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We are just about to make the either best decision of our lives or about to have to live with a huge regret

We've both just recently lost our jobs, redundancy at 60. is rough, but, it's given us the ability to buy a boat to see our days out on, hopefully.

We have no idea what to look for, other than what pleases our eyes, we have no idea what a good hull looks like or what boat builder is seen as good or reputable, so, to educate ourselves we are throwing ourselves at the mercy of the thousands of knowledgeable, seasoned and experienced boater out there who have been living this life for years.

We like the space provided by going wide, we understand that this will confine our travels to mostly rivers and we're OK with that, but, there are so many for sale,so, our question is, how do we find out if the builder of the hull is well regarded and uses good quality steel? we've looked at Collingwood, Aqualine, Elton Moss and The Sailaway Boat co. so far, 

Any hints and tips will be gratefully appreciated

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They're all made of good quality steel, there's no difference there despite what some may say. I heard all that nonsense when I bought my widebeam from a budget builder 20 years ago. Some people said I wouldn't be able to drill it because it would be too brittle, others that it would corrode more quickly. As I said, all nonsense.

 

Build quality does vary: Collingwood are budget and Aqualine were Polish built, mid-range and respected. I don't know about the other two.

 

Perhaps you should go to Crick this weekend and get some ideas.

 

Edited by blackrose
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Please don't rush this, first of all you probably need to have a test run, eg by hiring,  you may not like living inside a tiny home.

The canals are wide up North and down South, but the Midlands are narrow.

Rivers are much less predictable than canals, so they can be a bit scary at times, more so than most canal boating.

You may be aware that boats are really not a long term investment compared to bricks and mortar.

I would not swap my narrowboat for a widebeam because they are not so well suited to cruising, I singlehand.

If you intend to stick it out, long term, could you cope .......

PS check out the Martin Lewis moneywebsite for advice on money and pension management, there may be actions to be considered..

 

 

Edited by LadyG
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2 minutes ago, LadyG said:

I would not swap my narrowboat for a widebeam because they are not so well suited to cruising, I singlehand.

 

 

Widebeams are perfectly well suited to cruising on appropriately sized waterways. I singlehand too on canals and rivers.

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5 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 

Widebeams are perfectly well suited to cruising on appropriately sized waterways. I singlehand too on canals and rivers.

Yes, but you are not 77, I have struggled with a NB in strong wind situations.

Anyway,  what do you do with all that wasted space? :)

Edited by LadyG
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If a widebeam, plenty of northern canals to play on as well as rivers. At 60, you've plenty of years left! 

Just bear in mind there's lots of expense after the purchase, especially if you know nothing about engines or DIY. 

Edited by Arthur Marshall
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2 hours ago, Arthur Marshall said:

If a widebeam, plenty of northern canals to play on as well as rivers. At 60, you've plenty of years left! 

Just bear in mind there's lots of expense after the purchase, especially if you know nothing about engines or DIY. 

It always worries me when I see folks seeing their future living on a boat as a dream, or even an adventure, but thats just me, (well known harbinger of doom).

I was attracted by dreams of abundant wildlife and fabulous vistas, well there are occasional kingfishers, too many canada geese, some swans,  lots of mallard, and some winter migrants.

I'm not sure if the OP is northern based, I get the impression that there are more canalside traditional pubs down South if that was part of the retirement scenario.

 

Edited by LadyG
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2 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

At 60, you've plenty of years left! 

 

 

I'm 62 now and last night I watched an old black & white episode of Steptoe & Son. I was shocked when Harold said "You're nearly 65" to his dad. I always thought Albert Steptoe's character was meant to be at least 10 years older than that. It's amazing how average lifespan in the developed world has been extended during the last half century. 60 used to be old.

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1 hour ago, outthere said:

We are just about to make the either best decision of our lives or about to have to live with a huge regret

We've both just recently lost our jobs, redundancy at 60. is rough, but, it's given us the ability to buy a boat to see our days out on, hopefully.

We have no idea what to look for, other than what pleases our eyes, we have no idea what a good hull looks like or what boat builder is seen as good or reputable, so, to educate ourselves we are throwing ourselves at the mercy of the thousands of knowledgeable, seasoned and experienced boater out there who have been living this life for years.

We like the space provided by going wide, we understand that this will confine our travels to mostly rivers and we're OK with that, but, there are so many for sale,so, our question is, how do we find out if the builder of the hull is well regarded and uses good quality steel? we've looked at Collingwood, Aqualine, Elton Moss and The Sailaway Boat co. so far, 

Any hints and tips will be gratefully appreciated

 

The immediate question that leaps out at me is whether you have a house you'll be keeping so you can return to if/when it all goes wrong/yopu get too old to manage a boat.

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13 minutes ago, blackrose said:

 

I'm 62 now and last night I watched an old black & white episode of Steptoe & Son. I was shocked when Harold said "You're nearly 65" to his dad. I always thought Albert Steptoe's character was meant to be at least 10 years older than that. It's amazing how average lifespan in the developed world has been extended during the last half century. 60 used to be old.

