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And another one bites the dust!


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#1 steamraiser2

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:03 AM

Just heard that William Piper Narrowboats has folded. Sad when the best of the best goes under.
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#2 Speedwheel

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:17 AM

I think there was a thread about this a few days ago which was removed.
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#3 Athy

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:49 AM

That's really bad news: I have admired their boats over the last two years as they are both attractive and different. Clonecraft they are certainly not, especially in their woodwork which makes extensive use of reclaimed wood.
Why would such a news item be removed?
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#4 The Dog House

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:56 AM

That's really bad news: I have admired their boats over the last two years as they are both attractive and different. Clonecraft they are certainly not, especially in their woodwork which makes extensive use of reclaimed wood.
Why would such a news item be removed?


It is not straight forward this one I don't think, if they ever are that is.

Martin Barker of WP NB's initially posted on here about some sort of 'freelance' operation he was setting up but it was evident when another forum member posted who works for them (I'll not identify them) posted about not receiving any final pay and the other remaining staff not having a clue about what was going on and not being paid either.

All a bit mysterious but no doubt it will come out sooner or later.
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#5 alan_fincher

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 08:59 AM

Why would such a news item be removed?

I can only guess, because I didn't see it.....

If it was not fully confirmed at the time, perhaps it was removed in case it was another untrue story about a buisiness still trading, (which has happened, of course........).

It seems even "best of show" awards can't guarantee the success of such a builder. That said I found Barollo a real "Marmite" boat - except that I love Marmite, and found Barollo high up my list of ridiculous pastiches.

That said, I understand they did some stunning boats that didn't go to quite such bizarre lengths, and I'm sorry to hear they have failed.

EDITED TO ADD:

In view of Martin's comments, cross posted with mine, I hope no customers have lost out yet agian......

Edited by alan_fincher, 19 October 2011 - 09:00 AM.

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#6 The Dog House

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 09:06 AM

In view of Martin's comments, cross posted with mine, I hope no customers have lost out yet agian......


From memory there was reference in the post to customers also being 'unsure' about what was happening. It didn't specifically say customers had lost out though.
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Is the sun over the yardarm yet?

#7 steamraiser2

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 10:30 AM

We have clients with one of our engines undergoing fit out there. We are obviously worried for them and their boat and for the staff who have an uncertain future. All seemed well when I was there a few weeks ago with everyone very busy with some stunning boats. That said we have been taking engines in the front door of some canal businesses while the machinery appears to be going out the back! The bigger the business the bigger the bang?
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#8 RichardH

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 11:27 AM

It is a real shame when someone trying to be a little different from the mdf boys gos bump.

That said, I always had a concern for the company given the relatively high cost of the boats and the incredibly narrow audience they were likely to attract

We know how hard it is, we had a fabulous review of our Tyler Tug, didn't think it was over priced and haven't had a single bid or even a tyre kicker round to look at it. We have reduced the price on A-Duck with the hope it may generate some interest.

Thankfully this is not our no.1 business or we would have bust a long time ago.
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#9 ditchdabbler

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:38 PM

I suppose those who have bought Chinese or Polish built boats do not care about our home grown builders.

Eventually it will stabilise with a few viable builders left but we might then be left with longer waiting lists which will tempt the 'fly-by-nights' back.

As ever - Caveat Emptor.


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#10 Naughty Cal

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:43 PM

Is there really a need for so many narrowboat builders?
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#11 ditchdabbler

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:49 PM

Is there really a need for so many narrowboat builders?


Actually, that is a very good point.

Last I heard there are about 1000 new boats per year coming onto the canal. 10,000 in ten years time! It is bad enough now at some lock flights so with an extra 10,000 it will probably be gridlock. By that time folk will probably get fed up with it and the expense and find something else to play with. Boats are being built faster than canals restored. Will there be a demand for new canal builds?

Supply and demand will probably level out I expect.

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#12 Ally

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:52 PM

Is there really a need for so many narrowboat builders?

Hmmm, it seems not if people aren't getting the orders. I guess we will end out with a couple of high quality specialist builders, a few more good quality bespoke but more 'normal' builders, and a few 'cheap and cheerful' builders....
....in the meantime it would be good to see people wanting new builds, supporting British companies using home built hulls and fit-outs, instead of the euro/far eastern hull companies. (IMO)
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#13 Hairy-Neil

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 12:52 PM

Is there really a need for so many narrowboat builders?


