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New build or nearly new close-enough?


jetzi

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I'm vaguely thinking about getting a new narrowboat some time in the next year or two. I'd really like to commission a build as I have a good idea of my perfect boat at this point. But I'm also considering the fact that a new build is a long journey and probably not a financially smart one since it'll lose something like a quarter of what you paid for it as soon as you sail away.

 

So I'm also just keeping an eye on what's out there and noticed this. Thoughts on this boat?

At 73500 it seems like a lot of money but it's pretty high specced.

 

https://www.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/price-fallows-62-semi-trad-for-sale/671383

 

A Beta 50 engine would certainly provide a lot of power for rivers or even estuaries, but I do wonder if there is any sense in even considering a new boat with a diesel engine considering the imminent demise of red diesel and the inevitable banning of diesel engines entirely.

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4 minutes ago, jetzi said:

I do wonder if there is any sense in even considering a new boat with a diesel engine considering the imminent demise of red diesel

 

 

Presume you did not see the Governments announcement at the end of last year ?

 

Boaters & Farmers keep red diesel, but the construction industry loses red diesel.

 

Any boat built in 2025 onwards must be capable of being converted to emission free propulsion.

Any boat built 2035 onwards MUST be only emission free propulsion

NO boats will be allowed on UK waters (coastal or inland) after 2050

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It’s very highly specified. At that price I would snap it up.  Forget about diesel being phased out, the move to alternative methods of propulsion will take some time.

2 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

Presume you did not see the Governments announcement at the end of last year ?

 

Boaters & Farmers keep red diesel, but the construction industry loses red diesel.

 

Any boat built in 2025 onwards must be capable of being converted to emission free propulsion.

Any boat built 2035 onwards MUST be only emission free propulsion

NO boats will be allowed on UK waters (coastal or inland) after 2050

That last sentence seems a bit strange.

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9 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Presume you did not see the Governments announcement at the end of last year ?

 

Boaters & Farmers keep red diesel, but the construction industry loses red diesel.

 

Oh no, I didn't see this. I thought boaters had to use white diesel from April next year? But this is good news (not for the construction industry...)

 

9 minutes ago, Skeg said:

Any boat built in 2025 onwards must be capable of being converted to emission free propulsion.

Any boat built 2035 onwards MUST be only emission free propulsion

NO boats will be allowed on UK waters (coastal or inland) after 2050

 

"capable of being converted" seems to be a bit meaningless. What boats won't comply with that? I thought that all boats built 2025 onwards needed to be emission free.

 

But even so, I'd like an electric boat (albiet with a diesel generator along with plenty of solar). The silent cruising must be wonderful.

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9 minutes ago, jetzi said:

 

Oh no, I didn't see this. I thought boaters had to use white diesel from April next year? But this is good news (not for the construction industry...)

 

 

"capable of being converted" seems to be a bit meaningless. What boats won't comply with that? I thought that all boats built 2025 onwards needed to be emission free.

 

But even so, I'd like an electric boat (albiet with a diesel generator along with plenty of solar). The silent cruising must be 

  Let’s get back to the original Post and not worry about propulsion, if your worried about diesel then don’t buy. Anyone got thoughts on the boat and not about future diesel requirements?

Edited by PD1964
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Yeah, diesel might be banned in 2050, that's 49 years away. In 49 years time electric motors and batteries might have moved on a bit.

This is a Londonish boat so you might be paying a "London Premium" (and its white inside 😀)

It sounds like an owner fitout which detracts from its value because many people don't like owner fitouts (many are less than perfect, a few are truly spectacular).

For me it looks like a bog standard shell with lots of expensive items in the fitout, this happens a lot. If you like it and the price is not inflated then go for it, its a boat Now, so probably better than waiting ages to get your own boat built.

 

My own view (and I am not typical) is that there is little point in getting a new boat built if you just plan to specify all the usual stuff, its only worth doing if you are into the specialist trad "replica" type market. A lovely thing went past today, every last detail of the steelwork was spot on, extra bit of tumblehome, proper handrail, upsweep on the gunnel as well as the cabin top etc etc. that's when you need to get a shell built to order.

 

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

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7 minutes ago, dmr said:

Yeah, diesel might be banned in 2050, that's 49 years away. In 49 years time electric motors and batteries might have moved on a bit.

 

It was 49 years away 21 years ago, so it's only 28 years away now ;)  but you're right that's far enough away not to buy based on that. Good advice.

