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mazer

Swanline cruisers question

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My boat Eleanor is a 45ft cruiser stern with fibre glass top. I want to restore the interior to nearer its original state. I wondered if anyone had original brochures or photos that would help. We have managed to reveal the original formica and melamine and wondered what the flooring would have been. The boat was made in 1974. I apologise in advance if this is off topic.

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I had a boat safety inspection done by a chap called Jeff Greatwood a few years ago and istr that he was once involved with Swan Line at Fradley, possibly he ran the place but i'm not sure. Google will probably find him.

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Nice to see you on the forum, I was admiring your boat at Cropredy over the weekend. It would help to quote Eleanor's BW registration number as this may help to discover more about her history.

I think that most, if not all, Swan Line boats were originally built as hire craft (Swan Line had a hire fleet at Fradley Junction until recently) but I'm sure that someone here will know more.

Edited by Athy

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Harry Arnold, the well-known waterways photographer and journalist was a partner in Swan Line in the late 60s and still lives nearby in Alrewas. Google his company Waterways Images Ltd - i'm sure he'll be able to help.

 

Paul

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Thanks everyone for your help. Eleanor is BW 63616 hope this helps. Thanks again Athy for suggesting the forum.

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Jeff Greatwood still operates as a surveyor in the Burton on Trent area. 01283790611 if this helps.

Edited by Flyboy

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Mazer, just spotted your OP. I started work at Swan Line in 1974 so it is just possible I actually help build your boat. I don't recall the name, but that may have changed anyway. If it is one of the GRP tops it will be close to the last before they went over to all steel shells. I can't remember much about the interiors either, but I do know I spent the following winter stripping the floors out of 4 hire boats, which were shuttering ply laid straight on top of the brick ballast, and so had rotted extensively as a result. New floors were laid with a small air gap. If you got in touch with Jeff I hope he was able to help. He was the manager when I went there.

Edited by malp

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Hi there, my name is Paul Fassam and Eleanor was built new by Swan Line for my father-in-law, Eric Swinfen, who passed away in 2000.

I have some photos of Eleanor (mostly exterior) which I am happy to share with you plus there is a painting in oils of her which I can photograph.

Eleanor sadly only had a 2-cylinder 13hp Lister engine and was always underpowered - stopping her being the most embarrassing thing, especially in a lock . . . all noise and diesel fumes!

Tried to get Dad to either go for the 3-cylinder 20hp engine and/or change the prop! All to no avail.

Eleanor also had an awful 'yacht' toilet (now happily banned) but I still have nightmares about stripping the toilet down after our children had blocked or jammed it!

Please let me know if you would like more info. and/or any photos.

Regards,

Paul F.

 

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Mr Theakeston was the owner of Swan Line and worked on the fit out of 45ft Eleanor.

She had a wooden floor with vinyl covering and a carpet runner from the stern steps to the galley - all of the coachwork was of varnished wood.

Mr Theakeston made a box/tube with a moveable flap to divert the heat from the engine into the cabin if it was a cold day.

I must admit, a Pint of Theakestons Bitter out here in Cyprus would be like manna from Heaven! To think that at first I could not remember his name!

20190711_115726.jpg

  • Greenie 1

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On 07/05/2013 at 10:08, Paul H said:

Harry Arnold, the well-known waterways photographer and journalist was a partner in Swan Line in the late 60s and still lives nearby in Alrewas. Google his company Waterways Images Ltd - i'm sure he'll be able to help.

 

Paul

I’m afraid Harry is no more, funeral a few months ago. Geoff a very sensible man will probably know but suspect floor was ply with a vinyl covering unless this boat was not built for hire and the owner specified something else.

Very happy memories of Swan Line and the pub when we ran out camping boats Harvey son of the owner steered one of our boats for a couple of years.

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Eleanor, after completion, was movef and moored at Whilton Marina on the Grand Union but was soon moved to Weedon - amongst the Concoform Hire boats. This was from where she was eventually sold, after Dad found it just too much to upkeep and Mother-in-Law started to show signs of dementia.

 

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Our first boat that we owned for five years was an old swanline. A fab boat with a lovely sheerline. It started life as a 42 footer but was stretched to 56 by the owner before me. It had a Lr 2 which is iirc 9hp when new and it was pretty ropey. We did the tidal trent with it so we know all about being underpowered. We did much of the UK on it with that engine though and it was still running when we sold her. She is still afloat and I sold her twenty five years ago.

  • Greenie 1

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The first time I ventured on the Canals was at the age of 18 in 1964. Our Rover Scout Crew hired 4 boats from Swan Line . . . they were awful!

a 4-berth and a 2-berth wooden clinker built boats and two glass fibre bathtubs, a 2-berth and a 4-berth. both the wooden boats had tiny inboard 2-stroke engines and the bathtubs had 4-stroke outboards. Still - we had a whole lot of fun!

