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PMcC

should I start with a shorter narrowboat ?

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As a relatively fit 68 year old I'm planning on buying a 57'cruiser stem narrowboat. I will be a continuous traveller , on a go everywhere quest. Photography was my profession and now my hobby again.

So should I start with a shorter boat as I will be alone most of the time ? or will a few days practise be enough to be able to pass through locks alone. I know that in this type of living you never stop learning (just like photography). So I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. I'm hoping that I will be in a position to make the jump this summer , which brings up another question , would I be better waiting to buy a good second hand boat in Autumn, as I would have thought that second hand prices would drop considerably then.

Love to hear your points of view on the subject. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Phillip McCordall (Phill)

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8 minutes ago, PMcC said:

As a relatively fit 68 year old I'm planning on buying a 57'cruiser stem narrowboat. I will be a continuous traveller , on a go everywhere quest. Photography was my profession and now my hobby again.

So should I start with a shorter boat as I will be alone most of the time ? or will a few days practise be enough to be able to pass through locks alone. I know that in this type of living you never stop learning (just like photography). So I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter. I'm hoping that I will be in a position to make the jump this summer , which brings up another question , would I be better waiting to buy a good second hand boat in Autumn, as I would have thought that second hand prices would drop considerably then.

Love to hear your points of view on the subject. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Phillip McCordall (Phill)

No, there is no need to buy a shorter boat. The same principles apply and handling 40', 55' or 70' isn't massively different.

As for the market it doesn't seem to follow that sort of logic. Three years ago there were plenty of boats for sale at sensible prices, for last two there have been relatively few boats for sale and almost none at sensible prices but signs are things are getting back to a more normal state. Buy when you are ready and there is a suitable boat that fits your budget.

JP

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Phill,

You will have not issue at all with a 57ft boat. If anything a longer boat is easier to steer and behaves more predictably than a short boat. 

Obviously a narrowboat like that will weight a reasonable amount, so you do have learn to use the engine and ropes etc to move it where a 20ft grp boat you can get away without learning (think dogs that are small enough to pick up) however it's not difficult to learn, with a combination of practice and hits/tips as you go along. 

 

Daniel

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There is not really a 'best season to buy' and as you are looking for a liveaboard* as opposed to a 'leisure' boat they are in demand all year around.

With so much disposable income now floating round in the economy boat prices are steadily increasing and delaying by a few months could add several £1000 to the price of a good boat. Quality boats will always hold their price (even increase) whilst at the bottom end of the market (sub £15000 ish) they will always be getting further down the pile.

 

* The specification for a liveaboard tends to be much higher in the fit out, and, just as a couple of examples may have (say) 5 or 6 batteries - and the means to charge them - as compared to (say) 2 batteries for a leisure boat. The inverter will generally be larger on a liveaboard and capable of powering a washing machine.

 

You can 'improve' a leisure boat to liveaboard specifications but it may mean a lot of expense - ideally buy a boat already equipped for your purpose.

Look at the size of the water tank, pump-out tank (if fitted), equipment levels (Fridge, freezer, microwave, washing machine), batteries (number of), methods of charging batteries (number of alternators, generator) Inverter (size and from a quality manufacturer)

 

The above comments are generalisations and there are always examples of 'exceptions to the rule'.

Edited by Alan de Enfield

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Don't worry about the length other than to fit the waterways you want to travel on. The best thing is to look at lots of different boats and consider how you live on them, this will help you decide what you need to enjoy liveaboard life. Once you purchase the boat you will always the someone happy to come along and help you to get used to handling it and like most things the more you use it the better you will become.

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The beauty of a short boat, like cars is that you more likely to find a parking space that it fits and you're more likely to be able to ''about turn it'' if you lose your way or decide to go the other way or you've over shot a turning, unlike long boats 50-70' which often have to travel perhaps miles before they can turn around. Long boats can also be anti social. One of them can occupy the whole landing stage outside a pub for example, depriving others from drinkies. :)

  • Greenie 1

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You will have no problem with the longer boat and will be glad of the extra space it provides, almost certainly steering will be less effort and if well ballasted will roll less too.

