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9

A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Clay Hammer

David describes himself as MANKY – it’s not as bad as it sounds – who is single and who hasn’t become jaded to the point where he’s reluctant to change his status. Until last month he was in full time employment. Now his options are open. Will he cruise the network full time?

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

My name is David and, at the time of writing (Sept 2013), I have neither a significant other or a dog, but am not adverse to having either at some
time in the future. Must like boats!

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

Inside Clay HammerI’m a M.A.N.K.(Y?) – Middle Aged No Kids (Yet?) – and have spent much of my time in creative places. Writing, teaching, adult education, mental health, web design and development, comedy, theatre, theatre production and venue management and photography. I also worked as a courier, delivery driver, telesales and telemarketing and customer services.

For the past ten years I worked in Central London within E-Commerce. Whilst it was great to have a steady income for a change and gain some business experience I found it ultimately a fairly sterile and fulfilling environment.

I first started thinking about living aboard about a couple of years ago. Without wanting to overegg the cliché I had hit a new low, was approaching 50, and the relationship I was in had started to unravel. Sadly, despite both our best efforts, it became painfully obvious that the relationship wasn’t recoverable so I started to look at my choices. In addition to this the phrase ‘Wouldn’t it be a good idea if…’, which had been a regular visitor throughout my life and hardly ever acted upon, had really started to rankle me.

So I eventually had flat, park home, mobile home/van, boat on my list. The flat choice was fairly easy one. I felt it was unlikely I would get a mortgage, did not want to shell out a ridiculous amount on rent and, ultimately, in any circumstance, didn’t want to have to try and find around £1,000/month just to cover the basics.

Park home? The idea still appeals, so maybe when I’m too old and decrepit I’ll look into this more fully, but the places I looked into at the time seemed to be little more than middle aged enclaves and, albeit I fit into that category, I thought they were a little too segregated for my liking.

Mobile home/van? Would have been far too small. I could have gone for a 7.5 tonne truck, but ultimately it felt far too impractical. Parking would have been a nightmare!

Boat? A very good friend of mine had been on the water for about 10 years and had also brought up their child on their boat. She introduced me to someone else who was also living aboard (c.15 years in total and to date 7 years continuous crusing). I spent some time talking to them about it, more time thinking about it, and to cut what is fast becoming a long story short, the boat choice really appealed to me on a practical, material and romantic level.

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

Clay Hamer. It was her name when I bought her and I didn’t change it. It’s rather childish of me, but it kind of sounds like a 70’s/80’s rock band.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

Nope I’m a cc’er. With apologies to those who do have a permanent mooring I really didn’t see the point of having a boat and being static. Kids aside (it makes perfect sense for schooling etc.) I was still able to get into central London for work from pretty much anywhere along the Grand Union (Watford) to the River Lea (Cheshunt).

What is your boat style and length

45ft trad

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Since February 2013

How did you finance your boat?

Part loan, part cash (from my share of the sale of the flat)

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

So far, all of it. It’s my home.

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

I was until I was made redundant in August this year. Now I’m ‘freelance’  and looking at rekindling my photography and web development expertise as well as starting some wood turning.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

There’s not really anything that sticks out yet. The lack of space? I still have too much ‘stuff’. Some of the Elsan facilities are less than ideal, but I guess that’s to be expected. The winter? More accurately my inept attempts at lighting, and keeping lit, the fire. As I’ve only been afloat since Feb 2013 and caught the tail end of the winter I guess we’ll see how I get on with my first proper winter and what it throws at me. On land I would start to struggle from around February – lack of light etc – and hanker for the onset of Spring.

Having said that I spent the majority of February though April this year (2013) over on the Grand Union between Packet Boat and Kings Langley and waking up in Cassiobury Park in February and March was absolutely magical. I may have to go back there for a late winter tonic.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

I have met some very, very kind, considerate and helpful people. The vast  are boaters, but I am continually surprised by the refreshing nature of the interactions with almost everyone and their abundance of humanity. Friends aside it’s something, in my experience, that’s sadly lacking on land.

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

12v sockets. Something I’m hoping to resolve pdq.

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

I try and use the coal boats as much as possible for coal, gas and wood and local shops for everything else.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Launderette. Whilst I was working I was dropping it off in the morning for a service wash and collecting that evening.

