Learn about life afloat the easy way

Life on a narrowboat can be as peaceful as it is idyllic BUT you need to understand the pros, cons, highs, lows, and day to day logistics in living on England's inland waterways. Let me help you find out all you need to know before you commit to what could be a very expensive mistake.


Find out more

Archive

Yearly Archives: 2014

2014 01 26 Newsletter – Keeping Your Feet Warm On Board

Spring is on its way. I love this time of the year.

I know that its all plain sailing when I arrive back at the boat after a hard day’s work and I can see the path from the car parking bay where I leave the truck up to the mooring. It’s quite a steep path and I rarely carry a torch with me at the marina so in the depths of winter I have to carefully shuffle up the steep gravel path to stop myself stumbling on the grass bank. Sunset today (Thursday) is 4.34pm but there’s still enough light to see where I’m going.

We leave for our holiday on Saturday 1st February (have I mentioned that we’re going on holiday?) returning four weeks later on Saturday 1st March. My first day back at work will be Monday 3rd March. Sunset on my first day back will be at 5.44pm so I’ll actually be able to take the dogs for a walk after work and see where they are. Night time walks are always a bit of a challenge with dark brown Daisy, especially as she’s not terribly fond of coming back when she’s called. We don’t use leads on the dogs at the marina. There’s plenty of space and a 15mph speed limit for the very few cars we see on our travels. It’s pretty safe for them as long as we keep our eyes and ears open for passing vehicles.

I’m looking forward to the first post work walks of the year. I suspect that Charlie and Daisy are too.

Snowdrop

The second sign that better things are to come are the appearance of the snowdrops around the site. I try to think of them as the vanguard for warmer weather. It’s rubbish of course. Long after they’ve made their brief appearance there’s a real chance of frost, snow and icy winds but I’m always delighted to see the little white flowers.

Talking of snow, three months ago the company purchased a snowplough attachment for our Merlot fork lift truck. It’s sitting in our top car park at the moment next to the Merlot, unused and unloved. It was always a bit of a stretch of the imagination to see it getting any significant use but this year has been incredibly mild. This winter so far we’ve only had six sub zero nights with a relatively mild low of minus three. In fact, it’s been so mild that Douglas Nethercleft,  our resident bee keeper, is worried about his little furry friends.

A mild winter encourages the spring flowers to bloom earlier than they should. Early blooming flowers contain less nectar than those which peak a little later in the spring. The bees stay in their hive during the winter but ( I love this fact) they go outside occassionally to do a poo and venture further in search of nectar is the temperature’s not too low. The bees actually suffer from hypothermia if the temperature drops below fourteen or fifteen degrees.

So the early blooming flowers may look pretty but they provide little food for the few bees which venture out and, because the flowers have bloomed early, there’s not as much food about when the majority of the bees are ready to fly.

Purely for the bees sake – and nothing to do with the fact that I’ll be enjoying thirty degree days and twenty degree nights in less than a week – I hope there’s some cold weather on its way.

Crocs – Comfortable Footwear For Boaters

Talking of cold weather, I don’t like feeling cold. I don’t like any part of me feeling cold so if I am to enjoy relaxing on the boat, all of my extremities need to be kept toasty at all times.

A common problem on narrowboats is a cold floor and cold air just above the floor. My floor is always cold because I don’t have any under floor insulation. The bottom two feet of the boat is below water level. Above the boat’s base plate I just have marine ply fitted on top of the bearers and them laminate flooring on top of that. At this time of the year, the floor gets very cold.

The insulation on the inside of the hull is pretty poor too. When I had the cabin over plated just over two years ago, I had an additional layer of insulation sandwiched between the old cabin roof and side and the new steel. The top half of the boat is now fairly well insulated but there’s precious little below the gunwale.

The cold floor is made even worse by the cold air from the single glazed windows cascading down the inside of the cabin wall. I have five square metres of single glazing in the boat so there’s a lot of cold air coming in through them. I should be able to resolve this particular problem if I ever get my secondary double glazing installed.

You may remember me telling you about the problems I was having with Access Plastics just before Christmas. There haven’t been any developments since them I’m afraid. The company sent me white steel tape instead of brown. The steel tape is to hold the magnetic tape in place which is fixed to my acrylic double glazing panels. The white tape is fine as long as I have the panels in place but if I want to take them off during the warmer months, I’m going to have an unsightly white rectangle around my brown window frames.

I emailed Access Plastics on 23rd December asking them to tell me when I could expect them to deliver the correct steel tape. Of course I didn’t expect a reply for a couple of weeks because of the Christmas break but here we are at the end of January and still not a word from them.

I suspect that I will still be waiting for the tape when I return from holiday. By then the need for secondary double glazing won’t be quite so pressing because the worst of the winter weather should be behind us. I’m afraid I’m going to have t0 give them an ultimatum. They haven’t supplied what I ordered so if they can’t send me the tape PDQ I’m going to demand a refund for the whole order. They don’t seem terribly interested in completing the order so maybe getting on my soap box will do the trick. I don’t know where I stand legally though given that Access Plastics are in Ireland.  I think I’ll email them one more time.

In the meantime I, like most boat owners, have a cold floor and cold air just above the floor. Hopefully the amount of cold air just above the floor will be significantly reduced when the acrylic window panels are in place but I’ll still have a cold floor. The best way of ensuring my feet don’t get cold inside the boat is to make sure that there’s some effective insulation between the floor and my feet.

Neither Sally nor I wear outdoor shoes inside the boat. Sally spends enough time clearing up the muck tracked in by the dogs without having to clean up after two adults as well. We wear slippers inside the boat, but not just any old slippers. We wear Crocs
. They’re fantastic!

Blue CrocsConventional slippers have quite a thin sole so they aren’t particularly effective at insulating you from a very cold floor. Crocs are designed for wearing outdoors so the the soles are about an inch thick. I’ve had the same pair for eight years. I originally bought them to take backpacking with me. They weigh next to nothing and were easy to strap to the outside of a rucksack. After a full day’s walking in boots carrying a heavy pack, slipping into a pair of crocks for the the evening when I was camping wild was absolute heaven.

My Crocs have been on every holiday I’ve taken since I first bought them. They’re exceptionally comfortable. I have quite sensitive feet so I have to choose footwear carefully but my Crocs are so comfortable that I’ve often walked ten miles along a beach in soft sand without ending up with sore feet.

They will be coming with us to the Philippines next week where they’ll provide me with many miles of pain free walking but when they return from our break in the sun they’ll carry on keeping my feet warm on the boat.  You can get a pair here at a very reasonable price.

Weil’s Disease

Last week I wrote about one of the most severe strains of leptospirosis, Weil’s disease. Since then I’ve received a number of emails with more information about the symptoms, causes and general tips on prevention. To balance my slightly cavalier view of a rare but rather unpleasant infection I’ve reproduced them below…

“As a canoeist on UK fresh water rivers and canals I would urge you to treat this disorder seriously. Scan the canoeing/kayaking press for more information.

The disorder can mimic other ‘ailments’ and be very difficult to correctly diagnose.

I know a couple of canoeists who have been wrongly diagnosed and then when the medics have been pushed and done a proper Leptospirosis blood test the results have confirmed a positive infection. Treated promptly I am told it is readily cured.

I am not a medical person and this account is a real life experience although one of the sufferers is (now retired) a GP/ medic who was wrongly diagnosed by ‘his’ doctor until guided by his ‘patient’ along the Lepto route.

Regards,

Rob Smith”

“Just to add to your news about Weil’s disease (I used to be a Microbiologist is a former life): it is a good idea for boaters to cover cuts, to wash their hands if they’ve done anything that caused contact with the canal or river water, and if you fall in, keep your mouth closed and shower afterwards, wash all your clothing. If you have flu-like symptoms go see the doc and tell him/her you have contact with water. Whilst the risk may be low, the consequences can be severe, if not fatal so its worth taking these measures.

Janet Grundy”

“it might also be useful to identify that this can also be caught by our pets, who could potentially be more interested in spending time in dirty water. Protection is provided through ensuring annual vaccinations are up to date. However, my vet was keen to point out that this may not offer complete protection and potentially not for the full year (having come across numerous cases where this had occurred). Whilst not usually fatal he did point out that it was worth remaining vigilant and seeking early treatment if symptoms suggested that this may be what our pet could have contracted in order to avoid long term health problems. Thanks for your informative newsletters.

Christine”

“A pal of mine is currently recovering from a bout of it. He is a cave diver so in all probability picked it up from one of his dives. As you commented in the latest newsletter there are various forms of it from a number of host animals the worst being Weil’s Disease associated with rats. Canals and rivers are their natural habitat so anyone using them should be aware of the potential for the infection which as you point out is actually quite rare considering how many people mess about in/on water. However, the symptoms can vary significantly and give rise to a false diagnosis when what is required is a quick diagnosis to get the right treatment quickly and stop the progress of the infection. To this extent anyone from the boating fraternity ( or other watery pastimes) with unexplained ailments not being resolved  and visiting the Doctor should flag up the potential for leptospirosis. Weil’s Disease is particularly nasty and an early diagnosis is vital.

My pal got his condition diagnosed quickly and the appropriate treatment because he knew of the potential from the caving association BCA and provided the following link to their site with advice about Weil’s Disease/Leptospirosis which I’m sure they wouldn’t mind sharing –

 Go to:

 www.british-caving.org.uk

 Scroll down the list on the left and click: “Publications and Information“.

 Near the bottom of the list is the document: “Weil’s Disease”.

 Regards

Russell”

Another email from Russell Myers…

“Hi Paul, Further information about leptospirosis below from one of our members who is a medical doctor of epidemiology – specialises in infections (lovely – but we all have to earn a crust one way or another!)

Regards

Russell”

This is a copy of the email Russell forwarded to me…

“John,

I’m glad you are mending!

The problem with leptospirosis is that once the diagnosis is obvious antibiotics have little effect on its course.

If a doctor thinks you have leptospirosis (and I’d suggest an illness which makes them want to start doing tests for leptospirosis) then you need to be talking about having some antibiotics straight away. You can always stop the antibiotics, but if the immunological phase has kicked in then antibiotics will have little useful effect.

This is always a problem for GP’s as most of the time they are criticised for being overgenerous with antibiotics (and a lot of guidance about it isn’t explicit enough). Also, it depends what is going round – if there is lots of flu leptospirosis is less likely to be spotted.

It is always difficult giving general advice like this, but most Drs will never have  seen a case of leptospirosis. I get a smattering of telephone calls & usually suggest that antibiotics should be given.”

The original article about Weil’s disease is in last week’s newsletter here.

Forum Notifications

I’ve been having problems with technology again. This time it’s either with the software which sends me email notifications of new forum posts or it’s with Gmail. Initially I thought the software was to blame so I emailed several regular forum users to ask whether they were still receiving notifications. They reply I received from all of them came as a bit of a surprise. “What are you talking about? I’ve never received notifications!”

I realised then that, although the facility has been in place since I first set the forum up, I haven’t told anyone about it. I’ll make amends now. If you want to keep up to date with the latest forum posts, here’s what you need to do.

Go to the forum then log in using the button in the top right hand corner. If you aren’t registered yet, click on the Register button, also in the top right hand corner. Once you’re logged in, click on the Profile button. You’ll see a number of horizontal tabs. Click on the Subscriptions tab and then on the Forum Subscriptions tab. You’ll now see a list of all of the sub forums. Just click on the circle to the left of the forum you want to track and then click the Update Subscriptions button at the bottom.

That’s it. Now you’ll receive an email notification every time there’s a new post in the sub forums you’ve selected.

If you set up forum notifications and you use Gmail as your email client, please let me know how you get on. Just under a week ago, the email notifications which have been landing in my inbox every day started skipping my inbox and ending up in my junk mail folder. It doesn’t matter how many times I mark them as “Not Junk” they still end up there. It’s very frustrating!

Buying A Sailaway To Fit Out Yourself

Here’s part three of Julian Cox’s epic wide beam fit out. Has his story so far inspired or terrified you? Anyone who invests as much time and effort has Julian has deserves a first class floating home at a much lower cost than the rest of us pay someone else to do the work for us. How much cheaper is Julian’s boat than a similar wide beam built to the same specification. You’ll have to wait for the final part before finding that out. In the meantime, here’s another installment for you.

Suggestions Please!

I’ve been writing regular newsletters for a couple of years now. During the first year they were every two weeks or so. To be honest, the frequency was a bit hit and miss. My New Year’s resolution, and one that I’m delighted to say that I’ve kept, was to send out a newsletter every Sunday, rain or shine. The hardest part of the process isn’t the writing itself, it’s constantly thinking of new content. The trouble is, I don’t know what you want to read. I think I keep the newsletters reasonably interesting but I don’t know for sure. That’s where I need your help.

Can you let me know what you would like to read in the future? Are there any areas of narrowboat life you don’t think I’ve covered enough or areas which I’ve missed completely? Please let me know what you want to read about. Thanks for your help.

Newsletter Index

I created the site just over three years ago to provide a source of information for anyone interested in narrowboats and the possibility of living on one full time.  The site has grown to encompass a comprehensive listing of inland marinas in England and Wales, dozens of articles, a forum and regular newsletters. I’ve already created (below) indexes of the site articles and the more popular forum posts. I thought it was about time I created an easy to use index of the newsletter content. Here’s the index so far.

19th January 2014

Weil’s disease – It’s an often talked about and often feared aspect of living, working or playing close to inland waterways but just how dangerous is it and what can you do to keep yourself safe?

12th January 2014

If you’re on a budget maybe a self fit our sailaway is the way to go for you. Here’s the story of a wide beam self fit out to give you inspiration (or put you off completely)

5th January 2014

Planning for the year ahead – Written plans and goals have always been important to me. They help me see into the future. Here’s what we’ve planned for our lovely floating home in 2014.

29th December 2013

The practicality of hosting Christmas afloat – How do you achieve a floating festive event (and do you really want to)?

Liveaboard case study, The Pearl – Tony and Jane Robinson believe in forward planning. They stated their narrowboat fund thirty years before buying their own boat. Now the two retired education workers moor in a marina for the winter then explore the waterways during the warmer months.

22nd December 2013

Narrowboat Storage Space – How much space is there to store your worldly goods on board a narrowboat? Here’s a video walk-through of my own boat James.

15th December 2013

Roses and Castles Canal Art – What is it and why do boaters spend so much money decorating their boats with it?

8th December 2013

Fitting secondary double glazing – Fitting the panels is a simple operation for those with the most basic DIY skills, something which I sadly haven’t developed. As you might expect then, the fitting didn’t go as well as it should.

Narrowboat videos – I launched the Living On A Narrowboat YouTube channel

1st December 2013

Secondary double glazing for your boat – The pros and cons of double glazing on a boat and why secondary double glazing is a much better bet and a fraction of the cost.

Living on a narrowboat vidoes – My first hesitant steps into the world of video production for site content

Can you either live or holiday on a narrowboat if you have a disability? – Here’s what you need to know.

24th November 2013

Winter fuel allowance – Do you qualify for one if you live on a boat?

Case Study – NB Progress. Kim Wainwright recorded her journey on the forum from nervous anticipation to current liveaboard boat owner. Here’s her story.

17th November 2013

Narrowboat central heating – I don’t have any. All that is about to change. Here’s the system I’m going to install and why I’ve chosen it.

10th November 2013

Narrowboat running costs – I compare my own running costs to those of a prominent YouTube video blogger and detail my exact costs for October 2013

3rd November 2013

Popular narrowboat terminology – Hundreds or words or phrases used to describe parts of boats and the waterways they cruise through.

27th October 2013

The wind chill factor – How strong the wind is blowing and which direction it’s coming from can determine how difficult it is to heat your boat. Here’s what you need to know.

Case study – Another couple from down under living the dream on the inland waterways.

20th October 2013Condensation. It’s a common problem on boats. Here are a few suggestions how to keep your boat’s interior dry.

A new organisation for liveaboard boaters

13th October 2013

On demand water heater problems – Discover a common fault with these water heaters and what you can do to resolve the problem.

Know your firewood – Not all timber burns well. Find out which is best and which to avoid.

6th October 2013

Managing your boat’s water supply. You can use your water supply as and when you need it when you live in a house with all mod cons. You can pretty much do the same when you’re on a marina mooring with a water supply just a hose length away. It’s a different kettle of fish when you’re on an online mooring.

Liveaboard case study – A prime example of mooring without a water supply on tap.

29th September 2013

The folly of using unseasoned wood as a fuel – Here’s essential information if you plan to use logs you find to heat your boat for free

Creating lasting memories of your cruises – Slightly off topic, but please bear with me. You’ll have some wonderful adventures as you travel throughout the network. They’ll be adventures worth remembering but will you remember them? I have a very poor memory but instant and total recall of all my cruises is just a click away.

22nd September 2013

A tragedy at Calcutt. Sudden Oak Dieback hits our 1,500 twenty year old oak trees

Forum private messaging – Now you can email other forum users from within the site

15th September 2013

Managing your water supply

An American blogs about his travels

1st September 2013

Solving engine room leaks – A simple solution to a dripping stern tube

All about the weed hatch – Removing debris from your propeller

8th September

A disaster – I inadvertently deleted this week’s newsletter and there wasn’t a backup on the server. What a shame. It was all about the damage you can do to your boat if you don’t watch what you’re doing in a lock. You would have loved it!

25th August 2013

Effective fly killers for boats

The downside to living on a narrowboat

Liveaboard Case Study – American Richard Varnes has taken a year out from work to cruise the canal network and write about his adventure. Here’s his case study and a few stories from his journey so far.

18th August 2013

CART Guide Approval – The waterways’  governing body is now promoting the information packages available from this site. Yippee!

Narrowboat Insurance – A summary of insurance quotes from the major narrowboat insurers

Liveaboard Case Study – Keith and Nicky downsized their property in Jersey, used the released capital to buy their 57? “go anywhere” narrowboat and now live on their boat full time while they continuously cruise the canal network. They’re ridiculously young to retire, and I’m very, very jealous

Downsizing from a 3 bed semi to a narrowboat – What do you do with a lifetime’s accumulated possessions?

11th August 2013

A free download – Living On A Narrowboat: 101 Essential Narrowboat Articles

Narrowboat tips – Handy hints from experienced narrowboat owners

The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How one liveaboard boater manages on a shoestring

4th August 2013

The perfect narrowboat washing machine? – It’s low cost and doesn’t need plumbing in, but does it actually clean clothes?

The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How much does living the life of a water gypsy really cost?

28th July 2013

The cost of living on a narrowboat – An article in the Daily Mail… and why most boaters disagree with what they said.

21st July 2013

Hire boat expectations – Fully understanding what facilities will be available to you is essential if you’re going to enjoy a narrowboat holiday. Here’s what not to do.

14th July 2013

Fenland river cruising – Another boater’s maiden voyage to whet your appetite.

7th July 2013

Anticipating winter weather – You may well be enjoying unusually warm winter weather but the winter will be with us all too soon. Now is the time that you need to plan for the cold weather ahead.

30th June 2013

Keeping your stove glass clean – Maybe you think it’s an odd subject for the summer but you can’t trust the English weather. Late June and the stove was still on now and again. At least now I have a crystal clear view of the fire I shouldn’t need to light.

Traffic chaos caused by Braunston’s historic boat rally – On a day with high winds and a canal full of working boats returning home after the rally, I had the pleasure of taking some very nervous hirers out on the cut.

23rd June 2013 – The cost of a two week cruise. If you live on your own boat, what’s the real cost of taking it away for a two week break?

Case Study – Mary Anne swapped dry land home rental for floating home ownership. Now she loves life afloat and works from home.

Life as a continuous cruiser – The Holy Grail of narrowboat ownership. The ability to travel where and when you like. Peter Early tells all.

16th June 2013

The Ashby canal cruise part two – We spent a bit more time on the Ashby before heading south again, joining the Coventry canal, this time following it into Coventry’s rather depressing and disappointing city centre, then retracing our steps back to Calcutt

Most popular narrowboat names – Here’s the definitive list of the top 200 most popular narrowboat names and a resource you can use to find out if any other boat has the same name as yours

Considerate boating – An article prompted after a near head on collision with another boat trying to avoid a fallen oak.

9th June 2013

I was on holiday for the first two weeks of June. Sally and I cruised from Calcutt to Braunston, north along the north Oxford where we joined the Coventry canal briefly before taking a very sharp right turn onto the Ashby canal. Here’s a daily report of the first week of our holiday.

2nd June 2013

An encounter with two poorly prepared holiday boaters and my own impending two week cruise encouraged me to put together a pre cruise check list

26th May 2013

Laptop hacking – An update on the problems I encountered after buying a brand new laptop which I suspect was tampered with before I bought it.

Diary of a new narrowboat owner – Frequent forum poster “Our Nige” finally moved on to his new floating home. Here’s his story

19th May 2013

My comments about an encounter on the Oxford/GU section between Napton and Braunston sparked a debate about the pros and cons of wide beams on the cut.

Keeping dry – You don’t really need to limit your cruising to sunny summer days. There’s something very special about standing on the back deck in the pouring ran protected by a set of bomb proof waterproofs.

Do you really need a car? Living on a narrowboat is all about enjoying a simple and stress free life. Sally and I had a car each. Mine cost £2,000 to run in the previous 12 months so I decided to get rid of mine to see if I could manage without one.

12th May 2013

An encounter with a wide beam boat and why they aren’t suitable for much of the canal network

An interview with the Trust’s head of boating. Sally Ash talks about the Trust’s approach to the thorny issue of residential moorings

5th May 2013

Narrowboat fuel tanks – How much do they hold

Meet one of your legless canal side companions

The canal network’s largest floating hotel

28th April 2013

Narrowboat blogs – My own first cruise, Our Nige takes his new home on its maiden voyage and a chance for you to have your very own blog section on this site.

21st April 2013

The Trust target illegal moorers but just what does the Trust consider to an illegal mooring?

Identity theft – The ongoing saga of my hacked laptop

RCR engine servicing – River Canal Rescue (RCR) are well known as the waterways equivalent of the AA but did you know that they will also come to your mooring to service your boat?

14th April 2013

The perils of exceeding your monthly broadband data allowance. Learn from my mistakes.

7th April 2013

Narrowboat security – A spate of burglaries from boats and a break in at my former family home encouraged me to write this article

Case study – You need to committed to sell your home to fund the purchase of your narrowboat. That’s what Mick and Marlene have done.

31st March 2013

Case study – Sarah lives on wide beam Antioch on the Leeds Liverpool canal. She can do man things with her hands. Here’s her story.

Be inspired – There are always reasons why you don’t make the move from bricks and mortar to steel and water. Here’s an anecdote which demonstrates once and for all that there really aren’t any worthwhile excuses.

24th March 2013

Here’s an example of what happens when you really don’t understand how your narrowboat works.

Essential boating equipment – Here’s a low cost item which has paid for itself over and over again.

Whilton marina boat sales – Sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be. This alleged fact about the boat sales at Whilton has come to me from several different sources.

17th March 2013

Where can you find residential moorings? Here’s a great place to start

Getting rid of unwelcome visitors – Geese used to regularly disturb a peaceful night’s sleep where I moor. Not any more. Here’s my solution

Know your narrowboat costs – Detailed costs for my own boat for February 2013

Half a dozen boaters now have access to their own blog section on the site. You can too. Here’s how.

11th March 2013

James’ upgrade – Adding solar panels and replacing carpets with oak effect laminate flooring

3rd March 2013

Stove fuel test – What works best; coal, wood, briquettes or something else entirely – Here’s my own take on a Waterways World test

Essential stove maintenance – Here’s what you need to do to make sure that your stove always performs well.

Internet connectivity – I use the internet four or more hours every day. This is the setup I have on my boat to make sure that I’m always connected.

Detailed running costs for my own boat for January 2013

20th February 2013

The real cost of going cheap. An in depth look at the cost of my 36 year old boat, and how much I spent (and still need to spend) before it will be a comfortable full time cruising boat.

8th January 2013

Case Studies – I put together 21 of the best case studies and analysed and summarised the data in this low cost guide. If you want ton save yourself hundreds of hours of research and costly mistakes, you need to read this guide.

Case Study – Mike’s circumstances are similar to my own. He moved onto his boat after a failed marriage. He’s upgraded from a 27? GRP cruiser to a 50? narrowboat

24th December

Narrowboat electrics part 2 – The concluding article from Tim Davis

I asked newsletter subscribers to send me detailed breakdowns of their bricks and mortar expenses so I could compare them with the cost of running a narrowboat. Quite a few subscribers obliged. I added the breakdowns to my narrowboat costs guide and the budgeting application.

18th December 2012

Understanding narrowboat electrics – Another excellent article from Tim Davis

Satellite television for narrowboats – Information from a system installer

2nd December 2012

Low cost narrowboat ownership – A low cost solution to the problem of funding your first narrowboat

Solar power – All you need to know about installing solar panels on your boat. Written by the inland waterways most popular solar system installer

Case Study – Mr. Solar Panel Tim Davis writes about life on board his own narrowboat

21st November 2012

First tests and reviews of the budgeting application

The best aerial for a narrowboat television

6th November 2012

The first release of the new spreadsheet based narrowboat budgeting application

28th October 2012

An unscheduled dip in the marina prompted me to write about safety on the waterways

Living on a narrowboat – Through the eyes of a young lady who would clearly prefer to be somewhere else

17th October 2012

I started to develop the narrowboat budgeting software. This newsletter detailed the concept and the progress to date

14th October 2012

Practical flooring for narrowboat dogs

Case study – Mike and Mags use a double redundancy payment to pay for their new floating home

30th September 2012

The best tip for a wannabe narrowboat owner – Advice from existing boat owners

18th September 2012

I published my guide Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat. When this newsletter was published it was only available as a Kindle edition. Now it’s available in both Kindle and PDF format and is bundled with Narrowbudget, the site’s bespoke narrowboat budgeting application.