Correct, when I was working in the 1970's local authority contribution  pensions matured at 28 years employment and it was quite common for men to pop their clogs a few years after retirement.  The oap kicked in aged 65 for men and 60 for women, though many women lost out due to time spent having children.

Edited by LadyG
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8 minutes ago, blackrose said:

60 used to be old


still is matey,

the only thing that’s changed is 60 year olds don’t wear macs and a suit and tie,

but hide their age with a tracksuit and trainers and shaved heads. 
 

not saying that’s you, but old people in general. 
 

if I ever get that age. 

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29 minutes ago, Arthur Marshall said:

If a widebeam, plenty of northern canals to play on as well as rivers. At 60, you've plenty of years left! 

Just bear in mind there's lots of expense after the purchase, especially if you know nothing about engines or DIY. 

They did mention a sailaway, always a temptation for the unwary, .....

 

Edited by LadyG
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2 hours ago, outthere said:

 

We like the space provided by going wide, we understand that this will confine our travels to mostly rivers and we're OK with that, 

 

Will you be OK with travelling the same bit of river next year, how about the year after or in 5 years time still doing that same bit of river, if things go well even in ten years, that same bit of river

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hello all.

will try and address some of your questions,

we will be selling our house so won't be part timers afloat. The Sailaway Boat co boat is fully fitted so not just a shell with the initial fittings. according to the waterways maps we've seen, there's a fair bit of canal network we can travel on too, so hopefully we won't be just going up and down the same bit of river.

I don't wear a tracksuit, but do have cropped hair lol. we're in the midlands, so we've got the Trent, the Soar and a fair few canals.

I'm ok with basic engines so could do my own servicing, i think, lol. 

will also look at Colcraft, thanks for the recommendation.

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There is a big difference in steel quality and corrosion resistance .........why do you think masses of Chinese import steel is sold thru the cheap construction material auctions?.......so much inclusions and laminations it cant be bent without cracking.......this stuff corrodes into layers of rust with the strength of MDF ...............wet mdf that is.........Or the Chinese marine ply that is surface coated mdf disguised to look like 7  ply?

Edited by john.k
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I was made redundant at 59, best thing that ever happened. By the time I was 60 I had taken my skills gone self-employed and was making more money than ever.

Retired 6 years later bought a decent house and sold the boat after 25 years on board.

It is unlikely to have happened if I hadn't been dumped by my employer.

 

Don't sell the house, it's very difficult to get back on the housing ladder once you are off it. There will come a time where you have to give up the boat and move back on land.

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There is a temptation to view the act of becoming a full-time boater as an activity, replacing your work on retirement.  It isn't.  It primarily replaces your living in a house.  You would not consider "living in a house" as a full-time activity.  The novelty of living on a boat will initially obscure that fact.  As a retiree you will need an activity or activities to replace your work.  It took me quite a few years to find my retirement activity, after a few false starts.  Why this matters is because you need to be sure that your future "activity" can be carried out on your dream boat, even a wide boat.   Mine can't.   The size of all boats and the availability of services on them is quite restrictive.

Finally, as others have said, your health & fitness status can change quite abruptly and you need to be able to get back on land if needed.

Obviously there are exceptions to this as with all generalisations, but its worth a thought.

PS It is worth visiting Colecraft just to see their operation, even if you are unlikely to buy from them.  They won't mind.

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10 hours ago, system 4-50 said:

Look at Colecraft as well.

 

 

Also, stop looking at Collingwood. 

 

Bargain basement boats, tending to be full of faults on delivery. They do seem to have a handful of satisfied customers even so. 

 

 

 

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I echo the advice about trying to keep your house, even if this means compromising on your choice of boat. 11 years ago we were faced with a choice of buying a brand new high quality bespoke boat but having to sell the house to finance it, or lowering our aspirations to buying a 2nd hand boat to enable us to keep the house.

 

Thankfully we didn't get carried away by letting our hearts rule our heads and we chose the latter, with the advantage being that we've kept the house, and had tenants paying us rent which not only enabled us to retire early but we have an appreciating asset that we can move back to when the time comes. This also covers your options should you discover that living on a boat doesn't suit you. We were already experienced boaters so we had a fair idea of what we were letting ourselves in for, but being newbies you don't, so it's even more important to keep your options open.

 

I can understand people's desire for a widebeam to live on but it really isn't an issue living in a narrowboat. You easily get used to it, and it's far less restrictive as well as being cheaper too, and as LadyG said, what would you do with all that wasted space? 🙂

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Ask yourself why there are so many widebeams for sale?

Its because many are rubbish, they are too big to handle for most people on most canals, they will not go down the majority of canals and they cost more to keep now.

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2 minutes ago, Tracy D'arth said:

Ask yourself why there are so many widebeams for sale?

Its because many are rubbish, they are too big to handle for most people on most canals, they will not go down the majority of canals and they cost more to keep now.

 

 

And not to mention the sheer fugliness of many them, and how embarrassing it must be to own one. 

 

Not that I'm biased in any way, obviously...

 

 

 

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