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Saani

choosing to retrofit or best to buy as complete?

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Hi I’m finding it difficult to find my wants .. a boat with relatively equal private rooms for two teenagers plus bath and at least a saloon for me. Size of at least 57 go any where, but happy too for 70 footer live aboard cc. Any opinion whether it’s best to buy the best boat affordable for live aboard for self sufficiency and change later it to suit me with a couple of doors and bath etc ?  Though I am concerned that if it hasn’t a bath or small tub etc then it can’t really house one in terms of tank size, water heating and space in bathroom. I am a novice without diy skills and wonder if retrofit is so difficult and expensive that it is it best to just keep looking ?  I’m trying to buy as soon as practicable. And budget best kept to 50,000 max. Looking is hard, as I’m in NZ. But another family member needs ASAP to use it for a year first and they can get to uk to view. Any advice much appreciated. Thanks.

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And boats seem to go really quick no sooner do I track one down do some research and it’s sold! 

The other thing to retrofit might be a secondary fuel stove and/ or radiators. For example I have an eye on a 70 footer but it’s only one fuel stove at far end as sole heating.

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With the sleeping arrangement you are wanting, it will be tight in a 57’ narrowboat. It is possible but it will probably be better to go bigger. If you have 2 teenagers, you will need personal space!

 

I would forget the bath tub. The reason most boats have is they take up less space and use less water. Most onboard baths are really small and impractical and need a large tank. If you are out cruising, remember you will need to top it up regularly using a hose. 

 

If you have few diy skills, it will be better to wait and find the right boat. You are likely to have to accept a few compromises. It will however be way cheaper than buying the “wrong” boat and then doing a big refit. 

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4 hours ago, Saani said:

And boats seem to go really quick no sooner do I track one down do some research and it’s sold! 

Your budget is bang in the middle of the 'price range.

 

Boats below £30k will often need work doing to them, boats above £70k are virtually new (maybe the owner didn't like boating), or well maintained 'Rolls Royce; but more elderly boats.

 

A well maintained boat competitively priced will sell VERY quickly (within a couple of days) as the market you are looking in is probably the most 'active'.

 

There is always a market for sub £20k boats for people looking for cheap-floating-flats to live on in the city where flats are too expensive - but this is not really a 'boating' part of the market.

 

Others from the Antipedes have taken a month out and come over and done a concentrated hunt - if you wait until you see the boat you want and then try and come over you will be continually disappointed.

 

You can hire an experienced inland waterway 'boat hunter' to research and visit boats within your requirements, get you a short list and then you can come over, but, by the time you arrive expect the list to be several boats 'shorter' than it was.

 

It is a sellers market at the moment with people having chunks of disposable income following retirement, changes in pension laws, redundancy money, 'no bank interest on savings' so lets spend it etc etc.

Sellers can ask pretty much what they want, and most boats will sell eventually - but - as said previously well-priced, well maintained boats will sell in days.

Boat brokers will have lists of potential buyers on their books, and when they become aware of a boat 'coming in next week' they will contact the buyers, often the boat will never 'hit the internet', or even get sales details published.

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Hmmmm thank you, yes I may need to rethink my strategy. My adult son from NZ and daughter from Ireland were able to meet for two days in London 9  and 10 September and planned to visit a boat there for me. But from what you say even that time frame is possibly too delayed. Thanks for the advice! 

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Our own fine craft (soon to be retired from the fleet) comes about as close to your wish list in a go everywhere length.

Rear double bunk cabin with single dinette/hip bath/fixed double/double dinette/240v from inverter or Travelpower/Miele washer-dryer/self pump-out macerator toilet/large water, diesel, calorifier and waste holding tanks/ample storage/ 440Ah domestic battery bank/diesel and solid fuel heating

http://www.tuesdaynightclub.co.uk/earnest/index.html

Recent upgrades include a Trojan domestic battery bank/Merlin SmartBank, Smartguage/ Victron inverter/charger and a Villager Puffin Mk2 stove. Earnest has recently had a lot of work done on it - alternators/rudder/rudder bearings/cutlass stern tube bearing/gearbox/bow thruster brushes/drive plate/fenders/cratch cover/rear cover/blacking/anodes/hull plates thickness survey.

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57 minutes ago, Saani said:

Hmmmm thank you, yes I may need to rethink my strategy. My adult son from NZ and daughter from Ireland were able to meet for two days in London 9  and 10 September and planned to visit a boat there for me. But from what you say even that time frame is possibly too delayed. Thanks for the advice! 

Hi Saani, when I read this post it made me wonder what our other Kiwi and Aussie members did to find their boats from such a distance. I wonder if it might be worth starting a new thread with a title like "Boat Hunting From Down Under" or something that might catch the eye of other members living in Australia and NZ. Just by looking at the members map I counted seven regular posters from AU&NZ but I know there are others too, some of which have boats, some are looking too, and some are committed hire boaters or share owners; all different but all having to deal with the time and space differences. 