VAT on narrowboat sales

20th July 2012

Dealing with pests on a narrowboat – spiders and swans

Posh boats – My personal favourite: S.M. Hudson

7th July 2012

Repeat prescriptions, diesel heating systems and solar panels

10th June 2012

Survey – Do you want a forum on the site? (You already know the answer to that!)

27th  May 2012

How to clean your stove glass – One of the real pleasures of a living fire is watching the flames on a cold winter’s eve. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you can actually see the fire.

Smoking on board – An alternative to smelly smoke

13th May 2012

DIY narrowboat painting – I’ve broken down the complete cost of painting your own boat and

Dealing with wind on the river – A guest article from liveaboard narrowboat owner Alan Cazaly

29th April 2012

DIY narrowboat painting – I spent three weeks in April painting my boat. Here’s the first of my progress reports

15th April 2012

Life on the river Cam – A guest article on the pleasures of river life by wide beam liveaboard Luther Phillips

Case Study – Freelance writer Anne and her South African farmer partner John reveal all

Case Study – Toni cruises constantly with ex husband Allan. They cruise together but they live apart… on separate boats

 1st April 2012

As a result of the article about the downside of living on a narrowboat published in the 18th March newsletter, I asked liveaboard narrowboat owners to complete a survey to give a balanced view of the issues raised by Pauline. Here are the survey results and a much more positive article by liveaboard narrowboat owner and frequent forum contributer Peter Early.

18th March 2012

The downside of living on a narrowboat – This was a very controversial post. Liveaboard Pauline Roberts wrote about the less pleasant aspects of life afloat… and attracted a storm of comments

Case study: The Woodsman – Pauline Roberts again giving an insight into the life that you may think she doesn’t like.

4th March 2012

Reviewed: The Liveaboard Guide by Tony Jones. A great guide to living afloat

eBay Narrowboat scam (and a little bit of flack for me from another forum)

Case Study: Author Toby Jones on his own liveaboard narrowboat

A review of Debdale Wharf marina

22nd January 2012

Two more case studies. One of them waxed lyrical about life on the waterways and enjoyed every minute of her life afloat. Now (April 2013) she’s selling up to follow another dream in Spain.

8th January 2012

The first four narrowboat case studies published

I’ll start with myself; Paul Smith, living on my own, moored in a marina and working full time. Narrowboat James case study

Meet Peggy. She has a husband and two small children, works full time and cruises the network during the summer months. Narrowboat Violet Mae case study

Fancy spending your retirement cruising the waterways of England and Wales? Meet Barry and Sue Horne. They’re living the dream! Narrowboat Adagio Case Study

Here are another working couple. Lina and Warren cruise the cut with their two cats.Narrowboat Olive Rose case study.

2nd February 2011

Article – Living on a narrowboat in winter

1th January 2011 – 1st Newsletter

Dealing with the coldest winter on record
Digital reading – A detailed review of the Kindle, the perfect solution for book loving boat owners

Comprehensive Site Article Listing

There are dozens of helpful and interesting articles on the site, but have you found them all? I thought you might appreciate a list of the more popular articles that you can glance through and click on the ones that take your fancy. Here it is.

Popular Forum Posts

There’s a wealth of information on the site in general, but if you’re struggling to find the answer to a particular issue, the forum is the place to find it. I’ve listed some of the more popular posts below but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask your question on the forum. If you don’t know how to create a post, or if you can’t log in, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to get you up and running.

  • Aluminium Boats – They don’t rust so why don’t you see more of them on the inland waterways?
  • Ironing Board On Board – How do boaters manage a crease free life?
  • Freezing Water – How to stop your pipes and pumps from freezing in the winter
  • CRT & Continuous Cruising – The Trust and their enforcement of the rules
  • Heat – Advice for the owner of a cold boat
  • GPS Devices and Canal Mapping – Are there any decent ones available for your narrowboat and do you need them anyway?
  • Battery Monitors – Replacing your leisure batteries is one of your more expensive maintenance costs. Here’s some detailed information about a device for looking after your batteries
  • Survey Costs – How much should you pay to have your boat removed from the water for a survey?
  • Battery monitors – Gimmick or essential boating equipment?
  • Engine size and performance – Most engines are suitable for pottering about on the canal but what size engine do you need if you plan to cruise on rivers?
  • A Big Inverter Or A Suitcase Generator – What are the pros and cons of either option?
  • Who Owns Your Boat? – How do you find out if there’s still finance attached to your boat when you buy it.
  • Boat Shares – A low cost alternative to outright narrowboat ownership. Advice from a current share owner
  • Plumbing In A Back Boiler – Advice Offered
  • Inverter Installation – What do you need and can you fit one yourself?
  • Getting Rid Of Space Wasting CD’s & DVD’s – The solution is to digitise your collection. Here’s how to do it.
  • Depreciation – How much does a new narrowboat lose in value as the years go by?
  • The Cost Of Continuous Cruising – How much does the nomadic lifestyle really cost?
  • 12v Narrowboat Washing Machines – Is there any such animal?
  • “Chiggers” – It’s a mite you can pick up from the ever growing population of Canada Geese. Beware!
  • Post & Postal Addresses For Continuous Cruisers – You need an address in order to receive post and open bank accounts, register for doctors and hospitals etc. How do continuous cruisers with no fixed abode manage it.
  • Keeping Cool On A Narrowboat – How to keep people and pets cool in the summer
  • It’s Official: There’s No Need To Pay Mooring Fees – Or so this Daily Mail article claims. You may disagree. I do.
  • Overcrowded Waterways – More and more people are choosing a life afloat. Are the waterways becoming congested?
  • VAT On New Narrowboats – Can you knock 20% off the cost of your new narrowboat?
  • Lock Techniques – How do you handle a narrowboat in a lock on your own?
  • Narrowboat Burglary – Two boats burgled at the same location. Where is it and what can you do to minimise the risk of theft from your own boat wherever you are?
  • Insuring Your Car When You Live On A Boat – A boat owner had his car insurance cancelled when he told them he lives on a narrowboat. How does he approach other insurance companies?
  • Remedies For Sooty Stove Glass – For me, one of the great pleasures of living on a narrowboat is a winter evening in front of a flickering fire. Here’s how you can keep your stove glass clear so you can see the fire in all its glory
  • Visitor Moorings With Shore Power – Sometimes you need to hook up to the mains when you moor for the night. Where can you find these moorings?
  • Steam Power – Are there any steam powered narrowboats on the network?
  • Lightning – Is there a risk of your narrowboat being struck by lightning?
  • Overplating/Replating – What’s the difference between the two and what’s involved in having the work done?
  • The Logistics Of Buying A Boat – A fascinating account from a potential narrowboat owner as he tried to get a boat out of the water so that it can be suryeyed.
  • Winter Stoppages 2013/2014 – The Trust carry out essential scheduled repairs during the quieter, cooler months. Here’s their planned stoppages for the coming winter.
  • A New Narrowboat Dog – Alan recently moved on board his own floating home. He loved his new boat but something was missing. Now he has a new best friend and he’s in love, although his new best friend has proven a bit of a challenge.
  • Electric Boats – What do they cost to run? Why would you want one? There’s a huge amount of information for you here if you’ve ever considered an alternative to a diesel narrowboat engine.
  • Pram Covers – “Pram cover” is the term for a cover over the rear deck, usually on a cruiser stern narrowboat. Here are the pros and cons.
  • The difference between cruising on canalas and rivers – This is a very popular thread for very good reason. It’s packed with advice if you’re new to river cruising.
  • Checklists – What do you need to check before you set off on a cruise? There’s some very detailed information including a very useful post by fellow Calcutt moorer Graham who has issues with his mobility after an RTA many years ago.
  • Television Aerials – If you can’t live without your Corrie, you’ll need a decent aerial for your boat.
  • My New Life – I urge you to read this forum thread. If you dream of living on your own narrowboat one day, reading this post, written by a new liveaboard boater, may well prove the catalyst you need. It’s essential reading for any aspiring narrowboat owner.
  • Narrowboat Ownership – How do you prove that the person offering a narrowboat for sale is the real owner?
  • Tips For Continuous Cruisers – He’s making a bit of a habit of it; Pearley’s back with some great cruising tips
  • The Llangollen Canal – One of the country’s most beautiful canals discussed
  • Deliveries to your boat – Excellent information from regular forum contributor Pearley
  • Mobile Broadband – All you need to know about internet connectivity on board
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that fellow boaters can steal your internet data allowance?
  • Boat Planning & Design – Is there any free software available to hel you plan your dream boat?
  • A Narrowboat Checklist – What checks do you need to carry out before you set out on a cruise?
  • Tunnels – How do you navigate them? Who has priority?
  • Windows Or Portholes – Round or square, which is best? Is it just a matter of personal preference?
  • Day To Day Questions About Narrowboat Life – How can “newbies” find out the answers to questions about day to day life on a narrowboat? The answer is simple. Find out by reading this post.
  • Beds – The pros and cons of fixed doubles and cross beds. You need to read this if you are taller or slightly wider than average.
  • Flushing Out a Toilet Waste Tank – Emptying your pumpout toilet holding tank isn’t just a case of sucking out your unmentionables. You also need to flush water through the tank to remove the built up solids. Here’s how to do it.
  • Narrowboat Knots – Do you know your bowline from your buntline hitch, your cleat hitch from your clove hitch or your poacher’s knot from your square knot? No? It’s about time you did!
  • Free Narrowboat Heating – Is there any such thing? Read this post to find out
  • Narrowboat Furniture – Not everyone wants fitted furniture on their boat. Here are a few ideas if you want to add your own.
  • Weight on a narrowboat – How many people can you carry on a narrowboat, and how much luggage can they bring with them?
  • Narrowboat Finance – A Canadian hoping to move to the UK, buy a boat and cruise the network.
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that you can have your boat’s broadband allowance stolen? Here’s what you can do to prevent the theft.
  • Problems Powering An Inverter With A Generator – Why didn’t it work and what’s the solution?
  • Diesel Costs – You need it to run your boat and maybe your heating system. How much can you expect to pay for it?
  • Stove Top Fans – Are they worth the money?
  • Mooring Pins and Piling Hooks – What are they and when do you use them?
  • Water Pump Problems – What to do if your water pump appear to have a life of its own
  • Fuel Contamination – How do you know if you’ve water in your diesel… and what do you do about it when you have?
  • Anchors – What’s the best size and weight anchor for narrowboats on tidal rivers
  • Single Handed Boating for Ladies – Can a lady on her own pass safely through locks?
  • Different Types of Mooring – What’s the difference between residential and leisure moorings? How long can you stay on your boat with each type?
  • Which Ropes To Use? – There are so many different types available. Are the more expensive ones worth using or is it just a case of money for old rope?
  • Windows – Why do narrowboat owners tolerate condensation? Why don’t they have modern uPVC windows fitted?
  • Best Ex Hire Boats – Are you considering buying an ex hire boat to live on? Should you? Here’s some important information for you.
  • Liveaboard Conclusions – Mel Davies has been doing  plenty of research into her hoped for lifestyle afloat. Here are the conclusions she’s reached and comments from a few existing liveaboard narrowboat owners.
  • Handling Floodwaters – How safe is a river mooring during and after heavy rain? Can you stay on a river when the level rises? What can you do to minimise danger?
  • Narrowboat steel thickness – How thick is your boat’s steel? How long does it last?
  • Retro fitting a solid fuel stove – Where’s the best place to put your stove and what’s involved in fitting it?
  • Converting from a cassette toilet to a pump out – A pump out toilet is far more convenient to use than a toilet with a portable cassette but how easy are they to retro fit in a narrowboat?
  • Gas free boating – If you don’t fancy heaving unwieldy gas bottles into a difficult to reach bow locker, a gas free boat might be the solution
  • Winter on the cut – Are you able to cruise all year on your boat or should you find a mooring for the winter?
  • Transporting your boat – Sometimes you may want or need to take your narrowboat by road rather than cruise along the canal. Here’s an idea of the cost
  • Bike types and preferences – If you don’t have a car parked near your boat, you’ll probably want a bike, but which type of bike is best?
  • Towing a butty – I’ve upset someone. I didn’t mean to. Wainbody wanted to know the best way of towing an unpowered second narrowboat (butty). I came across as patronising when I replied. It was unintentional but to make amends I thought I would ask anyone with boat handling experience to reply to his thread with some constructive advice. If you can help him, please reply to the post.
  • The best flooring for a narrowboat pets –  What’s the best way to protect your floor from a dirty doggy?
  • The best time of the year to buy a boat – Is there a deal to be done by buying a boat in the winter?
  • The best length for a liveaboard narrowboat – What’s the best length to buy? What are the pros and cons of different length boats
  • ONE tip to offer a potential narrowboat owner – If you are already a narrowboat owner, you can share your experience. If you haven’t bought one yet, you need to read this thread.
  • Powering your computer on a narrowboat – Can you power your computer/laptop from the boat’s 12v supply or do you need mains power?
  • Must-have gadgets and necessities – The most useful/useless gadgets for life on a narrowboat
  • Choosing a stove for your boat – Are domestic solid fuel stoves as good as the ones designed specifically for boats? Which is the best one to buy?
  • Diesel heating for boats – How important is a solid fuel stove on a liveaboard narrowboat? Is a diesel heating system OK as a primary heat source?
  • Computers on boats – Can a computer be powered from your boat’s 12v system or does it need to be plugged into the mains
  • Receiving post on your boat – How does the postman find you when you’re cruising? How do you apply for a driving license, a TV license or a bank statement when you have no official address?
  • Bikes on board – Many boat owners do not have cars so they rely on bikes to get them to the shops (or the pub). Some use bikes to collect their cars after a day’s cruising. There’s a huge selection of bikes to choose from. Which are the best for your boat? To tell you the truth, I don’t know the answer. Can you point forum member Ainslo in the right direction?
  • VAT on narrowboat sales – Does the price of your narrowboat contain a VAT element? Can the VAT be reclaimed?
  • Internet access – How do you connect to the internet when you live on a boat?
  • Living off property rental income – Do you have a property that you indend to let while you cruise the waterways? Read this before you work out your budget.
  • How to find a narrowboat to live on – Here’s an article about choosing a liveaboard narrowboat, and a question about finding a narrowboat with a steering wheel.
  • Vertigo – How to deal with walking over lock gates if you’re frightened of heights.
  • Long term narrowboat hire – If you aren’t ready to buy a narrowboat yet, what are your chances of hiring a narrowboat for more than a few weeks?
  • Residential moorings and single handed boating – How do you handle a narrowboat on your own? What do you do about a mooring if you live on board and only want a mooring for part of the year
  • Too tall for a narrowboat? – Is a narrowboat suitable for you if you are above average height?
  • Dealing with condensation – Do all narrowboats suffer from damp? What can you do about it?
  • Solar panels – More information about portable and fixed solar panels
  • Heating systems – Hurricane and Mikuni heating systems discussed

Useful Links

Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat – Narrowboat costs explained in detail. My own maintenance and living cost on narrowboat James for a full year. Use this information to work out your own costs.
CRT (Canal & River Trust) maintain the waterways. Here’s their site.
Find out what parts of the canal are closed and for how long. Essential cruising information for you.
Do you need to find a home for your boat? Here’s a comprehensive list of the narrowboat friendly marinas in the UK
Do you want to see where these marinas are on a map? Here it is.
Here’s a map of all the canals on the system to help you plan your route.
Newsletter Archive – Browse through a wealth of useful content in the newsletters over the last year.
Find out more about narrowboat central heating costs here.

vaccines Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary
1

Julynian – A Wide Beam Self Fit Out Part 3

Continued from Part 2

It’s now November 06 and having been on the water for 18 months we decide to take the boat out of the canal and place on dry land. This was mainly due to changes and expansion with our business, but gave an opportunity to re Black the hull and finish all the work off with relative ease having a 240 volt supply and old removal van to store tools and equipment in.

Fitting Oak Trim

This was also the ideal time to fit the Oak trim as it needed routering and sanding and could all be done outside on a bench. So every weekend for countless weeks the trim got fitted.

With most the Oak now fitted, we felt the boat lacked colour, just too much wood. So following a visit to a fellow boaters wide beam who had done this to their boat, we decided to do the same. So we painted all the upper linings to brighten things up a bit.

Originally we tried White but thought it a bit stark, so went for this Yellow.

We also ordered the bespoke Oak porthole liners. These are very expensive but worth it IMO They’ve been in over a year now with no cracking or splitting of the oak.

Julynian047

Julynian048

Julynian049

We used a paint specifically designed for bathrooms so it would cope better with higher levels of moisture.

The next step would be the bedroom.

Bedroom

The bedroom is 7f/t X 10f/t 6” including walkway. We wanted a large bed so used the entire width of the room for the bed. The mattress was made bespoke using memory foam which we find really comfortable. The bed is raised quite high, just below the gunwale. This allowed for plenty of storage space below.

Firstly we shelved under the bed space on the side we can use. We originally were going to fit drawers but then came up with the idea of wicker baskets. They are much easier to rummage through as you just slide them out lift them on the bad and find what you’re looking for. Rather than getting down on your hands and knees.

Julynian050

Julynian051

Julynian052
Other advantages are being high up you’re likely to be in warmer air in the winter. You can peek out of the porthole without getting out of bed LOL

Having the baskets at the front edge of the bed leaves a bit space behind. Normally a calorifier of waste tank would be put here. However we came up with this solution. Between the bedroom and engine room we planned a small work room to do odd jobs in and to act as a utility room. We constructed a twin trolley that rolls under the bed and rolls out into the work room.

Julynian054

The first trolley is the smaller the second one is about 4f/t long they total 7f/t in length and can hold a considerable amount of stuff. They are on heavy duty castors which run in a rail made from off cut Oak faced plywood so the trolley always comes out straight. They are now used for tools and equipment.

The room they roll into is the final room to be finished which will be completed this summer. It will have a large sink fitted with some fitted cabinets and worktop space. This will be like the boot room in a farmhouse where you can clean up a bit and kick off the muddy boots before entering the boat. The floor in here will be dark Green rubber and the walls possibly the plastic T&G like in the bathroom. Or possibly more rubber.

During the past 2 years it’s been increasingly difficult to get to the boat, mostly due to business problems more recently caused by recessionary pressures.

However I do take projects home from time to time.

This lamp was an e-bay purchase, good clean up and works fine.

Julynian055

My brother restored this Klaxon horn for us.

Julynian056Julynian057
I quite often bring removable bits back for painting as well.

My most recent repair and fix though was our pigeon hatch. This was originally constructed with a steel strap hinge. This hinge being left and not used for long periods eventually seized up.

My only option was to completely cut this rusty hinge away and replace with something more conducive to long term reliability.

I purchased a new type of power saw just for this purpose called the Startwin. It basically cuts any material using twin blades that rotate in opposite directions at 9oo rpm. Very impressed with how it performed and will be a useful tool in the future.

This is the bit I had to cut away.

Julynian058

5 f/t long and 4 to 6mm steel to cut through mostly welds.

Once removed I had to clean up the cut edges prime and repaint. The hatch will eventually be dark Green externally, and Cream internally.
Julynian059Julynian060Julynian061
The Stainless Steel hinges are standard door hinges with an 8mm S/S rod running through the row. The rubber pipe over the S/S rod buts up to the 3mm thick rubber under the hinges so pretty water tight anyway. But a ridge cowl also runs along the hinges to shelter from direct rain. There’s also a inner rail below the hinge that traps any water ingress and diverts it on to the roof.

This job was laborious as I had to mark; centre punch; pre drill; then drill and hand tap all 80 holes LOL But pleased with the finished job.

Coming up…

I’m making a determined effort to get the boat finished this summer. Just the back utility room to finish and painting the boat’s exterior.

Some other small projects I will post on soon. These include.

Glass Splash backs to the kitchen worktops, lit by Blue Led strip.

The original time sclae was 2 years. If it wasn’t for my business partner stepping back to run another business it could have been completed pretty much on time, but I had to spend time back here as I have no one to cover for my absence. We’re not too bothered that it’s probably going to be end of this year for completion, as when we can get to the boat it’s an enjoyable task we enjoy anyway. However 2 years was a reasonable time scale for us to set in the first place.

The problem with working weekends and evenings is it’s difficult to get a lot done in short spaces of time. You end up clearing stuff away more often, cleaning up more often. just locking and securing the boat takes time every time you leave it. We found planning the next stage of the job properly so you know you have all the right tools, right equipment and get set up in such a way thay you get a good rhythm goping then you can get on with certain stuff quite quickly. I found the more time we took to plan ahead the easier it became. Some weekends would be used just for measuring up and preparing things for a certain job.

I think you’re right, It’s probably quite rare that any DIY boat project gets finished on time, or as if you say at all. Newbies embarking on self fit out should calculate a reasonable finish time then double it to be on the safe side

Julynian062A much darker Blue than in the illustration will be what’s fitted though.

Refitting of pigeon hatch.

Fitting of under unit kitchen drawer.

Fitting correct chimney pipe.

Fitting Mirror Glass to cratch and side doors inner panels which will be leaded.

Exterior painting starting with a Cream roof.

The original time sclae was 2 years. If it wasn’t for my business partner stepping back to run another business it could have been completed pretty much on time, but I had to spend time back here as I have no one to cover for my absence. We’re not too bothered that it’s probably going to be end of this year for completion, as when we can get to the boat it’s an enjoyable task we enjoy anyway. However 2 years was a reasonable time scale for us to set in the first place.

The problem with working weekends and evenings is it’s difficult to get a lot done in short spaces of time. You end up clearing stuff away more often, cleaning up more often. just locking and securing the boat takes time every time you leave it. We found planning the next stage of the job properly so you know you have all the right tools, right equipment and get set up in such a way thay you get a good rhythm goping then you can get on with certain stuff quite quickly. I found the more time we took to plan ahead the easier it became. Some weekends would be used just for measuring up and preparing things for a certain job.

I think you’re right, It’s probably quite rare that any DIY boat project gets finished on time, or as if you say at all. Newbies embarking on self fit out should calculate a reasonable finish time then double it to be on the safe side.

WOW 16 March 2009 was the last time I posted on here, time fly’s LOL

Well boat still not finished but nearly there. Will definitely be on the water next March. Reasons for delay, a dammned multitude of them. Recession mainly, not so much shortage of money but time as I’ve had to manage my businesses without the staff I used to rely on and simply couldn’t get away. Family bereavements didn’t help either. Anyway back on course but 4 years late in reality LOL

Had to put lots of things right due to the lack of time spent on the boat, shower packed in due to freezing and a split pipe connector in the central heating system took an age to locate and fitted a new chimney to the bubble stove due to bad corrosion.

Managed to get the glass splashbacks fitted and finished, couple of photo’s below but not great quality better ones will follow.

I’m starting on the back cabin this weekend the last cabin to do that will be our utility room come workroom. This will be fitted with dark Green rubber coin dot flooring incorporating floor hatch to access base plate and some useful cool storage, and plain smooth white rubber wall to the stern bulkhead wall. I’m fitting an all in one freestanding stainless steel sink unit, although it’s free standing in this case it will be secured to the rubber bulkhead wall and boxed in at one end to hide the plumbing. The SS unit is 1.4 metres long so a small twin tub washing machine will sit beneath it and other cleaning equipment.

This is the cabin where the underbed trolly rolls into to access it (see back a few pages). Some other

It’s now November 06 and having been on the water for 18 months we decide to take the boat out of the canal and place on dry land. This was mainly due to changes and expansion with our business, but gave an opportunity to re Black the hull and finish all the work off with relative ease having a 240 volt supply and old removal van to store tools and equipment in.

 

The

Fitting of under unit kitchen drawer.

Fitting correct chimney pipe.

Fitting Mirror Glass to cratch and side doors inner panels which will be leaded.

Exterior painting starting with a Cream roof.

 

The original time sclae was 2 years. If it wasn’t for my business partner stepping back to run another business it could have been completed pretty much on time, but I had to spend time back here as I have no one to cover for my absence. We’re not too bothered that it’s probably going to be end of this year for completion, as when we can get to the boat it’s an enjoyable task we enjoy anyway. However 2 years was a reasonable time scale for us to set in the first place.

The problem with working weekends and evenings is it’s difficult to get a lot done in short spaces of time. You end up clearing stuff away more often, cleaning up more often. just locking and securing the boat takes time every time you leave it. We found planning the next stage of the job properly so you know you have all the right tools, right equipment and get set up in such a way thay you get a good rhythm goping then you can get on with certain stuff quite quickly. I found the more time we took to plan ahead the easier it became. Some weekends would be used just for measuring up and preparing things for a certain job.

I think you’re right, It’s probably quite rare that any DIY boat project gets finished on time, or as if you say at all. Newbies embarking on self fit out should calculate a reasonable finish time then double it to be on the safe side.

