Have you found the deep draught an issue when travelling about? I know from your blog that you had a problem not getting into dry dock at Banbury, but what about notoriously shallow canals like the Upper Peak Forest or Ashby? I think a well designed tug is by far the most attractive style of of boat from the exterior and I find the low front end is a large part of the visual appeal, so having the bow rise high out of the water would defeat the object of trying to retain the low lying look while making good use of the foredeck. I'm trying to sell my wife on the idea that the foredeck could double as a bedroom underneath and a patio on top.
One potential concern I have about tugs is whether they are subject to more damage to the cabin from tunnel sides, other boats out of control, etc.. Having low gunwhales means less thick strong hull to hit and more cabin exposed to collision. Maybe having the cabin sides a long way back is an advantage in this case. My two previous narrowboats were David Pipers which were noted for their relatively high gunwhales and these were very practical for long distance cruising, but I have no experience to draw on with tugs. I intend to travel almost continuously so unfortunately have to expect a lot of potential impacts on hard objects.
I like the RWD boats a great deal but I'm also rather impressed with the Mel Davis style
Take another look at our Website - link below our signature. The deep draught is not a problem, there are lots of deep draughted boats on the canals but you have to be a little more careful when mooring and generally keep to the middle when cruising on the shallowest canals. As a result of the deeper draught, our cabin height is quite low - so no problems with low bridges - and we still have almost seven feet of headroom.
It is my view that you cannot get better than an R W Davis Hull fitted with a vintage Kelvin, Gardner or new RN three cylinder diesel. Whether it is correct to call an R W Davis 'Northwich Trader' a 'tug' style is open for debate but the general lines and build quality would be difficult to beat. The only other builder that comes anywhere near (and this is obviously just our opinion) is Roger Fuller.
Before buying 'Alnwick' Jane and I looked at dozens of similar boats and visited several builders, all of whom were very helpful. Nevertheless, when we saw the boats being built by R W Davis at Saul Junction there was absolutely no doubt in our minds that they are head and shoulders above most of the rest. We were able to compare our boat with the Mel Davis boat in the picture when it was brand new at Crick with a price tag of £140,000. In our opinion it was an inferior product and, at the time, we couldn't see why anyone would want to pay that much, when they could get an fully fitted and painted R W Davis 'Northwich Trader' for another £20,000 - it looks as if we were right because the price of that boat has been dropping ever since.
I know that opinions vary about who might be the best builder and there are other good builders out there but, it has been our experience, that anyone who has visited the yard of R W Davis looking for this style of boat ends up wanting one.
If you are coming over to the Crick Boat Show, come and see us - we normally moor near Bridge 13 - near the path to Caracks Hill.
Edited by NB Alnwick, 19 April 2008 - 07:59 PM.