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Nick-Now

Advice on liveaboard size

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Hello all, 

I am looking into buying my first narrow boat as a full time live aboard. There will be my Wife and myself and a teenage Son, so I will need quite a big boat as we will need 2 fixed cabins. I am thinking we would need has much space as possible but keep getting advised to get a smaller length. But this is a one time purchase, I don't want to buy a smaller boat and find we are too cramped. But a lot of people say we can't travel all the water ways and its difficult to find somewhere to turn around? I am thinking that the negatives of having a 70 foot boat would outweighed by the luxury of the extra space.

 

What are your thoughts please?

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9 minutes ago, Nick-Now said:

Hello all, 

I am looking into buying my first narrow boat as a full time live aboard. There will be my Wife and myself and a teenage Son, so I will need quite a big boat as we will need 2 fixed cabins. I am thinking we would need has much space as possible but keep getting advised to get a smaller length. But this is a one time purchase, I don't want to buy a smaller boat and find we are too cramped. But a lot of people say we can't travel all the water ways and its difficult to find somewhere to turn around? I am thinking that the negatives of having a 70 foot boat would outweighed by the luxury of the extra space.

 

What are your thoughts please?

Get a widebeam - the restrictions on the waterways that you cannot use will be far, far outweighed by the additional space.

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3 minutes ago, Nick-Now said:

I am based in Staffordshire

 

So a 70ft narrow boat boat can use all your local waterways.  And turning oportunities for a 70 ft boat are pretty much the same as for any other boat which is too long to turn in the width of the canal.

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26 minutes ago, Nick-Now said:

But a lot of people say we can't travel all the water ways 

 

A lot of people think they are going to travel all the waterways, but few do.

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I'd go and view a few different size boats - all three of you. Then you can see how cramped you feel. But bear in mind that cramped feeling may get worse over time. One does get used to the limited space, but most people who live on boats wish they had more living space.

 

Living on small boats is fine in summer when you can sit outside or even put a folding table and chairs out on the bank if there's space; but bigger boats really come into their own in winter when the only option for those in small boats suffering from cabin fever, is to go out and spend money to sit somewhere else like the pub.

 

 

Edited by blackrose

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It depends! Do you have a lot of belongings you won't be able to part with? If so, can you store some of them off the boat? I've lived on various boats over the years (widebeam, narrow and a dutch barge) and visited dozens of others. A well thought out 50 fit out can often feel more spacious and have better storage than a poorly laid out 70 footer.

 

I'd suggest trying to keep a few feet shorter than the absolute maximum for the waterways you plan on cruising on, it tends to make life easier. That said, I cope with my 71 footer on the k&a, it just means messing around in locks which can be fun as a single-hander.

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Depends on what you need to have in each cabin. 60 ft narrow can easily have two cabins and a shared walk through bathroom, a galley and sensible living area. It can also just about go anywhere, albeit with a bit of special magic. 

 

You really are not going to know until you try it - hiring for a week will go a long way, but best to do it in January/February so long as the hire boat has decent heating - at least you would discover how much heat you do need!

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I've never liked the idea of walk through bathrooms. I know they save space but either half the boat is shut off or someone walks through while you're trying to have a crap!

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2 hours ago, Nick-Now said:

Hello all, 

I am looking into buying my first narrow boat as a full time live aboard. There will be my Wife and myself and a teenage Son, so I will need quite a big boat as we will need 2 fixed cabins. I am thinking we would need has much space as possible but keep getting advised to get a smaller length. But this is a one time purchase, I don't want to buy a smaller boat and find we are too cramped. But a lot of people say we can't travel all the water ways and its difficult to find somewhere to turn around? I am thinking that the negatives of having a 70 foot boat would outweighed by the luxury of the extra space.

 

What are your thoughts please?

 

I would get a 70 foot boat to live on and hire as and when I felt the need to experience the shorter waterways of the frozen north.

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2 hours ago, Nick-Now said:

Hello all, 

I am looking into buying my first narrow boat as a full time live aboard. There will be my Wife and myself and a teenage Son, so I will need quite a big boat as we will need 2 fixed cabins. I am thinking we would need has much space as possible but keep getting advised to get a smaller length. But this is a one time purchase, I don't want to buy a smaller boat and find we are too cramped. But a lot of people say we can't travel all the water ways and its difficult to find somewhere to turn around? I am thinking that the negatives of having a 70 foot boat would outweighed by the luxury of the extra space.

 

What are your thoughts please?

A widebeam is hugely more comfortable but hugely constrained in places to go. For instance move from North to south a truck is needed unless its seaworthy. In you location a narrowbeam makes sense, the longer the better, you WILL regret buying a piddly 57 footer quite soon and want to buy the rest of the boat. Ten foot in a narrowboat is a huge difference.

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1 minute ago, mrsmelly said:

A widebeam is hugely more comfortable but hugely constrained in places to go. For instance move from North to south a truck is needed unless its seaworthy. In you location a narrowbeam makes sense, the longer the better, you WILL regret buying a piddly 57 footer quite soon and want to buy the rest of the boat. Ten foot in a narrowboat is a huge difference.

What he said ^^^^^^^. Quite a bit of boat length is taken up with bow and stern and this length is almost independent of boat length. As boat length shrinks, the cabin length as an overall proportion shrinks faster. Going from 57 to 70', you'll get most of that extra 13' as cabin. Individual boats can vary, a long tug deck will remove cabin, extending the cabin in to what is usually the well deck will increase it. Aesthetics play a part too. Certain ratios of cabin to boat length, bow and stern shapes just look better. Longer swims make the boat handle more sweetly.

 

Could you and your family handle a fortnights holiday in a static caravan in the drizzle and wet with minimal risk of anyone murdering anyone else? Especially with a teenager. The cabin fever in a narrowboat in winter can be similar. In summer, you live as much outside as in, but it changes as the nights draw in.

 

Jen

  • Greenie 1

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1 minute ago, Sea Dog said:

They don't make a boat big enough to live on with a teenager. Most houses streets lack the space for that. ;)

Fixed that for you. 

  • Haha 1

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4 hours ago, blackrose said:

I've never liked the idea of walk through bathrooms. I know they save space but either half the boat is shut off or someone walks through while you're trying to have a crap!

Not heard of door locks?

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