 

8 minutes ago, dmr said:

This is a Londonish boat so you might be paying a "London Premium" (and its white inside 😀)

It sounds like an owner fitout which detracts from its value because many people don't like owner fitouts (many are less than perfect, a few are truly spectacular).

Yeah, I noticed a couple of weird things in the photos, would have to look in person to see what it really looks like. I like a London white interior (I know people will throw things at me for saying that). Everything wood veneer is too much. Some wood paneling and trim is nicer than all white, but all white looks better than all wood to me. Personal taste. Where London white is a problem is when it's a fresh lick of paint hiding an interior in poor condition, for such a new boat I don't think that's likely to be the case.

 

11 minutes ago, dmr said:

My own view (and I am not typical) is that there is little point in getting a new boat built if you just plan to specify all the usual stuff, its only worth doing if you are into the specialist trad "replica" type market.

Yeah, as much as I admire the beauty of such boats I have zero desire to live on one. For me it's about practicality - ease of living and ease of maintenance. There are a few exterior features I'd love to include, and like I said I would love it to be electric. But it's mostly in the interior layout that I have developed strong preferences, so I guess I could buy a shell and have her fitted out to my spec.

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I know this is going to sound a bit strange, but it looks too cheap. And the old saying ‘if it looks too good to be true ........’

Doesn’t it need an RCD unless it is 5 years old, and this is magically just 5 years old (or have I got that wrong - never had any involvement with RCD) so I’d be seriously looking for something wrong.

eta - sorry, it’s 4 years old

Edited by Mike Tee
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45 minutes ago, Skeg said:

It’s very highly specified. At that price I would snap it up.  Forget about diesel being phased out, the move to alternative methods of propulsion will take some time.

That last sentence seems a bit strange.

Sorry - I knew what I meant.

 

It should have read "No boat will be allowed on any UK waters unless it has zero emission propulsion".

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6 minutes ago, jetzi said:

 

It was 49 years away 21 years ago, so it's only 28 years away now ;)  but you're right that's far enough away not to buy based on that. Good advice.

 

 

 

The mental arithmetic went a bit haywire there but I am drinking cider and writing software at the same, and done a hard days boating. Anyway I believe nuclear fusion is only about 10 years away 😀.

NABO are currently pushing for the adoption of HVO (good quality bio diesel) as a way forward until/if electric propulsion becomes viable.

 

Global warming/floods etc likely pose a much bigger threat to canal life than the phasing out of diesel, do it now and enjoy it while its still here.

 

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

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2 minutes ago, Mike Tee said:

Doesn’t it need an RCD unless it is 5 years old,

 

Since 2017 when the RCD was revised, the RCD now applies for 'life' and if any work is done to the boat that could affect compliance (new engine, gas, electrics. stability etc) then they must have a PCA (Post Construction Assessment) at a cost of around £1000.

 

A home built boat where the builder has made a self-declaration means that he is responsible for the boat (and responsible should any one be hurt due to the boat build) for the life of the boat - this is why even with a self build it is worth having a PCA as the 'criminal liability' then passes to the surveyor who signs it off, raher than the DIY builder.

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58 minutes ago, jetzi said:

But even so, I'd like an electric boat (albiet with a diesel generator along with plenty of solar). The silent cruising must be wonderful.

 

An electric boat with a diesel generator is still a diesel boat! You can only claim its an electric boat when all the electricity used for propulsion and domestic uses (heating, cooking, lighting etc.) comes from some combination of solar panels and plugging into a shoreline.

Completely impractical for now and the immediate future!

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13 minutes ago, David Mack said:

 

An electric boat with a diesel generator is still a diesel boat! You can only claim its an electric boat when all the electricity used for propulsion and domestic uses (heating, cooking, lighting etc.) comes from some combination of solar panels and plugging into a shoreline.

Completely impractical for now and the immediate future!

 

You could claim that it's electric propulsion, because it is. There are several advantages of diesel-electric propulsion that I'm interested in. But you are 100% correct that living aboard and cruising year-round is not possible without fossil fuels, and that wouldn't be my aim.

 

What do you think of the boat? The more I look at it the more appealing it gets. I think a trip to view is in order, if I can get there before it's sold.

 

https://www.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/price-fallows-62-semi-trad-for-sale/671383

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I find this a really interesting question.

I think one thing to at least consider is that narrowboats (in good nick) can still fetch above 20k even at 30 years old, but that is gradually going to change as 2050 gets nearer. 

So a boat that is brand new today will be approaching 30 years old when the total diesel ban comes into force in 2050, and you would imagine its value with an unusable engine will be very very low- certainly not be the equivalent of 20k (at todays prices).