 

WOW 16 March 2009 was the last time I posted on here, time fly’s LOL

Well boat still not finished but nearly there. Will definitely be on the water next March. Reasons for delay, a dammned multitude of them. Recession mainly, not so much shortage of money but time as I’ve had to manage my businesses without the staff I used to rely on and simply couldn’t get away. Family bereavements didn’t help either. Anyway back on course but 4 years late in reality LOL

Had to put lots of things right due to the lack of time spent on the boat, shower packed in due to freezing and a split pipe connector in the central heating system took an age to locate and fitted a new chimney to the bubble stove due to bad corrosion.

Managed to get the glass splashbacks fitted and finished, couple of photo’s below but not great quality better ones will follow.

Photo’s not available.

I’m starting on the back cabin this weekend the last cabin to do that will be our utility room come workroom. This will be fitted with dark Green rubber coin dot flooring incorporating floor hatch to access base plate and some useful cool storage, and plain smooth white rubber wall to the stern bulkhead wall. I’m fitting an all in one freestanding stainless steel sink unit, although it’s free standing in this case it will be secured to the rubber bulkhead wall and boxed in at one end to hide the plumbing. The SS unit is 1.4 metres long so a small twin tub washing machine will sit beneath it and other cleaning equipment.

This is the cabin where the underbed trolly rolls into to access it (see back a few pages). Some other fitted shelving will be added under the opposite gunwale but other than that will be kept quite minimal. The paneling to the top sides will be gloss painted oak faced ply with natural hard Oak surround. This cabin has only 2 portholes so needs to be light colours.

10mm Rubber flooring will also be bonded to the cratch floor and same at the stern. Smaller jobs to finish are the 2 hardwood kidney shaped stern seats need to be fitted to the stems, front headlights being a pair of francis search lights from a Green goddess fire engine. A stainless steel bracket to the gas locker lid to support a small rotary washing line and sun parasol. Make and fit 2 Oak doors for toilet and utility room, make and fit inside step to cratch.

Once this back cabin and smaller jobs are done, we just need to paint the exterior, shot blast and re-black underneath. I fortunately re primed and blacked the boat about 3 months before we left it mostly unattended in 2010 a so have hardly any rust to contend with anywhere.

I’ll keep updating as we go from here and with plenty of photo’s. Happy days!

We’re off to the boat tomorrow for a long weekend inc Monday and Tuesday. Hopefully we’ll get most of the back cabin finished, will probably need another weekend though to completely finish. After that there’s a few smaller projects to complete.

Fitting of SS bracket pole holder to gas locker lid to accommodate whirlygig and sun umbrella over cratch.

Refit stern sliding hatch which has been lined with rubber and ply.

Fit kidney shaped stern seats.

Fit Green Goddess Francis searchlights headlights.

Fit 1950’s fire engine Lucas searchlight to stern cabin roof.

Fit genuine Klaxon horn.

I’ll also be posting on how we super-insulated our calorifier. And hopefully have some photos of the back cabins coin dot floor with hatch and free standing stainless steel sink unit.

9 more months and we should be afloat.

Long weekend’s proved productive but damned hot.

Managed to get the back cabin (or utility room as we call it) floored in coin dot rubber flooring tiles and finished the inspection hatch. We used 18×18 inch tiles adhered to the ply floor, after I bought these tiles I found you could buy them with a very clever interlocking system which makes them much easier to lay and not necessarily needing to be adhered. Still I stuck (forgive the pun)with what I had and got them used up. You can also get this flooring in sheet form about a metre wide at any length. It’s very hard wearing and grippy to walk on.

The hatch is just 18mm sheet ply edged with Oak raised 3mm to but level against the tiles, and oak the same to the floor edge. Bit of a fiddly job but the hatch is there as an inspection hatch at the lowest part of the stern, but will also be used for storing my beer in the summer and other drinks, it would make for some good cold storage in the winter also should we not run the fridge.

Julynian063
Julynian064
Still plenty to do in this cabin though, hopefully get the SS free standing sink made up and in place tomorrow, lot’s of other stuff to do also though.

Super insulating our calorifier

Original fitment.

Julynian067

On our return to refitting the boat last year following a long break in the fitting out process we came across a few problems.
One was the ceramics in the shower had cracked and weren’t replacable so we had to fit a new shower, another was a spit in a
reducing joint in the central heating system which was caused probably by freezing, what with the boat being left unattended.
The heating system wasn’t full so had no antifreeze additive but we think some water was in the system and trapped in this joint
that split as it was low down.

Anyway after a couple of weekends all these problems were put right, then we noticed the water pump coming on
periodically when no water was being used, we eventually found a leak in the verticle calorifier in the joint where the engine hot water enters the calorifier’s heating coil so yet another thing to put right. On inspecting this leak I wasn’t sure weather the joint above wasn’t leaking either so I decided to remove the calorifier and bring it back we me to Dorset so I could repair all the joints and pressure test it in the comfort of our warehouse. It did turned out both joints had been leaking.

Whilst disconnecting the brass connections some insulation was lost around the 4 vertical joints and there was a pretty large crack in the lower part of the insulation from the centre of the calorifier to the base . I refitted all the joints with new fibre washers and some gunky stuff our local heating engineer suggested we use. Had it pressure tested and all ok.

The lost insulation and the crack in it was niggling me and on further inspection realised that in places the insulation thickness was barely an inch anyway so after some thought I decided it wasn’t good enough and decided to double insulate it.

I cut a disc out of 18mm ply wood 40mm wider than the overal diameter of the calorifier, this gave me a 20mm ply overlap all the way around the unit.

The disc on top had to have another large hole drilled in it to eccept the heating element section on top. The very base of the calorifier was partially hollow at it’s base, so i cut another disc of plywood that fitted snugly inside the copper rim at the base, after filling the void with insulation, I then applied some good quality sealant spread all the way around the ply edge and then screwed the copper edge into the edge of the inserted ply , this now gave me a good solid fixing for the bottom outer disc to fit to. This was cut into a circle with a 45mm overlap all the way around the base.

I then cut 8 x 50mm x 25mm battons to the same length which i then fitted equally all the way around the outer edge of the top ring of ply and then butted the batons to the bottom ply disc and screwed up into the long grain from the bottom ring of ply keeping the front face edge of the baton flush with the face edge of the ply ring. The lengths of baton were measured so the top ring of ply was raised an inch above the existing insulation. I then lined and squared it all up and secured it with blobs of sprayfoam squirted periodically around the casing creating a uniform cylindrical skeleton.

When dried I had a nice rigid frame which would give me an extral 45mm or over 1.5 inches of additional foam insulation over doubling the existing application. I then covered the carcase with some 3mm flexible White Polypropelene sheet which I pre cut to size which wrapped around the frame a treat creating a nice solid cylindar. Polypropelene in it’s self also has insulating properties so a good choice for the casing, looks good and brilliant stuff to work with being easily cut with a stanley knife and flexible.

I left the vertical section with the renewed joints still exposed but situated some baton on either side of these joints which the polypropelene edges were finally screwed to. This created a cavety around the existing spray foam of around 40 to 45mm or 1.5 inch this was then filled with fire proof sprayfoam insulation all around the calorifier. I masked off the top heating element with some large plastic pipe so not to clog it with foam. The small drain plug was also masked with some plastic pipe to ensure it’s future accessability.

For the front vertical section left open containing the main joints I masked over and filled with more spray foam. a raised box cover that slots and screws on to the baton surrounding it is currently being finished. so when the calorifier is fitted into the boat and the pipewrok connected, the boxed area has an additional sheet of 2 inch foam cut to fit around the joints.

The same applies with the element on top of the calorifier using a round plastic top cover and some more foam. so now all the joints on the calorifier can be accessable and can be inspected and replaced if necessary. The extended box section will also cover most of the exiting pipework so further insulating. It’s now all fitted in and working, I just need to further insulate the remaining hot water white pipework and finish the cover. The larger ply base also created a much better fixing to the engine room boxed floor than before. So the whole thing is a lot more sturdy.

We tested it overnight after bringing it up to full temperature, then switching off at midnight. On testing in the morning around 9am and we were very pleasantly surprised, the temperature of the water was dramatically hotter than ever before . Prior to this it was bearly luke warm over 8 to 9 hours but since it has been overhauled it’s definitely much hotter and still warm after lunch if not used for a shower. A tank Jacket would probably have been much cheaper alternative although, saying that the main cost was the poly sheet around 20 quid the rest of the materials used were offcuts lying around and the spray foam I had left over from fitting the porthole liners.

I also got hold of some brand new original SS Jubilee clips from good ole E-bay, just brilliant quality compared to the rubbish you can get today wrapped on original Brown grease proof paper and covered with sticky oil. managed to get enough to replace every Jubilee clip on the boat and some spare.

Julynian068

Overall though I’m very happy with the result and quite pleased at how it looks also.

Julynian069

To be continued…

Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary
1

2014 01 19 Newsletter – Is Weil’s Disease Something To Worry About?

After I pushed the button to send out last Sunday’s newsletter, Sally uttered the phrase I had been dreading for the previous two or three days, “Let’s go shopping!”

I suppose it’s necessary sometimes to join the swarming humanity jammed into soulless shopping malls spending money they can ill afford on things they don’t really need.

We needed to buy some stuff for our holiday. Sally wanted to get a suitcase, some sunglasses for me and some new underwear, also for me. I can understand the need for a suitcase. We wouldn’t get far without one. But why Sally thinks I need new underwear is beyond me. “Your briefs are old and tatty,” she scolded me. I told her that I didn’t think the state of my underwear was terribly important given that I had no intention of parading myself in front of anyone wearing them. She accused me of having no sense of style.

She’s absolutely right. I have no sense of style, I never have and, at the age of fifty three, there’s very little chance of acquiring one now. A sense of style as far as I’m concerned is for someone with plenty of money and for someone who doesn’t live on a narrowboat. Underwear is for keeping your bits in place. Regardless of the colour, style and cut of my old undies, they do the job admirably.

Of course, Sally won the argument. We went shopping for underwear. I picked up the first packet we can across. Sally put it back. “They’re not very nice,” she reasoned as we left Debbenhams looking for Nice-Undies-R-Us. We tried three more shops before I lost the will to live and went to sit in the car. Sally came back with a scowl on her face and nothing in her hands.

I made my own dinner on Sunday evening, read for a bit and then went to bed wearing my old and tatty but practical and every so comfortable Y fronts. Oh, by the way, the suitcase shop was closed and Debbenhams had stopped stocking sunglasses for the winter. Can you see why I hate shopping?

Back at work on Monday we seized an opportunity to do a bit of roofing. There’s a wash house attached to the lock cottage next to our reception and offices where we store cleaning supplies and a washing machine and dryer we use for site laundry. The sloping roof above the wash house is tiled. Half a dozen tiles were broken so rain water had been pouring through the roof every time we had rain. We’ve had rain just about every day recently so the wash house was a bit of a mess.

The forecast was OK for Monday but showers were forecast for the latter part of the day. We had to work quickly.

At 8am Pat and I were on the roof pulling off tiles as quickly as we could. The battens underneath had to be removed too as we also needed to replace the membrane beneath the battens. Most of the battens were rotten so I popped in to Southam for some new ones, helped Pat to tack the new membrane in place, fitted the new battens and replaced the tiles. We finished the job at 4pm… just as the heavens opened. For a change, luck was on our side. One more job ticked off the list.

Tuesday was “little job day”. There’s so much to do here, even in the winter, that a day spent just tidying the site up is occasionally needed. I cut back some wild roses, raked out about a tonne of road planings around some of our new containers, collected a couple of truck-fulls of windfall branches from the willow copse next to our top car park and replaced half a dozen tree protectors blown away  by the recent winds.

On Wednesday I was back in my chainsaw trousers for another day’s cutting. I popped over to Flecknoe to the boss’s house to log the usable hawthorn and blackthorn from the hedge tidying I did the previous week, then returned to the marina to spend the rest of the day felling and removing the last of the damaged oak.

I continued logging all day Thursday then looked forward to a relaxing day on Friday. Not a chance.

There was more holiday shopping to endure. We have everything now, including a rather fetching pair of sunglasses for me. I’m pleased Sally insisted on braving the shops again. We now have everything we need so there’s no need for my normal, typically male, last minute panic.

There’s not much to report on the boating front this week. The mild winter continues to limp along. With the continuous rain everything is sodden. So sodden in fact that one of our online moorers has asked to temporarily move his boat into the marina.

We had ten online moorings, five above Calcutt Top Lock and five below Caclutt Bottom Lock. The five moorings above the Top Lock are next to Napton reservoir. The moorings have a wonderful view but because the path by the side of the boats also forms part of a circular walk around the reservoir, the ground underfoot has been churned into a liquid slop.

So the only boat there which is regularly visited at this time of the year has moved to a temporary mooring in Meadows marina. The view isn’t quite as good but the wooden jetty is much easier to walk on.

The owners may have escaped the mud but you’re never far from a rat when you’re on your boat, and where there are rats, there are diseases.

Weil’s Disease

Last week I told you Sally and I had been to our local surgery for our holiday vaccinations. I mentioned that Sally had been put off the trip by the nurse’s graphic description of leptospirosis. I may have exaggerated Sally’s state of mind somewhat. At the moment, she’s sat by the front doors with her sunglasses on, her suitcase clutched in her excited little hand and her eyes bright with anticipation. She sometimes (but not always) comes back into the boat for toilet breaks.

Water rat

As a result of the story, I received a few emails telling me that leptospirosis is actually Weil’s disease and, as a liveaboard boater, I should really know all about it. I appreciate the emails. Not connecting the two was an oversight on my part, but the kind people who took the time to email me weren’t quite right.

Leptospirosis has a number of common names including mud fever, swamp fever, swineherd’s disease and the rather fetching sewerman’s flu. The cause is infected animal urine – mainly cattle, pig’s and rats’ – in water. It’s found more often in slow moving or still water such as ponds and canals than it is in faster moving rivers and streams.

The infection enters the body through cuts or scrapes or the lining of eyes, nose, mouth or throat. The usual symptoms are headaches, red eyes, muscle pain and fatigue. Symptoms sometime include a skin rash and hallucinations. These are all symptoms of common or garden leptospirosis and not Weil’s disease. Weil’s disease is a very severe form of leptospirosis.

Weil’s disease is a different kettle of fish. Fortunately it’s very rare in the UK. However for the very few who contract it, the disease is particularly unpleasant. The symptoms include organ failure and internal bleeding.

Before you vow never to step foot near a canal or a narrowboat again, it’s important to put things into perspective. Take 2011 for example. Only 44 cases were reported in England and Wales. Fifteen of those 44 cases originated overseas. None were fatal. Given the enormous number of people who have frequent contact with potentially infected water – farmers and vets, water sport enthusiasts and a relatively small number of inland waterways boaters – there really is very little risk of falling foul of leptospirosis and virtually none at all of catching Weil’s disease.

Still, just to be on the safe side, try not to encourage wild rats to urinate in your mouth just after you’ve had a tooth out.

Changes to the newsletter software

I’ve just finished making some changes to the site which, I hope, will make life easier for both you and for me. One of the changes is to move to a different newsletter server. To prepare for the move I’ve been doing a bit of housekeeping. I’ve removed a number of subscribers who, according to the software I use, haven’t been reading their weekly newsletters for the last couple of months.

However, I don’t have complete faith in the accuracy of the software.

I’ll be switching to the new server in time for the newsletter on 26th January. If you haven’t received your usual Sunday newsletter email by midday on 26th January, I’ve probably removed you from the list in error. I apologise in advance if it happens to you, but there’s an easy solution.

All you have to do is either click on the link for the free eBook download in the left hand column of the main part of the site, or click on the link in my signature on any of the 1,000+ posts I’ve made on the forum to get yourself back on the list.

Buying A Sailaway To Fit Out Yourself

I published the first part of Julian Cox’s account of his wide beam self fit out last week. I’ve published part two this week. You can read about the installation of his pine ceiling and oak cladding, fitting a spacious galley, an even more spacious double shower and installing his corner bubble stove.

You can also read about his composting toilet. Composting toilets are fitted on a relatively small number of boats but I’ve heard great things about them. There are no costly regular pump out fees, no need to lug a heavy cassette to an Elsan point every two or three days and no worry about how you’re going to empty your loo when your boat is ice-bound in the winter and no smell.

About every six months the non-smelling solids need emptying out. It’s not as bad a job as you might think. I stood chatting to a fellow boater a few months ago as he carried out his biannual clear out. I couldn’t smell a thing.

Here’s the latest installment for you.

Building A Sea Otter

How would you like a narrowboat which never rusts, never needs to be taken out of the water to have its bottom blacked and which has paintwork said to last for twenty five years? Site subscriber Brian Collings has one.

It’s an aluminium narrowboat made by Sea Otter. Sea Otter’s first narrowboats in 1992 were tiny seventeen and twenty one feet long trailable “go anywhere” boats. The size of their order books have increased as Sea Otter have increased the length of the boats they sell. Now they offer a variety of lengths from their 21′ – 32′ trailable boats up to their longest 56′ narrowboat.

In 2010 Brian had his new boat built. He’s painstakingly documented the build process from the original aluminium sheets for the hull to the boat’s launch, the teething problems he had in the weeks following the launch and his first cruises in his new boat. It’s a fascinating account.

I’ll be publishing the first two parts of his story in the 2nd February newsletter. I’ll be somewhere in the sky between Hong Kong and Manilla at the time the newsletter normally goes out. I don’t know what the internet connectivity is going to be like while I’m away so I’m writing as much content now as I can so that there’s a seamless service while I’m on holiday. I know how much you look forward to your Sunday treat!

Suggestions Please!

I’ve been writing regular newsletters for a couple of years now. During the first year they were every two weeks or so. To be honest, the frequency was a bit hit and miss. My New Year’s resolution, and one that I’m delighted to say that I’ve kept, was to send out a newsletter every Sunday, rain or shine. The hardest part of the process isn’t the writing itself, it’s constantly thinking of new content. The trouble is, I don’t know what you want to read. I think I keep the newsletters reasonably interesting but I don’t know for sure. That’s where I need your help.

Can you let me know what you would like to read in the future? Are there any areas of narrowboat life you don’t think I’ve covered enough or areas which I’ve missed completely? Please let me know what you want to read about. Thanks for your help.

Newsletter Index

I created the site just over three years ago to provide a source of information for anyone interested in narrowboats and the possibility of living on one full time.  The site has grown to encompass a comprehensive listing of inland marinas in England and Wales, dozens of articles, a forum and regular newsletters. I’ve already created (below) indexes of the site articles and the more popular forum posts. I thought it was about time I created an easy to use index of the newsletter content. Here’s the index so far.

12th January 2014

If you’re on a budget maybe a self fit our sailaway is the way to go for you. Here’s the story of a wide beam self fit out to give you inspiration (or put you off completely)

5th January 2014

Planning for the year ahead – Written plans and goals have always been important to me. They help me see into the future. Here’s what we’ve planned for our lovely floating home in 2014.

29th December 2013

The practicality of hosting Christmas afloat – How do you achieve a floating festive event (and do you really want to)?

Liveaboard case study, The Pearl – Tony and Jane Robinson believe in forward planning. They stated their narrowboat fund thirty years before buying their own boat. Now the two retired education workers moor in a marina for the winter then explore the waterways during the warmer months.

22nd December 2013

Narrowboat Storage Space – How much space is there to store your worldly goods on board a narrowboat? Here’s a video walk-through of my own boat James.

15th December 2013

Roses and Castles Canal Art – What is it and why do boaters spend so much money decorating their boats with it?

8th December 2013

Fitting secondary double glazing – Fitting the panels is a simple operation for those with the most basic DIY skills, something which I sadly haven’t developed. As you might expect then, the fitting didn’t go as well as it should.

Narrowboat videos – I launched the Living On A Narrowboat YouTube channel

1st December 2013

Secondary double glazing for your boat – The pros and cons of double glazing on a boat and why secondary double glazing is a much better bet and a fraction of the cost.

Living on a narrowboat vidoes – My first hesitant steps into the world of video production for site content

Can you either live or holiday on a narrowboat if you have a disability? – Here’s what you need to know.

24th November 2013

Winter fuel allowance – Do you qualify for one if you live on a boat?

Case Study – NB Progress. Kim Wainwright recorded her journey on the forum from nervous anticipation to current liveaboard boat owner. Here’s her story.

17th November 2013

Narrowboat central heating – I don’t have any. All that is about to change. Here’s the system I’m going to install and why I’ve chosen it.

10th November 2013

Narrowboat running costs – I compare my own running costs to those of a prominent YouTube video blogger and detail my exact costs for October 2013

3rd November 2013

Popular narrowboat terminology – Hundreds or words or phrases used to describe parts of boats and the waterways they cruise through.

27th October 2013

The wind chill factor – How strong the wind is blowing and which direction it’s coming from can determine how difficult it is to heat your boat. Here’s what you need to know.

Case study – Another couple from down under living the dream on the inland waterways.

20th October 2013Condensation. It’s a common problem on boats. Here are a few suggestions how to keep your boat’s interior dry.

A new organisation for liveaboard boaters

13th October 2013

On demand water heater problems – Discover a common fault with these water heaters and what you can do to resolve the problem.

Know your firewood – Not all timber burns well. Find out which is best and which to avoid.

6th October 2013

Managing your boat’s water supply. You can use your water supply as and when you need it when you live in a house with all mod cons. You can pretty much do the same when you’re on a marina mooring with a water supply just a hose length away. It’s a different kettle of fish when you’re on an online mooring.

Liveaboard case study – A prime example of mooring without a water supply on tap.

29th September 2013

The folly of using unseasoned wood as a fuel – Here’s essential information if you plan to use logs you find to heat your boat for free

Creating lasting memories of your cruises – Slightly off topic, but please bear with me. You’ll have some wonderful adventures as you travel throughout the network. They’ll be adventures worth remembering but will you remember them? I have a very poor memory but instant and total recall of all my cruises is just a click away.

22nd September 2013

A tragedy at Calcutt. Sudden Oak Dieback hits our 1,500 twenty year old oak trees

Forum private messaging – Now you can email other forum users from within the site

15th September 2013

Managing your water supply

An American blogs about his travels

1st September 2013

Solving engine room leaks – A simple solution to a dripping stern tube

All about the weed hatch – Removing debris from your propeller

8th September

A disaster – I inadvertently deleted this week’s newsletter and there wasn’t a backup on the server. What a shame. It was all about the damage you can do to your boat if you don’t watch what you’re doing in a lock. You would have loved it!

25th August 2013

Effective fly killers for boats

The downside to living on a narrowboat

Liveaboard Case Study – American Richard Varnes has taken a year out from work to cruise the canal network and write about his adventure. Here’s his case study and a few stories from his journey so far.

18th August 2013

CART Guide Approval – The waterways’  governing body is now promoting the information packages available from this site. Yippee!

Narrowboat Insurance – A summary of insurance quotes from the major narrowboat insurers

Liveaboard Case Study – Keith and Nicky downsized their property in Jersey, used the released capital to buy their 57? “go anywhere” narrowboat and now live on their boat full time while they continuously cruise the canal network. They’re ridiculously young to retire, and I’m very, very jealous

Downsizing from a 3 bed semi to a narrowboat – What do you do with a lifetime’s accumulated possessions?

11th August 2013

A free download – Living On A Narrowboat: 101 Essential Narrowboat Articles

Narrowboat tips – Handy hints from experienced narrowboat owners

The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How one liveaboard boater manages on a shoestring

4th August 2013

The perfect narrowboat washing machine? – It’s low cost and doesn’t need plumbing in, but does it actually clean clothes?

The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How much does living the life of a water gypsy really cost?

28th July 2013

The cost of living on a narrowboat – An article in the Daily Mail… and why most boaters disagree with what they said.

21st July 2013

Hire boat expectations – Fully understanding what facilities will be available to you is essential if you’re going to enjoy a narrowboat holiday. Here’s what not to do.

14th July 2013

Fenland river cruising – Another boater’s maiden voyage to whet your appetite.

7th July 2013

Anticipating winter weather – You may well be enjoying unusually warm winter weather but the winter will be with us all too soon. Now is the time that you need to plan for the cold weather ahead.

30th June 2013

Keeping your stove glass clean – Maybe you think it’s an odd subject for the summer but you can’t trust the English weather. Late June and the stove was still on now and again. At least now I have a crystal clear view of the fire I shouldn’t need to light.

Traffic chaos caused by Braunston’s historic boat rally – On a day with high winds and a canal full of working boats returning home after the rally, I had the pleasure of taking some very nervous hirers out on the cut.

23rd June 2013 – The cost of a two week cruise. If you live on your own boat, what’s the real cost of taking it away for a two week break?

Case Study – Mary Anne swapped dry land home rental for floating home ownership. Now she loves life afloat and works from home.

Life as a continuous cruiser – The Holy Grail of narrowboat ownership. The ability to travel where and when you like. Peter Early tells all.

16th June 2013

The Ashby canal cruise part two – We spent a bit more time on the Ashby before heading south again, joining the Coventry canal, this time following it into Coventry’s rather depressing and disappointing city centre, then retracing our steps back to Calcutt

Most popular narrowboat names – Here’s the definitive list of the top 200 most popular narrowboat names and a resource you can use to find out if any other boat has the same name as yours

Considerate boating – An article prompted after a near head on collision with another boat trying to avoid a fallen oak.

9th June 2013

I was on holiday for the first two weeks of June. Sally and I cruised from Calcutt to Braunston, north along the north Oxford where we joined the Coventry canal briefly before taking a very sharp right turn onto the Ashby canal. Here’s a daily report of the first week of our holiday.