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

Cassette. Happy? Yes. A little medieval, but simple. I’m trying out brewers yeast as the ‘additive’ rather than blue – it was recommended by another boater.

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

Through a Three dongle. 15 gig monthly allowance. The connection can be a little slow sometimes, but is generally more than adequate, but I can burn through the 15 gig quite quickly especially if I’m on a Netflix fix!

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

My experience is rather limited as I’ve only stopped off at various places between Kings Langley and Cheshunt, but so far it has to be Cassiobury (Grand Union) by a country mile. Absolutely enchanting.

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

200w solar panels, cruising and an hour or two just running the engine.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

It was ok when I could keep the fire lit, but my inexperience and ineptitude were big factors earlier in the year and I found myself on more than one occasion just climbing under the duvet. I guess I’ll find out how adept at fire I am during my first proper winter.

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

DO IT! If you don’t like it you can cross it off your bucket list. The saddest two words would be ‘if only.’

You can read see examples of David’s photography work here.

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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.

 

 

12v sockets. Something I’m hoping to resolve pdq.

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4

A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Festina Lente

After a brush with bowel cancer, Andy and his wife Sue decided to live life to the full, retire early and continuously cruise the canal network. They now have no fixed abode and love every minute of their new lifestyle.

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

 My name is Andy and I am married to Sue

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

I suppose we have been planning getting a narrowboat since our 20’s. for when we retire but last year I had cancer of the bowel so we decided to retire early and live on smaller pensions.

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

‘Festina Lente’ it’s latin for ‘make haste slowly’ The boat was already named.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

Festina LenteWe haven’t a mooring yet but will have a winter berth in a marina.

What is your boat style and length

58 foot Trad

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Since April, this is our first year on her.

How did you finance your boat?

Savings

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

All year so far.

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

Early retirees

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Inconsiderate people who moor at water points.

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Absolutely everything, life at this pace gives your eyes time to see.

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

A bigger cratch area maybe and I’d love a bow thruster.

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

ina Lente on a river mooringWe moor near supermarkets or get them to deliver the heavy stuff, we use farm shops and local butchers which are a little more expensive but far superior quality. If we need a car to visit relatives we use Enterprise who collect us from the boat.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We have a full size domestic appliance on board.

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

Cassette with 3 tanks. We can go a couple of weeks if we really needed too. We haven’t found Elsan services hard to find.

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

MiFi  contract with 3 , very happy, the coverage for the data is much better than their mobile phone coverage for some reason.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Thames is our favourite waterway but the South Oxford is nice and we are on the Ashby as I write which is beuatifully rural although shallow in places.

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

Twin alternators and 5 leisure batteries plus 250 watt solar panels. The summer we have had we haven’t needed to run the engine to top the bank up. We are not big electric uses mainly recharging stuff like laptops. We have a TV but don’t use it much. The biggest user is the washing machine which we have to run the engine to use.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

We haven’t been through a winter yet, but April was cool and we had the Epping stove lit which warms the boat nicely.We also have diesel central heating to 5 rads if we need it.

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

Know your budget. Look at loads and loads of boats on the internet to get a feel for prices.  Some brokers seem to chance their arm with the price probably to get the vendor to sell through them, then the price  suddenly drops by as much as £10,000, so don’t get caught out. Make a list of everything you must have on your boat and another list of would be nice to have aboard. You can use this list to whittle down the boats to view. Then spend time driving around marinas viewing as many boats as you can and speak to boaters, sit by a lock and ask them questions , they are a chatty bunch. A full Survey is a must.

You can read Andy’s excellent and often updated blog here.

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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.

 

 

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8

A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Lorien

Julie and Jim love life afloat so much they’ve brought a little person into the world to share the adventure with them. Although they both work they constantly cruise the network, never staying longer than two weeks in the same spot.

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

 My name is Julie and my partner is Jim.  We also have a 7 month old baby. We have lived afloat for nearly 5 years.

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

We were looking for somewhere to buy together, started considering boats, decided to ‘try it’ and here we are 🙂  we lived on our first boat for just over 4 years and completely renovated her.  We are making changes to the new boat (moving the kitchen and adding a bedroom) but nothing as major as the last boat.

