A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Adagio

Meet Sue and Barry enjoying early retirement on board their narrowboat with Duffy the lurcher living the dream (Barry and Sue – not Duffy). This is the first of the site’s liveaboard case studies. {{{0}}}

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

Sue And Barry Horne Relaxing On Their Front Deck

Sue And Barry Horne Relaxing On Their Front Deck

Barry & Sue Horne and Duffy a 4 month old lurcher.

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

After 29 years in the RAF followed by 8 years in industry we took early retirement, sold the house and everything in it and moved aboard the narrowboat. We had owned a 57 foot cruiser stern narrowboat for 5 years previously which we used for holidays and weekend getaways. We had also taken several narrowboat holidays when the children were younger. So this is something we have always wanted to do.

We are looking for a simpler, more relaxed way of life but have yet to find it! However, we have been live aboards for only 7 months so still finding our way.

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

We purchased Adagio second hand – she was 18 months old when we bought her. The name encapsulated our dream of life afloat so we kept it.

What is you boat length and style?

Liveaboard Narrowboat Adagio

Liveaboard Narrowboat Adagio

Adagio is 65 feet long with a trad stern (she is not a trad boat with engine room, though)

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

We have owned a narrowboat for just over 5 1/2 years.

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

We live aboard permanently.

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

Both retired

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Winter! Especially when frozen in and unable to move anywhere. Kind of defeats the whole idea of an itinerant lifestyle.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Sense of freedom and visiting different places and meeting new people.

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

Add an engine room, back cabin and more storage!!!

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

Canalside and local farm shops. We use a supermarket if nearby town has one close to the canal. We try to buy diesel and coal from canal traders – there are plenty of working boats plying trade on the Cut.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a washing machine. Adagio has some pretty beefy electrical power systems so appliances are not really an issue.

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

Vodafone mobile broadband and, no, not satisfied with the service! Very patchy coverage away from major cities/towns or motorway corridors.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Shroppie, especially around Audlem.

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

We have a 240v AC Travel Power set feeding a Victron combi invertor/charger which, together support a bank of AGM batteries for domestic power. In our opinion you cannot have too much power!

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

Work out how much you are willing to downsize then at least double it! Space is at a premium even in the longest narrowboat. Also consider the problems with healthcare if you intend to continuous cruise. The NHS is not set up to support people living the itinerant life. Oh, and think carefully about the toilet system you want. Pump out is fine until you are frozen in somewhere for 4 weeks or more. Cassettes are easy but you need to plan stops to include acces to Elsan disposal points. A combination of both is probably best for continuous cruising. Otherwise just do it!
Sue and Barry Horne have been blogging about their narrowboat life since August 2009. You can read about their adventures 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 web site.
Useful Information
Paul Smith

After six and a half years living on a narrowboat on England's inland waterways, Paul and his wife Cynthia wandered Europe by motorhome during the winter, and on the Dutch and French waterways in the warmer months on their 35' Dutch motor cruiser. However, the pull of England's muddy ditches proved too much for them. Now they're back where they belong, constantly stuck in mud in a beautiful traditional narrowboat.

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