2nd June 2013

An encounter with two poorly prepared holiday boaters and my own impending two week cruise encouraged me to put together a pre cruise check list

26th May 2013

Laptop hacking – An update on the problems I encountered after buying a brand new laptop which I suspect was tampered with before I bought it.

Diary of a new narrowboat owner – Frequent forum poster “Our Nige” finally moved on to his new floating home. Here’s his story

19th May 2013

My comments about an encounter on the Oxford/GU section between Napton and Braunston sparked a debate about the pros and cons of wide beams on the cut.

Keeping dry – You don’t really need to limit your cruising to sunny summer days. There’s something very special about standing on the back deck in the pouring ran protected by a set of bomb proof waterproofs.

Do you really need a car? Living on a narrowboat is all about enjoying a simple and stress free life. Sally and I had a car each. Mine cost £2,000 to run in the previous 12 months so I decided to get rid of mine to see if I could manage without one.

12th May 2013

An encounter with a wide beam boat and why they aren’t suitable for much of the canal network

An interview with the Trust’s head of boating. Sally Ash talks about the Trust’s approach to the thorny issue of residential moorings

5th May 2013

Narrowboat fuel tanks – How much do they hold

Meet one of your legless canal side companions

The canal network’s largest floating hotel

28th April 2013

Narrowboat blogs – My own first cruise, Our Nige takes his new home on its maiden voyage and a chance for you to have your very own blog section on this site.

21st April 2013

The Trust target illegal moorers but just what does the Trust consider to an illegal mooring?

Identity theft – The ongoing saga of my hacked laptop

RCR engine servicing – River Canal Rescue (RCR) are well known as the waterways equivalent of the AA but did you know that they will also come to your mooring to service your boat?

14th April 2013

The perils of exceeding your monthly broadband data allowance. Learn from my mistakes.

7th April 2013

Narrowboat security – A spate of burglaries from boats and a break in at my former family home encouraged me to write this article

Case study – You need to committed to sell your home to fund the purchase of your narrowboat. That’s what Mick and Marlene have done.

31st March 2013

Case study – Sarah lives on wide beam Antioch on the Leeds Liverpool canal. She can do man things with her hands. Here’s her story.

Be inspired – There are always reasons why you don’t make the move from bricks and mortar to steel and water. Here’s an anecdote which demonstrates once and for all that there really aren’t any worthwhile excuses.

24th March 2013

Here’s an example of what happens when you really don’t understand how your narrowboat works.

Essential boating equipment – Here’s a low cost item which has paid for itself over and over again.

Whilton marina boat sales – Sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be. This alleged fact about the boat sales at Whilton has come to me from several different sources.

17th March 2013

Where can you find residential moorings? Here’s a great place to start

Getting rid of unwelcome visitors – Geese used to regularly disturb a peaceful night’s sleep where I moor. Not any more. Here’s my solution

Know your narrowboat costs – Detailed costs for my own boat for February 2013

Half a dozen boaters now have access to their own blog section on the site. You can too. Here’s how.

11th March 2013

James’ upgrade – Adding solar panels and replacing carpets with oak effect laminate flooring

3rd March 2013

Stove fuel test – What works best; coal, wood, briquettes or something else entirely – Here’s my own take on a Waterways World test

Essential stove maintenance – Here’s what you need to do to make sure that your stove always performs well.

Internet connectivity – I use the internet four or more hours every day. This is the setup I have on my boat to make sure that I’m always connected.

Detailed running costs for my own boat for January 2013

20th February 2013

The real cost of going cheap. An in depth look at the cost of my 36 year old boat, and how much I spent (and still need to spend) before it will be a comfortable full time cruising boat.

8th January 2013

Case Studies – I put together 21 of the best case studies and analysed and summarised the data in this low cost guide. If you want ton save yourself hundreds of hours of research and costly mistakes, you need to read this guide.

Case Study – Mike’s circumstances are similar to my own. He moved onto his boat after a failed marriage. He’s upgraded from a 27? GRP cruiser to a 50? narrowboat

24th December

Narrowboat electrics part 2 – The concluding article from Tim Davis

I asked newsletter subscribers to send me detailed breakdowns of their bricks and mortar expenses so I could compare them with the cost of running a narrowboat. Quite a few subscribers obliged. I added the breakdowns to my narrowboat costs guide and the budgeting application.

18th December 2012

Understanding narrowboat electrics – Another excellent article from Tim Davis

Satellite television for narrowboats – Information from a system installer

2nd December 2012

Low cost narrowboat ownership – A low cost solution to the problem of funding your first narrowboat

Solar power – All you need to know about installing solar panels on your boat. Written by the inland waterways most popular solar system installer

Case Study – Mr. Solar Panel Tim Davis writes about life on board his own narrowboat

21st November 2012

First tests and reviews of the budgeting application

The best aerial for a narrowboat television

6th November 2012

The first release of the new spreadsheet based narrowboat budgeting application

28th October 2012

An unscheduled dip in the marina prompted me to write about safety on the waterways

Living on a narrowboat – Through the eyes of a young lady who would clearly prefer to be somewhere else

17th October 2012

I started to develop the narrowboat budgeting software. This newsletter detailed the concept and the progress to date

14th October 2012

Practical flooring for narrowboat dogs

Case study – Mike and Mags use a double redundancy payment to pay for their new floating home

30th September 2012

The best tip for a wannabe narrowboat owner – Advice from existing boat owners

18th September 2012

I published my guide Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat. When this newsletter was published it was only available as a Kindle edition. Now it’s available in both Kindle and PDF format and is bundled with Narrowbudget, the site’s bespoke narrowboat budgeting application.

VAT on narrowboat sales

20th July 2012

Dealing with pests on a narrowboat – spiders and swans

Posh boats – My personal favourite: S.M. Hudson

7th July 2012

Repeat prescriptions, diesel heating systems and solar panels

10th June 2012

Survey – Do you want a forum on the site? (You already know the answer to that!)

27th  May 2012

How to clean your stove glass – One of the real pleasures of a living fire is watching the flames on a cold winter’s eve. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you can actually see the fire.

Smoking on board – An alternative to smelly smoke

13th May 2012

DIY narrowboat painting – I’ve broken down the complete cost of painting your own boat and

Dealing with wind on the river – A guest article from liveaboard narrowboat owner Alan Cazaly

29th April 2012

DIY narrowboat painting – I spent three weeks in April painting my boat. Here’s the first of my progress reports

15th April 2012

Life on the river Cam – A guest article on the pleasures of river life by wide beam liveaboard Luther Phillips

Case Study – Freelance writer Anne and her South African farmer partner John reveal all

Case Study – Toni cruises constantly with ex husband Allan. They cruise together but they live apart… on separate boats

 1st April 2012

As a result of the article about the downside of living on a narrowboat published in the 18th March newsletter, I asked liveaboard narrowboat owners to complete a survey to give a balanced view of the issues raised by Pauline. Here are the survey results and a much more positive article by liveaboard narrowboat owner and frequent forum contributer Peter Early.

18th March 2012

The downside of living on a narrowboat – This was a very controversial post. Liveaboard Pauline Roberts wrote about the less pleasant aspects of life afloat… and attracted a storm of comments

Case study: The Woodsman – Pauline Roberts again giving an insight into the life that you may think she doesn’t like.

4th March 2012

Reviewed: The Liveaboard Guide by Tony Jones. A great guide to living afloat

eBay Narrowboat scam (and a little bit of flack for me from another forum)

Case Study: Author Toby Jones on his own liveaboard narrowboat

A review of Debdale Wharf marina

22nd January 2012

Two more case studies. One of them waxed lyrical about life on the waterways and enjoyed every minute of her life afloat. Now (April 2013) she’s selling up to follow another dream in Spain.

8th January 2012

The first four narrowboat case studies published

I’ll start with myself; Paul Smith, living on my own, moored in a marina and working full time. Narrowboat James case study

Meet Peggy. She has a husband and two small children, works full time and cruises the network during the summer months. Narrowboat Violet Mae case study

Fancy spending your retirement cruising the waterways of England and Wales? Meet Barry and Sue Horne. They’re living the dream! Narrowboat Adagio Case Study

Here are another working couple. Lina and Warren cruise the cut with their two cats.Narrowboat Olive Rose case study.

2nd February 2011

Article – Living on a narrowboat in winter

1th January 2011 – 1st Newsletter

Dealing with the coldest winter on record
Digital reading – A detailed review of the Kindle, the perfect solution for book loving boat owners

Comprehensive Site Article Listing

There are dozens of helpful and interesting articles on the site, but have you found them all? I thought you might appreciate a list of the more popular articles that you can glance through and click on the ones that take your fancy. Here it is.

Popular Forum Posts

There’s a wealth of information on the site in general, but if you’re struggling to find the answer to a particular issue, the forum is the place to find it. I’ve listed some of the more popular posts below but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask your question on the forum. If you don’t know how to create a post, or if you can’t log in, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to get you up and running.

  • Aluminium Boats – They don’t rust so why don’t you see more of them on the inland waterways?
  • Ironing Board On Board – How do boaters manage a crease free life?
  • Freezing Water – How to stop your pipes and pumps from freezing in the winter
  • CRT & Continuous Cruising – The Trust and their enforcement of the rules
  • Heat – Advice for the owner of a cold boat
  • GPS Devices and Canal Mapping – Are there any decent ones available for your narrowboat and do you need them anyway?
  • Battery Monitors – Replacing your leisure batteries is one of your more expensive maintenance costs. Here’s some detailed information about a device for looking after your batteries
  • Survey Costs – How much should you pay to have your boat removed from the water for a survey?
  • Battery monitors – Gimmick or essential boating equipment?
  • Engine size and performance – Most engines are suitable for pottering about on the canal but what size engine do you need if you plan to cruise on rivers?
  • A Big Inverter Or A Suitcase Generator – What are the pros and cons of either option?
  • Who Owns Your Boat? – How do you find out if there’s still finance attached to your boat when you buy it.
  • Boat Shares – A low cost alternative to outright narrowboat ownership. Advice from a current share owner
  • Plumbing In A Back Boiler – Advice Offered
  • Inverter Installation – What do you need and can you fit one yourself?
  • Getting Rid Of Space Wasting CD’s & DVD’s – The solution is to digitise your collection. Here’s how to do it.
  • Depreciation – How much does a new narrowboat lose in value as the years go by?
  • The Cost Of Continuous Cruising – How much does the nomadic lifestyle really cost?
  • 12v Narrowboat Washing Machines – Is there any such animal?
  • “Chiggers” – It’s a mite you can pick up from the ever growing population of Canada Geese. Beware!
  • Post & Postal Addresses For Continuous Cruisers – You need an address in order to receive post and open bank accounts, register for doctors and hospitals etc. How do continuous cruisers with no fixed abode manage it.
  • Keeping Cool On A Narrowboat – How to keep people and pets cool in the summer
  • It’s Official: There’s No Need To Pay Mooring Fees – Or so this Daily Mail article claims. You may disagree. I do.
  • Overcrowded Waterways – More and more people are choosing a life afloat. Are the waterways becoming congested?
  • VAT On New Narrowboats – Can you knock 20% off the cost of your new narrowboat?
  • Lock Techniques – How do you handle a narrowboat in a lock on your own?
  • Narrowboat Burglary – Two boats burgled at the same location. Where is it and what can you do to minimise the risk of theft from your own boat wherever you are?
  • Insuring Your Car When You Live On A Boat – A boat owner had his car insurance cancelled when he told them he lives on a narrowboat. How does he approach other insurance companies?
  • Remedies For Sooty Stove Glass – For me, one of the great pleasures of living on a narrowboat is a winter evening in front of a flickering fire. Here’s how you can keep your stove glass clear so you can see the fire in all its glory
  • Visitor Moorings With Shore Power – Sometimes you need to hook up to the mains when you moor for the night. Where can you find these moorings?
  • Steam Power – Are there any steam powered narrowboats on the network?
  • Lightning – Is there a risk of your narrowboat being struck by lightning?
  • Overplating/Replating – What’s the difference between the two and what’s involved in having the work done?
  • The Logistics Of Buying A Boat – A fascinating account from a potential narrowboat owner as he tried to get a boat out of the water so that it can be suryeyed.
  • Winter Stoppages 2013/2014 – The Trust carry out essential scheduled repairs during the quieter, cooler months. Here’s their planned stoppages for the coming winter.
  • A New Narrowboat Dog – Alan recently moved on board his own floating home. He loved his new boat but something was missing. Now he has a new best friend and he’s in love, although his new best friend has proven a bit of a challenge.
  • Electric Boats – What do they cost to run? Why would you want one? There’s a huge amount of information for you here if you’ve ever considered an alternative to a diesel narrowboat engine.
  • Pram Covers – “Pram cover” is the term for a cover over the rear deck, usually on a cruiser stern narrowboat. Here are the pros and cons.
  • The difference between cruising on canalas and rivers – This is a very popular thread for very good reason. It’s packed with advice if you’re new to river cruising.
  • Checklists – What do you need to check before you set off on a cruise? There’s some very detailed information including a very useful post by fellow Calcutt moorer Graham who has issues with his mobility after an RTA many years ago.
  • Television Aerials – If you can’t live without your Corrie, you’ll need a decent aerial for your boat.
  • My New Life – I urge you to read this forum thread. If you dream of living on your own narrowboat one day, reading this post, written by a new liveaboard boater, may well prove the catalyst you need. It’s essential reading for any aspiring narrowboat owner.
  • Narrowboat Ownership – How do you prove that the person offering a narrowboat for sale is the real owner?
  • Tips For Continuous Cruisers – He’s making a bit of a habit of it; Pearley’s back with some great cruising tips
  • The Llangollen Canal – One of the country’s most beautiful canals discussed
  • Deliveries to your boat – Excellent information from regular forum contributor Pearley
  • Mobile Broadband – All you need to know about internet connectivity on board
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that fellow boaters can steal your internet data allowance?
  • Boat Planning & Design – Is there any free software available to hel you plan your dream boat?
  • A Narrowboat Checklist – What checks do you need to carry out before you set out on a cruise?
  • Tunnels – How do you navigate them? Who has priority?
  • Windows Or Portholes – Round or square, which is best? Is it just a matter of personal preference?
  • Day To Day Questions About Narrowboat Life – How can “newbies” find out the answers to questions about day to day life on a narrowboat? The answer is simple. Find out by reading this post.
  • Beds – The pros and cons of fixed doubles and cross beds. You need to read this if you are taller or slightly wider than average.
  • Flushing Out a Toilet Waste Tank – Emptying your pumpout toilet holding tank isn’t just a case of sucking out your unmentionables. You also need to flush water through the tank to remove the built up solids. Here’s how to do it.
  • Narrowboat Knots – Do you know your bowline from your buntline hitch, your cleat hitch from your clove hitch or your poacher’s knot from your square knot? No? It’s about time you did!
  • Free Narrowboat Heating – Is there any such thing? Read this post to find out
  • Narrowboat Furniture – Not everyone wants fitted furniture on their boat. Here are a few ideas if you want to add your own.
  • Weight on a narrowboat – How many people can you carry on a narrowboat, and how much luggage can they bring with them?
  • Narrowboat Finance – A Canadian hoping to move to the UK, buy a boat and cruise the network.
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that you can have your boat’s broadband allowance stolen? Here’s what you can do to prevent the theft.
  • Problems Powering An Inverter With A Generator – Why didn’t it work and what’s the solution?
  • Diesel Costs – You need it to run your boat and maybe your heating system. How much can you expect to pay for it?
  • Stove Top Fans – Are they worth the money?
  • Mooring Pins and Piling Hooks – What are they and when do you use them?
  • Water Pump Problems – What to do if your water pump appear to have a life of its own
  • Fuel Contamination – How do you know if you’ve water in your diesel… and what do you do about it when you have?
  • Anchors – What’s the best size and weight anchor for narrowboats on tidal rivers
  • Single Handed Boating for Ladies – Can a lady on her own pass safely through locks?
  • Different Types of Mooring – What’s the difference between residential and leisure moorings? How long can you stay on your boat with each type?
  • Which Ropes To Use? – There are so many different types available. Are the more expensive ones worth using or is it just a case of money for old rope?
  • Windows – Why do narrowboat owners tolerate condensation? Why don’t they have modern uPVC windows fitted?
  • Best Ex Hire Boats – Are you considering buying an ex hire boat to live on? Should you? Here’s some important information for you.
  • Liveaboard Conclusions – Mel Davies has been doing  plenty of research into her hoped for lifestyle afloat. Here are the conclusions she’s reached and comments from a few existing liveaboard narrowboat owners.
  • Handling Floodwaters – How safe is a river mooring during and after heavy rain? Can you stay on a river when the level rises? What can you do to minimise danger?
  • Narrowboat steel thickness – How thick is your boat’s steel? How long does it last?
  • Retro fitting a solid fuel stove – Where’s the best place to put your stove and what’s involved in fitting it?
  • Converting from a cassette toilet to a pump out – A pump out toilet is far more convenient to use than a toilet with a portable cassette but how easy are they to retro fit in a narrowboat?
  • Gas free boating – If you don’t fancy heaving unwieldy gas bottles into a difficult to reach bow locker, a gas free boat might be the solution
  • Winter on the cut – Are you able to cruise all year on your boat or should you find a mooring for the winter?
  • Transporting your boat – Sometimes you may want or need to take your narrowboat by road rather than cruise along the canal. Here’s an idea of the cost
  • Bike types and preferences – If you don’t have a car parked near your boat, you’ll probably want a bike, but which type of bike is best?
  • Towing a butty – I’ve upset someone. I didn’t mean to. Wainbody wanted to know the best way of towing an unpowered second narrowboat (butty). I came across as patronising when I replied. It was unintentional but to make amends I thought I would ask anyone with boat handling experience to reply to his thread with some constructive advice. If you can help him, please reply to the post.
  • The best flooring for a narrowboat pets –  What’s the best way to protect your floor from a dirty doggy?
  • The best time of the year to buy a boat – Is there a deal to be done by buying a boat in the winter?
  • The best length for a liveaboard narrowboat – What’s the best length to buy? What are the pros and cons of different length boats
  • ONE tip to offer a potential narrowboat owner – If you are already a narrowboat owner, you can share your experience. If you haven’t bought one yet, you need to read this thread.
  • Powering your computer on a narrowboat – Can you power your computer/laptop from the boat’s 12v supply or do you need mains power?
  • Must-have gadgets and necessities – The most useful/useless gadgets for life on a narrowboat
  • Choosing a stove for your boat – Are domestic solid fuel stoves as good as the ones designed specifically for boats? Which is the best one to buy?
  • Diesel heating for boats – How important is a solid fuel stove on a liveaboard narrowboat? Is a diesel heating system OK as a primary heat source?
  • Computers on boats – Can a computer be powered from your boat’s 12v system or does it need to be plugged into the mains
  • Receiving post on your boat – How does the postman find you when you’re cruising? How do you apply for a driving license, a TV license or a bank statement when you have no official address?
  • Bikes on board – Many boat owners do not have cars so they rely on bikes to get them to the shops (or the pub). Some use bikes to collect their cars after a day’s cruising. There’s a huge selection of bikes to choose from. Which are the best for your boat? To tell you the truth, I don’t know the answer. Can you point forum member Ainslo in the right direction?
  • VAT on narrowboat sales – Does the price of your narrowboat contain a VAT element? Can the VAT be reclaimed?
  • Internet access – How do you connect to the internet when you live on a boat?
  • Living off property rental income – Do you have a property that you indend to let while you cruise the waterways? Read this before you work out your budget.
  • How to find a narrowboat to live on – Here’s an article about choosing a liveaboard narrowboat, and a question about finding a narrowboat with a steering wheel.
  • Vertigo – How to deal with walking over lock gates if you’re frightened of heights.
  • Long term narrowboat hire – If you aren’t ready to buy a narrowboat yet, what are your chances of hiring a narrowboat for more than a few weeks?
  • Residential moorings and single handed boating – How do you handle a narrowboat on your own? What do you do about a mooring if you live on board and only want a mooring for part of the year
  • Too tall for a narrowboat? – Is a narrowboat suitable for you if you are above average height?
  • Dealing with condensation – Do all narrowboats suffer from damp? What can you do about it?
  • Solar panels – More information about portable and fixed solar panels
  • Heating systems – Hurricane and Mikuni heating systems discussed

Useful Links

Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat – Narrowboat costs explained in detail. My own maintenance and living cost on narrowboat James for a full year. Use this information to work out your own costs.
CRT (Canal & River Trust) maintain the waterways. Here’s their site.
Find out what parts of the canal are closed and for how long. Essential cruising information for you.
Do you need to find a home for your boat? Here’s a comprehensive list of the narrowboat friendly marinas in the UK
Do you want to see where these marinas are on a map? Here it is.
Here’s a map of all the canals on the system to help you plan your route.
Newsletter Archive – Browse through a wealth of useful content in the newsletters over the last year.
Find out more about narrowboat central heating costs here.

vaccines Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary

Julynian – A Wide Beam Self Fit Out Part 2

Continued from Part 1

The boat yard is on the river with steel floating pontoons. We paid to moor the boat here over the winter period. The pontoons were quite large so plenty of room for working outside in the warmer weather and a constant 240 volt supply.

This is when the boat was ballasted, around 14 tons of 2×2 concrete slabs, and 6 pallet loads of paving brick. Took five of us a good day to get it all in place. All the ballast was laid on to plastic strip. This allows air to circulate under the ballast, and also stops ballast scratching the base plate if movement occurs. Plastic strip also protects where ballast touches the bearer sides again allowing good circulation of air.

This now completed the plywood floor was replaced and screwed down.

Pine Ceiling

This is where we began the ceiling in T&G pine. We knew this was going to be a tricky job as the roof insulation would be applied as enough T&G went up to accommodate it.

We ordered the T&G from a local merchant, getting a good deal as we had to order over 400 metres at 15mm thick. This was then all sanded down before applying caustic soda to age the wood as we wanted an antique pine finish.

When the caustic dries it again has to be sanded smooth before applying. Each plank was then offered up drilled screwed then plugged. 2 screws every 2 feet for each plank. This took the best part of 1000 screws and plugs, all plugs were cut on a pillar drill and glued into place. When dry they were all cut off with a Chinese saw and again sanded down prior to staining and 3 coats of varnish.

The whole ceiling and front bulkhead and engine room took around 10 days with Lynn myself and my dad as a helper. The final result though was well worth the effort.

This included the fitting and wiring of ceiling lights which were originally wired for Halogens but have now been replaced with LED MR16 bulbs with 38 individual Led’s in each fitting. Plenty bright enough and these latest bulbs have a nice Yellowish tint that mimic the soft light you get from Halogen bulbs. We also have some Luxeon star Led’s with just 3 super bright Led’s which are also very good but much more expensive.

These are the last pictures taken.

Julynian040

Next up was the lining out. We ordered Oak faced 9mm ply from a company in Bristol Again a good price for a large order of 40 sheets. This process was quite quick and easy. All the battening was spaced to maximise the 8f/t lengths of ply. They basically needed trimming down width wise and applying with 30mm screws where necessary.

We then had lots of off cuts of Oak ply which we used to do some lining out in the engine room creating cupboard space for the electrics and other equipment.
Julynian018Julynian019Julynian020Julynian021

This was quite tricky as the sides of the boat curve into the stern and not much to fix to so some clever stud framing was required. A good job to do though during the colder weather and the whole lot done with off cuts.

Next up was the lining out. We ordered Oak faced 9mm ply from a company in Bristol Again a good price for a large order of 40 sheets. This process was quite quick and easy. All the battening was spaced to maximise the 8f/t lengths of ply. They basically needed trimming down width wise and applying with 30mm screws where necessary.

We then had lots of off cuts of Oak ply which we used to do some lining out in the engine room creating cupboard space for the electrics and other equipment.

Julynian023

On the move

The mooring at Keynsham was pretty expensive, so now the boat was navigable, we moved from Keynsham onto a BW winter mooring in Bath on the K&A at Bathwick in October 2004. My brother also moved from the yard a couple of weeks earlier. He had moored on the River Avon in Bath where we joined him for a few weeks en route to the mooring.

Julynian028

This location was great as My Mum lives opposite and could see both boats from her flat window. So security was good. We also took the boats up to Bath weir a few times to get used to the handling.

The winter mooring at Bathwick ran from November 04, so we made our way on to the cut. The mooring was ideal just a couple of hundred yards from the main road.

Julynian029

We continued working most the weekends we could. My dad checked on the boat daily through the winter period as he lived just down the road.

Having the boat lined out and a couple of radiators fitted, it was quite warm and comfortable to live on although very open plan at this stage.

Once the main lining out was completed our next task was to build the galley. We always wanted to keep the living area spacious and open plan. So the entire front 27f/t of the cabin space is a lounge galley diner.

Fitting of Galley

Firstly the galley almost central is constructed using a standard kitchen from Ikea. However some changes to the standard kitchen have been utilised.

The height of the kitchen is about 3 inches higher than a standard kitchen. The reason for this is that preparing food and washing up at a standard kitchen height gives both me and Lynn back ache. So raising this height on the boat has now illuminated this problem.

Julynian030Julynian031

Having a higher than standard fitted kitchen created additional usable space under the units, so a drawer has been made to utilise this space. As it’s so low down it’s a good place to store things that require cooler storage. Although you can use this storage space for almost anything we want.