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

Narrowboat LorienOur boat is called Lorien, she was already named when we purchased her and we quite like the name.  There are also suspicions that it is unlucky to rename boats….

Do you have a permanent mooring?

We choose to continually cruise as we enjoy moving around and seeing different sights. As continual cruisers we are required to move every two weeks.  There is an option to purchase winter moorings as moving around in the ice can damage your hull.

What is your boat style and length

Lorien is a 62ft traditional narrowboat

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Nearly 5 years.  Our first boat was a 44ft wooden top.  We had to go bigger when our baby arrived.. We have lived on Lorien for 5 months.

How did you finance your boat?

We used our Savings and profit from selling our homes.

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

Every day all year round … We have never looked back.

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

Yes I am an Area Manager for a charity and my partner has his own business.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Holiday boats roaring past and nosey passers by.  People become intrigued and sometimes stare in through the open hatch or the windows, I personally find this quite rude, I would never walk up to a house and gawp in through the window……

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Everything… The peace and quiet, moving around and seeing different parts of the canal network, the locks, living in close proximity to my family, having a different view out of the window every two weeks …

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

Currently we are re designing and making several changes, part of me wishes this was done and dusted, part of me enjoys the challenge.  We are going to have her repainted soon, so I would probably change her colour.

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

We always have our cars near, we simply moor in places by bridges with spaces to park. Getting out and about has never been a problem.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

I bundle it into a big bag, pop it to the laundrette and get the kind lady there to wash, dry and iron it.  I collect it the next day.

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

We have a cassette toilet and are perfectly happy this way.  It is emptied weekly and is easy to manage.

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

I use the iPad and have never suffered from bad signal.  If the phone works, so does the iPad.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

To date the Stratford run or the Shropshire union.  Many left to explore though.

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

We run the engine for power, we also have a wind generator which keeps the batteries topped up when it is windy.  The engine runs for around 1 hour per day, this provides approximately 8/9 hours of power and the hot water.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

We have a stove which has gravity fed central heating connected to it, the boat warms through in approximately 20/30 minutes and remains nice and toasty as long as you keep feeding it. Winter is my favourite time of year.

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

If you like boats and peace and quiet go for it. Never do it purely for financial purposes (thinking it’s cheap)….  it is cheap, especially if you cruise as you have no mooring fees, but this requires you to move every two weeks therefore you must enjoy boating and locking.

If you decide to have a permanent mooring as a live board you will still pay council tax etc.  some mornings are leisure mooring that you are not supposed to live on but I guess you could live on the boat or 10 months and cruise for 2 months….. The choice would be yours.

Consider your purchase carefully, has the boat had a survey? Is the hull ok? ??  Don’t worry about smaller issues you will deal with these as they arise. Your main costs are boat license, insurance, diesel and gas but remember that you should have the hull blacked every 3/4 years so consider this cost as well, you may also wish to allocate money to service the engine as this is the heart of the boat and without it your a bit stuck.  You need a boat safety certificate every 4 years.

Don’t listen to the part time live a boards who only live aboard during mild months!!!!  it is not freezing cold in the winter, a good stove will keep your boat toasty and comfortable. We have lived aboard for the past four winters and I look forward to our 5th… During the winter the canal is so beautiful and there are no hire boats roaring past!!

Consider that you will have to take your rubbish away yourself, empty your toilet (or have. Pump out) and fill your boat with water regularly. Ours needs filling every 6 weeks (ish) and obviously the rubbish is taken away weekly when we empty the toilet.  There are various facilities along the canal for boaters to use.

Other than the above general daily activities are the same as in a house.  We have a full sized gas cooker, a 22″ flat screen tv which runs on 12v with built in freeview and DVD player (always buy a dm log aerial and point it at a satellite, don’t buy a satellite dish, they are tetchy and don’t work if you are moored near high trees), we have 12v chargers for our phones, the iPad for Internet, we have not missed the space of a house to date and our little one explores and scoots around just as any baby does.

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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.

 

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Lucy Lowther

Alan had a choice to make. He could either do nothing but feel sorry for himself when his wife sadly passed away, or he could seize life with both hands and move ahead with his plans to buy a liveaboard narrowboat. A year later he’s continuously cruising the inland waterways network with his rescue border collie.