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57ft is a perfectly easy length to single-hand in my experience, so don’t worry about length.

As Bizz points out though, a boat short enough to turn whenever you feel like it is a delight to have. 40ft or shorter has a lot of advantages. 

One more point, you said cruiser stern. I suggest trad stern. As a single-hander one can feel unpleasantly exposed in bad weather. It’s far nicer to stand in the shelter of the hatches steering a trad stern when boating alone. 

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2 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

Especially the ones full of marauding Vikings!

Are they coming again?    Everyone one wants BIGGER these days. BIGGER boats, bigger cars. And then they moan because they'e helped cause congestion with em and deprived themselves of parking-mooring places.

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2 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

One more point, you said cruiser stern. I suggest trad stern. As a single-hander one can feel unpleasantly exposed in bad weather. It’s far nicer to stand in the shelter of the hatches steering a trad stern when boating alone. 

Also where do you sit your tea if you have a cruiser stern?:P

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I would think again about a cruiser style, great for good weather cruising, but for live aboard all year cruising, I would much prefer semi trad, or trad for most protection from the elements.

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4 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

One more point, you said cruiser stern. I suggest trad stern. As a single-hander one can feel unpleasantly exposed in bad weather. It’s far nicer to stand in the shelter of the hatches steering a trad stern when boating alone. 

You stand in the hatches with the rear doors shut behind you, your legs in the warm and the rising heat from the cabin keeping the rest of you a bit warmer than the poor blighter standing in the cold/wind/rain/snow on the back of his cruiser stern!

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Just go for the length you need.

Don't worry about the length its a doddle after one or two trips out.

 

Enjoy....

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I suppose the question is why does Phill feel a cruiser stern is for him?

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3 minutes ago, Tumshie said:

Also where do you sit your tea if you have a cruiser stern?:P

You make a nice dainty tray to hang in front of you on a strap around the neck to carry you tea,  like the ice cream ladies in the cinemas have.

  • Haha 1

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26 minutes ago, Tumshie said:

I suppose the question is why does Phill feel a cruiser stern is for him?

I VASTLY prefer cruiser sterns. I have had one Trad because that boatbuilder only built trads at that time and it was ok but not anywhere near as nice as  the few cruiser sterns I have owned. At present I have a semi trad cos swmbo wanted to try one out and its ok but not as nice as the space on a cruiser with yer table on it with the glass of wine. As for the weather aspect well something obvious springs to mind. Short too life, rearrange those three and realise that if its blowin, raining, freezing then you don't boat...........simples. Remember you will not be on any restrictive timescale that the working classes have to adhere to so you can boat when it suits so yes stick to the cruiser stern idea. As others have said longer boats drive better but the downside is when singlehanding the weight is considerably more when mooring it up and yes moorings are harder to come by because of the numpties who leave gaps and don't share mooring rings on busy visitor mooring spots :banghead: As for costs te decent and half decent boats sell quickly and do not drop in price pre winter.

  • Happy 1

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Cruiser sterns, Yeah, perishing cold and exposed in cold wet weather, soggy rotten deckboards, full of junk, busted flowerpots , bits of dead motorbikes, covered in mud. I could go on (and on and on)

  • Greenie 1

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7 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

I VASTLY prefer cruiser sterns. I have had one Trad because that boatbuilder only built trads at that time and it was ok but not anywhere near as nice as  the few cruiser sterns I have owned. At present I have a semi trad cos swmbo wanted to try one out and its ok but not as nice as the space on a cruiser with yer table on it with the glass of wine. As for the weather aspect well something obvious springs to mind. Short too life, rearrange those three and realise that if its blowin, raining, freezing then you don't boat...........simples. Remember you will not be on any restrictive timescale that the working classes have to adhere to so you can boat when it suits so yes stick to the cruiser stern idea. As others have said longer boats drive better but the downside is when singlehanding the weight is considerably more when mooring it up and yes moorings are harder to come by because of the numpties who leave gaps and don't share mooring rings on busy visitor mooring spots :banghead: As for costs te decent and half decent boats sell quickly and do not drop in price pre winter.

