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Wood topped narrowboat - looking at purchasing


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I'm going to view this boat, which seems to have the main things I'm looking for (with regard to length, layout, and what would be left to do DIY wise). Of course I would get a full survey before committing to a purchase but wanted to get the opinions of the forum as you all seem like a knowledgeable bunch ?

 

https://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/boat.phtml?id=654836

 

Other things not mentioned in the advert:
- Last blacked April 2019
- The BS cert will be ready for renewal in Aug 2022
- it’s a flat bottomed Hull.
- The anodes were replaced in 2015 with the last survey. 
- Wood top (I have read that these can be problematic - I'm not sure if it has been skimmed with steel or fibreglass or is only wood)
- Everything is run off 12 v, there is a conversion box to 24 v, which you can use with the engine running.
- The immersion has a battery to fire up and then runs off the leisure battery.
- Automatic bilge pump on the back end of the hull near the engine bay, plus a small one in the middle part of the bilge as this is separate.
 
Any red flags here? I really like the look of it, but of course haven't had a chance to see her in person yet.
 
Edited by thingsweregood
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  • thingsweregood changed the title to Wood topped narrowboat - looking at purchasing

My first liveaboard was a wooden top steel hull and it was lovely, we loved it. HOWEVER that was 1989 and there were still quite a few about. I have also owned harboro all steel. To cut this short its too old and the roof will prob cause problems and FAR too much money.

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It looks to be a tidy boat and a timber top isn't a problem in itself as long as it hasn't been neglected in the past. You would need to have an extensive survey before purchase and i would look to bargain on the price if it currently requires one for insurance purposes. 

 The cabin exterior will require regular upkeep to remain in good shape, so if diy is not your thing look elsewhere. 

 Anodes may well need replacement along with the blacking. 

 

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48 minutes ago, thingsweregood said:

I'm going to view this boat, which seems to have the main things I'm looking for (with regard to length, layout, and what would be left to do DIY wise). Of course I would get a full survey before committing to a purchase but wanted to get the opinions of the forum as you all seem like a knowledgeable bunch ?

 

https://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/boat.phtml?id=654836

 

Other things not mentioned in the advert:
- Last blacked April 2019
- The BS cert will be ready for renewal in Aug 2022
- it’s a flat bottomed Hull.
- The anodes were replaced in 2015 with the last survey. 
- Wood top (I have read that these can be problematic - I'm not sure if it has been skimmed with steel or fibreglass or is only wood)
- Everything is run off 12 v, there is a conversion box to 24 v, which you can use with the engine running.
- The immersion has a battery to fire up and then runs off the leisure battery.
- Automatic bilge pump on the back end of the hull near the engine bay, plus a small one in the middle part of the bilge as this is separate.
 
Any red flags here? I really like the look of it, but of course haven't had a chance to see her in person yet.
 

Everything is run off 12 v, there is a conversion box to 24 v, which you can use with the engine running.
- The immersion has a battery to fire up and then runs off the leisure battery.

 

24v converter? is this an electronics box?

Immersion battery? running an immersion off batteries is lunacy.

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50 minutes ago, thingsweregood said:

I see red flags. The price is crazy, London price. The solid fuel stove is a deathtrap, there is wood behind it. Getting a sensible insurance policy will take some doing and the company issuing it will have requirements that will cost you. The whole thing looks tired and i suspect most of the equipment will need replacing, A money pit.

 

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I had a friend with one of these. I think Harborough referred to the cabin as composite. 

My friendcame down the club one Saturday night and told me he had had to loosen 275 screws in the roof, reseal the holes and screw them back in.

Definitely a 'London Boat' at a London price.

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And that looks like a wooden work to beside and slightly above the gas rings. Fire risk?. Boat looks a bit of a mess for that inflated price

Haggis

Edited by haggis
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I think it looks like a nice boat but obviously it is hard to tell from photos, a viewing will reveal the details. I guess people are used to characterless boats, the water borne version of this monstrosity that’s steadily appearing near me: https://bloorhomes.com/developments/cheshire/congleton/hudson-meadows

 

I think you’re approaching this with a healthy amount of scepticism, getting a full survey etc... and I assume the boat already has a BSS? But I believe a pass/fail can be down to the sensibilities of a particular examiner, so maybe be prepared to tile or otherwise change the stove surround in the event of a fail. 
 

