Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble

Featured Posts

Hi Everyone, 

 

Trying to get a gauge on whether buying a sailaway and fitting it out myself is in the long run going to be a better option than buying a second hand boat. 

 

i'd like to know roughly what it would cost and the kind of time frame that it would take, so anyone with any experience of having done a sailaway project please if you want to share your thoughts and expenses.

 

My Hypothetical build would consist of a very basic layout. Bedroom at the stern of the boat followed by an enclosed bathroom, Galley and living room at the bow. All rooms with just the basic amenities. I would initially have a month of full time availability to work on the boat then followed by 3 full days per week. I Am fortunate that I have family members sufficient in plumbing and gas heating systems so I would get help with that. I would also get a electrician to install a basic solar set up. 

 

 

I'm fully aware that its only relevant to individual skill, design and availability. But just to help me out please state your skill and experience going into your project. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From when I bought my lined sailaway to the finished boat (as much as any fitout is finished) took me about eleven months working “full time”. By “full time “ I mean five days a week but lots of late starts and early finishes. Also included fairly lengthy coffee breaks with a neighbour also fitting out.  I probably spent more time sourcing materials and working out how to do things than actual construction. Plumbing, electrics, gas etc. I was happy with, but joinery was not my strong point and I took quite a bit of time over this to get a decent result.

 In 2008/9 it cost about £11,000 over and above the cost of the sailaway and did not include the cost of painting.  I used fairly high spec. equipment and also used a lot of solid oak.

 But that was just my experience; I’ve known people who have done it in a much shorter time, and if I had done another one I would probably have done it in half the time.  Conversely I know people who have taken years, either through lack of time or just disillusionment.

 So to get a figure, you really need to match up ability, finances and dedication.

 There are a lot of unfinished boats out there rusting away under a single coat of primer because the owner ran out of money and/or enthusiasm.

 It was the right thing for me to do as I had just retired so had the time. I didn’t do it to save money (although I saved about £25K compared to a new build of the same spec.) but for the personal satisfaction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a bit of how long is a piece of string type Q.

I am of the opinion that you could end up spending a lot of time and money on something which will be just OK. In the process you will learn a lot of useful skills, and make a few mistakes, which is not the end of the world ....

Flooring, plumbing, gas and electrics, stove installation and central heating all require careful research before you start. I view solar installation as "an add on", the basic electrical system is where you need a boat electrician to design and/or instal. Most boats have 12 volt and 220 systems. 

It might be a good idea to visit lot of boats before committing yourself, look at well built ones, and some "projects". 

PS most modern boats are reverse layout.

Edited by LadyG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've watched a youtuber fit out a boat and all I can say it takes 100% dedication and then some. so much work it truly is a labour of love , plus with all the regulations it looks as if there can be many pitfalls. Good luck to you if you go ahead and may be youtube it as well?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I fitted out from spray foam stage with engine, took me about 2.5 years doing most weekends and couple of weeks holiday.  I did everything myself, and you do get a great feeling of achievement when it is finished - not that it is ever finished.  Solar was a later addition as when fitting out it was much more costly than now.  Likewise  it took me 8 years before I gave in and fitted a Webasto water heater.

 

To keep costs down  I would hunt round, second hand solar panels for example from a site that had some issues and had to remove some panels, so only a couple of years old.

 

When doing the design and fit out, think about things you might want to do later, so for example my galley cupboard is about 4 inches above the floor with easily removable plinth, makes running future radiator pipes easy.  All high level cables run along the roof in the top corners with easily removed covers, again makes wiring changes for things like solar, usb charge point (not invented when fitting out) etc easy.  I put a couple of extra conduits dropping from the roof to the gunnel in case of future cable drops - USB charge points at chair height in the saloon being one.

 

As to regs, read them and make bullet points of what you must and must not do, and ignore what is not applicable eg mandatory items for petrol boats on a diesel boat.  There is a lot of waffle that you don’t want to keep reading.

 

I also strongly recommend the Narrowboat builds book by Graham Booth though it may not fully reflect the latest regs.  Note the regs are best practice and in my opinion worth complying with, though non-compliance may not be a BSS fail.