 

All of the engines eventually failed, with the exception of the one in my boat, the 4-berth timber boat and with some tweeking around we got ours going again, so we ended up towing the other three for about 4-days back to Fradley. This towing did not do my boat much good, as the strain on the stern was far too much for her - on our last morning I well remember rolling out of my bunk and into 4 inches of water that was above the floorboards - the bilge pump could not keep up with the leaks - Happy Days!

 

A Mooring.jpg

Bratch Locks 1964.jpg

Captain I. Swinfen - MV Swan Knight.jpg

Geoff just can't believe it.jpg

This Knighted Crew.jpg

Who is in bit of a lather.jpg

  • Greenie 2

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I remember the foam filled locks, they were a feature of the canals in the later '60s.  Converted ships' lifeboats?

 

Which lad were you then? Not the one protecting his modesty surely!

 

You look a bit different now if your avatar is you.

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My first time on the canals was a Swan Line hire boat in the late 70's I'll try and find the photos, it had a very unreliable Yanmar diesel engine that wouldn't start on cold mornings, until a kindly boater came along and held a lighter next to the air intake.

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7 hours ago, Boater Sam said:

I remember the foam filled locks, they were a feature of the canals in the later '60s.  Converted ships' lifeboats?

 

Which lad were you then? Not the one protecting his modesty surely!

 

You look a bit different now if your avatar is you.

I remember Aire street in Castleford being waist deep in soap suds back in the sixties and early seventies. Indeed on the river just out side Castleford a bend is named " soapsuds corner " 

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Was it soap? or detergent? I thought it was some organic compounds from plants and algae.

We don't always realise how much cleaner the water in the canals and rivers is now compared to 50 years ago. Lucky us.

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18 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

I remember Aire street in Castleford being waist deep in soap suds back in the sixties and early seventies. Indeed on the river just out side Castleford a bend is named " soapsuds corner " 

you could lose a boat in the suds coming from the textile dye works passing through Leicester!

 

Rick

 

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On the Soar, near Leicester. Late eighties.

 

 

595285031_1047aGeneral036.jpg.033e4a724e6f67045eeb4330ea463f8a.jpg

 

Soap - detergent, same thing, but you wouldn't want to wash in it. Another description might be effluent.

Edited by Derek R.

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On 11/07/2019 at 08:54, Paul Fassam said:

Hi there, my name is Paul Fassam and Eleanor was built new by Swan Line for my father-in-law, Eric Swinfen, who passed away in 2000.

I have some photos of Eleanor (mostly exterior) which I am happy to share with you plus there is a painting in oils of her which I can photograph.

Eleanor sadly only had a 2-cylinder 13hp Lister engine and was always underpowered - stopping her being the most embarrassing thing, especially in a lock . . . all noise and diesel fumes!

Tried to get Dad to either go for the 3-cylinder 20hp engine and/or change the prop! All to no avail.

Eleanor also had an awful 'yacht' toilet (now happily banned) but I still have nightmares about stripping the toilet down after our children had blocked or jammed it!

Please let me know if you would like more info. and/or any photos.

Regards,

Paul F.

 

It is delightful to know that Eleanor is still 'alive' and being restored. My family have wonderful memories of cruising in her - the only canal that she never managed to traverse was the Kennett & Avon . . . I believe my in-laws took her everywhere else that was wet, including the River Nene and the 40ft drains.

She was built as a permanent 4-berth with 2 occasional bunks up front in the galley. With her green glass fibre roof white cabin sides and deep blue (to the waterline) hull and thay distinctive curve to her sides, she always 'turned heads'.

I last heard of her on The Ashby, where sadly, she was black from head to foot.

Where is she now? I ask as my nephew, Simon Robison, who also has wonderful memories of Eleanor afloat, lives in Tamworth and would love to see how her restoration is coming along.

Kind Regards, Paul Fassam

 

 

 

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The last boat we ever hired was from Swan Line, called Cygnet.  It was very well and thoughtfully fitted out for a small boat, so much so that I thought that if it were ever for sale I would buy it.  So a few years later, after the Swan Line boats had been sold off,  I saw Cygnet advertised in WW, and went to see Geoff who was still at Fradley, to ask him if it was his former hire boat.  It wasn't.    

Which is how I came to buy my present boat, a different boat - purchase by mistaken identity and love at first sight.

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1 hour ago, Mac of Cygnet said:

The last boat we ever hired was from Swan Line, called Cygnet.  It was very well and thoughtfully fitted out for a small boat, so much so that I thought that if it were ever for sale I would buy it.  So a few years later, after the Swan Line boats had been sold off,  I saw Cygnet advertised in WW, and went to see Geoff who was still at Fradley, to ask him if it was his former hire boat.  It wasn't.    

Which is how I came to buy my present boat, a different boat - purchase by mistaken identity and love at first sight.

I remember your telling me that story; I also recall seeing the other Cygnet when she was still a Swan Line boat, and thinking what an apt name it was for a small craft in that fleet.

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