The drawer is about 8 inches high 20″ deep and 38 inches wide, a very useful space. The drawer has been made and fits and slides nicely, just needs the front facia fitted which will match the dark Blue plinth. I’ve used good quality ball bearing sliding rails which lock in the closed position like many modern kitchen unit drawers do now. The rails can take a massive weight so even if full of tinned food or bottled water it’s man enough for the job. I’ll router out finger slots to the front which will add ventilation to the drawer.

Julynian033
To the Right is a New World cooker purchased from Midland Chandlers. It’s of course LPG with built in oven and grille and hob.

To the Left a Bosch fridge 240 volt A+ rated but with a slight difference to other fridges. This one has a flush flat slim door. The fridge contains 3 sliding shelves that pull out, so no need to bend down scrimmaging around for food. It all appears before you. The lower drawer will take full size bottles of milk and 3litre soft drink bottles. So will store all the stuff any normal fridge would.

Under the fridge are 2 computer cooling fans which draw cold air from the bilge and help keep the back of the fridge cool in the summer.

The U shape of the kitchen could cause wasted space in the 2 corners it creates. We used carousel units so to maximise this space. 2 round shelves that rotate forward bring the equipment you’re looking for to you, so again no bending down searching for things.

The only actual cupboard is the centre door beneath the kitchen sink and drainer. All other units are drawers.

The worktop is also IKEA solid Oak @40mm thick. Their Oak worktops are such a keen price you usually have to order them well in advance. We put a small Blue tiled splash back to the sink area, and plan on some Blue glass splash backs to either side.

The galley is built directly below the pigeon hatch with a porthole over the kitchen sink and opening side doors opposite.

Julynian035Julynian036

Stove and hearth

The stove is a Bubble corner stove 5kw as I recall. This was pretty easy to fit also following manufacturers instructions. I did cock up the chimney though by putting 2 kinks in it, however this did affect the way the stove burned so will be replaced by a straight pipe already purchased.

The hearth either side is natural slate about 4mm thick purchased from Walcot Reclamation in Bath.

The lounge floor is natural cherry wood. This was from a tree felled by lightening on an estate in Dorset where we currently live. We seasoned this in out warehouse for over a year before getting it planed up for the floor. Cherry wood has varying colours from Cream to Red with Greens and Orange and even pink is some grain. Really warm looking wood. We had some left over that was used in the bathroom. More on that later.

Julynian037Julynian038

The Black and white tiling we think makes the area stand out, we also plan on having some wrought iron steps made up for entry to the cratch. The doors colour is not decided yet, the 2 inner door panels will be filled in with mirror glass which Lynn will adhere some lead design which will contain some coloured sections in the pattern.

The porthole liners have now been fitted and doors painted but not the final colour we think LOL

This is the latest photo’s with the addition of a Schatz barometer & clock & TV

Julynian040

The Oak faced panel below the door tread is removable by pulling a couple of pins out from the door tread, this releases the panel which allows access to the S/S water tank. The space above and around the tank is very useful for storage. Summer folding chairs fishing rods etc etc.

The dining area is straight forward no fittings cupboards, just the bamboo flooring that runs from the lounge through the kitchen diner bathroom and bedroom.

Bathroom

First thing to get fitted was the double shower, with this being to the side of the boat it had to be completed first. It’s a basic double shower tray but extended a little with some mosaic tiling making the length of the shower just under 5 f/t

Julynian041Julynian042Julynian043

We managed to get some quality sliding shower doors from Karma fortunately avoiding a bespoke order as the size of this shower was designed to the size of the doors.

Next up was the composting toilet. Not to every ones taste it seems but for us ideal. No holding tank. No pump out fees. No smells. Just an efficient toilet that needs emptying about every 6 months. It does need a chimney though, so we thought we would turn this into an advantage rather than a possible eyesore.

Composting toilets need ventilation and composting works at it’s best in warm conditions. So when the heating was fitted a spur off to a small copper coil was fitted so when the heating is on there’s direct heat under the toilet to speed up the composting process. You can buy the toilet with a 12 volt fan, but we simply fitted our own at much less cost using a standard computer cooling fan. This increases air flow which evaporated liquid waste.

There’s an overflow for liquid waste if it gets excessive, we rigged this to overflow into a canister under the floor, to date it’s only needed emptying once.

You might notice that the plinth around the toilet is the left over Cherry wood from the lounge floor. The composting loo by Sun-mar does stand quite high and comes with a flimsy step, the plinth however does a much better job. The flooring is Bamboo but a slightly darker shade than the rest of the bamboo flooring.

Julynian044Julynian045

The sink is to the Left as you enter and again some left over Cherry wood made a nice little plinth pedestal cupboard to support it.

Julynian046

 

The bathroom walls are covered in a plastic tongue and groove product purchased from B&Q it’s 15mm thick but hollow box sectioned. This stuff is so easy to clean and surprisingly doesn’t condensate. It simply is stapled to the plywood walls I fitted previously.

With the bathroom now finished we have a fully functional boat. My brother suggested we went for a cruise as 2 daughters were on Easter holiday. So end Feb beginning of march we headed off toward Devises hoping to reach the bottom of Caen hill lock which at that time was closed for repair, although there’s no way we would be attempting it.

The cruise went brilliantly well and we reached Devises in time to return with ease. The visits to pubs and other places en route were great, and we could have happily continued on with a half finished boat. Unfortunately reality kicked in and 3 weeks later it was back to work.

We kept the boat on the water through the summer and continued to get work done.

Space was getting tight on the boat and I had to get the Oak trim fitted. The Oak trim is 75mm x 15mm and was all cut and planed to that size by a company in Martock in Somerset who specialise in hardwoods. I think all the oak needed was just under £700 including vat.

It’s now November 06 and having been on the water for 18 months we decide to take the boat out of the canal and place on dry land. This was mainly due to changes and expansion with our business, but gave an opportunity to re Black the hull and finish all the work off with relative ease having a 240 volt supply and old removal van to store tools and equipment in.

 

Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary

A Case Study Of Liveaboard Wide Beam Julynian

Julian Cox is one of those clever fellows who can do things with his hands which mystify me. He purchased a bare steel shell and transformed it himself into a comfortable floating home. There’s a link to his build blog at the bottom of this post.

Who are you? (and your significant other and, of course, your dog if you have one)

We are Lynn & Julian + 2 cats Zig and Zag

Tell me a little about yourself and why you decided to live a life afloat

We initially became interested in boats about 11 years ago. My brother purchased a narrowboat and after talking to him about it, we thought, yep we like it, let’s get one. So we did. Initially a 3 to 4 year project ended up taking 9 years. Many reasons for this including the recession of course. Fitting out a boat is a lot more difficult than meets the eye, the major delays in the project though were more to do with family issues and some unexpected bereavements. We’ve made now though, although we did have 2 years on the water in 2005 to 2007, fitting out a boat on the canal side though just makes a tricky task even more difficult. We decided to put the boat on dry land to finish the project.

What is your boat called and why did you decide on that name?

The boats name in a mix of Julian and Lynn JULYNIAN

Do you have a permanent mooring?

No we are continuous cruisers.

What is your boat style and length

he boat is a 60′ X 10’6″ wide beam with a traditional stern made by R&D fabrications in 2004. The boat also has a Slipper stern, a design of stern designed by R&D We fitted the 2.5L Perkins Diesel engine.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

10 years

How did you finance your boat?

Initially from a divorce settlement.

How much time do you spend on your boat each year?

We live aboard so almost all.

Are you still working? (If so, what do you do?)

We are semi retired. Owning a boat and the reduced costs enable us to live a comfortable lifestyle on a low income.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

I can’t think of anything.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Freedom of movement and independence.

If you could change just one thing about your boat, what would it be?

Fitting of flexible solar panels to roof. Too expensive at the moment though, so we have 740w of standard panels.

When you are cruising how do you resupply (How do you get to the supermarket without a car)?

We have a van, when we cruise I cycle back and pick up the van. We have oil and gas delivered to the boat, we can also order chandlery items and have them delivered in the same way.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a standard washing machine but a very economical model. We do washing whilst the engine is running it is supplied with power from a 3kw pure sine inverter.

What type of toilet do you have on board and are you happy with it?

We have a composting toilet, it works really well. Not to every ones taste but we done have emptying fees and we only need to empty a small amount of waste partially composted every 6 weeks or so.

How do you connect to the internet when you are on your boat and are you happy with the service you receive?

We have a 3 MIFI which can run 5 things from such as lap tops game consoles. The MIFI sits in a porthole window and is rechargeable.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

We have only experienced the Western K&A so far, favourite area so far is Seend Melksham

How do you generate electricity when you are cruising and how much do you use?

From March to end October Solar panels supply all of our electrical energy, cruising gives more energy and we do things like washing in the washing machine to use any additional power. Engine running also heats water in our calorifier. We use around 80ah per day.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Very warm, it’s been a mild winter, with the stove on lowest setting it’s too hot, we have to open hatches and doors to cool down. I ensured our boat was well insulated. Most spray foamed boats do not have sufficient thickness, we used Rockwool covered in 10mm Celotex.

What advice can you offer someone considering living on a narrowboat?

We’ve only lived aboard full time for 4 months, it’s been a breeze so far, but that’s due to good planning and understanding of what can happen when living afloat.

A lot of people proposing to live on boats work full time. If they intend to continuously cruise they might find it difficult complying with CC cruising rules and working at the same time so a full understanding of the mooring and cruising rules is essential.

You can read about Julian’s epic wide beam fit out here.

_____________________________________________________________________

Are you one of the lucky few who lives the dream on board your own narrowboat full time? Would you like to share your experience with some of the thousands of potential floating home owners who visit this site? If you can spare the time to answer a few simple questions, I would love to hear from you. Just let me know so I can email the questions to you. I’ll create a post like the one above complete with a link back to your own blog or website.

Tony & Jane Robinson.

Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary

Julynian – A Wide Beam Self Fit Out

We initially became interested in boating in 2003 when My younger brother following a divorce, decided to purchase a narrowboat to live on. After talking with him at some length about it Lynn and myself decided to look into it further. We did a lot of research on the internet and subscribed to a couple of narrowboat publications. Soon after we were pretty much hooked. We also walked the canals and spoke to boaters, and hired a boat for the day on a few occasions. It soon became apparent that a narrowboat would be too small for us, so we decided that a wide beam would be the answer but wanted it to resemble a narrowboat rather than a barge type canal boat.

My partner Lynn had some money put by from her divorce settlement, it wasn’t enough to buy even a lined sail away though, so we did the sums and decided to order a bespoke shell from a quality builder and do the rest ourselves.

We did a lot of searching but found a boat builder in Newark called R&D Fabrications. The owners were nice down to earth people, they had been in the business for 25 years + and had a very good reputation. We decided to go for a 60 f/t x 10/6 widebeam with a semi traditional style slipper stern. The boat would be supplied fully primed, wind and water tight, 13 Brass portholes, 5 Brass mushroom vents, 10 fender eyes, pole and plank holders and some extras like, 5 f/t pidgeon box, built in seat lockers, diesel bow tanks, S/S water tank , 6 marine batteries. The total cost including delivery to Keynsham £20,843.71 which included the supply of a Bubble Stove the boat yard ordered for us at trade price.

We placed our order in late 2003 and the build commenced soon after, the boat was completed to the stage required in March 2004 and delivered to us in Keynsham nr Bristol where we had arranged some hard standing to commence work on the boat.

Our initial plans was the fit out would take us 2 to 3 years. We resided in Dorset and would have to travel a 130 mile round trip to do work on the boat. All got off to a good start, we quickly painted the engine room and fitted the 2.5L Perkins diesel engine we had purchased separately and all the running gear. We also had a plywood floor fitted throughout the boat. My brother who’s an engineer assisted with the engine fitting which just took a couple of days. We then began the fit out by applying insulation.

We only had weekends to work on the boat. All went pretty well for the first 3 months, and we had reached a stage where all services were in place, insulated and the boat now needed to go on the water and be ballasted before lining out could begin.

We spent 6 months on a pontoon at the boatyard and then moved off the mooring to save the £80 per week cost. We had a lot of fitting out already done on the water by 2007 but complications with our business meant we couldn’t commit as much time to the boat. Also there was a problem with space. The majority of the boat was lined out and the 25ft long open plan saloon was near complete along with the bathroom so space became very limited. There were far to many tools and too much equipment to store in what little space remained so we decided to get it craned on to dry land to finish the fit out.

Unfortunately other problems then arose. Some family deaths and the recession meant family issues and keeping the business afloat took priority. Visits to the boat were few and far between for a good 3 years and little progress was made. Eventually with the downsizing of the business we got back to regular weekend visits around mid 2010 but it still took until June 2013 to actually complete the fit out and external painting. Part of the reason was with the saloon part of the boat mostly finished it was very comfortable and warm, so we decided to not set a time scale and just plod on at our leisure, it worked well, no pressure and here we are now afloat and absolutely loving it.

Would we do it all again. Definitely. Here’s a diary of our projject.

The boat is 10′ 6” X 60′ wide beam constructed by R&D Fabrications in Newark in 2004.

Construction begins with the Slipper Stern

Julynian001Julynian002

Our next visit a few weeks later and much progress has been made.

Julynian003 Julynian004

We purchased a steel 10/6/4 shell which included all portholes to sides 13 in total all external brass fittings, 5 mushroom vents pole and plank holders. We went for a stainless steel water tank under the bow also. We also had fitted 2 diesel bow tanks 93 litres each which incorporate seat lockers either side of the cratch. The rear diesel tank 300 litres. The main extra was the pigeon hatch 5ft long 3f/t wide opening either side with an additional 4 x 12” Brass portholes.

Boat roof external.

Julynian005

On completion the boat was delivered to Keynsham, Bristol in March 2004 by A.B Tuckey where it was situated on the back of a lorry trailer due to lack of space for about a month.

Julynian006 Julynian007

Our first job was to construct the floor all in 18mm plywood on 3 x 2 inch bearers screwed to the steel bearers and treated with wood preserver. Once this was fitted it created a big open space that was mostly filled with tools supplies and equipment for the ongoing fit out.

Engine fitting

As we ordered shell only we had to fit the engine ourselves. The boat builder was given the engine dimensions and had the engine bearers welded correctly in place to accept the engine.

Fortunately having a brother who also purchased his narrow boat from the same company, is a fully qualified diesel engineer as well as an aircraft engineer, so this task was completed to very exacting standards successfully with no hitches.

Perkins 2.5 diesel

Julynian008

The engine a New Perkins 2.5 marine diesel with 2 x alternators. 50 amp and 90 amp. The 50 amp for engine battery and 90 amp for proposed 6 leisure batteries.

This was fitted in to the engine room previously spray painted cream by ourselves.

Above the engine is a false floor which can be removed in sections to gain full access to the engine and ample storage space around it. The boat builder makes the floor structure from angle iron that slots in across the engine bay secured with Alan bolts, to create a removable structure. We decided in standard decking to use as the floor for this as you can remove as much or as little as needed to access the engine compartment. It’s also nice and sturdy as this is where you stand to pilot the boat.

Julynian009 Julynian010

Having so much space in this area, it seemed the ideal spot for the Calorifier which is sunken into some plywood floor which levels out the slope of the slipper stern. With the pump and accumulator fitted close by, the installation of this and plumbing to the rest of the boat was pretty straight forward using modern plastic plumbing. The heating system pipe work was also fitted at this stage in readiness for the Bubble stove and radiators.

Then all the wiring was laid for ceiling lights and other 12 and 240 volt outlets. Most of the wiring supply will run under the gunwale and where the wiring is needed to connect to it’s appliance this will be set in place whilst the insulation is being fitted.

Once the engine and basic plumbing and wiring were fitted the next task was the insulation.

Insulation

We considered spray foam, but it was very expensive, especially in the area we were in at the time.

After some investigation into insulation an expert on the subject suggested 50mm Rockwool with a Celotex vapour barrier. Celotex is spray foam but in pre sheeted solid form with aluminium foil backing each side. You can’t normally can’t get Celotex less than 1 inch thick, but manufactures use thinner off cuts from around 10 to 20mm thick to protect their normal sized product when palleted and transported for delivery.

My supplier set aside any 10 to 15mm thick sheets for us until we had enough to insulate the entire boat. With the Rockwool this gave us 60mm insulation of which 15% was Celotex spray foam which also doubles as a vapour barrier. So the battening was done in plywood to obtain the correct depth for the insulation.

Julynian011

The above photo shows all the Celotex fitted on the Rockwool below the gunwale, this will all be sealed where necessary with aluminium foil tape to seal it as will the top sides. The aluminium tape will also cover and seal in all the battening.

The roof insulation will be left till last. As we will be paneling this in 110mm X 15mm T&G pine As each few strips are applied, the insulation will be fitted in the remaining gap to ensure it fits snugly and making contact against the steel roof. Also the ribbing has been filled with spray foam from DIY cans, this stops the hollow tubing from condensation and corroding from the inside out.
Julynian012

The porthole areas will not be insulated with Rockwool though, they will be having bespoke Oak liners made which will be screwed to the boat steel sides from the outside. This means removing the Brass portholes to drill through, but whilst doing so additional 6mm holes will be drilled so the porthole area can be injected with spray foam. When the Brass porthole is replaced, non of the holes will show.

All the above work mentioned was completed whilst the boat was on the back of lorry trailer. Fortunately the boatyard owner @ RLL boats let us have access to a forklift when needed. The hull also received another couple of coats of bitumen just for good measure.

Julynian013

Bubble Stove

After about 6 weeks we were put on the ground and began installing the bubble stove and relevant plumbing. The 2 bow tanks were built in specifically for the stove. They are linked lower down by 10mm copper. But valves have been put in to isolate the bow tanks if necessary. All the pipe work to the rads has all been done just 15mm plastic pipes sticking up where the rads are to be situated.

Having only weekends to get work done, the progress thus far is pretty good. The owner of the boat yard needs space, so were going to be craned on the water shortly. Our next task is lining out.

The boat was put on the water in June 2004 using the site crane.

Julynian014

Continued in Part 2

Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary
3

2014 01 12 Newsletter – How To Fit Out Your Own Boat

Sometimes I feel like a hamster on a wheel, running as fast as I can but not moving forward an inch. This week has been one of those weeks.

For a start, I feel awful. On Thursday I had enough injections to make any self respecting pin cushion wince.

Sally and I are going on holiday at the end of the month. We’ve just had our vaccination jabs. Sally is used to the vaccinations. She’s been back to see her family every three or four years since she left the Philippines twenty five years ago so she’s had boosters in the past for all of the nasty germs a traveler to the islands is likely to encounter.

I haven’t.

When we visited the surgery I’ve been registered with for the last fourteen years, the nurse who saw us couldn’t find a record of any injections for me at all, so I had to have the lot.

I had to make sure that my routine injections were up to date including measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis and varicella (whatever they are) and polio. Then we went for the more exotic stuff. I had injections against hepatitis A and typhoid.

We’ve also had vaccinations against Japanese encephalitis. Apparently it’s common in many rural areas in the Philippines, especially where there are pig farms and rice fields. Sally’s family keep pigs in a pen next to a rice field. One of the symptoms is mental confusion. As that’s pretty much a constant state for me these days, I don’t know how I’ll be able to tell if I’m infected.

None of the vaccinations bothered Sally, mainly because she didn’t have to have most of them, but the nurse managed to upset her before we left.

For the last couple of years Sally has been waxing lyrical about the beautiful weather “back home”, the scenery and tranquility. She’s been particularly fond of telling me about a rare treat Sally’s extended family enjoys whenever she returns for a holiday. Sally hires a jeepney, a brightly coloured small bus, for the day to transport her sisters and their families plus a small pig and a couple of cases of beer to a remote crystal clear river at the base of a mountain.

The shallow water bubbles slowly over the smooth boulders the group use as seats where they can keep cool as they sip beer, chat about nothing in particular and wait for the suckling pig to cook. It’s safe, Sally’s told me, the water is shallow, there aren’t many dangerous snakes in the area and it’s in a mosquito free zone.

Both Sally and I were really looking forward to the excursion, until the nurse told us about leptospirosis which, she cheerfully told us, is contracted by wading through contaminated fresh water rivers and streams. Here’s what one web site says about leptospirosis…

“bacterial disease that affects animals and humans; infection occurs through contact with water, food, or soil contaminated by animal urine; symptoms include high fever, severe headache, vomiting, jaundice, and diarrhea; untreated, the disease can result in kidney damage, liver failure, meningitis, or respiratory distress; fatality rates are low but left untreated recovery can take months.”

Sally has now gone off the idea of a river-side barbecue. She’s actually gone off the idea of returning to the Philippines. We’re considering canceling the trip abroad and having a long weekend in Bridlington instead.

As a result of the injections I’ve had to protect me from just about every disease known to man, I now have a cold for the first time in years. Maybe it’s not a cold. Maybe I have a mild version of one or all of the diseases I’ve been vaccinated against. I don’t like it.

In addition to the man flu or whatever it is I have, I feel tired.

This week has been quite demanding physically. I consider myself to be pretty fit but my recovery after hard physical labour these days seems to take much longer than it used to.

Last week I mentioned that I had been up to the boss’s house to have a look at a long neglected hedge line which needed some TLC. I was planning to wait until the spring and firmer ground before I tackled it. I had some free time this week though so I started cutting on Monday morning.

Brambles, blackthorn and hawthorn are a dangerous mix. On one memorable winter’s afternoon just after I started working at the marina I was cutting a footpath through one of the woods when a bent blackthorn branch sprung back into my face impaling my right eyeball on one of the two inch long thorns. Fortunately it only pierced the white of my eye but it really hurt and looked rather odd when the white turned completely scarlet for two or three days.

It was quite mild at the beginning of the week but to protect myself from the thorns I had to wear a thick padded jacket, chainsaw trousers, gloves and a helmet. Who needs a sauna?

The work was frustrating because the field held about thirty very inquisitive sheep. On two occasions, a couple of particularly stupid specimens tangled themselves immovably in the cut branches and brambles. I had to cut them free which wasn’t the easiest of jobs when they were struggling as much as they could to get away from me. One showed its thanks by knocking me to the ground and running over the top of me. I had a hoof shaped bruise at the top of my thigh for most of the week.

A rainbow over Flecknoe

All week we’ve had sunny spells and heavy showers. The photo above shows the field I was working in, the sheep which were trying to get out of the field I was working in and the tangled mess of a hedge on the far right.

By Thursday the hedge line was cut back, the old rotten fence removed and new posts and stock fencing put in its place. I had fellow groundsman Patrick to help me for the last couple of days as two people were needed to tension the steel fencing while it was nailed in place.

I normally have Fridays and Sundays off work. On Friday I try to get as much work done on this site as I can to free up some time for Sally and I on Sunday. This Friday though I was no good to man nor beast. A combination of a particularly physical working week and a what felt like a couple of pints of debilitating vaccine in my bloodstream nearly finished me off.

I sat in front of my laptop trying to concentrate on the newsletter for about three hours (and failing miserably)  when, just to round off a particularly bad day, my laptop froze, I lost my internet connection and I lost all the newsletter content for the day. I gave up, took the dogs for a walk around the marina and the reservoir, staggered back to the boat, threw a couple of large shovelfuls of coal on the fire and curled up with my Kindle in front of it.

By yesterday I was firing on all cylinders again, which was just as well because as Saturday is a normal working day for me I had to spend every spare minute writing the newsletter. Fortunately I was working in the woods close to the boat logging some of the oak I felled in November and December.

I have a  huge store of oak logs now. It’s very frustrating to see them piled head high when I can’t use them. I’ll be able to burn them next winter at the very earliest. I checked the moisture content today. All of the logs I checked are still 30% water which is far too much moisture for burning at the moment.

I’m going to leave them open to the elements up until October this year and then move them under cover. I’m not sure where I’m going to find cover for at least two tonnes of logs but I need to keep them dry if they’re going to be any good to me on the boat. Not that I’m sure I’ll be burning much wood next winter at all.

Fitting Our New Central Heating System

It’s an exciting time for us. Not only are we going on holiday to somewhere beautiful, warm and relaxing in February, but we are going to come back to something equally beautiful, warm and relaxing… a centrally heated floating home.

I’ve just placed an order for a 5KW Webasto Thermotop C and a 55l calorifier. The calorifier has never worked on James so it’s being replaced. I’ve been told by the every so helpful guy at Evesham marina I’ve ordered the system from that it’s very important to balance the radiators with the Webasto heater. The radiators need to be able to take 5.5KW to stop the burner from cycling too often.

We’ve decided on the size and position of the radiators now. In addition to three radiators there’s going to be a large towel rail in the bathroom and another in the engine room however I’m a bit worried about the additional heat in the engine room to be honest.

We still have condensation problems. Bare steel and a significant temperature difference between the inside and the outside mean condensation. The engine room isn’t currently heated but enough heat escapes through the ply bulkhead between the engine room and the bedroom to raise the temperature in the engine room enough for the formation of plenty of condensation on the bare steel.

I don’t know what effect the additional heat is going to have on the condensation. We have a bit of a problem with condensation sometimes forming on the dividing bulkhead between the engine room and the bedroom. With more heat in the engine room we should equalise the temperature between the two areas and so cure the condensation on the dividing wall, but what’s going to happen in the bare steel? Is increasing the temperature between the engine room and the water/air outside going to lead to more condensation? I just don’t know.