 

You also need to consider if you want to CE mark your boat or not, if you do reg compliance is mandatory including having both a user manual and a technical manual.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If this is going to be your first experience of narrowboating I'd think long and hard before attempting a DIY fit out.  Without some experience of owning a boat you can't possibly know what will work for you, even if the design is "basic" as you say, there's still a lot to consider.   Another aspect is resale value/appeal.  I've spent a lot of time looking at used boats this year and almost without exception there's a world of difference between boats professionally fitted out and the DIY efforts.  Even a skilled DIYer will struggle to match the standards of those who do it for a living, and at some point you will want to sell your boat.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Neil2 said:

If this is going to be your first experience of narrowboating I'd think long and hard before attempting a DIY fit out.  Without some experience of owning a boat you can't possibly know what will work for you, even if the design is "basic" as you say, there's still a lot to consider.   Another aspect is resale value/appeal.  I've spent a lot of time looking at used boats this year and almost without exception there's a world of difference between boats professionally fitted out and the DIY efforts.  Even a skilled DIYer will struggle to match the standards of those who do it for a living, and at some point you will want to sell your boat.   

True, but if you plan on keeping it for say 10 years, I doubt the lower resale price (loss) is greater than the saving you made if you did a reasonably good job.

 

But mainly for me the enjoyment of fitting out was worth any potential ‘loss’.

 

But do have a few weeks rental on different boats to see what works for you.

Edited by Chewbacka

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You also need  to consider if you are going to build it to the RCD directive, with all its associated paperwork or not. If you don't, then you can't legally sell it for five years. Your circumstances may change in that time and not having the option to sell could be an issue.

Jen

  • Greenie 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, WalkerWalker92 said:

Trying to get a gauge on whether buying a sailaway and fitting it out myself is in the long run going to be a better option than buying a second hand boat. 

 

11 minutes ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

You also need  to consider if you are going to build it to the RCD directive, with all its associated paperwork or not. If you don't, then you can't legally sell it for five years. Your circumstances may change in that time and not having the option to sell could be an issue.

Jen

 

Jen makes an excellent point, and one to which you are probably thinking "what the hell is the RCD".

 

The RCD is the "Recreational Craft Directive" which is a set of standards and specifications to which leisure boats should be built (everything from the type of engine to the type and size of electric cable to the number of people that can stand on one side without it tipping over. There are 1000's of pages of specifications.

 

There is an exemption (as Jen mentioned) for Home build narrow boats but the law states that if you have not built it and certified it to the RCD then you cannot sell it for 5 years after completion. If you need to sell it then you 'should' have a post construction survey and any non-compliant items replaced / corrected.

 

There are of course some who don't worry about the RCD (either as buyers or sellers) and the cases of going to court for selling without an RCD are few, but they do happen.

 

I purchased a boat (market value of £250,000) which hadn't sold because the RCD documentation and the VAT Certificate of payment were 'not available'. I made an offer of £180,000 and it was accepted.

 

Paperwork is 'valuable' to some and ignored by others - you can only make up your own mind which camp you fall in.

 

Just done a quick Google search and here is one example :

 

He didn't use the correct safety glass in the windows, he didn't screw the stove down & he was fined £2100 and now has a criminal record.

Serious non-compliances can result in a fine of up to £50,000.

 

https://www.boatingbusiness.com/news101/industry-news/narrowboat_builder_fined_for_rcd_offences

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some days I would just go to the boat, sit on the step and think. All I can say its like nothing I have ever tackled before and don't intend to do again ever. 

  • Happy 1
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I spent as much time looking at various parts of the boat and thinking about how to do it, in what sequence, etc, as actually doing the jobs. I think it's important to contemplate and think through doing the job beforehand - for me it is anyway.

 

That was 12 - 15 years ago and I was living aboard while fitting out which makes it twice as difficult. Like Ditchy above it's the biggest job I've ever tackled and it also took a lot more time and money than I realised. I couldn't do it again. I simply don't have the energy these days.

Edited by blackrose

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Neil2 said:

If this is going to be your first experience of narrowboating I'd think long and hard before attempting a DIY fit out.  Without some experience of owning a boat you can't possibly know what will work for you, even if the design is "basic" as you say, there's still a lot to consider.   Another aspect is resale value/appeal.  I've spent a lot of time looking at used boats this year and almost without exception there's a world of difference between boats professionally fitted out and the DIY efforts.  Even a skilled DIYer will struggle to match the standards of those who do it for a living, and at some point you will want to sell your boat.   

wot he said.

 

If you have not spent significant time on a narrowboat I would be even harsher in my advice - DON'T DO IT.  Buy a second hand boat and find out the pros and cons before committing to a sailaway.

 

If you have spent significant time on various narrowboats and have experienced the problems and benefits of certain types of layout, of different plumbing and electrical systems, and of different materials used to finish the fit-out, then you will know exactly what you want and should do a sailaway.

 

There is nothing so depressing as committing thousands of hours to a project and then discovering that it doesn't really appeal any more when you have to live in it.  It will put you off boating forever, and if it ain't done to the RCD you won't be in a position to sell it legally for several years.  A bit like a marriage made in haste and forever regretted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It will be 10 years in December and my fitout is nowhere near finished, though habitable and useable.  Why has it taken so long?