Agreed, can't understand why our tradesmen bother geting their hands dirty when we can just import all the narrowboats we need form Poland and China..... :closedeyes:
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#14 Athy

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 01:28 PM

Neil, I believe that at least one builder has recently transferred production from Poland to England - perhaps because there is no shortage of hard-working Polish fitters over here!
Richard, which is this tug of which you speak? And is the market for distinctive high-spec boats really "incredibly narrow"?
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#15 RichardH

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 01:58 PM

It is Isabel - she is on our hire website

I think the market is narrow because there isn't a queue of people with the 140k that Barolo cost. Also the Piper boats were very unique to the first buyer with a risk of a) value realisation upon resale B) being difficult to resell due to the design

Whilst the New Boat Company mdf fitouts on Collingwood hulls may not be to everyones taste they are cheap enough in the first place for a wider audience with a reasonably good chance of resale.
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#16 Athy

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 02:37 PM

Thanks Richard, I had a look at the advert. She has a lot going for her. Is the boat really a 2011 build? If so, the price is indeed reasonable. I think that your replacement of the Perkins 3-152 with a Barrus (presumably a fast-revving modern engine) may limit its appeal in this market; did the Perkins give up the ghost?
Incidentally, I read in a magazine review of one of W. Piper's award-winning craft that the MD's grandfather had put up a large portion of his life savings to help the company get started . That gentleman, if still with us, must be feeling a mite cheesed off.

Edited by Athy, 19 October 2011 - 02:40 PM.

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#17 CV32

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 02:54 PM

I suppose those who have bought Chinese or Polish built boats do not care about our home grown builders.

Eventually it will stabilise with a few viable builders left but we might then be left with longer waiting lists which will tempt the 'fly-by-nights' back.

As ever - Caveat Emptor.


Regards
Ditchdabbler


I bought a chinese boat (East West), the reasons were:

A/Price, i could not possibly afford anything with a 'made in britain' stamp on it.
B/ It existed and i did not have to wait six months for it, also having read the horror stories of many folks who have been ripped off and conned by various UK builders i was not going to join that increasing number.
C/ I like watching peoples faces as i cruise by in 'that chinese' boat as they tsk and make uncomplimentary remarks :)
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#18 RichardH

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 03:52 PM

Thanks Richard, I had a look at the advert. She has a lot going for her. Is the boat really a 2011 build? If so, the price is indeed reasonable. I think that your replacement of the Perkins 3-152 with a Barrus (presumably a fast-revving modern engine) may limit its appeal in this market; did the Perkins give up the ghost?
Incidentally, I read in a magazine review of one of W. Piper's award-winning craft that the MD's grandfather had put up a large portion of his life savings to help the company get started . That gentleman, if still with us, must be feeling a mite cheesed off.


Yep - 2011 build. The Perkins was fab - we loved it, Waterways World loved it, but it just wasn't hirer proof. No matter how much you explain the need to pause in the middle before slamming, sorry placing into reverse it didn't work. Add to this the massive Crowther prop and the poor old engine mounts didn't stand a chance so we swapped it to something with a little less torque.

We have accidentally left the silencer off and it still sounds nice and throaty - and continues to receive comments from fellow boaters along the line of 'what's that lovely old engine' !

With hindsight, perhaps we should have installed a hydraulic drive system which would have meant the Perky would have done ok
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#19 Athy

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 04:05 PM

Thanks for that info. But why sell a hire boat after only one season? To recoup the cost of buying two engines for it?
She'll find a proud new owner soon (despite the Barrus she is stylish both inside and out), I'm amazed that you have not had much interest - time of year perhaps, though Mr. Rugby Boats says that isn't so.
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#20 The Dog House

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 04:25 PM

Thanks for that info. But why sell a hire boat after only one season? To recoup the cost of buying two engines for it?
She'll find a proud new owner soon (despite the Barrus she is stylish both inside and out), I'm amazed that you have not had much interest - time of year perhaps, though Mr. Rugby Boats says that isn't so.


I think Richard covered this in the post above yours - as in hirers couldn't get to grips with the retro technology and probably (i'm guessing here) cost more in call outs and potential damage than they could justify in hiring costs.
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Is the sun over the yardarm yet?




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