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New Narrowboat shell in build. What do you think of this?


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37 minutes ago, noddyboater said:

No gripes from me, I just wonder what goes in some customers minds when they're spending a pile of money on a new shell.

Recessed panels? Check. With planking detail? Oooh,  yes please. 

Forecabin? Check.

A scattering of false rivets? Yes please, we're going for the full traditional look here.

Oh yeah,  can you stick me a caravan window in the side please, so people can look in at the size of my TV?  

Smashing. 

I would of just had port holes, but that’s bespoke and the owners choice. Have a good night.

Edited by PD1964
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17 minutes ago, noddyboater said:

No gripes from me, I just wonder what goes in some customers minds when they're spending a pile of money on a new shell.

Recessed panels? Check. With planking detail? Oooh,  yes please. 

Forecabin? Check.

A scattering of false rivets? Yes please, we're going for the full traditional look here.

Oh yeah,  can you stick me a caravan window in the side please, so people can look in at the size of my TV?  

Smashing. 

Nasty!  

 

For the avoidance of doubt, your thoughts and comments regarding the boat design are nasty! 

 

 

Edited by Chagall
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40 minutes ago, noddyboater said:

No gripes from me, I just wonder what goes in some customers minds when they're spending a pile of money on a new shell.

Recessed panels? Check. With planking detail? Oooh,  yes please. 

Forecabin? Check.

A scattering of false rivets? Yes please, we're going for the full traditional look here.

Oh yeah,  can you stick me a caravan window in the side please, so people can look in at the size of my TV?  

Smashing. 

Jonny makes lovely boats that swim well and hold their value, if people want things like inset panels who are we to criticise them?

Yes Jonny built my shell, he also stretched it, wonderful job can't tell its been done and his eye for detail has made the stretch a real improvement. In the end it's my home and that's what matters 

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12 minutes ago, peterboat said:

Jonny makes lovely boats that swim well and hold their value, if people want things like inset panels who are we to criticise them?

Yes Jonny built my shell, he also stretched it, wonderful job can't tell its been done and his eye for detail has made the stretch a real improvement. In the end it's my home and that's what matters 

I wasn't criticising the recessed panels,  I was wondering why someone went for the expensive "traditional" details then put a window in the side that stands out like a sore co#k.

Mr Wilson's yard builds well finished shells, good welding, clean lines. He used to occasionally turn out one off shells with real flair,  but as he told me once "There's no money in that stuff anymore" 

I will however question your opinion of how well his boats swim. My personal opinion based on spending hours at the (shaking) tiller of one his run of the mill boats owned by a friend, is that they don't swim very well at all. His fat boats may be different.

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22 minutes ago, noddyboater said:

I wasn't criticising the recessed panels,  I was wondering why someone went for the expensive "traditional" details then put a window in the side that stands out like a sore co#k.

Mr Wilson's yard builds well finished shells, good welding, clean lines. He used to occasionally turn out one off shells with real flair,  but as he told me once "There's no money in that stuff anymore" 

I will however question your opinion of how well his boats swim. My personal opinion based on spending hours at the (shaking) tiller of one his run of the mill boats owned by a friend, is that they don't swim very well at all. His fat boats may be different.

I am not particularly experienced with narrow boats, but I have loads of proper steering experience, and I find that I have to agree with noddyboater on this one, I am quite sure that mine is not an easy boat to drive/steer, quite tiring. I modified the tiller bearing, as noted earlier, but I feel the rudder is not well balanced. For all I know, all narrow boats may be tiring, to steer, but I don't remember anyone mentioning it. I did just come up the tidal Trent with a three hour stint in hypothermia conditions, so feeling a bit jaded, it required two hot chocolates with rum chaser to revive me, plus a few Ibuprofen the next day. 

I am most impressed with the geometry of construction, and it is often admired, for its clean lines, nice balance of portholes and windows. 