1. Travel time to boat. Takes a day out of every visit.

2. Getting materials to boat.  Rarely been in a position to have vehicle adjacent to boat. Recently acquired a van, would have saved so much time.

3. Family.  They just take up so much time.

4. As 3.

5. Difficulty of getting materials. Everything to do with boats is often in discrete elements and not perfect. The stove I bought has a slight tendency to run away, the flue smelt bad when it got hot, and the chimney was crap and lasted just 2 years. The UFO vents took 11 screws, don't have collars and ceiling fitting supplied, and can drip condensation.  Boards are normally available as 8ft x 4ft which is exactly wrong for most boat work. Waste pipework: Hull fittings are not naturally matched to hose and sink fittings. And so on.

6. Maintenance. Just keeping what you have already done in good condition takes a lot of time, particularly paintwork/blacking.

7. Changes of plan. The longer you take, the more likely you are to decide you want something different. Stove installed, and taken out. Built for 2, changed to 4, then modified for 4 plus children. Alde boiler installed and removed.  Calorifier installed and removed.

8. Weather. Whenever you need to do something outside, the weather will be too cold, too hot, too wet, or too something else.

 

However, since my main enjoyment is the fittingout itself, none of this has bothered me.

  • Love 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had my shell at home, outside my workshop and store. I spent 5 months say 6 days a week to get it to a basic stage of completion, still lots of trim to be fitted, no stove etc.

 

I too spent lots of time thinking about how to do things.

 

Richard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My bare shell was delivered by the buolder to a marina about 6 miles from home in May 1996. I got it for therapy after my wife died. It was a budget hull (Eastward Engineering). I had absolutlely no experience of narrowboats though I had had several smallish yachts and a fair amount of sailing experience. I was a reasonable diy'er and a lifelong office worker. It was the best thing I could have done in the circumstances. One day I might finish it !!!. Think Triggers broom.

Cost? No idea and it matters less. If i sold it tomorrow it doesn't  owe me one penny.

Sitting on it as i type this . Every day i'm on it i look around and think " i built this"

 

Apologies for typing/spelling but ths tablet has a mind of it's own.

 

Frank

 

Edited by Slim
  • Greenie 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Although its a bit dated now, you really ought to read The Narrowboat Builder's Book by Graham Booth in which he describes the fitting out of his 60 ft shell, Rome.

https://shop.waterwaysworld.com/product/NBBUILDERS/the-narrowboat-builder-s-book

nbbuilderslarge.jpg

 

In the concluding chapter he says:

 

"With the boat pretty well complete and lacking only a few minor items ... the total was 1390 hours. This doesn't sound very much if you say it quickly but it represents every weekend for fifteen months plus two hours on workday evenings for half that time plus about ten weeks leave".

 

Can you realistically devote that much time to it?

 

Incidentally, Rome is currently up for sale

http://www.lockside-antiques.co.uk/Narrowboat.html

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, WalkerWalker92 said:

Hi Everyone, 

 

Trying to get a gauge on whether buying a sailaway and fitting it out myself is in the long run going to be a better option than buying a second hand boat. 

 

i'd like to know roughly what it would cost and the kind of time frame that it would take, so anyone with any experience of having done a sailaway project please if you want to share your thoughts and expenses.

 

My Hypothetical build would consist of a very basic layout. Bedroom at the stern of the boat followed by an enclosed bathroom, Galley and living room at the bow. All rooms with just the basic amenities. I would initially have a month of full time availability to work on the boat then followed by 3 full days per week. I Am fortunate that I have family members sufficient in plumbing and gas heating systems so I would get help with that. I would also get a electrician to install a basic solar set up. 

 

 

I'm fully aware that its only relevant to individual skill, design and availability. But just to help me out please state your skill and experience going into your project. 

It will cost at least 3 times what you budget for, and take 4 times longer than you thought.

Beware, boat systems are very different to domestic equivalents, domestic tradesmen, may not have the necessary skills or qualifications, to work on boat systems.

The Gas fitter has to be not only Gas-safe qualified, but LPG, and Boat qualified.  Electrical work is closer to automotive work than domestic mains, 3 solid core cable is normal in a house, but is not recommended, or allowed under RCD regulations.  12vdc cables have to have "voltage drop" allowed for because of the distances covered.  A concept unknown to most 240vac electricians.

When costing the job, allow for tools you do not have, and will need, this could include a van, capable of taking 8x4 sheets of ply.

Then, where are you going to work on the boat?

Be aware that a boat can flex when moved from a hard standing, to floating, meaning doors might not open or close, previous perfect joints, now don't fit and have to be redone.