 

Some of those members are - @PeterCr @DandV @harleyj @PaulD @StarUKKiwi @Proper Charlie @john.k @Pa Kettle 

 

There are others but but those are the easiest for me to find. 

 

I wish you well with your boat hunting. 

  • Greenie 1

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Oh and the other thing I was going to say was that if you have two teenagers that need to be accommodated then an ex-hire boat might be a good idea, there are numerous hire companies and they all sell their boats off at different times of their career but the bigger companies who have more bases probably have the largest variety of boats. You can buy directly from the hire company but they usually have quite long waiting lists or from what I've seen people who buy hire boats sometimes don't change the layout much so have the extra rooms there with out you needing to refit the boat; I wonder if it might be worth contacting dealers like Rugby Boats or ABNB and asking if the have an email list that they can add you to so that you can get notification if a boat meeting your requirements comes in, I don't know if that is a thing they do but it might still be worth asking. 

 

I'm on the Black Prince waiting list but it doesn't seem to be getting any smaller :blink:

 

https://www.black-prince.com/boat-sales/

 

DUCHESS-8.jpg

Edited by Tumshie
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39 minutes ago, Tumshie said:

There are others but but those are the easiest for me to find. 

 

@Kiwidad immediately springs to mind. 

 

 

7 hours ago, Saani said:

plus bath

 

Baths are a rarity on narrow boats as they take so much water, so you will probably have to drop this requirement in favour of a shower.

 

Even if you find one with a bath, I predict you will not use it as you will empty the water tank each time you fill the bath, which will become a right drag. 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

@Kiwidad immediately springs to mind. 

Well I though that too but when I looked him up I wasn't sure where he was based but yes and he seems quite a nice chap. :D

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3 minutes ago, Tumshie said:

Well I though that too but when I looked him up I wasn't sure where he was based but yes and he seems quite a nice chap. :D

 

He was here in the UK for Matty's welding to Kathy.

 

Best Man IIRC, brilliant and entertaining speech, and generally top geezer.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
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3 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

He was here in the UK for Matty's welding to Kathy.

 

Best Man IIRC, brilliant and entertaining speech, and generally top geezer.

 

And Chauffeur... 

 

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44 minutes ago, Tumshie said:

That's just a floating dormitory!

 

Regarding baths, I have a 1200mm corner bath which looks smart and is a lot better than those hip bath things often found on older boats. And as said, some hire boats (particularly ones with integrated hull tank rather than a separate stainless steel tank) will hold a fair bit of water. Although of course the calorifier (or hot water cylinder) will be a limiting factor (biggest generally at 80litres). A bath makes a good "treat" once in a while when you have the water/are passing plenty water points etc but it is not for every day.

 

As far as doing work on a boat - by all means be ready to adapt one or two things, (for example adding a stove if it's an ex hire boat without one) but unless you want a project DON'T take on too much work at all. Everything on boats is more difficult and more expensive and takes a lot longer. 

 

How you are going to pull off your search, I don't know!

 

 

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Good luck with your boat hunt from a fellow kiwi. 

My wife had never holidayed on a boat, and really wanted to include an English canal holiday on a trip to the UK. We let it known amongst our friends we would like to join another couple for a one week hire on a narrowboat in eighteen months time. We did not get any fellow colonials interested but friends from the UK accepted the challenge so we signed up for a one week hire on the Kennet and Avon from Foxhangers to Bristol return.  

Just before our departure for Europe, I ran into a former colleague and had lunch with him where I learnt they had bought a canal boat and spent 5+ months each year moving around the English canals. They had had a couple of hires, decided they liked it, set a budget of 50k and then went looking the following year by hire boat and hire car, refining their wish list and asking questions. 

After seeing the price and design for a just sold  new build that was very close to their requirements they approached the boat builder and asked if he could build another to the same design and price by the following May. They upped their budget and added a few refinements and their boat was built. 

So on our trip as well as our hire boat trip we joined them on their boat for a few days. It was then Val declared that that was her ideal to spend our initial, say five?,  years in our impending retirement. 

Likewise we too set a budget of 50k and included visiting many brokers in a UK reconnaissance trip a year before our retirement year.

As ours,  was a planned finite boating adventure, this visit was very informative, not so much as to where we would buy from, but when the time came as to where our boat would be placed for sale.

In that year before retirement  we developed our wish list, which ended up remarkably similar to the specification of our friends boat.

We set up a spread sheet following the specification, price and sales progress of compatible boats. When they were listed, any price reductions, broker change and when deposits were taken and sale finalised. Boats that appeared competitively priced generally sold quickly.