Edited by LadyG
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14 minutes ago, LadyG said:

 . I modified the tiller bearing, as noted earlier, but I feel the rudder is not well balanced. For Al I know, all nnarrow boats may be tiring, to steer.

 

Lots of boaters like different things from the steering from really light with a lot of blade in front of the pivot point to very heavy where you really have to lean on the tiller to get it round. On mine I trimmed  a strip off the leading edge and added a couple of inches to the trailing edge. The share boat we use to own if you let go of the tiller it would swing hard to port or starboard depending what mode it was in.

 

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6 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

Lots of boaters like different things from the steering from really light with a lot of blade in front of the pivot point to very heavy where you really have to lean on the tiller to get it round. On mine I trimmed  a strip off the leading edge and added a couple of inches to the trailing edge. The share boat we use to own if you let go of the tiller it would swing hard to port or starboard depending what mode it was in.

 

Exactly this. It's all well and good that a child can steer with their little finger but it's a bit like driving a car that's over power steered. 

I prefer my heavy tiller that allows me to nip in the cabin and put the kettle on while it carries on, straight down the middle. 

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25 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

Lots of boaters like different things from the steering from really light with a lot of blade in front of the pivot point to very heavy where you really have to lean on the tiller to get it round. On mine I trimmed  a strip off the leading edge and added a couple of inches to the trailing edge. The share boat we use to own if you let go of the tiller it would swing hard to port or starboard depending what mode it was in.

 

 

 

I can't leave the helm for ten seconds, it's not a problem on the cut if I want to, I can slow right down, but that does not work on a river.

Mine requires a firm hand on the tiller most of the time, just to keep it in a straight line, but tiller is also very short, that is if I am steering on the trad stern, I can't steer standing inside as then I can't see where I am going, this may be due to the fit out, but the first owner was rather short, so you think he might have compensated by constructing a higher step. Considering the design of any narrow boat is pretty much vintage, one would have thought these things would have been sorted. No way could a small child be left to steer my boat, as portrayed in lots of old photos. 

 

Edited by LadyG
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12 minutes ago, LadyG said:

 

 

I can't leave the helm for ten seconds, it's not a problem on the cut if I want to, I can slow right down, but that does not work on a river.

Mine requires a firm hand on the tiller most of the time, but tiller is also very short, that is if I am steering on the trad stern, I can't steer standing inside as then I can't see where I am going, this may be due to the fit out, but the first owner was rather short, so you think he might have compensated by constructing a higher step. Considering the design of any narrow boat is pretty much vintage, one would have thought these things would have been sorted. No way could a small child be left to steer my boat, as portrayed in lots of old photos. 

 

Probably because like you and a lot of boaters today he stood on the arse end to steer

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11 minutes ago, ditchcrawler said:

Probably because like you and a lot of boaters today he stood on the arse end to steer

I may build a higher step that sits inside the cabin, and a longer tiller bar, but even so, I still think it is going to be difficult, because it requires constant vigilance. The short tiller arm allows me to steer from the trad deck, a longer tiller would be dangerous if I tried that. Anyway, the point is, it is what it is, and If other boats can be left to self steer for a bit, there must be some reason mine cannot. I won't be asking the builder for his advice, that is for sure. 

Once the pandemic is over I'll get someone to try it, though that does not always work out, a fitter was turning my boat one day, and hit the armco a fair wack with the bow. I didn't ask him how it handled after that display! 

Edited by LadyG
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24 minutes ago, LadyG said:

 

 

I can't leave the helm for ten seconds, it's not a problem on the cut if I want to, I can slow right down, but that does not work on a river.

Mine requires a firm hand on the tiller most of the time, just to keep it in a straight line, but tiller is also very short, that is if I am steering on the trad stern, I can't steer standing inside as then I can't see where I am going, this may be due to the fit out, but the first owner was rather short, so you think he might have compensated by constructing a higher step. Considering the design of any narrow boat is pretty much vintage, one would have thought these things would have been sorted. No way could a small child be left to steer my boat, as portrayed in lots of old photos. 