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

I am Alan and I live on the boat with my best friend, James – a rescue border collie about a year old, who I have had for 3 months.

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

After my wife died last year I had a choice.  I could sit at home feeling sorry for myself or decide to get on with the rest of my life.  I chose the latter and started my search for a live-aboard boat.  The research, searching for a boat and buying it are what kept me going through the first few months. We had been on many boating holidays and I knew I would love the life.

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

NB Lucy LowtherLucy Lowther, already the name when I bought her. I was going to  rename her after my late wife but, if I take to the boating life, I suspect I will want to upgrade when I sell the house – an extra few feet, a larger shower and maybe not a cross bed.  I will rename the   new boat or this one, if I keep her, when next repainting but in my mind she  will always be “The Lovely Lisa”.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

No mooring, although I have just booked a winter mooring. to enable me to get my house ready for sale next Spring.  I will buy  a  smaller property and may or may not live on the boat in the winter months.

What is your boat style and length

54 ft cruiser.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

I bought the boat in December last year and moved on board in March.

How did you finance your boat?

Mortgage on the house

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

All the time since March, apart from the occasional few days checking on the house.

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

Retired.  Previously in finance, then a village shop and post office.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

The inability to “jump in the car” to pop to the shop for something you need. My worst experience so far was nothing horrendous but the section from Wigan to Burnley  was not enjoyable.  From empty pounds to too much water threatening to  engulf the boat and lots of local youths hanging about, including two  on the stern to snort a line of cocaine (I engaged with them all and  had no problems and several helped with gates).

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

Being able to just turn the key and move my home to a new place to explore, with new views and experiences and seeing the country at 3 mph.  That may be three things! I love the scenery, the camaraderie and friendship too.

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

The shower – it is tiny.

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

A shopping trolley, a rucksack and very occasionally the bike.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

I have a compact Candy washing machine.  Works great.

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

Dump-through pump out and I would not swap for anything else.  If I live onboard in the winter I may buy a porta-potti or similar as back up in case the canals are iced in.

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

Usually tethering with 3 on my iPhone.  Unlimited download for £18    per month, as well as 2000 minutes and 5000 texts.  Service generally very good.  I have a back-up dongle, also on 3, which I can hang on my 10ft aerial mast if reception is poor but will probably change this to a different provider to avoid the duplicate coverage.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Well, I have not covered them all, by any means.  So far, it has to  be the Leeds & Liverpool. from Foulridge to Skipton.  Oh, and the  Llangollen.  Or perhaps the Weaver.  And what about the Montgomery? Yes, it has to be the Monty but perhaps only because I had some fantastic dawn cruises on there.

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

Obviously mostly from the engine.  But when I am not moving I have   400w of solar panels.  On a sunny day I do not need to start the   engine.  If it is cloudy the panels will supply my needs but not   replace the previous nights use.  I am a heavy electric user.

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

The boat did not have a stove when I bought it.  The gas central   heating only just kept the boat warm enough when it was not very cold – and used a bottle every 3 days.  The 4kw stove I had fitted kept the boat plenty warm in a very cold March.

What are the things you miss most compared to living in a house?

The power shower, opening the back door to let the dog out  and being able to walk from one room to another.

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

Do it.  But if you are a couple or a family you have to be sure you can live with each other in close confines with little escape –   maybe try a few weeks in a caravan first.

You can read Alan’s excellent blog here. He updates it regularly and adds plenty of photo’s. It’s well worth a read.

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.

 

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Stardust

Richard Varnes and wife Valerie have sold their home in Colarado to fund a very different floating home on the inland waterways of England and Wales. Professional photographer Valerie takes photo’s to add to Richard’s written account of their travels.

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

Valari and I are “retired” — she having been a professional portrait and wedding photographer and me a telecommunications and TV production person. We both continue our photographic and writing pursuits.

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

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

We are both long-time Anglophiles — even since before we met. I went to school in the UK at Lancaster University during 1969/70.

In May 2012 we had our first canaling hire-baot experience aboard the “Jack” operated by Armada Boats out of Hillmorton

Our insanity was confirmed after taking a 62′ Wyvern boat from Leighton Buzzard to Paddington Basin and back in about two weeks (going down was brutal — coming back we knew we were boaters)

Life is short.