The only solution I can think of is to strip out the engine room completely and insulate it. It won’t be easy to do though because of all the equipment fitted to the cabin sides. Any bright ideas from the terribly intelligent boaters out there?

Sorting out the engine room is the last big job we have to do on the boat. It’s taken us three years to get this far because of limited funds but every penny we’ve scraped together to invest in the boat has been worth while. Three years sounds like a long time but it’s flown by.

Talking about spending a long time getting a boat up to scratch brings me nicely to my next subject

Buying A Sailaway To Fit Out Yourself

Are you limited on funds but good with your hands? You are? Then maybe you should consider a DIY project.

Before you rush off to a boat builder, cheque book in hand (Do people still use cheques?) to order your empty shell with the idea of spending a couple of months working on it before moving on to your new beautifully fitted home, please read the following cautionary tale.

Julian Cox (Julynian on the forum) took delivery of his wide beam shell in March 2004. He and his partner Lynn allowed themselves  a very reasonable two to three years to complete the project. How long did it take in reality?

Eight years!

Of course there are very good reasons for the delay but I won’t spoil the story by telling you about them here. Julian has kindly answered some questions for the case study section and he has allowed me to reproduce his build blog here on the site. He’s happy to report that he’s been living on his spacious and beautifully fitted out floating home now for six months.

Julian has put a huge amount of work into the project and a huge amount of work recording the various stages to help anyone else who is considering buying a sailaway. There’s too much to include all of the information he’s provided in one post so I’m going to publish it gradually over the next few weeks.

The final part will include Julian’s summary of costs which include some expenses which you may not have considered. I think it’s a fascinating account of what you can achieve if you put your mind to it even, as is often the case, things don’t quite go according to plan.

Julian’s case study is here. There’s a link at the bottom of the case study page to his account of the build complete with 100+ photo’s.

I’m going to link each of Julian’s blog posts to the main section of the forum. You’ll see a link at the bottom of the post. If you have any questions at all about the build, I’m sure Julian will be delighted to answer them for you.

Suggestions Please!

I’ve been writing regular newsletters for a couple of years now. During the first year they were every two weeks or so. To be honest, the frequency was a bit hit and miss. My New Year’s resolution, and one that I’m delighted to say that I’ve kept, was to send out a newsletter every Sunday, rain or shine. The hardest part of the process isn’t the writing itself, it’s constantly thinking of new content. The trouble is, I don’t know what you want to read. I think I keep the newsletters reasonably interesting but I don’t know for sure. That’s where I need your help.

Can you let me know what you would like to read in the future? Are there any areas of narrowboat life you don’t think I’ve covered enough or areas which I’ve missed completely? Please let me know what you want to read about. Thanks for your help.

Newsletter Index

I created the site just over three years ago to provide a source of information for anyone interested in narrowboats and the possibility of living on one full time.  The site has grown to encompass a comprehensive listing of inland marinas in England and Wales, dozens of articles, a forum and regular newsletters. I’ve already created (below) indexes of the site articles and the more popular forum posts. I thought it was about time I created an easy to use index of the newsletter content. Here’s the index so far.

5th January 2014

Planning for the year ahead – Written plans and goals have always been important to me. They help me see into the future. Here’s what we’ve planned for our lovely floating home in 2014.

29th December 2013

The practicality of hosting Christmas afloat – How do you achieve a floating festive event (and do you really want to)?

Liveaboard case study, The Pearl – Tony and Jane Robinson believe in forward planning. They stated their narrowboat fund thirty years before buying their own boat. Now the two retired education workers moor in a marina for the winter then explore the waterways during the warmer months.

22nd December 2013

Narrowboat Storage Space – How much space is there to store your worldly goods on board a narrowboat? Here’s a video walk-through of my own boat James.

15th December 2013

Roses and Castles Canal Art – What is it and why do boaters spend so much money decorating their boats with it?

8th December 2013

Fitting secondary double glazing – Fitting the panels is a simple operation for those with the most basic DIY skills, something which I sadly haven’t developed. As you might expect then, the fitting didn’t go as well as it should.

Narrowboat videos – I launched the Living On A Narrowboat YouTube channel

1st December 2013

Secondary double glazing for your boat – The pros and cons of double glazing on a boat and why secondary double glazing is a much better bet and a fraction of the cost.

Living on a narrowboat vidoes – My first hesitant steps into the world of video production for site content

Can you either live or holiday on a narrowboat if you have a disability? – Here’s what you need to know.

24th November 2013

Winter fuel allowance – Do you qualify for one if you live on a boat?

Case Study – NB Progress. Kim Wainwright recorded her journey on the forum from nervous anticipation to current liveaboard boat owner. Here’s her story.

17th November 2013

Narrowboat central heating – I don’t have any. All that is about to change. Here’s the system I’m going to install and why I’ve chosen it.

10th November 2013

Narrowboat running costs – I compare my own running costs to those of a prominent YouTube video blogger and detail my exact costs for October 2013

3rd November 2013

Popular narrowboat terminology – Hundreds or words or phrases used to describe parts of boats and the waterways they cruise through.

27th October 2013

The wind chill factor – How strong the wind is blowing and which direction it’s coming from can determine how difficult it is to heat your boat. Here’s what you need to know.

Case study – Another couple from down under living the dream on the inland waterways.

20th October 2013Condensation. It’s a common problem on boats. Here are a few suggestions how to keep your boat’s interior dry.

A new organisation for liveaboard boaters

13th October 2013

On demand water heater problems – Discover a common fault with these water heaters and what you can do to resolve the problem.

Know your firewood – Not all timber burns well. Find out which is best and which to avoid.

6th October 2013

Managing your boat’s water supply. You can use your water supply as and when you need it when you live in a house with all mod cons. You can pretty much do the same when you’re on a marina mooring with a water supply just a hose length away. It’s a different kettle of fish when you’re on an online mooring.

Liveaboard case study – A prime example of mooring without a water supply on tap.

29th September 2013

The folly of using unseasoned wood as a fuel – Here’s essential information if you plan to use logs you find to heat your boat for free

Creating lasting memories of your cruises – Slightly off topic, but please bear with me. You’ll have some wonderful adventures as you travel throughout the network. They’ll be adventures worth remembering but will you remember them? I have a very poor memory but instant and total recall of all my cruises is just a click away.

22nd September 2013

A tragedy at Calcutt. Sudden Oak Dieback hits our 1,500 twenty year old oak trees

Forum private messaging – Now you can email other forum users from within the site

15th September 2013

Managing your water supply

An American blogs about his travels

1st September 2013

Solving engine room leaks – A simple solution to a dripping stern tube

All about the weed hatch – Removing debris from your propeller

8th September

A disaster – I inadvertently deleted this week’s newsletter and there wasn’t a backup on the server. What a shame. It was all about the damage you can do to your boat if you don’t watch what you’re doing in a lock. You would have loved it!

25th August 2013

Effective fly killers for boats

The downside to living on a narrowboat

Liveaboard Case Study – American Richard Varnes has taken a year out from work to cruise the canal network and write about his adventure. Here’s his case study and a few stories from his journey so far.

18th August 2013

CART Guide Approval – The waterways’  governing body is now promoting the information packages available from this site. Yippee!

Narrowboat Insurance – A summary of insurance quotes from the major narrowboat insurers

Liveaboard Case Study – Keith and Nicky downsized their property in Jersey, used the released capital to buy their 57? “go anywhere” narrowboat and now live on their boat full time while they continuously cruise the canal network. They’re ridiculously young to retire, and I’m very, very jealous

Downsizing from a 3 bed semi to a narrowboat – What do you do with a lifetime’s accumulated possessions?

11th August 2013

A free download – Living On A Narrowboat: 101 Essential Narrowboat Articles

Narrowboat tips – Handy hints from experienced narrowboat owners

The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How one liveaboard boater manages on a shoestring

4th August 2013

The perfect narrowboat washing machine? – It’s low cost and doesn’t need plumbing in, but does it actually clean clothes?

The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How much does living the life of a water gypsy really cost?

28th July 2013

The cost of living on a narrowboat – An article in the Daily Mail… and why most boaters disagree with what they said.

21st July 2013

Hire boat expectations – Fully understanding what facilities will be available to you is essential if you’re going to enjoy a narrowboat holiday. Here’s what not to do.

14th July 2013

Fenland river cruising – Another boater’s maiden voyage to whet your appetite.

7th July 2013

Anticipating winter weather – You may well be enjoying unusually warm winter weather but the winter will be with us all too soon. Now is the time that you need to plan for the cold weather ahead.

30th June 2013

Keeping your stove glass clean – Maybe you think it’s an odd subject for the summer but you can’t trust the English weather. Late June and the stove was still on now and again. At least now I have a crystal clear view of the fire I shouldn’t need to light.

Traffic chaos caused by Braunston’s historic boat rally – On a day with high winds and a canal full of working boats returning home after the rally, I had the pleasure of taking some very nervous hirers out on the cut.

23rd June 2013 – The cost of a two week cruise. If you live on your own boat, what’s the real cost of taking it away for a two week break?

Case Study – Mary Anne swapped dry land home rental for floating home ownership. Now she loves life afloat and works from home.

Life as a continuous cruiser – The Holy Grail of narrowboat ownership. The ability to travel where and when you like. Peter Early tells all.

16th June 2013

The Ashby canal cruise part two – We spent a bit more time on the Ashby before heading south again, joining the Coventry canal, this time following it into Coventry’s rather depressing and disappointing city centre, then retracing our steps back to Calcutt

Most popular narrowboat names – Here’s the definitive list of the top 200 most popular narrowboat names and a resource you can use to find out if any other boat has the same name as yours

Considerate boating – An article prompted after a near head on collision with another boat trying to avoid a fallen oak.

9th June 2013

I was on holiday for the first two weeks of June. Sally and I cruised from Calcutt to Braunston, north along the north Oxford where we joined the Coventry canal briefly before taking a very sharp right turn onto the Ashby canal. Here’s a daily report of the first week of our holiday.

2nd June 2013

An encounter with two poorly prepared holiday boaters and my own impending two week cruise encouraged me to put together a pre cruise check list

26th May 2013

Laptop hacking – An update on the problems I encountered after buying a brand new laptop which I suspect was tampered with before I bought it.

Diary of a new narrowboat owner – Frequent forum poster “Our Nige” finally moved on to his new floating home. Here’s his story

19th May 2013

My comments about an encounter on the Oxford/GU section between Napton and Braunston sparked a debate about the pros and cons of wide beams on the cut.

Keeping dry – You don’t really need to limit your cruising to sunny summer days. There’s something very special about standing on the back deck in the pouring ran protected by a set of bomb proof waterproofs.

Do you really need a car? Living on a narrowboat is all about enjoying a simple and stress free life. Sally and I had a car each. Mine cost £2,000 to run in the previous 12 months so I decided to get rid of mine to see if I could manage without one.

12th May 2013

An encounter with a wide beam boat and why they aren’t suitable for much of the canal network

An interview with the Trust’s head of boating. Sally Ash talks about the Trust’s approach to the thorny issue of residential moorings

5th May 2013

Narrowboat fuel tanks – How much do they hold

Meet one of your legless canal side companions

The canal network’s largest floating hotel

28th April 2013

Narrowboat blogs – My own first cruise, Our Nige takes his new home on its maiden voyage and a chance for you to have your very own blog section on this site.

21st April 2013

The Trust target illegal moorers but just what does the Trust consider to an illegal mooring?

Identity theft – The ongoing saga of my hacked laptop

RCR engine servicing – River Canal Rescue (RCR) are well known as the waterways equivalent of the AA but did you know that they will also come to your mooring to service your boat?

14th April 2013

The perils of exceeding your monthly broadband data allowance. Learn from my mistakes.

7th April 2013

Narrowboat security – A spate of burglaries from boats and a break in at my former family home encouraged me to write this article

Case study – You need to committed to sell your home to fund the purchase of your narrowboat. That’s what Mick and Marlene have done.

31st March 2013

Case study – Sarah lives on wide beam Antioch on the Leeds Liverpool canal. She can do man things with her hands. Here’s her story.

Be inspired – There are always reasons why you don’t make the move from bricks and mortar to steel and water. Here’s an anecdote which demonstrates once and for all that there really aren’t any worthwhile excuses.

24th March 2013

Here’s an example of what happens when you really don’t understand how your narrowboat works.

Essential boating equipment – Here’s a low cost item which has paid for itself over and over again.

Whilton marina boat sales – Sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be. This alleged fact about the boat sales at Whilton has come to me from several different sources.

17th March 2013

Where can you find residential moorings? Here’s a great place to start

Getting rid of unwelcome visitors – Geese used to regularly disturb a peaceful night’s sleep where I moor. Not any more. Here’s my solution

Know your narrowboat costs – Detailed costs for my own boat for February 2013

Half a dozen boaters now have access to their own blog section on the site. You can too. Here’s how.

11th March 2013

James’ upgrade – Adding solar panels and replacing carpets with oak effect laminate flooring

3rd March 2013

Stove fuel test – What works best; coal, wood, briquettes or something else entirely – Here’s my own take on a Waterways World test

Essential stove maintenance – Here’s what you need to do to make sure that your stove always performs well.

Internet connectivity – I use the internet four or more hours every day. This is the setup I have on my boat to make sure that I’m always connected.

Detailed running costs for my own boat for January 2013

20th February 2013

The real cost of going cheap. An in depth look at the cost of my 36 year old boat, and how much I spent (and still need to spend) before it will be a comfortable full time cruising boat.

8th January 2013

Case Studies – I put together 21 of the best case studies and analysed and summarised the data in this low cost guide. If you want ton save yourself hundreds of hours of research and costly mistakes, you need to read this guide.

Case Study – Mike’s circumstances are similar to my own. He moved onto his boat after a failed marriage. He’s upgraded from a 27? GRP cruiser to a 50? narrowboat

24th December

Narrowboat electrics part 2 – The concluding article from Tim Davis

I asked newsletter subscribers to send me detailed breakdowns of their bricks and mortar expenses so I could compare them with the cost of running a narrowboat. Quite a few subscribers obliged. I added the breakdowns to my narrowboat costs guide and the budgeting application.

18th December 2012

Understanding narrowboat electrics – Another excellent article from Tim Davis

Satellite television for narrowboats – Information from a system installer

2nd December 2012

Low cost narrowboat ownership – A low cost solution to the problem of funding your first narrowboat

Solar power – All you need to know about installing solar panels on your boat. Written by the inland waterways most popular solar system installer

Case Study – Mr. Solar Panel Tim Davis writes about life on board his own narrowboat

21st November 2012

First tests and reviews of the budgeting application

The best aerial for a narrowboat television

6th November 2012

The first release of the new spreadsheet based narrowboat budgeting application

28th October 2012

An unscheduled dip in the marina prompted me to write about safety on the waterways

Living on a narrowboat – Through the eyes of a young lady who would clearly prefer to be somewhere else

17th October 2012

I started to develop the narrowboat budgeting software. This newsletter detailed the concept and the progress to date

14th October 2012

Practical flooring for narrowboat dogs

Case study – Mike and Mags use a double redundancy payment to pay for their new floating home

30th September 2012

The best tip for a wannabe narrowboat owner – Advice from existing boat owners

18th September 2012

I published my guide Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat. When this newsletter was published it was only available as a Kindle edition. Now it’s available in both Kindle and PDF format and is bundled with Narrowbudget, the site’s bespoke narrowboat budgeting application.

VAT on narrowboat sales

20th July 2012

Dealing with pests on a narrowboat – spiders and swans

Posh boats – My personal favourite: S.M. Hudson

7th July 2012

Repeat prescriptions, diesel heating systems and solar panels

10th June 2012

Survey – Do you want a forum on the site? (You already know the answer to that!)

27th  May 2012

How to clean your stove glass – One of the real pleasures of a living fire is watching the flames on a cold winter’s eve. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you can actually see the fire.

Smoking on board – An alternative to smelly smoke

13th May 2012

DIY narrowboat painting – I’ve broken down the complete cost of painting your own boat and

Dealing with wind on the river – A guest article from liveaboard narrowboat owner Alan Cazaly

29th April 2012

DIY narrowboat painting – I spent three weeks in April painting my boat. Here’s the first of my progress reports

15th April 2012

Life on the river Cam – A guest article on the pleasures of river life by wide beam liveaboard Luther Phillips

Case Study – Freelance writer Anne and her South African farmer partner John reveal all

Case Study – Toni cruises constantly with ex husband Allan. They cruise together but they live apart… on separate boats

 1st April 2012

As a result of the article about the downside of living on a narrowboat published in the 18th March newsletter, I asked liveaboard narrowboat owners to complete a survey to give a balanced view of the issues raised by Pauline. Here are the survey results and a much more positive article by liveaboard narrowboat owner and frequent forum contributer Peter Early.

18th March 2012

The downside of living on a narrowboat – This was a very controversial post. Liveaboard Pauline Roberts wrote about the less pleasant aspects of life afloat… and attracted a storm of comments

Case study: The Woodsman – Pauline Roberts again giving an insight into the life that you may think she doesn’t like.

4th March 2012

Reviewed: The Liveaboard Guide by Tony Jones. A great guide to living afloat

eBay Narrowboat scam (and a little bit of flack for me from another forum)

Case Study: Author Toby Jones on his own liveaboard narrowboat

A review of Debdale Wharf marina

22nd January 2012

Two more case studies. One of them waxed lyrical about life on the waterways and enjoyed every minute of her life afloat. Now (April 2013) she’s selling up to follow another dream in Spain.

8th January 2012

The first four narrowboat case studies published

I’ll start with myself; Paul Smith, living on my own, moored in a marina and working full time. Narrowboat James case study

Meet Peggy. She has a husband and two small children, works full time and cruises the network during the summer months. Narrowboat Violet Mae case study

Fancy spending your retirement cruising the waterways of England and Wales? Meet Barry and Sue Horne. They’re living the dream! Narrowboat Adagio Case Study

Here are another working couple. Lina and Warren cruise the cut with their two cats.Narrowboat Olive Rose case study.

2nd February 2011

Article – Living on a narrowboat in winter

1th January 2011 – 1st Newsletter

Dealing with the coldest winter on record
Digital reading – A detailed review of the Kindle, the perfect solution for book loving boat owners

Comprehensive Site Article Listing

There are dozens of helpful and interesting articles on the site, but have you found them all? I thought you might appreciate a list of the more popular articles that you can glance through and click on the ones that take your fancy. Here it is.

Popular Forum Posts

There’s a wealth of information on the site in general, but if you’re struggling to find the answer to a particular issue, the forum is the place to find it. I’ve listed some of the more popular posts below but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask your question on the forum. If you don’t know how to create a post, or if you can’t log in, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to get you up and running.

  • Aluminium Boats – They don’t rust so why don’t you see more of them on the inland waterways?
  • Ironing Board On Board – How do boaters manage a crease free life?
  • Freezing Water – How to stop your pipes and pumps from freezing in the winter
  • CRT & Continuous Cruising – The Trust and their enforcement of the rules
  • Heat – Advice for the owner of a cold boat
  • GPS Devices and Canal Mapping – Are there any decent ones available for your narrowboat and do you need them anyway?
  • Battery Monitors – Replacing your leisure batteries is one of your more expensive maintenance costs. Here’s some detailed information about a device for looking after your batteries
  • Survey Costs – How much should you pay to have your boat removed from the water for a survey?
  • Battery monitors – Gimmick or essential boating equipment?
  • Engine size and performance – Most engines are suitable for pottering about on the canal but what size engine do you need if you plan to cruise on rivers?
  • A Big Inverter Or A Suitcase Generator – What are the pros and cons of either option?
  • Who Owns Your Boat? – How do you find out if there’s still finance attached to your boat when you buy it.
  • Boat Shares – A low cost alternative to outright narrowboat ownership. Advice from a current share owner
  • Plumbing In A Back Boiler – Advice Offered
  • Inverter Installation – What do you need and can you fit one yourself?
  • Getting Rid Of Space Wasting CD’s & DVD’s – The solution is to digitise your collection. Here’s how to do it.
  • Depreciation – How much does a new narrowboat lose in value as the years go by?
  • The Cost Of Continuous Cruising – How much does the nomadic lifestyle really cost?
  • 12v Narrowboat Washing Machines – Is there any such animal?
  • “Chiggers” – It’s a mite you can pick up from the ever growing population of Canada Geese. Beware!
  • Post & Postal Addresses For Continuous Cruisers – You need an address in order to receive post and open bank accounts, register for doctors and hospitals etc. How do continuous cruisers with no fixed abode manage it.
  • Keeping Cool On A Narrowboat – How to keep people and pets cool in the summer
  • It’s Official: There’s No Need To Pay Mooring Fees – Or so this Daily Mail article claims. You may disagree. I do.
  • Overcrowded Waterways – More and more people are choosing a life afloat. Are the waterways becoming congested?
  • VAT On New Narrowboats – Can you knock 20% off the cost of your new narrowboat?
  • Lock Techniques – How do you handle a narrowboat in a lock on your own?
  • Narrowboat Burglary – Two boats burgled at the same location. Where is it and what can you do to minimise the risk of theft from your own boat wherever you are?
  • Insuring Your Car When You Live On A Boat – A boat owner had his car insurance cancelled when he told them he lives on a narrowboat. How does he approach other insurance companies?
  • Remedies For Sooty Stove Glass – For me, one of the great pleasures of living on a narrowboat is a winter evening in front of a flickering fire. Here’s how you can keep your stove glass clear so you can see the fire in all its glory
  • Visitor Moorings With Shore Power – Sometimes you need to hook up to the mains when you moor for the night. Where can you find these moorings?
  • Steam Power – Are there any steam powered narrowboats on the network?
  • Lightning – Is there a risk of your narrowboat being struck by lightning?
  • Overplating/Replating – What’s the difference between the two and what’s involved in having the work done?
  • The Logistics Of Buying A Boat – A fascinating account from a potential narrowboat owner as he tried to get a boat out of the water so that it can be suryeyed.
  • Winter Stoppages 2013/2014 – The Trust carry out essential scheduled repairs during the quieter, cooler months. Here’s their planned stoppages for the coming winter.
  • A New Narrowboat Dog – Alan recently moved on board his own floating home. He loved his new boat but something was missing. Now he has a new best friend and he’s in love, although his new best friend has proven a bit of a challenge.
  • Electric Boats – What do they cost to run? Why would you want one? There’s a huge amount of information for you here if you’ve ever considered an alternative to a diesel narrowboat engine.
  • Pram Covers – “Pram cover” is the term for a cover over the rear deck, usually on a cruiser stern narrowboat. Here are the pros and cons.
  • The difference between cruising on canalas and rivers – This is a very popular thread for very good reason. It’s packed with advice if you’re new to river cruising.
  • Checklists – What do you need to check before you set off on a cruise? There’s some very detailed information including a very useful post by fellow Calcutt moorer Graham who has issues with his mobility after an RTA many years ago.
  • Television Aerials – If you can’t live without your Corrie, you’ll need a decent aerial for your boat.
  • My New Life – I urge you to read this forum thread. If you dream of living on your own narrowboat one day, reading this post, written by a new liveaboard boater, may well prove the catalyst you need. It’s essential reading for any aspiring narrowboat owner.
  • Narrowboat Ownership – How do you prove that the person offering a narrowboat for sale is the real owner?
  • Tips For Continuous Cruisers – He’s making a bit of a habit of it; Pearley’s back with some great cruising tips
  • The Llangollen Canal – One of the country’s most beautiful canals discussed
  • Deliveries to your boat – Excellent information from regular forum contributor Pearley
  • Mobile Broadband – All you need to know about internet connectivity on board
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that fellow boaters can steal your internet data allowance?
  • Boat Planning & Design – Is there any free software available to hel you plan your dream boat?
  • A Narrowboat Checklist – What checks do you need to carry out before you set out on a cruise?
  • Tunnels – How do you navigate them? Who has priority?
  • Windows Or Portholes – Round or square, which is best? Is it just a matter of personal preference?
  • Day To Day Questions About Narrowboat Life – How can “newbies” find out the answers to questions about day to day life on a narrowboat? The answer is simple. Find out by reading this post.
  • Beds – The pros and cons of fixed doubles and cross beds. You need to read this if you are taller or slightly wider than average.
  • Flushing Out a Toilet Waste Tank – Emptying your pumpout toilet holding tank isn’t just a case of sucking out your unmentionables. You also need to flush water through the tank to remove the built up solids. Here’s how to do it.
  • Narrowboat Knots – Do you know your bowline from your buntline hitch, your cleat hitch from your clove hitch or your poacher’s knot from your square knot? No? It’s about time you did!
  • Free Narrowboat Heating – Is there any such thing? Read this post to find out
  • Narrowboat Furniture – Not everyone wants fitted furniture on their boat. Here are a few ideas if you want to add your own.
  • Weight on a narrowboat – How many people can you carry on a narrowboat, and how much luggage can they bring with them?
  • Narrowboat Finance – A Canadian hoping to move to the UK, buy a boat and cruise the network.
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that you can have your boat’s broadband allowance stolen? Here’s what you can do to prevent the theft.
  • Problems Powering An Inverter With A Generator – Why didn’t it work and what’s the solution?
  • Diesel Costs – You need it to run your boat and maybe your heating system. How much can you expect to pay for it?
  • Stove Top Fans – Are they worth the money?
  • Mooring Pins and Piling Hooks – What are they and when do you use them?
  • Water Pump Problems – What to do if your water pump appear to have a life of its own
  • Fuel Contamination – How do you know if you’ve water in your diesel… and what do you do about it when you have?
  • Anchors – What’s the best size and weight anchor for narrowboats on tidal rivers
  • Single Handed Boating for Ladies – Can a lady on her own pass safely through locks?
  • Different Types of Mooring – What’s the difference between residential and leisure moorings? How long can you stay on your boat with each type?
  • Which Ropes To Use? – There are so many different types available. Are the more expensive ones worth using or is it just a case of money for old rope?
  • Windows – Why do narrowboat owners tolerate condensation? Why don’t they have modern uPVC windows fitted?
  • Best Ex Hire Boats – Are you considering buying an ex hire boat to live on? Should you? Here’s some important information for you.
  • Liveaboard Conclusions – Mel Davies has been doing  plenty of research into her hoped for lifestyle afloat. Here are the conclusions she’s reached and comments from a few existing liveaboard narrowboat owners.
  • Handling Floodwaters – How safe is a river mooring during and after heavy rain? Can you stay on a river when the level rises? What can you do to minimise danger?
  • Narrowboat steel thickness – How thick is your boat’s steel? How long does it last?
  • Retro fitting a solid fuel stove – Where’s the best place to put your stove and what’s involved in fitting it?
  • Converting from a cassette toilet to a pump out – A pump out toilet is far more convenient to use than a toilet with a portable cassette but how easy are they to retro fit in a narrowboat?
  • Gas free boating – If you don’t fancy heaving unwieldy gas bottles into a difficult to reach bow locker, a gas free boat might be the solution
  • Winter on the cut – Are you able to cruise all year on your boat or should you find a mooring for the winter?
  • Transporting your boat – Sometimes you may want or need to take your narrowboat by road rather than cruise along the canal. Here’s an idea of the cost
  • Bike types and preferences – If you don’t have a car parked near your boat, you’ll probably want a bike, but which type of bike is best?
  • Towing a butty – I’ve upset someone. I didn’t mean to. Wainbody wanted to know the best way of towing an unpowered second narrowboat (butty). I came across as patronising when I replied. It was unintentional but to make amends I thought I would ask anyone with boat handling experience to reply to his thread with some constructive advice. If you can help him, please reply to the post.
  • The best flooring for a narrowboat pets –  What’s the best way to protect your floor from a dirty doggy?
  • The best time of the year to buy a boat – Is there a deal to be done by buying a boat in the winter?
  • The best length for a liveaboard narrowboat – What’s the best length to buy? What are the pros and cons of different length boats
  • ONE tip to offer a potential narrowboat owner – If you are already a narrowboat owner, you can share your experience. If you haven’t bought one yet, you need to read this thread.
  • Powering your computer on a narrowboat – Can you power your computer/laptop from the boat’s 12v supply or do you need mains power?
  • Must-have gadgets and necessities – The most useful/useless gadgets for life on a narrowboat
  • Choosing a stove for your boat – Are domestic solid fuel stoves as good as the ones designed specifically for boats? Which is the best one to buy?
  • Diesel heating for boats – How important is a solid fuel stove on a liveaboard narrowboat? Is a diesel heating system OK as a primary heat source?
  • Computers on boats – Can a computer be powered from your boat’s 12v system or does it need to be plugged into the mains
  • Receiving post on your boat – How does the postman find you when you’re cruising? How do you apply for a driving license, a TV license or a bank statement when you have no official address?
  • Bikes on board – Many boat owners do not have cars so they rely on bikes to get them to the shops (or the pub). Some use bikes to collect their cars after a day’s cruising. There’s a huge selection of bikes to choose from. Which are the best for your boat? To tell you the truth, I don’t know the answer. Can you point forum member Ainslo in the right direction?
  • VAT on narrowboat sales – Does the price of your narrowboat contain a VAT element? Can the VAT be reclaimed?
  • Internet access – How do you connect to the internet when you live on a boat?
  • Living off property rental income – Do you have a property that you indend to let while you cruise the waterways? Read this before you work out your budget.
  • How to find a narrowboat to live on – Here’s an article about choosing a liveaboard narrowboat, and a question about finding a narrowboat with a steering wheel.
  • Vertigo – How to deal with walking over lock gates if you’re frightened of heights.
  • Long term narrowboat hire – If you aren’t ready to buy a narrowboat yet, what are your chances of hiring a narrowboat for more than a few weeks?
  • Residential moorings and single handed boating – How do you handle a narrowboat on your own? What do you do about a mooring if you live on board and only want a mooring for part of the year
  • Too tall for a narrowboat? – Is a narrowboat suitable for you if you are above average height?
  • Dealing with condensation – Do all narrowboats suffer from damp? What can you do about it?
  • Solar panels – More information about portable and fixed solar panels
  • Heating systems – Hurricane and Mikuni heating systems discussed

