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Chicken and egg?


AndyE

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Hi,

 

Aspiring new boater here in search of the group's collective wisdom, please.

 

I know that this time next year I will have an empty nest and the funds to pay for a new build; currently thinking Aqualine. I know I'll need a wide beam as I need clear head height (slightly over 6'6") and a king-size bed where I can hang my feet over the end (as I normally do). I can't sleep curled up in a cabin bed.

 

When I phone around marinas on the K&A, Severn, Thames I hear how difficult it is to get a wide beam mooring.

 

So, my dilemma: (i) do I gamble on buying a new-build now and hope I'll find a mooring when the time comes. Or, (ii) do I find a mooring and rent it for a year with no boat. Or, (iii) can I find some way of negotiating with a marina that I pay a reservation fee between now and when the boat's available... then the marina can "double dip" by also selling the space while I don't need it.

 

Any help or suggestions most welcome! Thanks in advance.

Andy

 

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9 minutes ago, AndyE said:

Hi,

 

Aspiring new boater here in search of the group's collective wisdom, please.

 

I know that this time next year I will have an empty nest and the funds to pay for a new build; currently thinking Aqualine. I know I'll need a wide beam as I need clear head height (slightly over 6'6") and a king-size bed where I can hang my feet over the end (as I normally do). I can't sleep curled up in a cabin bed.

 

When I phone around marinas on the K&A, Severn, Thames I hear how difficult it is to get a wide beam mooring.

 

So, my dilemma: (i) do I gamble on buying a new-build now and hope I'll find a mooring when the time comes. Or, (ii) do I find a mooring and rent it for a year with no boat. Or, (iii) can I find some way of negotiating with a marina that I pay a reservation fee between now and when the boat's available... then the marina can "double dip" by also selling the space while I don't need it.

 

Any help or suggestions most welcome! Thanks in advance.

Andy

 

 

A lot depends on how long the build time is.

 

I would start to look for a mooring about two or three months before its due to be lifted in.

 

Take the hit on the cost (there is no obligation in most cases to actually moor a boat on a mooring you are paying for).

 

But given your chosen area what ever you do find a mooring before you take on the boat, you might need even longer.

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There are many (dozens) of widebeams that come up for sale at just a few months / a year old when newbies come to realise that it was a big mistake and 'fat-boats' don't work for many people.

 

Buy secondhand, get the boat immediately, no waiting - BUT - find a mooring (particularly if it is going to be a 'unicorn' of a residential mooring) pay for it NOW and then find the boat.

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28 minutes ago, AndyE said:

Hi,

 

Aspiring new boater here in search of the group's collective wisdom, please.

 

I know that this time next year I will have an empty nest and the funds to pay for a new build; currently thinking Aqualine. I know I'll need a wide beam as I need clear head height (slightly over 6'6") and a king-size bed where I can hang my feet over the end (as I normally do). I can't sleep curled up in a cabin bed.

 

When I phone around marinas on the K&A, Severn, Thames I hear how difficult it is to get a wide beam mooring.

 

So, my dilemma: (i) do I gamble on buying a new-build now and hope I'll find a mooring when the time comes. Or, (ii) do I find a mooring and rent it for a year with no boat. Or, (iii) can I find some way of negotiating with a marina that I pay a reservation fee between now and when the boat's available... then the marina can "double dip" by also selling the space while I don't need it.

 

Any help or suggestions most welcome! Thanks in advance.

Andy

 

 

I'm wondering if it might be worth taking a step back and re-evaluating the two criteria you've given which mandate a widebeam. 

 

The reason its worth doing this is that opening your radar to include normal narrowboats instantly gives you a much wider range of boats, which would be an issue if mooring constraints urge you to buy within a given time window. 

 

Have you tried visiting some boats, and walking the length of a normal narrowboat?

The bit you walk in- the 'central corridor' area, is on my boat slightly over 6 foot 6 inches.

I've no idea of that is typical, but I expect it probably is. 

 

Is it physically challenging, e.g. to avoid bumping your head? If you haven't tried it, it might be worth a visit to a big broker so that you can walk the length of a few different boats, and see if it really is the issue that you think it might be. 

 

The other issue- the length of the bed- could also be sorted out, by getting a boat with some extra length in the bedroom, and just making the existing bed a foot or so longer.

It would cost a few quid, for sure- the mattress wouldn't be cheap for starters- but overall the cost of adjusting a bed in narrowboat would be a big saving on the price of widebeam. 

 

If you prefer a widebeam for further reasons (e.g. the interior space) then fair enough- a narrowboat cant give you that. But you can definitely get around the bed length issue if you pick the right boat, so its possible the interior height might be the only issue, and if you haven't yet been inside a boat, it might turn out to be less of an issue than you are expecting it to be.  

 

 

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8 minutes ago, dmr said:

I am not aware that widebeams have more headroom, I thought on balance it was the opposite, but I know very little about widebeams.

Any comments????

 

Most modern widebeams will float in a teaspoon, so that's a foot of internal height you've thrown away for starters.

 

They still need to fit under the bridges so they can't go any higher to make up for it.

 

Admittedly this can be much easier than trying to get a three foot draught through an 18" pound ...

 

 

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12 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

Most modern widebeams will float in a teaspoon, so that's a foot of internal height you've thrown away for starters.

 

They still need to fit under the bridges so they can't go any higher to make up for it.

 

Admittedly this can be much easier than trying to get a three foot draught through an 18" pound ...

 

 

 

Well yes, that's this weeks project.

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9 minutes ago, dmr said:

 

Well yes, that's this weeks project.