I agree with Tracy, the info on the batteries/immersion heater sounds a bit sketchy...? Might be worth clarifying this when you go to view, you won’t be able to run an electric immersion from batteries. 
 

On an old boat if possible it might be worth having a look at the bilge, if it’s not been painted recently then there will be some rust, you’ll need to judge whether it’s just surface or not. Or even better make sure your survey includes a bulge inspection, thinking about it I assume that it would? 
 

Good luck! But it does seem expensive. 

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I think you hould not waste your time with strange boats for sale in London.

Go up to Whilton or some good brokers in the area, and then buy something conventional at a reasonable price. 

I assume you want to liveaboardcin London, probably cc?

Just now, LadyG said:

I think you hould not waste your time with strange boats for sale in London.

Go up to Whilton or some good brokers in the area, and then buy something conventional at a more reasonable price. 

I assume you want to liveaboardcin London, probably cc?

 

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On 05/02/2021 at 19:50, Ex Brummie said:

I had a friend with one of these. I think Harborough referred to the cabin as composite. 

My friendcame down the club one Saturday night and told me he had had to loosen 275 screws in the roof, reseal the holes and screw them back in.

Definitely a 'London Boat' at a London price.

Not a fun task!

On 05/02/2021 at 20:52, WillCful said:

I think it looks like a nice boat but obviously it is hard to tell from photos, a viewing will reveal the details. I guess people are used to characterless boats, the water borne version of this monstrosity that’s steadily appearing near me: https://bloorhomes.com/developments/cheshire/congleton/hudson-meadows

 

I think you’re approaching this with a healthy amount of scepticism, getting a full survey etc... and I assume the boat already has a BSS? But I believe a pass/fail can be down to the sensibilities of a particular examiner, so maybe be prepared to tile or otherwise change the stove surround in the event of a fail. 
 

I agree with Tracy, the info on the batteries/immersion heater sounds a bit sketchy...? Might be worth clarifying this when you go to view, you won’t be able to run an electric immersion from batteries. 
 

On an old boat if possible it might be worth having a look at the bilge, if it’s not been painted recently then there will be some rust, you’ll need to judge whether it’s just surface or not. Or even better make sure your survey includes a bulge inspection, thinking about it I assume that it would? 
 

Good luck! But it does seem expensive. 

Thanks for your thoughts. I agree, I really like the character of it.

Yes, I think the stove at a minimum would need a proper fireproof surround/tiling. I don't mind buying a boat that needs a bit of work (especially interior work, that I don't find particularly daunting), but if the hull/engine etc are going to be a nightmare I think I'd rather walk away.

Tricky with the current market, seems like not a lot out there and boats going so quickly!

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If this is a Harborough, and it certainly look to be, it is almost certainly a wet bilge boat. They had a steel tube running between front well deck and aft bilge down both sides of the hull under the floor.  Every one of these that I have seen have tubes rusted away letting water slosh about under the cabin floor.

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14 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

If this is a Harborough, and it certainly look to be, it is almost certainly a wet bilge boat. They had a steel tube running between front well deck and aft bilge down both sides of the hull under the floor.  Every one of these that I have seen have tubes rusted away letting water slosh about under the cabin floor.

Good to know... The owner did list it as a Harborough.

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5 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

If this is a Harborough, and it certainly look to be, it is almost certainly a wet bilge boat. They had a steel tube running between front well deck and aft bilge down both sides of the hull under the floor.  Every one of these that I have seen have tubes rusted away letting water slosh about under the cabin floor.

At 1976 it almost certainly did NOT have these tubes, they were introduced much later; it would simply have allowed the water from the front cockpit area to run under the front bulkhead and along the base plate until it reached the stern where it was removed by the bilge pump. On some (such as our old one, Thistle) this was joined on the way by soapy water from the shower! The wet bilge was of course always wet, but on ours it was kept ventilated by the suction from the air-cooled Lister Engine. This example looks tidy but is certainly highly priced especially if it is a wooden top; if built by Harborough at that time it would normally be GRP but other options were available including hull-only for self build. The GRP ones were actually quite good, the GRP sheets were actually a sandwich with foam filling which gave reasonable insulation, but were very very prone to leaking whenever it rained.