Also we joined CWDF which led to contact with one active forum member here who had assisted  a fellow colonial in their search. The arrangement was that they would check out our identified prospective boats, and upon our arrival he would transport us to the brokers, all for a fee. to assist us choosing.

However just before we left, severe illness struck our canal boating  friends, which bought their canal boating to an unplanned early end. 

Plan B. We had one broker value their boat, they had another, we met in the middle, and  had a handover in a New Zealand hospital and moved straight on board in England on our arrival, after taking over their winter mooring arrangements for the following four winters. We also ferried some of their personal belongings back to NZ over the following two years.

It was interesting to come across boats that had appeared as prospects on our spreadsheet and see them in the flesh and speak with their new owners  over the following year.

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3 hours ago, Neil TNC said:

Our own fine craft (soon to be retired from the fleet) comes about as close to your wish list in a go everywhere length.

 

 

3 hours ago, Neil TNC said:

Our own fine craft (soon to be retired from the fleet) comes about as close to your wish list in a go everywhere length.

Rear double bunk cabin with single dinette/hip bath/fixed double/double dinette/240v from inverter or Travelpower/Miele washer-dryer/self pump-out macerator toilet/large water, diesel, calorifier and waste holding tanks/ample storage/ 440Ah domestic battery bank/diesel and solid fuel heating

http://www.tuesdaynightclub.co.uk/earnest/index.html

Recent upgrades include a Trojan domestic battery bank/Merlin SmartBank, Smartguage/ Victron inverter/charger and a Villager Puffin Mk2 stove. Earnest has recently had a lot of work done on it - alternators/rudder/rudder bearings/cutlass stern tube bearing/gearbox/bow thruster brushes/drive plate/fenders/cratch cover/rear cover/blacking/anodes/hull plates thickness survey.

 

Wow Neil I’ve been poring over the details of your boat , fascinating and sounds great, when do you think you’ll retire Earnest? And have you thought of the price you’d want? 

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It’s midnight where I am but I cant wait till I get a chance of reading all these other posts thanks everyone 

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5 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

He was here in the UK for Matty's welding to Kathy.

 

Best Man IIRC, brilliant and entertaining speech, and generally top geezer.

 

 

 

 

And he lives here now

5 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

@Kiwidad immediately springs to mind. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I engaged Matty40s of this parish to do some preparatory work on my shortlist whilst I was in NZ.

i then came over and we visited the shortlisted and vetted boats together - then bought one and moved on board 

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And a thought re teenagers. Consider a boat and butty. That way both the youngsters and yourselves have private spaces

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17 minutes ago, Kiwidad said:

And a thought re teenagers. Consider a boat and butty. That way both the youngsters and yourselves have private spaces

I think this is a good idea - I remember saying the same thing in another similar thread - it's not just about somewhere to sleep sometimes you just need a little bit of space. The other aspect of that is that once the teenagers move out (which I hear they sometimes do) you can re-home the butty without the hassle of having to sell and replace the main boat. 

Edited by Tumshie

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20 minutes ago, Kiwidad said:

And a thought re teenagers. Consider a boat and butty. That way both the youngsters and yourselves have private spaces

 

An excellent idea which I've seen work well in several cases. 

 

A further dimension to this is teenagers sometimes are bloody untidy creatures who will drag your living space down to their level of chaos. Giving them their own boat to look after however they wish relieves you of the stress of trying to keep your boat clean and tidy in the face of the untidy teenager onslaught.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Kiwidad said:

And a thought re teenagers. Consider a boat and butty. That way both the youngsters and yourselves have private spaces

And both parties have an end of the connecting line to cast off when more distance is required.

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If you buy a boat with a replica rear cabin you get a fully fitted bedroom, and a gap filled with a very noisy object to put between you and noisy teenagers. Plus it can become their problen or your isolated sanctuary.

we bought while oz residents. Main problem was insurance. Now we are uk residents again. We had the benefit of 25 years prior residential ownership before emigrating but there were a few problems

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22 hours ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Baths are a rarity on narrow boats as they take so much water, so you will probably have to drop this requirement in favour of a shower.

 

Even if you find one with a bath, I predict you will not use it as you will empty the water tank each time you fill the bath, which will become a right drag. 

 

Not strictly true. We completely refitted Consort and included a bath with shower over. We alternate using the shower and bath and along with running the washing machine twice a week only fill the tank every 7 or 8 days. Admittedly we are just two living aboard at the mo but have been 4 up till recently when we would fill the tank once a week. It's nice to have both bath and shower. Folks I know having only showers are envious.

I guess we must have a large water tank. It's under the fore-deck so couldn't say how big it is.

 

Trying to buy a boat from a distance is nigh on impossible. You need a local rep or get someone over here for a few weeks to trawl around. As has been said, stuff sells fast as there are plenty of cash buyers around.

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