Boats' buyer on deck

Swedish fishing guide Tommy Nerstrand (left) and Milton boat builder Steve McLay with Mr...
Swedish fishing guide Tommy Nerstrand (left) and Milton boat builder Steve McLay with Mr Nerstrand's new McLay 720 Cruise Hardtop boat, in the painting room of the Milton factory. Photo by Rachel Taylor.
Milton boat builder Steve McLay's international reputation is growing.

He has spent the past week hosting Swedish fishing guide Tommy Nerstrand, who will take two McLay boats back home with him in a shipping container - one for himself and one for his colleague, Petter Larsson.

Mr Nerstrand and Mr Larsson offer guided trout and salmon-fishing tours on Sweden's largest lake, Vanern, and first heard of McLay Boats after two of the Milton firm's craft were delivered to Denmark.

Mr Nerstrand lives near Norway, and estimates about 50% of his clientele is Norwegian, 30% European and 20% Swedish.

He had been working as a full-time fishing guide for about six years and decided to upgrade his boat to one with a cabin so he could offer heating to his clients, and change from a fibreglass to an aluminium hull to better cope with the ice that forms on Lake Vanern.

Mr Nerstrand travelled for 38 hours to meet Mr McLay and see his boat being built.

It was the first time Mr McLay had met the customer, and it had been pretty special.

"It gives us confidence to know the boats are the way they want them," he said.

While the McLay 720 was a standard design, it had been custom-built with extra strengthening underneath to cope with ice.

Mr McLay said he was considering showing Mr Nerstrand's McLay 720 Cruise Hardtop at a Swedish boat show in April to test the market.



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