 

I seem to remember you saying that you had made the tiller shorter and this will be a big factor in how easy or difficult it is to steer. What about putting a step of some sort inside the hatch to stand on then you could see over the roof and also with a proper length tiller it would be easier to steer.  Or even sit sideways on the roof? I do this as I can't stand for long stretches.  When sitting on the roof, I can adjust the speed with my foot. 

 

haggis

Edited by haggis
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17 minutes ago, haggis said:

I seem to remember you saying that you had made the tiller shorter and this will be a big factor in how easy or difficult it is to steer. What about putting a step of some sort inside the hatch to stand on then you could see over the roof and also with a proper length tiller it would be easier to steer.  Or even sit sideways on the roof? I do this as I can't stand for long stretches.  When sitting on the roof, I can adjust the speed with my foot. 

 

haggis

No I didn't actually make the tiller shorter, I just don't use the wooden handle, effectively shortening it by 8 inches. 

I'm not very nimble these days, so have to be careful not to get in a situation that requires me to react, its not unusual for me to use two hands to bring the tiller back to central position when it decides to career off to one side or the other, if for example I am reaching inside for something. I am going to experiment with a higher step, so at least I can close the back doors on a cold day and stay inside. The existing step could be three inches higher and I have acquired some thing which might do the job. I hope to be moving tomorrow, will set it up before I leave. 

Edited by LadyG
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10 hours ago, ditchcrawler said:

If there had been a fillet of weld round the angle against the tank you would have been more than happy. As for the tank, maybe they have spoken to the motor supplier and that is what was recommended. Its not easy working in 3D on the first project of that type unless you, the customer are prepared to pay a lot of money on mock ups to see what works best.


I thought the same regarding welding the cut edge but the radius on the corner suggests to me that may be a rectangular hollow section rather than an angle.

 

I also wondered if the same sections, that @Jackofalltrades describes as engine bearers, are in fact baseplate stiffeners that may or may not also double as engine (or motor) bearers. I note the boat has no keelson as such although this is perhaps the modern way of building shells.

Edited by Captain Pegg
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1 hour ago, noddyboater said:

I wasn't criticising the recessed panels,  I was wondering why someone went for the expensive "traditional" details then put a window in the side that stands out like a sore co#k.

Mr Wilson's yard builds well finished shells, good welding, clean lines. He used to occasionally turn out one off shells with real flair,  but as he told me once "There's no money in that stuff anymore" 

I will however question your opinion of how well his boats swim. My personal opinion based on spending hours at the (shaking) tiller of one his run of the mill boats owned by a friend, is that they don't swim very well at all. His fat boats may be different.

If you read boat tests the testers always rave about how well the boats handle and swim, so why should we disbelieve them?

Mine handles well long swim and turns in it's own length and if I take my hands off the wheel goes straight until it hits something ?

As for windows they wanted light so fitted windows? Portholes for bedroom and bathroom but light for the rest of the boat?

Edited by peterboat
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17 minutes ago, LadyG said:

I may build a higher step that sits inside the cabin, and a longer tiller bar, but even so, I still think it is going to be difficult, because it requires constant vigilance. The short tiller arm allows me to steer from the trad deck, a longer tiller would be dangerous if I tried that. Anyway, the point is, it is what it is, and If other boats can be left to self steer for a bit, there must be some reason mine cannot. I won't be asking the builder for his advice, that is for sure. 

This is my Grandson using a step that I made

 DSCN1110DSCN1107

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1 hour ago, peterboat said:

If you read boat tests the testers always rave about how well the boats handle and swim, so why should we disbelieve them?

Mine handles well long swim and turns in it's own length and if I take my hands off the wheel goes straight until it hits something ?

As for windows they wanted light so fitted windows? Portholes for bedroom and bathroom but light for the rest of the boat?

I can only go on first hand experience,  not what someone else has written in a review,  where very often they don't actually leave the marina.

The boat I spent some time on didn't steer or handle well and was useless to reverse. The propeller supplied was also a joke, luckily my friend decided to bin it and fit a crowther before venturing out on the Trent.