I'm not saying its worth buying an electric motor system now, with 30 years to go- it would be worn out and probably obsolete anyway by 2050. 

I reckon that if electric motors remain as the main alternative to IC, by 2050 they will be common enough that you'll be able to get one installed for much less (relatively) than they cost at the moment, so that might not be such a big deal. 

 

If you do go down the route of having a new boat built, there are a few things I would consider.

Now admittedly I have very little experience with these things, but I will say that having moved onto my boat about 11 months ago, there are some things that I would plan and budget for doing with almost any boat that I bought in future.

The first would be to budget for extra solar panels- at least 1.2kw, and maybe 2kw if you can do it.  It'll give you all the electricty you need between maybe April and Oct, plus loads of hot water if you fit a solar dump.

Another thing would be lithium batteries- they are still expensive, but are now becoming more affordable. But for me, they are worth it, provided you protect and manage them properly- which admittedly is a learning curve. I used to be uneasy most nights about running out of power, and would run my engine for up to 3 hours a day in oct and nov, just to recharge the lead acid batteries.  

Along with the lithiums I would budget for an upgraded charging system- my alternator turned out to be overheating due to the greatly increased current absorbed by lithiums, compared to lead acids.

Most boats will have a coal stove, but mine didn't, and I had to pay for an install last November.

But it was amazing the difference it made to the dryness and warmth in the boat- a real game changer.  If I was having a boat built from scratch, as you might consider doing, I would have a diesel stove instead of coal. Its probably not as nice to look at, but there's no mess, and not heaving around sacks of coal is a real bonus. 

If  money was no object a new build would be great, and you could add in some fantastic features that are not present in many new boats (eg lots of solar). 

But in truth, money is usually an issue, and new boats do lose a fair bit of money initially.

But time is also a factor, and you may not want to wait around for the time it would take to agree a build slot in a few months time, and then wait another few months for it to be completed, snags fixed, etc. 

Where I struggle is when you see boats advertised for only a grand or two less than the brand new price for an equivalent spec boat. When I was shopping and I saw those, I would always think 'at that price, I might as well buy brand new'.

 

 

Edited by Tony1
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Regarding the "new versus second-hand" question, it appears that the seller bought the shell four years ago and has subsequently spent four years fitting it out. As the fit-out has only just been completed, it could be considered to be a new boat. The fact that he has done all the fitting-out work himself may also explain the price, as he has not had to pay people to do the work for him and thus his outlay has been reduced.

   The boat does not look exciting but it does look complete. I have never lived aboard a boat, but I assume that if you buy one to live on (Jetzi does not mention whether this is his purpose or not) you don't want to be excited, you want to be comfortable, which the full specification should facilitate. It has a few odd features, such as the back-to-front layout, but some people prefer that, likewise the centrally-placed bed.

   The first question which I would ask the seller is, "You've spent four years lovingly fitting your boat out; why do you want to sell it?"

 

 

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There’s one bit in the description that made me flinch - “faced off with MDF panelling”. I know that one can get good quality MDF these days, but is it really up long term to the rigours of winter condensation and a bit of a window leak etc?

Edited by nicknorman
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Other observations: there is a front door, but not really usable unless you are prepared to put your muddy boots over the bed. Looks like the steel front door is right by your head when you are in the land of nod so on winter you are going to end up with frostbite of the brain, unless it is very well insulated.

 

Looks like minimal cupboards / storage space. And as per so many owner fitouts, a pretty sparse fitout relying mostly on freestanding stuff. Which might or might not suit one’s taste.

Edited by nicknorman
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30 minutes ago, Athy said:

Regarding the "new versus second-hand" question, it appears that the seller bought the shell four years ago and has subsequently spent four years fitting it out. As the fit-out has only just been completed, it could be considered to be a new boat. The fact that he has done all the fitting-out work himself may also explain the price, as he has not had to pay people to do the work for him and thus his outlay has been reduced.

   The boat does not look exciting but it does look complete. I have never lived aboard a boat, but I assume that if you buy one to live on (Jetzi does not mention whether this is his purpose or not) you don't want to be excited, you want to be comfortable, which the full specification should facilitate. It has a few odd features, such as the back-to-front layout, but some people prefer that, likewise the centrally-placed bed.

   The first question which I would ask the seller is, "You've spent four years lovingly fitting your boat out; why do you want to sell it?"

 

 

I bought my shell in 1996 ,fitted it out over a number of years and first registered it in, i think, 2002. When I started I had every intention of selling it on completion and returning to off-shore sailing. At no stage did I consider it a means of making money. As is so often the case things didn't turn out as planned. I should be sitting on a beach or in a bar on some sunny tropical island. Instead I'm debating whether I plough my way up or down the South Oxford.