Useful Links

Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat – Narrowboat costs explained in detail. My own maintenance and living cost on narrowboat James for a full year. Use this information to work out your own costs.
CRT (Canal & River Trust) maintain the waterways. Here’s their site.
Find out what parts of the canal are closed and for how long. Essential cruising information for you.
Do you need to find a home for your boat? Here’s a comprehensive list of the narrowboat friendly marinas in the UK
Do you want to see where these marinas are on a map? Here it is.
Here’s a map of all the canals on the system to help you plan your route.
Newsletter Archive – Browse through a wealth of useful content in the newsletters over the last year.
Find out more about narrowboat central heating costs here.

vaccines Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.
Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary

2014 01 05 Newsletter – New Year Resolutions

A Happy New Year to you!

Did you celebrate? Did you party until the wee hours or, like me, enjoy a quiet night in?

Sally and I aren’t party people. Most of the time we enjoy each other’s company and the peace and quiet on the boat. On Tuesday afternoon we paid a quick visit to Sally’s favourite Thai grocery shop in Banbury, and an even quicker visit to the ridiculously busy Tesco store just to the north of the town, before heading back for the sanity and tranquility of the marina.

We defrosted 1kg of tiger prawns (each the size of a well built Shetland pony so only twelve to the kilo) and quickly stir fried them with garlic, chilli, ginger and coconut milk. Served with rice and washed down with a couple of bottles of Thai beer and a bottle of bubbly, it was an easy but ever so tasty meal to celebrate the end of the old year and the beginning of the new.

So here I am on New Year’s day, thinking about the twelve months ahead as I listen to the sounds around me. It’s raining of course, and very windy too. On days like this in the past I’ve been used to an icy draught streaming in to the boat through the port side doors and hatch. Not today though. The hatch and doors are now completely draught free.

I’ve talked before about the draughts we suffer from the poorly fitted front, rear and side doors and hatches. The draughts make a huge difference to the temperature inside the boat. Last year Sally effectively cured the draughts by stuffing foam offcuts into the gaps and securing them with duct tape. It wasn’t a bad solution, but involved much messing about if we wanted to open the side doors.

Last winter we didn’t need to open them until the warmer weather in the spring. This year Sally’s been using the port side doors regularly each week.

Earlier in the year we bought a twin tub washing machine. One of the advantages of the twin tub is that it doesn’t need to be plumbed in. The fact that it’s free standing is also a disadvantage when it comes to draining the machine. We either have to drain it into a bucket and then tip the bucket into the sink or, our preferred method, open one of the side doors enough to poke the drain hose out of the boat and pump the water straight out into the marina.

It’s a bit of a nuisance trying to do this if the door is taped up so we looked for another solution to the door draughts.

We had a new cratch cover fitted in November 2011 soon after the boat cabin was over plated with steel. The cover cost me £450 which was less than half the price quoted by some of the better known canopy manufacturers. I’m generally very happy with it. During heavy rain we get a little water coming through the zip as the zip is open to the elements rather than covered as it is in most of the more expensive canopies but, apart from that, it’s served us well.

We asked Karl, the guy who fitted the cratch cover, to quote us for covers for both side doors and hatches and for the rear doors and hatch. He offered to make and fit the lost for a very reasonable £120.

He fitted them just before Christmas. The fitting took him less than an hour. I don’t know how he did it as I had to help with the emergency repairs to the wind blown wharf paint tent. The starboard and rear of the boat were pretty straight forward as Karl could work from the pier for the starboard side and from the rear deck for the rear hatches. However, how he managed to fit the port side cover is a mystery to me.

The port side hatches are on the water side. To my knowledge, Karl can’t walk on water but as he couldn’t have walked along the gunnels because of their narrowness after the extra steel was added to the cabin, I’m not completely ruling that out. Karl may be part bat and have fitted the covers by hanging upside down from the roof.

Whatever he did, he fitted all the covers in less than an hour and fitted them very well. The difference on the boat has been remarkable, especially on a day like today.

Fat rain drops are rattling against the cover over the doors and the boat is shuddering under the impact of the gusting wind. The air temperature is a relatively mild seven degrees but the wind chill is minus two. I don’t care though because none of that icy wind is making its way into the boat via the side hatch.

We’re another step closer to having the boat completely up to scratch.

Planning For The Year Ahead

Talking of improving the boat I’ve been spending some time over the last week writing down what we want to accomplish in 2014. I’ve always found that having a specific written goal helps me get where I want to be.

James is a very different boat from the neglected craft I moved on to in April 2010. I can honestly say that the boat is now a very comfortable floating home and one which I’m proud to own. We’re nearly there with the refurbishment, but there’s still a bit to do.

The first and most important of the improvements planned for this year is the installation of the new central heating system. We’ve already booked that in for the first week in February when we are on holiday. The work is going to take three or fours days and will cause a fair amount of disruption throughout the boat. The disruption is always a major consideration when you live on board your boat. When you live in a house and have some work done, you can just move to another part of the house when the workmen are in. You can’t in a narrowboat. There’s nowhere to move to.

The installation will involve removing the three knackered old radiators currently attached to the stove’s back boiler, filling the back boiler with sand, removing all the old pipes, removing the existing gas fired water heater, removing a gas fire, fitting a large radiator for the front half of the boat, another smaller one in the office area to keep my toes toasty when I’m sitting immobile for hours on end while I slave away over a hot keyboard, as big a towel rail as we can manage in the bathroom, another radiator in the bedroom and a further towel rail in the engine room.

The engine room will also be home to the heart of the new heating system, the Webasto Thermo Top C. Once the burner unit is fitted, new pipes need to be run to all of the radiators and to the new calorifier which will be installed under our bed. Installing the calorifier will mean taking the mattress off and then trying to find somewhere to put it. Narrowboats definitely don’t have space enough to store a mattress anywhere else than on the bed base.

The logistics of having work done and what to do with yourself if you’re a liveaboard is certainly something you need to think about. When I had the cabin over plated, James was shipped away to be worked on for ten days. I was very lucky at the time to be working at Calcutt Boats and at a time of the year when the hire fleet was out of commission. I was allowed to live on one of the boats while James was away and while the remedial work was done before the boat was fit to live on once it was returned.

So the first of our goals for 2014 is already organised. We also need to…

  • Fit a folding shower door to replace the flimsy curtain we use at the moment. You can’t really relax when you’re using a curtain rather than a far more substantial glass or plastic panel. You’re especially nervous when showering if, like me, in the past you’ve had the particularly unpleasant surprise of stepping out of shower after a refreshing scrub into a rather deep pool of water which has already made itself very comfortable deep in the pile of the bedroom carpet. Shower curtains can very easily slip outside the shower tray as you thrash about trying to avoid jets of scalding water from a very temperamental gas burner.
  • Reupholster the soft furnishings in the front of the boat. We have L shaped seating in front of the stove with foam upholstered seats and backs. Aft of this seating is the Pullman’s dinette with four more upholstered seats and backs.One of the few complaints I had about the steel over plating workmanship was that, at some stage in the process, the covers the company placed over the empty window frames to protect the inside of the boat slipped off as they welded next to the dinette. Consequently there are a few pin prick burns in the seating. The burns aren’t too bad and if they were the only problem with the upholstery I wouldn’t be bothered.

    More of a problem is my own stupidity or laziness or a combination of the two. I have a habit if sitting down to eat as soon as I return from work in the evening. I’m normally very tired so I just want to eat and rest for a while before I do anything else. It’s been a big mistake. Boating generally isn’t the cleanest of pastimes and working on the grounds at a marina can be particularly mucky. Consequently, whether it’s been as a result of a normal working day, or collecting dirt from the outside of the boat, lock walls or balance beams when we’ve been out cruising, I’ve made a bit of a mess of the upholstery where I normally sit.

    The third problem is that the material that was used in the first place wasn’t very good. In fact, we’ve been told that it’s curtain material rather than fabric suitable for seating. It’s has a velvety feel and is pale green. The colour shows the dirt and the fabric has sagged and stretched.

    We’re hoping to have the work done in March or April when we’ve recovered financially from our holiday

  • Fit a permanent drain for the twin tub washing machine. Earlier I talked about the new covers we’ve had fitted for the side doors and hatches. They’re very effective but they also create a bit of a problem. Sally likes to drain the twin tub by opening the side hatch and poking the drain hose through. She can’t do that if the cover is in place. So, when she has one of her marathon clothes washing sessions (I think it’s every alternate day) I have to take the port side cover off so she can open the door.Taking the cover off might not sound like a big deal but it’s not the easiest job in the world. Sally asked me to take the cover off yesterday. I forgot to do it in the morning when she first asked so I ended up tackling the job in the dark last night.

    Of course it was raining and of course the rain was being driven horizontally by a howling gale.The boat’s port side is next to the water so to take the cover off I have to climb onto the roof and then lower myself down very carefully onto the starboard side gunnel, a gunnel which is now only two inches wide because of the extra steel we’ve had added to the cabin. It’s bad enough on a calm summer’s day but on a dark winter’s night with an icy rain numbing my fingers so I struggle to grip a wet, highly polished 25mm rolled box section roof rail as I crouch down to free the gunnel level studs just inches from the rain lashed water, it’s a very interesting couple of minutes indeed.With the cover off, Sally could open the side hatch to drain the washing machine. Unfortunately the post side is the weather side so opening the side hatch for even a minute instantly fills the boat with cold air.

    A permanent drain would mean that the side hatch covers could stay in place, Sally could wash away to her heart’s content without me having to resort to night time aerobatics and we could retain the warm air in the boat we work so hard at maintaining.

    Update Sunday 5th Jan: After writing about this last improvement I realised that I  had probably spent longer recording my thoughts than it would take to do the job myself… if I could get hold of the right tools. So I went on bended knee to fitter Russ. He calls himself Tools-R-Russ. He has every tool known to man, and a few extra ones too. Staff often borrow weird and wonderful things from him.

    I borrowed a heavy duty drill from him with a nifty fitting for cutting a 22mm hole (I think) in steel and a threaded brass spigot to fit in it. Russ’s parting comment bothered me a little, “Just make sure you drill the hole above the water line!”. He knows me too well.

    Twenty minutes energetic drilling in my lunch break and the job was done.

    It may not sound much to all you macho tool wielding men (and women), but I was quite proud of myself. All I need to do now is work out how to stop the water pouring through the hole from the marina!

  • Actually, I can’t think of any more major jobs to do. We’re nearly there. Yippee!

We haven’t just been thinking about the improvements we want to make to James. We’ve also been making plans for actually using the boat to get out and about on the network as much as we can while we are still able.

Sally and I had a marvelous two week break at the beginning of June last year and plenty of overnight stops at various beautiful spots on the stretch of Grand Union/Oxford canal between Napton and Braunston junctions. Much as I enjoy being moored in a beautiful spot at Calcutt, it’s not where either of us want to be long term. However, as far as this year is concerned,  our trip to the Philippines in February will use a big chunk of our savings and Sally’s holiday entitlement. I’m self employed so I don’t have to worry about whether I will be able to have the time off work, just whether I will be able to afford to do it.

We both realise how important it is to plan for the future but we also realise how often people are forced to change or abandon long term plans and goals because of circumstances outside of their control.

Overall health plays a huge part in boating plans.

Boating is an active and healthy pursuit. There are paddles to raise and lower, 400kg gates to open and close, more miles of towpath walking than anyone could wish for and twenty tonne steel boats to drag, push and pull as you negotiate your route. It’s fantastic exercise and a wonderful way to keep fit.

Unfortunately, because of poor health, far too many would be boaters with a lifetime of dreams and plans behind them fall before the final hurdle.

I’ve seen it no end of times over the last almost four years I’ve been living and working at Calcutt Boats. The majority of narrowboat owners are no longer spring chickens. Most people who buy a narrowboat buy one not as a home, but as a very expensive hobby. It’s a hobby that the younger generation, saddled with the cost of paying for a home while they raise a family, simply can’t afford.

Many boat owners would love to take their boats out more, but they simply don’t have the time. They’re in the same position as many others who have expensive hobbies. They can’t spend the time they want enjoying the result of all their hard work because they need to carry on working hard to pay for their hobby.

They’re all waiting for that dream date in the future when they can stop the daily grind and start to live. Unfortunately life often gets in the way of their plans.

All too often I hear, “We’re going to have to sell the boat. Bill just can’t manage it any more,” or “We planned to cruise all of the network before we learned about Jean’s illness.” Most of these bitterly disappointed boaters had endured years of unremitting toil, often in jobs they didn’t particularly enjoy, working towards a lifetime’s goal of a world of leisure and exploration on board their own floating homes.

Last week I sent out an email to a large group on my newsletter list which my software had recorded as not having opened the previous half dozen weekly newsletters. The software seemed to have tagged quite a few incorrectly. I don’t know why. However, far more of the emails I sent out where to subscribers who for one reason or another genuinely hadn’t read them.

For some, the reason was that they simply didn’t have enough free time because of work commitments but an alarming number emailed me though to tell me that the reason either they or their other half hadn’t opened the email was because of illness, often both long term and acute.

Neither Sally nor I earn very much. We’re not complaining. There isn’t much stress in our lives, but there isn’t much money either. And because I’m self employed, if I don’t work, I don’t earn. Because of that, it’s tempting to think of time not working more of a lost opportunity to earn rather than a gained opportunity to relax.

We don’t earn much money, but we are both still blessed with very good health.

More and more these days, we’re trying to achieve the right balance. The focus now is more on deciding we’re going to have some time off and then working out how we’re going to afford it rather than doing as I’ve done for most of my working life and just taking the time off that I can prise myself away from work.

So one of the most important conversations we had during the first few days of the year was to establish when we we are going to take the boat out.

The fact that we’re going to see Sally’s family in the Philippines next month plays a large part in our plans. Once upon a time I would have considered this break as the maximum time I could reasonably take off work for the year but with our new motto of “More leisure time, less work” we’ve decided to take James out in the summer too.

We are going out for the first two weeks in June. We’re going down the south Oxford and onto the Thames. I love the route but the last time I went that way I was in a bit of a rush.

I took Calcutt Boats’ show boat down to Beale Park for the IWA show in 2010. I had been working for Calcutt Boats for nine months and living on board James for about two. I didn’t know much about handling narrowboats. God knows why they let me take their brand new boat to the show.

It was a marvelous but hectic trip. I took my twelve year old son, Brook, to help me with the locks and lift and swing bridges. Unfortunately he was too light for one and too weak for the other, but he was very good at keeping me supplied with regular mugs of coffee.

We completed the eighty mile, fifty two lock journey in three days but we were traveling for an average of thirteen hours a day. The scenery was beautiful, the weather mostly good and the experience memorable, but we didn’t have time to enjoy it.

This time will be different. We’ll spend a week cruising each direction and we’ll stop where and when our fancy takes us. I can’t wait. To tell you the truth, I’m looking forward to the cruise far more than the imminent trip to the Philippines. The two week cruise will cost us a twentieth of the amount we’ll spend on the trip abroad.

Two weeks cruising on the boat isn’t enough. We’re going to take another week out on the boat at the end of the summer too. We’ve penciled in a date but we’re not sure where we’ll go yet. Without the trip abroad we could afford to cruise for far longer this year. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thoroughly looking forward to some time away from the dreary winter weather and the opportunity to see Sally’s family but  the money we’ll spend on air fares would buy us a lot of diesel for the boat.

So we have our year planned, both for improvements to the boat and the trips we’re going to make. The cost of the trip to the Philippines and the two breaks on James and the fact that I won’t be earning while we’re away will stretch us financially but it’s the right way to go. We’re fit and healthy so now is the time to make the most of the boat.

We have our year planned. Do you? If you’re thinking of making a move to a life afloat, how far have you got? Is it just a halfhearted idea at the back of your mind or a fully fledged commitment to change your life for the better?

It’s not too late to make New Year resolutions you know. In don’t know about you, but these days times passes alarmingly quickly for me. Before you know it, the summer will be behind you and the year will be drawing to a close. Where will you be then? Will you have concrete plans in place to help you buy or use your boat or will you just be doing the same old things you were doing at the beginning of the year?

I’ll give you a hand. Here are some resources to point you in the right direction.

If you don’t have a boat already. Here’s a great place to start window shopping. It’s the world’s largest narrowboat site. There are over 1,000 narrowboats for sale at any one time.

If you’re wondering where you can take a narrowboat, what routes you can take and how many locks you’ll pass through, Canal Plan will tell you this and lots more interesting information.

Of course, before you look for a boat in earnest you’ll need to know how much both the boat and the lifestyle is going to cost you. The simplest way of finding out all the costs and creating your own financial projection is by using the package I’ve put together for those new to boating, Narrowbudget Gold. You can read about it here.

Once you’ve established you can afford to buy and maintain a boat and you’ve seen a few you like the look of on the Apolloduck site, you’ll want to see a few boats in the flesh. Whilton marina has one of the largest stocks of boats for sale in the country. Just turn up at the marina, tell the staff which boat you’re interested in and they’ll give you the keys so you can wander through it at your leisure.

Before you start to look at boats seriously, you’ll need to know what to look for. Here’s a check list for you.

And finally, if you can’t find the answer to any questions you have about buying, maintaining or living on a narrowboat, there’s a forum full of very helpful boaters just waiting to answer your posts. All you have to do is ask!

There you go, everything you need to know to help you with your plans. Happy New Year! (And if you want even more encouragement, here’s a photo Sally took with her camera phone this morning while I was writing the newsletter. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Sinrise at Calcutt in January

Suggestions Please!

I’ve been writing regular newsletters for a couple of years now. During the first year they were every two weeks or so. To be honest, the frequency was a bit hit and miss. My New Year’s resolution, and one that I’m delighted to say that I’ve kept, was to send out a newsletter every Sunday, rain or shine. The hardest part of the process isn’t the writing itself, it’s constantly thinking of new content. The trouble is, I don’t know what you want to read. I think I keep the newsletters reasonably interesting but I don’t know for sure. That’s where I need your help.

Can you let me know what you would like to read in the future? Are there any areas of narrowboat life you don’t think I’ve covered enough or areas which I’ve missed completely? Please let me know what you want to read about. Thanks for your help.

Newsletter Index

I created the site just over three years ago to provide a source of information for anyone interested in narrowboats and the possibility of living on one full time.  The site has grown to encompass a comprehensive listing of inland marinas in England and Wales, dozens of articles, a forum and regular newsletters. I’ve already created (below) indexes of the site articles and the more popular forum posts. I thought it was about time I created an easy to use index of the newsletter content. Here’s the index so far.

29th December 2013

The practicality of hosting Christmas afloat – How do you achieve a floating festive event (and do you really want to)?

Liveaboard case study, The Pearl – Tony and Jane Robinson believe in forward planning. They stated their narrowboat fund thirty years before buying their own boat. Now the two retired education workers moor in a marina for the winter then explore the waterways during the warmer months.

22nd December 2013

Narrowboat Storage Space – How much space is there to store your worldly goods on board a narrowboat? Here’s a video walk-through of my own boat James.

15th December 2013

Roses and Castles Canal Art – What is it and why do boaters spend so much money decorating their boats with it?

8th December 2013

Fitting secondary double glazing – Fitting the panels is a simple operation for those with the most basic DIY skills, something which I sadly haven’t developed. As you might expect then, the fitting didn’t go as well as it should.

Narrowboat videos – I launched the Living On A Narrowboat YouTube channel

1st December 2013

Secondary double glazing for your boat – The pros and cons of double glazing on a boat and why secondary double glazing is a much better bet and a fraction of the cost.

Living on a narrowboat vidoes – My first hesitant steps into the world of video production for site content

Can you either live or holiday on a narrowboat if you have a disability? – Here’s what you need to know.

24th November 2013

Winter fuel allowance – Do you qualify for one if you live on a boat?

Case Study – NB Progress. Kim Wainwright recorded her journey on the forum from nervous anticipation to current liveaboard boat owner. Here’s her story.

17th November 2013

Narrowboat central heating – I don’t have any. All that is about to change. Here’s the system I’m going to install and why I’ve chosen it.

10th November 2013

Narrowboat running costs – I compare my own running costs to those of a prominent YouTube video blogger and detail my exact costs for October 2013

3rd November 2013

Popular narrowboat terminology – Hundreds or words or phrases used to describe parts of boats and the waterways they cruise through.

27th October 2013

The wind chill factor – How strong the wind is blowing and which direction it’s coming from can determine how difficult it is to heat your boat. Here’s what you need to know.

Case study – Another couple from down under living the dream on the inland waterways.

20th October 2013Condensation. It’s a common problem on boats. Here are a few suggestions how to keep your boat’s interior dry.

A new organisation for liveaboard boaters

13th October 2013

On demand water heater problems – Discover a common fault with these water heaters and what you can do to resolve the problem.

Know your firewood – Not all timber burns well. Find out which is best and which to avoid.

