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Liveaboards - which stern, trad, semi or cruiser

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We;ve been looking for many months now & I have convinced myself I DONT want a cruiser since its a lot of 'wasted' space.

But, since the vast majority of boats out there seem to be cruiser stern, am I an idiot ?

Seems to be the 'inside' space on a trad or semi is more useable for the long-term community, but am I missing something?

Cruiser deck looks great with the seating plus G&T pictures, but wouldn't that part of your 60' boat be better utilised in another way, like a couple of foot added to the bathroom, bedroom etc.

I'm thinking if we want to sit out, in the summer months, then we would on the canal side or in the bow but having never had any experience, would welcome the opinion of assembled experts on the subject.

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Cruiser stern plus pram hood can work. I dislike the look of them, but they seem to give usable space all year round, including somewhere to leave wet coats / dogs to drip dry outside the cabin.

  • Greenie 2

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The cruiser stern covers the engine, the engine has to go somewhere so if you have a 'trad' then the engine (taking up the same amount of space) has to go inside the boat.

 

With a 'real' trad the engine has its own room 1/4 of the way along the boat and the benefit is that you can use it for drying clothes. With a modern trad the engine sits inside the back-end of the boat but is covered up so you don't really gain any usable space.

 

We have had Cruiser stern boats and Trad boats, the Cruiser stern wins every time. You can put a 'pram hood' on it making an extra room which in the winter is ideal as a drying room, leaving wet clothing and boots etc and stops the 'living part' getting wet and muddy.

 

 

 

Guide To Narrowboat Canopies & Covers | Pram Hoods, Cratch Covers & Tonneau  Covers For A Narrow Boat

 

 

 

Edit fpr spooling mistooks.

 

 

There you are 2 replies and a unanimous vote.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
  • Greenie 3

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It does depend on your personal circumstances/preferences. 

 

I have hired semi trad and cruiser sterns and definitely prefer cruisers. I thought I'd like the semi trad but actually hated it. 

  • Greenie 1

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Personal preference is cruiser first, then semi trad then trad. Ive lived aboard all three types, this one is semi trad. Dont pee about with a tiddly 60 footer go as long as possible and certainly over 65 feet the extra space as a liveaboard is very well worth the few quid xtra on  moorings and licence payments. Plenty of other threads on here about it. Edit to add that a long open front deck is indeed a waste of space, just sit out on the grass or wherever. Every foot under cabin is worth its weight in gold as you rightly say.

Edited by mrsmelly
  • Greenie 3

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Cruiser stern for me to as others have said pram hoods make a great usable space, I had one on my old boat brilliant bit of kit. I have a wheelhouse on this boat which is even better 

  • Greenie 1

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From the OP's viewpoint there are probably lots of other factors that come higher in the pecking order than the type of stern.

 

 

Or should come higher ...

  • Greenie 1

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25 minutes ago, Machpoint005 said:

From the OP's viewpoint there are probably lots of other factors that come higher in the pecking order than the type of stern.

 

 

Or should come higher ...

Clearly not Ian cos that's the post🤣

  • Greenie 1

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1 hour ago, mrsmelly said:

Personal preference is cruiser first, then semi trad then trad. Ive lived aboard all three types, this one is semi trad. Dont pee about with a tiddly 60 footer go as long as possible and certainly over 65 feet the extra space as a liveaboard is very well worth the few quid xtra on  moorings and licence payments. Plenty of other threads on here about it. Edit to add that a long open front deck is indeed a waste of space, just sit out on the grass or wherever. Every foot under cabin is worth its weight in gold as you rightly say.

But you hang about on the Oxford which is one of the few canals not getting taken over by mobs of high speed lycra louts.  The increase in cycling, plus covid laden runners coughing and spluttering along the towpath makes a bit private outdoor space increasingly important.....trad stern, trad engine room, and a big well deck for me. 😀.   (plus you need somewhere to store all the empty beer bottles now that the pubs are scary places)

 

..............Dave

  • Haha 1

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Modern trad with an oversized hatch for me.

 

I dislike cruiser sterns because they leave the steerer freezing cold when boating in winter. A trad is snug when boating in winter with the hatch and stern doors closed against the steerer. More so with a traditional trad with a small stove in the back cabin.

  • Greenie 1

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28 minutes ago, cuthound said:

I dislike cruiser sterns because they leave the steerer freezing cold when boating in winter.

There is no such thing as 'bad weather'just a 'bad choice of clothing'.

 

Then of course there is the 'pram-hood' keeps one warm and dry and when you come to a bridge (a well designed hood) can be dropped in less than a minute.

 

 

Lumpy-water sailors seem to be able to cope with 'a bit of weather'.

 

Adventure: guide to sailing in storms - Yachting Monthly

Edited by Alan de Enfield
  • Greenie 2

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As others have said.  The engine has to go somewhere, and that place isn't going to be any good for living in.  If it's under the rear deck, then it's reasonably accessible for servicing and shielded from the cabin when you're running it while moored up. 

  • Greenie 1

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19 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

There is no such thing as 'bad weather'just a 'bad choice of clothing'.

 

Then of course there is the 'pram-hood' keeps one warm and dry and when you come to a bridge (a well designed hood) can be dropped in less than a minute.

 

 

Lumpy-water sailors seem to be able to cope with 'a bit of weather'.

 

Adventure: guide to sailing in storms - Yachting Monthly

 

Yes but that's because the weather is generally worse at sea😁

 

I have a set of padded waterproof overalls for really inclement weather, but theze days I generally prefer to moor up and wait until the wet weather passes.