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2 minutes ago, Keeping Up said:

At 1976 it almost certainly did NOT have these tubes, they were introduced much later; it would simply have allowed the water from the front cockpit area to run under the front bulkhead and along the base plate until it reached the stern where it was removed by the bilge pump. On some (such as our old one, Thistle) this was joined on the way by soapy water from the shower! The wet bilge was of course always wet, but on ours it was kept ventilated by the suction from the air-cooled Lister Engine. This example looks tidy but is certainly highly priced especially if it is a wooden top; if built by Harborough at that time it would normally be GRP but other options were available including hull-only for self build. The GRP ones were actually quite good, the GRP sheets were actually a sandwich with foam filling which gave reasonable insulation, but were very very prone to leaking whenever it rained.

I bow to your knowledge, I remember them all being wet bilges but never looked to see if the old ones had any tubes, most of the hull of this age must have been scrapped by now. Totally daft price for an old dog of a boat. London madness again.

  • Greenie 2
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Ah, I have to agree with the other pessimists. This is an old boat. That does not matter too much in itself, I was vaguely interested in a little Dutch sailing barge of about WW1 vintage not long ago but unless it has a good and newish bottom and sides below the waterline I really would not go any further. It is not a classic and it isn't 'traditional' In fact it is likely to be an ex hire boat.  The upperworks are fibreglass and likely to be a bit battered and possibly leaky. The fire is going to kill someone one day, it can easily be moved but the fact is that it is also, I think, overpriced. Sorry but I think there are probably better boats out there, in fact I think I'll have a look after tea.

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https://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/norton-canes-56-traditional-for-sale/656251  Now this is a proper boat by a proper builder. Subject to survey and all the usual stuff and if there are no big problems this is a boat with good pedigree. You can spend a lot of cash on an old Harboro' boat but it will always have a ceiling value that it will never rise above.  A good boat though  could even, with luck, show a profit.

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17 minutes ago, Bee said:

https://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/norton-canes-56-traditional-for-sale/656251  Now this is a proper boat by a proper builder. Subject to survey and all the usual stuff and if there are no big problems this is a boat with good pedigree. You can spend a lot of cash on an old Harboro' boat but it will always have a ceiling value that it will never rise above.  A good boat though  could even, with luck, show a profit.

That looks distinctly dodgy. The photos have been badly photographed from an ABNB printout dated 2015, and there are numerous spelling mistakes in the description - "liver board", lister potter", "4 birth", "washing mashie".  Anyone following up this ad would be well advised to make VERY sure that the advertiser actually owns this boat before parting with any dosh.

  • Greenie 1
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2 hours ago, David Mack said:

That looks distinctly dodgy. The photos have been badly photographed from an ABNB printout dated 2015, and there are numerous spelling mistakes in the description - "liver board", lister potter", "4 birth", "washing mashie".  Anyone following up this ad would be well advised to make VERY sure that the advertiser actually owns this boat before parting with any dosh.

 

Especially if the seller expects a deposit to secure a viewing.

 

'Elson' toilet.

 

 

Edited by The Happy Nomad
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Must admit I just picked it out as a random example without having a proper look. Was that right? a deposit to secure a viewing? Sorry. That doesn't look good at all.

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16 minutes ago, Bee said:

Was that right? a deposit to secure a viewing?

 

Something one or two brokers have started doing - it stops fender-kickers.

Don't buy the boat and you lose your deposit, buy the boat and the deposit is deducted from your payable balance.

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13 minutes ago, Bee said:

Must admit I just picked it out as a random example without having a proper look. Was that right? a deposit to secure a viewing? Sorry. That doesn't look good at all.

 

If it is not genuine the classic scam is to use existing photos to create a fake ad.

 

Propesctive buyer contacts seller.

 

Seller tells buyer because of many time wasters they can view it but to show their interest is genuine they need to send say a thousand pounds which will be refundable if they dont finally buy.

 

Buyer sends the money,  

 

You can guess the rest.

  • Happy 1
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