 

Nah, summit pound is only a foot today.  Have you considered helium or hydrogen balloons to lift it a bit?

 

Joking aside, I'm very glad I dropped Blackburn locks yesterday.  The water levels were about six inches up at the byewashes then but today they think there's a breach and are warning of low water on that 23 mile pound ... 

 

That's a lot of water to lose in a day!

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30 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

They still need to fit under the bridges so they can't go any higher to make up for it.

 

 

If anything, a widebeam will have a lower headroom to make up for the width problem in getting thru arched bridges - but I guess if you are having a bespoke one built (not one from a 'production' line like Aqualine or Colecraft) I guess you can have anything you want if you are prepared to pay.

 

We had a narrowboat with a 13mm base plate which meant the interior floor could be at least 6" lower than normal, remember that when you walk you 'lift' up on the balls of your feet and normally 'walk' about 3" higher than you actually are - my 6' 3" Son could easily walk down the NB without touching the roof.

 

Our current 14 foot 'fatty' is much lower roof height in parts of the boat.

 

 

A simple schematic to show a fat-boats height restriction compared to a narrow-boat height restriction. Hopefully self explanatory.

 

 

 

Arched Bridge and Widebeams.jpg

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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Just now, Alan de Enfield said:

A sinple schematic to show a fat-boats height restriction compared to a narrow-boat height restriction. Hopefully self explanatory.

 

True, but only to a point.  Curvature of the roof can change the internal height quite a bit, as long as you only walk down the centre ...

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3 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

True, but only to a point.  Curvature of the roof can change the internal height quite a bit, as long as you only walk down the centre ...

 

Indeed - fit an astrodome and you can look at the stars as you walk down the centre line of the boat :

 

 

 

download.jpg

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4 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

True, but only to a point.  Curvature of the roof can change the internal height quite a bit, as long as you only walk down the centre ...

 

Yes, the curvature of the roof you tend to get on some builds may mean the centreline of a widebeam roof is higher. I'm a short arse so my ceiling is like a cathedral.

 

I'm with the others though. I think the OP should look at second hand boats for sale, both narrow and wide. It's going to be a lot easier to find a narrowboat mooring.

 

 

DSC_5953.JPG

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5 hours ago, dmr said:

I am not aware that widebeams have more headroom, I thought on balance it was the opposite, but I know very little about widebeams.

Any comments????

 

 

Have you not noticed the sheer height of many recent-build widebeams when they moor next to you? The roofline of the one that took the mooring next to my boat for a year towered a good 24" above the roofline of my own boat. 

 

Set against this is the shallow draft, but I think on balance the wider the beam, the taller the roof height has to be to keep the proportions of the boat looking right. Widebeams more than 25-ish years old tend to look oddly wide and flat as early builders tried to keep the roofline low to get under bridges but contemporary shell builders seem to have abandoned this and just build them high and in proportion. Also, the customers who buy them don't normally intend doing much cruising anyway so tend to see a high internal ceiling height as an advantage rather than a drawback - as illustrated perhaps by the OP. 

 

So widebeams are in general I think, significantly higher inside than NBs. 

 

 

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8 hours ago, dmr said:

I am not aware that widebeams have more headroom, I thought on balance it was the opposite, but I know very little about widebeams.

Any comments????

I thought the same... our narrowboat is 6ft 7in in the centre and 6ft 3in along the sides.....

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Something needs clearing up. The term widebeam makes everyone think of a fat narrowboat. Many have a shallow draught. My widebeam made by  Horsley Quenet had a draught a tad under 3 feet and plenty of headroom. There are plenty of moorings on the waterways built for such boats in the north rather than such as the K and A.

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Ah, if only the canals were bigger. Sadly they are not so you have to work out where you want to take the boat then buy accordingly. All boats are compromises and massive boats are harder to moor. Narrower boats are easier to moor but are, well, narrower. If you want to travel then its got to be a narrow boat.

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8 hours ago, Alan de Enfield said:

If anything, a widebeam will have a lower headroom to make up for the width problem in getting thru arched bridges - but I guess if you are having a bespoke one built (not one from a 'production' line like Aqualine or Colecraft) I guess you can have anything you want if you are prepared to pay.

I think the implication that Colecraft are limited to a model T is incorrect.  There was a rather nice newly-made dutch barge in their yard on at least one occasion.

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Our NB is 6'8" high in the centre and has 12mm baseplate. Can the OP say what he wants to do with the boat? Marina based and not travel widely or move around extensively. Agree with comments above about buying secondhand for first boat. We love our first new-to-us boat but after a year and a half of many months heavy cruising now know exactly what we would change if we were to upgrade in the future.

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10 minutes ago, nb Innisfree said:

Bridge clearance is measured from arch to canal bed,

 

 

I do not believe that that statement is correct, 'bridge clearance' (or 'air draft') is the space between the bottom of the bridge and the water surface, you then also have 'draft' (or water depth)

 

You are correct in that you need to consider both aspects, but in many cases they are mutually exclusive -  It doesn't matter how shallow draft your boat if its air-draft is 8 feet and the bridges have a 'bridge clearance' of 7 feet you will not get under.

 

 

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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12 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

 

I do not believe that that statement is correct, 'bridge clearance' (or 'air draft') is the space between the bottom of the bridge and the water surface, you then also have 'draft' (or water depth)

 

You are correct in that you need to consider both aspects, but in many cases they are mutually exclusive -  It doesn't matter how shallow draft your boat if its air-draft is 8 feet and the bridges have a 'bridge clearance' of 7 feet you will not get under.

 

 

But if there was sufficient depth of water you could add some temporary ballast to sit deeper in the water and get through the bridge.

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