.