Very often you don't realise how badly a boat handles until you go on one that actually does everything it should. I knew of a chap that made a career fitting out Tyler Wilson shells. On retirement he bought a 20 year old tug built by Brinklow Boatbuilders and was staggered how well it performed. 

I know you're good mates with Mr Wilson, but he doesn't always get it right.  Think back to the "Tug & Butty" episode a few years ago..

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1 minute ago, noddyboater said:

I can only go on first hand experience,  not what someone else has written in a review,  where very often they don't actually leave the marina.

The boat I spent some time on didn't steer or handle well and was useless to reverse. The propeller supplied was also a joke, luckily my friend decided to bin it and fit a crowther before venturing out on the Trent.

Very often you don't realise how badly a boat handles until you go on one that actually does everything it should. I knew of a chap that made a career fitting out Tyler Wilson shells. On retirement he bought a 20 year old tug built by Brinklow Boatbuilders and was staggered how well it performed. 

I know you're good mates with Mr Wilson, but he doesn't always get it right.  Think back to the "Tug & Butty" episode a few years ago..

Yes indeed it was a customer who wanted one so he made it for them! How do I know that? I bought one of course and Jonny welded a new bit in and attached the stern back on. Customer got what he wanted and the company went bankrupt because of bank crash. 

As I said boat testers who test loads of boats say they handle brilliant as they always do, long swims  engine fitter normally supplies and fits the prop as I have seen on numerous occasions. 

Customers happy and are often repeat customers so they can't be that bad especially as they have a full order book for electric boats 

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Posted (edited)

Hello all.

 

We've had a reply to the email that we sent to the boatbuilder. In short, and to paraphrase heavily, they effectively said, F Off - the boat will be ready on Wednesday - but if we don't want it then "as a gesture of goodwill" they'll refund our deposit and "progress with the build" themselves. We are both shocked by their we-don't-give-a-toss response.

 

A bit more back story...

As I've said before our shell build was delayed from our original build slot in February. We accepted this (what else could we do?) and just went with it. When the build finally started at the end of March there were exchanges of emails and occasional phone conversations to clarify things and nothing was done as far as we know without our prior knowledge. So as far as the build itself was going we had no cause for concern, until reviewing the photos from our visit on Tuesday, which is where this discussion thread starts.

 

Apart from the picture in my original post in this thread, what the builder has also done without our prior knowledge is fit full length engine/motor bearers from a few inches forward of the 'V' at the back of the swim all the way forward to the cabin bulkhead. This will compromise the usable space at floor level forward of the electric motor.

 

Also, from reviewing our photos taken on Tuesday, although I can't be absolutely sure due to poor light in the workshop, it appears that the builder may have fitted a full length keel cooler - cutting into the port-side motor bearer (as per the pic in post 1) and going as far forward as we can see - possibly up to the bulkhead.  On Tuesday we were discouraged from going into the cabin as there was no ladder down and as the stern was greasy, wet and slippery we didn't try. But as the cruiser stern is slightly shorter than standard (7ft in length - to get slightly more cabin space) I have a feeling that the keel cooler *might* extend through the bulkhead into the cabin.

 

The builder knew from the outset the exact electric motor that would be fitted. Despite this, we've ended up with inappropriate full length motor bearers and almost certainly a way-oversized keel cooling tank that has been badly shoehorned in. It's almost as if the builder forgot about the electric motor and installed engine bearers and a keel cooling tank for a Beta 43 or something, and now expects us to pay for his mistakes.

 

We are livid. But what can we do? We are not prepared to pay the builder extra to rectify his mistakes. But it looks like they have dug their heels in. We are livid. Think I just said this. You get the picture.

 

How much would we have to pay a boatyard (typically) to grind out the keel cooling tank and motor bearers and install more appropriate replacements?  £1,000 ?