 

Pram hoods can be difficult to see out of when it rains, they need windscreen wipers! 🤣

Edited by cuthound
To add the last paragraph
  • Greenie 1

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There are no absolutes and plenty of 'maybes'.

Working on an engine when it's cold and wet is for nicer in the warm and dry and the space above the engine is great for drying clothes and merely storing 'stuff' that you don't want anywhere near the interior of the boat.

 

I suggest the final decider will be what's available and what other features the actual boat has.

I'd look at both cruiser and trad types.

In the British climate a trad makes sense to me - at least.

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1 minute ago, cuthound said:

I have a set of padded waterproof overalls for really inclement weather, but theze days I generally prefer to moor up and wait until the wet weather passes.

We are the same - it is supposed to be pleasurable, I see little point in moving for the sake of it if the forecast is bad.

 

We have been tied up for the last week or so as it has forecast rain and wind pretty much for every day, I see no enjoyment anchoring up and having to go out in the 'weather' 3 or 4 times a day in the dinghy to take the dog ashore to do what a dog does best.

Staying 'hooked up' gives us the option of cheap (almost) unlimited electric and the central heating stays on, no worrying about having to charge batteries, and, I get some 'inside jobs' finished.

 

It is 'fun' in an overloaded tender in the middle of Summer, but very different in a wet, windy October.

 

 

I was going to post a Video, but its in excess of the forum limit of 2.9Mb

 

 

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16 hours ago, Jen-in-Wellies said:

Cruiser stern plus pram hood can work. I dislike the look of them, but they seem to give usable space all year round, including somewhere to leave wet coats / dogs to drip dry outside the cabin.

This . I didnt want a cruiser when we were looking to buy our boat , I wanted a Semi-trad but mrs talked me into practicalities of Cruiser with pram cover and after 6 years living aboard  with 5 winters and 1 large wet and muddy dog I would now never look back . You basically get an back porch for wiping down said pooch , hanging wet coats and storing muddy boots etc , Plus we have put extra storage boxes on the back with cushioned seats so it is an additional G and T spot in summer / Autumn with cover up or down . We have not got a too large cruiser stern so ideal . I know Live aboards with Trads who say the engine room is also not really that usable and is full of oil and paint cans etc . The Cruising the Cut guy has also come to the same conclusion if you watch him on You Tube . ( he has trade but would rather in hindsight have gone for Semi trad or cruiser with pram ) 

  • Greenie 1

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Going against the flow I prefer the Semi .... outdoor space with seats that are protected from wind, lots of under seat storage. Easy to work on engine plus we have a semi cover so can work on engine in dry....

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38 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

Going against the flow I prefer the Semi .... outdoor space with seats that are protected from wind, lots of under seat storage. Easy to work on engine plus we have a semi cover so can work on engine in dry....

I agree , our semi trad has enclosed seating with rear doors that can be latched to keep dogs in plus under one seat is the battery bank and the other  has twin gas bottles  so easy to care for.

The engine 'ole is partly protected but has great access for all the jobs that need doing from time to time.

Phil

ETA we too have a cover with a vinyl window/skylight

Edited by Phil Ambrose
  • Greenie 1

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I have semi-trad (engine inside) which is ok if your engine is clean and doesn't leak any fuel or oil.If it does,the inside of your boat (and you),will stink of it!.😁

Just to throw another hat into the ring,have you considered a "tug" style boat if you want your outside space?,they have a large fore-deck.

1546-03.jpg

Edited by Leggers do it lying down
misspelling

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We have a trad stern with an extra wide hatch so two people can stand at the tiller end while cruising.. There is enough room to service the engine and gearbox easily enough, I still get engine room envy with some cruiser sterns boats. 

 

I haven't seen many cruiser stern boats where rain water hasn't got into the bilge. I'm not a fan of pram hoods, when on the move, up or folded they look unsightly but the dry space they afford when stationary during winter would be useful.

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14 minutes ago, 1agos said:

We have a trad stern with an extra wide hatch so two people can stand at the tiller end while cruising.. There is enough room to service the engine and gearbox easily enough, I still get engine room envy with some cruiser sterns boats. 

 

I haven't seen many cruiser stern boats where rain water hasn't got into the bilge. I'm not a fan of pram hoods, when on the move, up or folded they look unsightly but the dry space they afford when stationary during winter would be useful.

On the trent , ast journey in Smee in the bad winter when we had 18 inches of ice at the worst, pram cover up nice and warm.  Coming back with new boat we froze which is why I have an insulated double glazed wheelhouse now! 

  • Greenie 1

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David Johns gives his view on trad sterns 4 mins in 

 

If you have a cruiser stern and are worried about the cold - fit a waterproof 12v socket at the rear and buy a heated waistcoat or jacket

https://www.sportsbikeshop.co.uk/motorcycle_parts/content_cat/1387  

 

If you keep your core warm, your extremities will stay warm.

 

Edited by garibaldi
clarity

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Trad for me. Lived aboard 16 years.

My boat is a tug with a long (10') full depth well deck at the front, covered with a canopy. This is incredibly useful as a workshop space , for storing bicycles, for sitting out and eating etc. In many ways a cruiser stern with cover may be quite similar. Much admired and I know a few people who have had such a foredeck arrangement added to their boat.

 

Maybe what I'm saying is that the bow is more important than the stern...

 

The back cabin has the engine boxed in under the step. The boat does have a wet exhaust which keeps the cabin temperature reasonable in summer - a dry exhaust may result in the cabin being rather on the warm side.

 

I also designed and built the back cabin with engine access in mind, helped by a deep draught which gives plenty of room under the engine.

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