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Anorak here -

a PRM 150 gearbox is really too small for a Beta 50 - whihich indicates to me that it and mebe other things are not 'quite right'.

(Not that a 150 is inadequate for the canals or even the Thames in normal conditions. Mebe I'm being pedantic, as the 150 is OK for a Beta 42, but indicates penny pinching; so what else is not quite 'right' and could go wrong??

 

I'm expecting incoming.....

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3 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

Anorak here -

a PRM 150 gearbox is really too small for a Beta 50 - whihich indicates to me that it and mebe other things are not 'quite right'.

(Not that a 150 is inadequate for the canals or even the Thames in normal conditions. Mebe I'm being pedantic, as the 150 is OK for a Beta 42, but indicates penny pinching; so what else is not quite 'right' and could go wrong??

 

I'm expecting incoming.....

Beta supplies the 50 with a PRM150 as standard. Gearbox ratings are not black and white, it depends on the usage profile. For a boat that is primarily used for leisure purposes, mostly on the canals and non-tidal rivers, and occasionally on tidal rivers, I would be confident that a 150 was entirely adequate. I disagree that it is in any way penny pinching.
 

Personally I think a 50 is unnecessary for a narrowboat, and a 43 is entirely adequate but that is a different argument.

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6 minutes ago, OldGoat said:

Anorak here -

a PRM 150 gearbox is really too small for a Beta 50 - whihich indicates to me that it and mebe other things are not 'quite right'.

(Not that a 150 is inadequate for the canals or even the Thames in normal conditions. Mebe I'm being pedantic, as the 150 is OK for a Beta 42, but indicates penny pinching; so what else is not quite 'right' and could go wrong??

 

I'm expecting incoming.....

It's an interesting and valid point, and one which I wouldn't have spotted as I don't know much about gearboxes.

   But I noted the engine choice and thought "Ahh, I'm sure that many boats of that size have a Beta 42 or 43, obviously he hasn't skimped on the price of the engine, so he probably hasn't cut corners with other fittings".

3 minutes ago, nicknorman said:


 

Personally I think a 50 is unnecessary for a narrowboat, and a 43 is entirely adequate but that is a different argument.

....though a relevant one.

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13 hours ago, jetzi said:

I'm vaguely thinking about getting a new narrowboat some time in the next year or two. I'd really like to commission a build as I have a good idea of my perfect boat at this point. But I'm also considering the fact that a new build is a long journey and probably not a financially smart one since it'll lose something like a quarter of what you paid for it as soon as you sail away.

 

 

Why do you assume that?

 

I'm not sure in that respect new narrowboats are akin to new cars from a showroom. Perhaps some are, but then are you buying to use it or buying to sell it on?

 

It's true that you'll probably get better value with a used boat, but that's because it's been used over several years, not because it's lost a quarter of its value as soon as it was sailed away.

 

Edit: Also if this is going to be your first boat (my assumption), then although you may think you have a good idea of your perfect boat you probably don't. A few years spent on it would likely make you rethink what you really wanted. So I'd buy a used boat close to what you think you want and see how it goes. If it is your first boat then I can guarantee that in a few years time your perfect boat will be different from the one in your mind now. 

Edited by blackrose
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I agree with the above, though it's nice to have the extra grunt (technical term) when meeting a lesser quality boater in a bridge 'ole.....

 

AFAIR the 50 has a different block which makes hanging go-faster bits on it (larger and more alternators etc) easier to achieve.

The price difference at the time when I built was small anyway and I suspect Beta hang a a 150 gearbox on it is as much to remain competitive as anything else.

The 150/60 is a hydraulic box and 'changes gear' * so much more smoothly.....

 

( * forward to reverse and vice- versa)

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14 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 

Why do you assume that?

 

I'm not sure in that respect new narrowboats are akin to new cars from a showroom. Perhaps some are, but then are you buying to use it or buying to sell it on?

 

It's true that you'll probably get better value with a used boat, but that's because it's been used over several years, not because it's lost a quarter of its value as soon as it was sailed away.

 

Edit: Also if this is going to be your first boat (my assumption), then although you may think you have a good idea of your perfect boat you probably don't. A few years spent on it would likely make you rethink what you really wanted. So I'd buy a used boat close to what you think you want and see how it goes. If it is your first boat then I can guarantee that in a few years time your perfect boat will be different from the one in your mind now. 

It’s not his first boat.

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