 

We are tempted to tell the builder to stick it where the sun doesn't shine, accept the offer of a refund of our deposit, and walk away, but then we'd be back to square one and be facing a delay of many months before we could start again. The builder of course will know this and thinks they have us over a barrel. I really do feel quite angry at the moment. Sorry about the length of this post.

 

What would you do?

 

Edited by Jackofalltrades
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I think I would take the deposit and go and buy a good boat that you either like, or one that needs a full on repaint and interior fit out. The builder is not gong to suddenly become user friendly, you have upset him and he has upset you.

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I think Lady G has a valid point. 

 

You will never be happy with this boat. If there are any defects found further down the line you will struggle to get anywhere with the builder. 

 

Any relationship you had with the builder had broken down and even if you manage to patch things up (which may mean a compromise on what you thought you were getting or throwing extra money at it to get what you really want. 

 

If they are willing to refund your deposit you can walk away and build a new shell (and relationship) with a new builder. If you decide upon that route please employ a surveyor to oversee the build on your behalf. Any builder worthy of giving money to will understand your desire to ensure things are right. A surveyor will speak in the language of the boat builder and will act as a go between which could greatly assist the relationship you have with the builder. 

 

Or just go and buy a boat that makes your heart sing and accept there may be compromises on the boat your dreamed of owning. 

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Tell the shell builder to keep it and have your deposit back. Get confirmation in writing that it will be 100% of your deposit first though.

Edited by Rob-M
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Unfortunately there are many builders who build what they want, not what the customer wants and 'take it or leave it' is not uncommon.

 

Take your money and start again, having asked here for advice on which builders REALLY do offer customer designed bespoke boats ( I bet there are not many)

 

Another (radical) suggestion is to buy a 2nd hand boat that pretty much meets your reqirements and run with that for a year, you will then find out that what you thought you wanted was not in reality what you needed.

 

This also gives you the opportunity to consider / cost out the replacement of the ICE with a Leccy motor & batteries.

 

Summary - your options are :

 

1) Let the builder finish the boat to how he thinks it should be done, and (presumably)to the drawings agreed.

2) Take your deposit back, and find another builder who will do what you want (however 'wrong' it may be) Employ a surveyor to oversee the build.

3) Buy an existing boat, use it and convert it to Electric.

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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Summary - your options are :

 

1) Let the builder finish the boat to how he thinks it should be done, and (presumably)to the drawings agreed.

2) Take your deposit back, and find another builder who will do what you want (however 'wrong' it may be) Employ a surveyor to oversee the build.

3) Buy an existing boat, use it and convert it to Electric.

 

If taking option 2 get proper plans drawn out showing exactly what you want so there is no room for the builder to wriggle.

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11 hours ago, LadyG said:

 

 

I can't leave the helm for ten seconds, it's not a problem on the cut if I want to, I can slow right down, but that does not work on a river.

Mine requires a firm hand on the tiller most of the time, just to keep it in a straight line, but tiller is also very short, that is if I am steering on the trad stern, I can't steer standing inside as then I can't see where I am going, this may be due to the fit out, but the first owner was rather short, so you think he might have compensated by constructing a higher step. Considering the design of any narrow boat is pretty much vintage, one would have thought these things would have been sorted. No way could a small child be left to steer my boat, as portrayed in lots of old photos. 

 

 Try putting a large toolbox inside the stern doors so that you can stand on it when steering. It is cheaper and easier than building a bespoke stand.

 

It will raise your eye line so you can see better and increase your leverage on the tiller, making it easier to push.

Edited by cuthound
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10 hours ago, peterboat said:

If you read boat tests the testers always rave about how well the boats handle and swim, so why should we disbelieve them?

Mine handles well long swim and turns in it's own length and if I take my hands off the wheel goes straight until it hits something ?

As for windows they wanted light so fitted windows? Portholes for bedroom and bathroom but light for the rest of the boat?

 

If they critiscied the boats, then the builder wouldn't offer them any more to test.

 

Be honest, have you ever read a critical boat review in one of main boating magazines?

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