O'Berry

Goochland resident Matt O’Berry designed and then built this 28-foot pirate ship in his yard for his two sons to enjoy. O’Berry says he did not use any drawings or plans for the project, which was inspired by his sons’ love of the 1985 cult classic film “The Goonies.”

Some great artists have their masterpieces hanging in museums or galleries. For Goochland resident Matt O’Berry, however, the backyard suits him just fine.

That’s where O’Berry chose to locate his most recent creation, a 28-foot-long combination pirate ship/sand box/swing set he built for his two young sons, Tristan, 10, and Julian, 8.

O’Berry has done remodeling work in the past and now runs his own installation company. Still, he admits, this was his first go at creating anything like what is now sitting on his Seay Road property. The pirate ship was his kids’ idea, but the finished product is the result of his own imaginings of what the perfect seafaring vessel should look like. That included a tapered hull, a shiny black, red and gold paint scheme, and a classic skull-and-cross-bones flag flying high above the deck.

Then, of course, there is the climbing wall, the swing set, and the three yards of sand inside, all of which add up to perhaps the world’s most perfect play place for a pint-sized pirate

O’Berry’s sons, as expected, were “ecstatic” when they saw the finished product, and have already spent hours enjoying their dad’s handiwork. One of the ship’s most exciting features, however, may be yet to come: On Monday, O’Berry took delivery of the one-quarter-scale replica working cannon (it was reportedly designed to fire hot dog buns) he found on eBay and plans to install on the side of the ship.

The ship may never sail the high seas, but O’Berry said he was pleased with the final product and glad that his boys are enjoying it. At the very least, he said chuckling, “they’ll have some stories to tell their friends.”

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