6th October 2013

Managing your boat’s water supply. You can use your water supply as and when you need it when you live in a house with all mod cons. You can pretty much do the same when you’re on a marina mooring with a water supply just a hose length away. It’s a different kettle of fish when you’re on an online mooring.

Liveaboard case study – A prime example of mooring without a water supply on tap.

29th September 2013

The folly of using unseasoned wood as a fuel – Here’s essential information if you plan to use logs you find to heat your boat for free

Creating lasting memories of your cruises – Slightly off topic, but please bear with me. You’ll have some wonderful adventures as you travel throughout the network. They’ll be adventures worth remembering but will you remember them? I have a very poor memory but instant and total recall of all my cruises is just a click away.

22nd September 2013

A tragedy at Calcutt. Sudden Oak Dieback hits our 1,500 twenty year old oak trees

Forum private messaging – Now you can email other forum users from within the site

15th September 2013

Managing your water supply

An American blogs about his travels

1st September 2013

Solving engine room leaks – A simple solution to a dripping stern tube

All about the weed hatch – Removing debris from your propeller

8th September

A disaster – I inadvertently deleted this week’s newsletter and there wasn’t a backup on the server. What a shame. It was all about the damage you can do to your boat if you don’t watch what you’re doing in a lock. You would have loved it!

25th August 2013

Effective fly killers for boats

The downside to living on a narrowboat

Liveaboard Case Study – American Richard Varnes has taken a year out from work to cruise the canal network and write about his adventure. Here’s his case study and a few stories from his journey so far.

18th August 2013

CART Guide Approval – The waterways’  governing body is now promoting the information packages available from this site. Yippee!

Narrowboat Insurance – A summary of insurance quotes from the major narrowboat insurers

Liveaboard Case Study – Keith and Nicky downsized their property in Jersey, used the released capital to buy their 57? “go anywhere” narrowboat and now live on their boat full time while they continuously cruise the canal network. They’re ridiculously young to retire, and I’m very, very jealous

Downsizing from a 3 bed semi to a narrowboat – What do you do with a lifetime’s accumulated possessions?

11th August 2013

A free download – Living On A Narrowboat: 101 Essential Narrowboat Articles

Narrowboat tips – Handy hints from experienced narrowboat owners

The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How one liveaboard boater manages on a shoestring

4th August 2013

The perfect narrowboat washing machine? – It’s low cost and doesn’t need plumbing in, but does it actually clean clothes?

The cost of a continuous cruising lifestyle – How much does living the life of a water gypsy really cost?

28th July 2013

The cost of living on a narrowboat – An article in the Daily Mail… and why most boaters disagree with what they said.

21st July 2013

Hire boat expectations – Fully understanding what facilities will be available to you is essential if you’re going to enjoy a narrowboat holiday. Here’s what not to do.

14th July 2013

Fenland river cruising – Another boater’s maiden voyage to whet your appetite.

7th July 2013

Anticipating winter weather – You may well be enjoying unusually warm winter weather but the winter will be with us all too soon. Now is the time that you need to plan for the cold weather ahead.

30th June 2013

Keeping your stove glass clean – Maybe you think it’s an odd subject for the summer but you can’t trust the English weather. Late June and the stove was still on now and again. At least now I have a crystal clear view of the fire I shouldn’t need to light.

Traffic chaos caused by Braunston’s historic boat rally – On a day with high winds and a canal full of working boats returning home after the rally, I had the pleasure of taking some very nervous hirers out on the cut.

23rd June 2013 – The cost of a two week cruise. If you live on your own boat, what’s the real cost of taking it away for a two week break?

Case Study – Mary Anne swapped dry land home rental for floating home ownership. Now she loves life afloat and works from home.

Life as a continuous cruiser – The Holy Grail of narrowboat ownership. The ability to travel where and when you like. Peter Early tells all.

16th June 2013

The Ashby canal cruise part two – We spent a bit more time on the Ashby before heading south again, joining the Coventry canal, this time following it into Coventry’s rather depressing and disappointing city centre, then retracing our steps back to Calcutt

Most popular narrowboat names – Here’s the definitive list of the top 200 most popular narrowboat names and a resource you can use to find out if any other boat has the same name as yours

Considerate boating – An article prompted after a near head on collision with another boat trying to avoid a fallen oak.

9th June 2013

I was on holiday for the first two weeks of June. Sally and I cruised from Calcutt to Braunston, north along the north Oxford where we joined the Coventry canal briefly before taking a very sharp right turn onto the Ashby canal. Here’s a daily report of the first week of our holiday.

2nd June 2013

An encounter with two poorly prepared holiday boaters and my own impending two week cruise encouraged me to put together a pre cruise check list

26th May 2013

Laptop hacking – An update on the problems I encountered after buying a brand new laptop which I suspect was tampered with before I bought it.

Diary of a new narrowboat owner – Frequent forum poster “Our Nige” finally moved on to his new floating home. Here’s his story

19th May 2013

My comments about an encounter on the Oxford/GU section between Napton and Braunston sparked a debate about the pros and cons of wide beams on the cut.

Keeping dry – You don’t really need to limit your cruising to sunny summer days. There’s something very special about standing on the back deck in the pouring ran protected by a set of bomb proof waterproofs.

Do you really need a car? Living on a narrowboat is all about enjoying a simple and stress free life. Sally and I had a car each. Mine cost £2,000 to run in the previous 12 months so I decided to get rid of mine to see if I could manage without one.

12th May 2013

An encounter with a wide beam boat and why they aren’t suitable for much of the canal network

An interview with the Trust’s head of boating. Sally Ash talks about the Trust’s approach to the thorny issue of residential moorings

5th May 2013

Narrowboat fuel tanks – How much do they hold

Meet one of your legless canal side companions

The canal network’s largest floating hotel

28th April 2013

Narrowboat blogs – My own first cruise, Our Nige takes his new home on its maiden voyage and a chance for you to have your very own blog section on this site.

21st April 2013

The Trust target illegal moorers but just what does the Trust consider to an illegal mooring?

Identity theft – The ongoing saga of my hacked laptop

RCR engine servicing – River Canal Rescue (RCR) are well known as the waterways equivalent of the AA but did you know that they will also come to your mooring to service your boat?

14th April 2013

The perils of exceeding your monthly broadband data allowance. Learn from my mistakes.

7th April 2013

Narrowboat security – A spate of burglaries from boats and a break in at my former family home encouraged me to write this article

Case study – You need to committed to sell your home to fund the purchase of your narrowboat. That’s what Mick and Marlene have done.

31st March 2013

Case study – Sarah lives on wide beam Antioch on the Leeds Liverpool canal. She can do man things with her hands. Here’s her story.

Be inspired – There are always reasons why you don’t make the move from bricks and mortar to steel and water. Here’s an anecdote which demonstrates once and for all that there really aren’t any worthwhile excuses.

24th March 2013

Here’s an example of what happens when you really don’t understand how your narrowboat works.

Essential boating equipment – Here’s a low cost item which has paid for itself over and over again.

Whilton marina boat sales – Sometimes things aren’t what they appear to be. This alleged fact about the boat sales at Whilton has come to me from several different sources.

17th March 2013

Where can you find residential moorings? Here’s a great place to start

Getting rid of unwelcome visitors – Geese used to regularly disturb a peaceful night’s sleep where I moor. Not any more. Here’s my solution

Know your narrowboat costs – Detailed costs for my own boat for February 2013

Half a dozen boaters now have access to their own blog section on the site. You can too. Here’s how.

11th March 2013

James’ upgrade – Adding solar panels and replacing carpets with oak effect laminate flooring

3rd March 2013

Stove fuel test – What works best; coal, wood, briquettes or something else entirely – Here’s my own take on a Waterways World test

Essential stove maintenance – Here’s what you need to do to make sure that your stove always performs well.

Internet connectivity – I use the internet four or more hours every day. This is the setup I have on my boat to make sure that I’m always connected.

Detailed running costs for my own boat for January 2013

20th February 2013

The real cost of going cheap. An in depth look at the cost of my 36 year old boat, and how much I spent (and still need to spend) before it will be a comfortable full time cruising boat.

8th January 2013

Case Studies – I put together 21 of the best case studies and analysed and summarised the data in this low cost guide. If you want ton save yourself hundreds of hours of research and costly mistakes, you need to read this guide.

Case Study – Mike’s circumstances are similar to my own. He moved onto his boat after a failed marriage. He’s upgraded from a 27? GRP cruiser to a 50? narrowboat

24th December

Narrowboat electrics part 2 – The concluding article from Tim Davis

I asked newsletter subscribers to send me detailed breakdowns of their bricks and mortar expenses so I could compare them with the cost of running a narrowboat. Quite a few subscribers obliged. I added the breakdowns to my narrowboat costs guide and the budgeting application.

18th December 2012

Understanding narrowboat electrics – Another excellent article from Tim Davis

Satellite television for narrowboats – Information from a system installer

2nd December 2012

Low cost narrowboat ownership – A low cost solution to the problem of funding your first narrowboat

Solar power – All you need to know about installing solar panels on your boat. Written by the inland waterways most popular solar system installer

Case Study – Mr. Solar Panel Tim Davis writes about life on board his own narrowboat

21st November 2012

First tests and reviews of the budgeting application

The best aerial for a narrowboat television

6th November 2012

The first release of the new spreadsheet based narrowboat budgeting application

28th October 2012

An unscheduled dip in the marina prompted me to write about safety on the waterways

Living on a narrowboat – Through the eyes of a young lady who would clearly prefer to be somewhere else

17th October 2012

I started to develop the narrowboat budgeting software. This newsletter detailed the concept and the progress to date

14th October 2012

Practical flooring for narrowboat dogs

Case study – Mike and Mags use a double redundancy payment to pay for their new floating home

30th September 2012

The best tip for a wannabe narrowboat owner – Advice from existing boat owners

18th September 2012

I published my guide Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat. When this newsletter was published it was only available as a Kindle edition. Now it’s available in both Kindle and PDF format and is bundled with Narrowbudget, the site’s bespoke narrowboat budgeting application.

VAT on narrowboat sales

20th July 2012

Dealing with pests on a narrowboat – spiders and swans

Posh boats – My personal favourite: S.M. Hudson

7th July 2012

Repeat prescriptions, diesel heating systems and solar panels

10th June 2012

Survey – Do you want a forum on the site? (You already know the answer to that!)

27th  May 2012

How to clean your stove glass – One of the real pleasures of a living fire is watching the flames on a cold winter’s eve. Here’s what you need to do to ensure you can actually see the fire.

Smoking on board – An alternative to smelly smoke

13th May 2012

DIY narrowboat painting – I’ve broken down the complete cost of painting your own boat and

Dealing with wind on the river – A guest article from liveaboard narrowboat owner Alan Cazaly

29th April 2012

DIY narrowboat painting – I spent three weeks in April painting my boat. Here’s the first of my progress reports

15th April 2012

Life on the river Cam – A guest article on the pleasures of river life by wide beam liveaboard Luther Phillips

Case Study – Freelance writer Anne and her South African farmer partner John reveal all

Case Study – Toni cruises constantly with ex husband Allan. They cruise together but they live apart… on separate boats

 1st April 2012

As a result of the article about the downside of living on a narrowboat published in the 18th March newsletter, I asked liveaboard narrowboat owners to complete a survey to give a balanced view of the issues raised by Pauline. Here are the survey results and a much more positive article by liveaboard narrowboat owner and frequent forum contributer Peter Early.

18th March 2012

The downside of living on a narrowboat – This was a very controversial post. Liveaboard Pauline Roberts wrote about the less pleasant aspects of life afloat… and attracted a storm of comments

Case study: The Woodsman – Pauline Roberts again giving an insight into the life that you may think she doesn’t like.

4th March 2012

Reviewed: The Liveaboard Guide by Tony Jones. A great guide to living afloat

eBay Narrowboat scam (and a little bit of flack for me from another forum)

Case Study: Author Toby Jones on his own liveaboard narrowboat

A review of Debdale Wharf marina

22nd January 2012

Two more case studies. One of them waxed lyrical about life on the waterways and enjoyed every minute of her life afloat. Now (April 2013) she’s selling up to follow another dream in Spain.

8th January 2012

The first four narrowboat case studies published

I’ll start with myself; Paul Smith, living on my own, moored in a marina and working full time. Narrowboat James case study

Meet Peggy. She has a husband and two small children, works full time and cruises the network during the summer months. Narrowboat Violet Mae case study

Fancy spending your retirement cruising the waterways of England and Wales? Meet Barry and Sue Horne. They’re living the dream! Narrowboat Adagio Case Study

Here are another working couple. Lina and Warren cruise the cut with their two cats.Narrowboat Olive Rose case study.

2nd February 2011

Article – Living on a narrowboat in winter

1th January 2011 – 1st Newsletter

Dealing with the coldest winter on record
Digital reading – A detailed review of the Kindle, the perfect solution for book loving boat owners

Comprehensive Site Article Listing

There are dozens of helpful and interesting articles on the site, but have you found them all? I thought you might appreciate a list of the more popular articles that you can glance through and click on the ones that take your fancy. Here it is.

Popular Forum Posts

There’s a wealth of information on the site in general, but if you’re struggling to find the answer to a particular issue, the forum is the place to find it. I’ve listed some of the more popular posts below but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask your question on the forum. If you don’t know how to create a post, or if you can’t log in, please let me know. I’ll be more than happy to get you up and running.

  • Freezing Water – How to stop your pipes and pumps from freezing in the winter
  • CRT & Continuous Cruising – The Trust and their enforcement of the rules
  • Heat – Advice for the owner of a cold boat
  • GPS Devices and Canal Mapping – Are there any decent ones available for your narrowboat and do you need them anyway?
  • Battery Monitors – Replacing your leisure batteries is one of your more expensive maintenance costs. Here’s some detailed information about a device for looking after your batteries
  • Survey Costs – How much should you pay to have your boat removed from the water for a survey?
  • Battery monitors – Gimmick or essential boating equipment?
  • Engine size and performance – Most engines are suitable for pottering about on the canal but what size engine do you need if you plan to cruise on rivers?
  • A Big Inverter Or A Suitcase Generator – What are the pros and cons of either option?
  • Who Owns Your Boat? – How do you find out if there’s still finance attached to your boat when you buy it.
  • Boat Shares – A low cost alternative to outright narrowboat ownership. Advice from a current share owner
  • Plumbing In A Back Boiler – Advice Offered
  • Inverter Installation – What do you need and can you fit one yourself?
  • Getting Rid Of Space Wasting CD’s & DVD’s – The solution is to digitise your collection. Here’s how to do it.
  • Depreciation – How much does a new narrowboat lose in value as the years go by?
  • The Cost Of Continuous Cruising – How much does the nomadic lifestyle really cost?
  • 12v Narrowboat Washing Machines – Is there any such animal?
  • “Chiggers” – It’s a mite you can pick up from the ever growing population of Canada Geese. Beware!
  • Post & Postal Addresses For Continuous Cruisers – You need an address in order to receive post and open bank accounts, register for doctors and hospitals etc. How do continuous cruisers with no fixed abode manage it.
  • Keeping Cool On A Narrowboat – How to keep people and pets cool in the summer
  • It’s Official: There’s No Need To Pay Mooring Fees – Or so this Daily Mail article claims. You may disagree. I do.
  • Overcrowded Waterways – More and more people are choosing a life afloat. Are the waterways becoming congested?
  • VAT On New Narrowboats – Can you knock 20% off the cost of your new narrowboat?
  • Lock Techniques – How do you handle a narrowboat in a lock on your own?
  • Narrowboat Burglary – Two boats burgled at the same location. Where is it and what can you do to minimise the risk of theft from your own boat wherever you are?
  • Insuring Your Car When You Live On A Boat – A boat owner had his car insurance cancelled when he told them he lives on a narrowboat. How does he approach other insurance companies?
  • Remedies For Sooty Stove Glass – For me, one of the great pleasures of living on a narrowboat is a winter evening in front of a flickering fire. Here’s how you can keep your stove glass clear so you can see the fire in all its glory
  • Visitor Moorings With Shore Power – Sometimes you need to hook up to the mains when you moor for the night. Where can you find these moorings?
  • Steam Power – Are there any steam powered narrowboats on the network?
  • Lightning – Is there a risk of your narrowboat being struck by lightning?
  • Overplating/Replating – What’s the difference between the two and what’s involved in having the work done?
  • The Logistics Of Buying A Boat – A fascinating account from a potential narrowboat owner as he tried to get a boat out of the water so that it can be suryeyed.
  • Winter Stoppages 2013/2014 – The Trust carry out essential scheduled repairs during the quieter, cooler months. Here’s their planned stoppages for the coming winter.
  • A New Narrowboat Dog – Alan recently moved on board his own floating home. He loved his new boat but something was missing. Now he has a new best friend and he’s in love, although his new best friend has proven a bit of a challenge.
  • Electric Boats – What do they cost to run? Why would you want one? There’s a huge amount of information for you here if you’ve ever considered an alternative to a diesel narrowboat engine.
  • Pram Covers – “Pram cover” is the term for a cover over the rear deck, usually on a cruiser stern narrowboat. Here are the pros and cons.
  • The difference between cruising on canalas and rivers – This is a very popular thread for very good reason. It’s packed with advice if you’re new to river cruising.
  • Checklists – What do you need to check before you set off on a cruise? There’s some very detailed information including a very useful post by fellow Calcutt moorer Graham who has issues with his mobility after an RTA many years ago.
  • Television Aerials – If you can’t live without your Corrie, you’ll need a decent aerial for your boat.
  • My New Life – I urge you to read this forum thread. If you dream of living on your own narrowboat one day, reading this post, written by a new liveaboard boater, may well prove the catalyst you need. It’s essential reading for any aspiring narrowboat owner.
  • Narrowboat Ownership – How do you prove that the person offering a narrowboat for sale is the real owner?
  • Tips For Continuous Cruisers – He’s making a bit of a habit of it; Pearley’s back with some great cruising tips
  • The Llangollen Canal – One of the country’s most beautiful canals discussed
  • Deliveries to your boat – Excellent information from regular forum contributor Pearley
  • Mobile Broadband – All you need to know about internet connectivity on board
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that fellow boaters can steal your internet data allowance?
  • Boat Planning & Design – Is there any free software available to hel you plan your dream boat?
  • A Narrowboat Checklist – What checks do you need to carry out before you set out on a cruise?
  • Tunnels – How do you navigate them? Who has priority?
  • Windows Or Portholes – Round or square, which is best? Is it just a matter of personal preference?
  • Day To Day Questions About Narrowboat Life – How can “newbies” find out the answers to questions about day to day life on a narrowboat? The answer is simple. Find out by reading this post.
  • Beds – The pros and cons of fixed doubles and cross beds. You need to read this if you are taller or slightly wider than average.
  • Flushing Out a Toilet Waste Tank – Emptying your pumpout toilet holding tank isn’t just a case of sucking out your unmentionables. You also need to flush water through the tank to remove the built up solids. Here’s how to do it.
  • Narrowboat Knots – Do you know your bowline from your buntline hitch, your cleat hitch from your clove hitch or your poacher’s knot from your square knot? No? It’s about time you did!
  • Free Narrowboat Heating – Is there any such thing? Read this post to find out
  • Narrowboat Furniture – Not everyone wants fitted furniture on their boat. Here are a few ideas if you want to add your own.
  • Weight on a narrowboat – How many people can you carry on a narrowboat, and how much luggage can they bring with them?
  • Narrowboat Finance – A Canadian hoping to move to the UK, buy a boat and cruise the network.
  • Internet Data Theft – Did you know that you can have your boat’s broadband allowance stolen? Here’s what you can do to prevent the theft.
  • Problems Powering An Inverter With A Generator – Why didn’t it work and what’s the solution?
  • Diesel Costs – You need it to run your boat and maybe your heating system. How much can you expect to pay for it?
  • Stove Top Fans – Are they worth the money?
  • Mooring Pins and Piling Hooks – What are they and when do you use them?
  • Water Pump Problems – What to do if your water pump appear to have a life of its own
  • Fuel Contamination – How do you know if you’ve water in your diesel… and what do you do about it when you have?
  • Anchors – What’s the best size and weight anchor for narrowboats on tidal rivers
  • Single Handed Boating for Ladies – Can a lady on her own pass safely through locks?
  • Different Types of Mooring – What’s the difference between residential and leisure moorings? How long can you stay on your boat with each type?
  • Which Ropes To Use? – There are so many different types available. Are the more expensive ones worth using or is it just a case of money for old rope?
  • Windows – Why do narrowboat owners tolerate condensation? Why don’t they have modern uPVC windows fitted?
  • Best Ex Hire Boats – Are you considering buying an ex hire boat to live on? Should you? Here’s some important information for you.
  • Liveaboard Conclusions – Mel Davies has been doing  plenty of research into her hoped for lifestyle afloat. Here are the conclusions she’s reached and comments from a few existing liveaboard narrowboat owners.
  • Handling Floodwaters – How safe is a river mooring during and after heavy rain? Can you stay on a river when the level rises? What can you do to minimise danger?
  • Narrowboat steel thickness – How thick is your boat’s steel? How long does it last?
  • Retro fitting a solid fuel stove – Where’s the best place to put your stove and what’s involved in fitting it?
  • Converting from a cassette toilet to a pump out – A pump out toilet is far more convenient to use than a toilet with a portable cassette but how easy are they to retro fit in a narrowboat?
  • Gas free boating – If you don’t fancy heaving unwieldy gas bottles into a difficult to reach bow locker, a gas free boat might be the solution
  • Winter on the cut – Are you able to cruise all year on your boat or should you find a mooring for the winter?
  • Transporting your boat – Sometimes you may want or need to take your narrowboat by road rather than cruise along the canal. Here’s an idea of the cost
  • Bike types and preferences – If you don’t have a car parked near your boat, you’ll probably want a bike, but which type of bike is best?
  • Towing a butty – I’ve upset someone. I didn’t mean to. Wainbody wanted to know the best way of towing an unpowered second narrowboat (butty). I came across as patronising when I replied. It was unintentional but to make amends I thought I would ask anyone with boat handling experience to reply to his thread with some constructive advice. If you can help him, please reply to the post.
  • The best flooring for a narrowboat pets –  What’s the best way to protect your floor from a dirty doggy?
  • The best time of the year to buy a boat – Is there a deal to be done by buying a boat in the winter?
  • The best length for a liveaboard narrowboat – What’s the best length to buy? What are the pros and cons of different length boats
  • ONE tip to offer a potential narrowboat owner – If you are already a narrowboat owner, you can share your experience. If you haven’t bought one yet, you need to read this thread.
  • Powering your computer on a narrowboat – Can you power your computer/laptop from the boat’s 12v supply or do you need mains power?
  • Must-have gadgets and necessities – The most useful/useless gadgets for life on a narrowboat
  • Choosing a stove for your boat – Are domestic solid fuel stoves as good as the ones designed specifically for boats? Which is the best one to buy?
  • Diesel heating for boats – How important is a solid fuel stove on a liveaboard narrowboat? Is a diesel heating system OK as a primary heat source?
  • Computers on boats – Can a computer be powered from your boat’s 12v system or does it need to be plugged into the mains
  • Receiving post on your boat – How does the postman find you when you’re cruising? How do you apply for a driving license, a TV license or a bank statement when you have no official address?
  • Bikes on board – Many boat owners do not have cars so they rely on bikes to get them to the shops (or the pub). Some use bikes to collect their cars after a day’s cruising. There’s a huge selection of bikes to choose from. Which are the best for your boat? To tell you the truth, I don’t know the answer. Can you point forum member Ainslo in the right direction?
  • VAT on narrowboat sales – Does the price of your narrowboat contain a VAT element? Can the VAT be reclaimed?
  • Internet access – How do you connect to the internet when you live on a boat?
  • Living off property rental income – Do you have a property that you indend to let while you cruise the waterways? Read this before you work out your budget.
  • How to find a narrowboat to live on – Here’s an article about choosing a liveaboard narrowboat, and a question about finding a narrowboat with a steering wheel.
  • Vertigo – How to deal with walking over lock gates if you’re frightened of heights.
  • Long term narrowboat hire – If you aren’t ready to buy a narrowboat yet, what are your chances of hiring a narrowboat for more than a few weeks?
  • Residential moorings and single handed boating – How do you handle a narrowboat on your own? What do you do about a mooring if you live on board and only want a mooring for part of the year
  • Too tall for a narrowboat? – Is a narrowboat suitable for you if you are above average height?
  • Dealing with condensation – Do all narrowboats suffer from damp? What can you do about it?
  • Solar panels – More information about portable and fixed solar panels
  • Heating systems – Hurricane and Mikuni heating systems discussed

Useful Links

Living on a Narrowboat: The REAL Cost of a Life Afloat – Narrowboat costs explained in detail. My own maintenance and living cost on narrowboat James for a full year. Use this information to work out your own costs.
CRT (Canal & River Trust) maintain the waterways. Here’s their site.
Find out what parts of the canal are closed and for how long. Essential cruising information for you.
Do you need to find a home for your boat? Here’s a comprehensive list of the narrowboat friendly marinas in the UK
Do you want to see where these marinas are on a map? Here it is.
Here’s a map of all the canals on the system to help you plan your route.
Newsletter Archive – Browse through a wealth of useful content in the newsletters over the last year.
Find out more about narrowboat central heating costs here.

Useful Information
Entertainment
Summary
1 10 11 12