There is a great deal of satisfaction, in saying "I did this".  From personal experience, there are some steep learning curves! 

 

Bod 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

You also need  to consider if you are going to build it to the RCD directive, with all its associated paperwork or not. If you don't, then you can't legally sell it for five years. Your circumstances may change in that time and not having the option to sell could be an issue.

Jen

If you decide to fit out yourself, the five year sales embargo looks immaterial. But seriously, you are the only one who knows your abilities. If you can get it habitable after a short time, then why not go with it. It's easier to start from scratch than rectify something someone else has done, (and has not catalogued for you to see what it is).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 08/11/2019 at 09:17, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

Jen makes an excellent point, and one to which you are probably thinking "what the hell is the RCD".

 

The RCD is the "Recreational Craft Directive" which is a set of standards and specifications to which leisure boats should be built (everything from the type of engine to the type and size of electric cable to the number of people that can stand on one side without it tipping over. There are 1000's of pages of specifications.

 

There is an exemption (as Jen mentioned) for Home build narrow boats but the law states that if you have not built it and certified it to the RCD then you cannot sell it for 5 years after completion. If you need to sell it then you 'should' have a post construction survey and any non-compliant items replaced / corrected.

 

There are of course some who don't worry about the RCD (either as buyers or sellers) and the cases of going to court for selling without an RCD are few, but they do happen.

 

I purchased a boat (market value of £250,000) which hadn't sold because the RCD documentation and the VAT Certificate of payment were 'not available'. I made an offer of £180,000 and it was accepted.

 

Paperwork is 'valuable' to some and ignored by others - you can only make up your own mind which camp you fall in.

 

Just done a quick Google search and here is one example :

 

He didn't use the correct safety glass in the windows, he didn't screw the stove down & he was fined £2100 and now has a criminal record.

Serious non-compliances can result in a fine of up to £50,000.

 

https://www.boatingbusiness.com/news101/industry-news/narrowboat_builder_fined_for_rcd_offences

 

 

 

The other option is just to buy one and install it on your boat. Much simpler and cheaper.

 

When the inspector asks to check your RCD you just show him one of these.

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_20191109-093001.png

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, blackrose said:

 

The other option is just to buy one and install it on your boat. Much simpler and cheaper.

 

When the inspector asks to check your RCD you just show him one of these.

 

 

 

 

Screenshot_20191109-093001.png

I'll take that in the spirit intended - BUT - I will suggest that it is not a particularly useful post to a newby who hasn't got a clue what will be involved, the use of the correct terminology, or the forum humour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's obvious from the OPs first post that he has little (if any experience) of canal boats if he is asking for people's credentials to reply. Anyone who has spent time on a canal bote knows how difficult it would be for someone with no knowledge just to design it right let alone build it. Do yourself a favour. Buy a second hand boat. Spend your time improving it ....if you have the time. Learn about bote systems.  Then sell it and build your own once you have understood what bote system need to do. 

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would guess that the vast majority of Sailaway fitterouters do not bother with the RCD stuff and do not need to, unless they intend to do a professional quality job and sell at a high price. I certainly didn't.   AdeE gives a biased picture, coming as he does from a sea-going background and with unlimited (10L per hour!) wealth.  He gives a false picture which should be ignored.  Just my opinion.

  • Unimpressed 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, system 4-50 said:

I would guess that the vast majority of Sailaway fitterouters do not bother with the RCD stuff and do not need to, unless they intend to do a professional quality job and sell at a high price. I certainly didn't.   AdeE gives a biased picture, coming as he does from a sea-going background and with unlimited (10L per hour!) wealth.  He gives a false picture which should be ignored.  Just my opinion.

Yes it's a lumpy water thing. If you are going from country to country then paperwork is vital esp VAT documentation. I was amazed how little paperwork was required on the cut, i.e. None! 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, system 4-50 said:

Just my opinion.

An opinion to which you are entitled.

I actually felt that showing both sides, and explaining the legal requirements and implications was (for me) very 'even handed'.

I even pointed out that I had bought a boat without the correct documentation - and I'm not in prison !

 

There are certainly many 'self-fitter-outers' on this forum that claim to have built to the RCD requirements.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

An opinion to which you are entitled.

I actually felt that showing both sides, and explaining the legal requirements and implications was (for me) very 'even handed'.

I even pointed out that I had bought a boat without the correct documentation - and I'm not in prison !

 

There are certainly many 'self-fitter-outers' on this forum that claim to have built to the RCD requirements.

As I understand the story of your missing paperwork, The boat was for sale in foreign waters, (non EU?) and a large jar of coffee came into the story.

 

Bod

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.