You do give yourself away sometimes. A table with a glass of wine... 

 

  • Haha 1

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Just my opinion, check what you want inside, so, a place to sit and relax, a galley to cook your meals, a shower/toilet room and a bedroom. On Halcyon all that is fitted into about 23 foot, then there's 13 foot outside space, so a 36 foot boat. Some people want a dinette also, so more internal space needed.

I've only owned the one boat, so 36 foot is perfect for me as a single handed boater.

Best advice, go out and look at as many boats as you can, then buy the one which suits you best.

Kevin

  • Happy 1

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7 minutes ago, Kev's Halcyon said:

Just my opinion, check what you want inside, so, a place to sit and relax, a galley to cook your meals, a shower/toilet room and a bedroom. On Halcyon all that is fitted into about 23 foot, then there's 13 foot outside space, so a 36 foot boat. Some people want a dinette also, so more internal space needed.

I've only owned the one boat, so 36 foot is perfect for me as a single handed boater.

Best advice, go out and look at as many boats as you can, then buy the one which suits you best.

Kevin

Good advice. I suggest a day at good old Wilton having a snoop round.

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1 hour ago, Captain Pegg said:

No, there is no need to buy a shorter boat. The same principles apply and handling 40', 55' or 70' isn't massively different.

As for the market it doesn't seem to follow that sort of logic. Three years ago there were plenty of boats for sale at sensible prices, for last two there have been relatively few boats for sale and almost none at sensible prices but signs are things are getting back to a more normal state. Buy when you are ready and there is a suitable boat that fits your budget.

JP

Thanks for the reply, makes me feel a bit more confident, when I was a youngster I'd probably tagen a 60' boat across the channel and killed myself, as we get older we become a little more careful.

Phill

1 hour ago, DHutch said:

Phill,

You will have not issue at all with a 57ft boat. If anything a longer boat is easier to steer and behaves more predictably than a short boat. 

Obviously a narrowboat like that will weight a reasonable amount, so you do have learn to use the engine and ropes etc to move it where a 20ft grp boat you can get away without learning (think dogs that are small enough to pick up) however it's not difficult to learn, with a combination of practice and hits/tips as you go along. 

 

Daniel

Thanks Daniel

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1 hour ago, Alan de Enfield said:

There is not really a 'best season to buy' and as you are looking for a liveaboard* as opposed to a 'leisure' boat they are in demand all year around.

With so much disposable income now floating round in the economy boat prices are steadily increasing and delaying by a few months could add several £1000 to the price of a good boat. Quality boats will always hold their price (even increase) whilst at the bottom end of the market (sub £15000 ish) they will always be getting further down the pile.

 

* The specification for a liveaboard tends to be much higher in the fit out, and, just as a couple of examples may have (say) 5 or 6 batteries - and the means to charge them - as compared to (say) 2 batteries for a leisure boat. The inverter will generally be larger on a liveaboard and capable of powering a washing machine.

 

You can 'improve' a leisure boat to liveaboard specifications but it may mean a lot of expense - ideally buy a boat already equipped for your purpose.

Look at the size of the water tank, pump-out tank (if fitted), equipment levels (Fridge, freezer, microwave, washing machine), batteries (number of), methods of charging batteries (number of alternators, generator) Inverter (size and from a quality manufacturer)

 

The above comments are generalisations and there are always examples of 'exceptions to the rule'.

Thanks Alan, all good advice, especially the point on quality boats

1 hour ago, Rob-M said:

Don't worry about the length other than to fit the waterways you want to travel on. The best thing is to look at lots of different boats and consider how you live on them, this will help you decide what you need to enjoy liveaboard life. Once you purchase the boat you will always the someone happy to come along and help you to get used to handling it and like most things the more you use it the better you will become.

Thankyou, I'm begining to think go for the 57-or60 right away

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