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

Narrowboat Stardust“Stardust” It it what we all came from and to which we will all return.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

No Fixed Abode — we are continuous cruisers since March of this year

What is your boat style and length

64′ ex-Napton hire boat, fitted with diesel heating and pram cover

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

December 2012

How did you finance your boat?

Sold our house in Colorado

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

As much as we can except for visits home and elsewhere

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

Winter on the canal at BraunstonAlways fiddling with something on the boat. Currently undertaking my first serious rust-repair paint job. Hoping to learn bell-ringing this winter.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Boaters speeding by and rattling the dishes

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

It is a living connection between Britain’s past and present

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

bigger galley

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

We walk to towns or use the buses which are a great way to see the country and meet people

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

Find a laundry or use marina machines

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

macerator pump-outs by Tecma — fine except tank level gages don’t work well

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

3G mobile hotspot  — always works, often very slow…

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Braunston or Berkhampsted

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

The usual twin starter/domestic alternators  — no idea of usage amount

How warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Warm!  Hurricane diesel central heat and 6 double rads

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

Try to hire a variety of boat lengths and layouts. Have a back up heat source for winter.

Richard writes about the places he visits and the people he meets on his travels. There are links to a few of his stories below.

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.

 

 

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A Case Study Of Liveaboard Narrowboat Badger Sett

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.

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

Happily retired KeithWe’re Keith and Nicky from Jersey and live on our narrowboat with our two Hungarian Vizsla’s called Binks and Benji.

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

Over the years we’d talked about retiring before fifty, but it was more a ‘what if’ sort of dream. Changes at work though, that also happened to coincide with our sons leaving home, caused us to bring our dream out of the cupboard and dust it off. We’ve also enjoyed a number of boating holidays over the years (only one on a narrowboat though) and the two elements merged.

So at 48 and 46 we retired, moved aboard and haven’t regretted it for a second.

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

The narrowboat we brought was called Badger Sett and liked it along with its picture so kept it the same.

Do you have a permanent mooring?

No, we plan to continuously cruise the network and so are of ‘no fixed abode’.

What is your boat style and length

It is a 57’ cruiser stern.

57’ because we want to get around as much of the network as possible. That said though, I believe it is possible for slightly longer boatsNB Badger Sett to make it although this may require taking off front and rear fenders, going into locks diagonally and getting a bit wet if you’re hard up against the cill in the lock and all seems to be a bit of hassle.

A cruiser stern so we’ve got somewhere ‘comfortable’ to sit outside with proper chairs in the summer (!) whilst having the ease and privacy of being off the tow path.

Our choice won’t necessarily suit everyone, but it suits us and that’s what matters.

How long have you been a narrowboat owner?

Eighteen months, ten of which we’ve been living aboard and six months as actual continuous cruisers.

How did you finance your boat?

Downsized our property and used some of the money.

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

Last year it was just holiday’s so about six weeks or so, now we are aboard full time.

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

No, we are retired.

What do you like least about narrowboat life?

Nothing yet, but I’m sure if we try really really hard, we might manage to come up with something !

What do you like most about narrowboat life?

The flexibility and benefits of being continuous cruisers.

Nicky at the helm of Badger SettIf you could change just one thing about your boat, what would it be?

Nothing, it really does suit us perfectly.

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

We look out for / plan around main supermarkets and get the shop back to the boat using rucksacks. Can be a bit of a trudge sometimes, 45 minutes each way has been the worst yet so far, but we still lived to tell the tale.

We’ve done a couple of shops using Tesco and Sainsbury Online when main supermarkets have not been convenient to our location or travel plans and found them to be very useful in these cases.

How do you do your washing when you are cruising?

We were thinking of getting a washing machine, but decided to see how we got on using launderettes and so far we’re getting on okay. It’s one of those trade off’s and considering the power usage, water usage and the space it would take up we were planning to stay as we are. We recently spoke to someone who had a small twin tub though and they were very pleased with it so we’re thinking of this as an option.

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

We’d initially decided that a pump out would be our preference, but changed our minds whilst looking at boats and now have a cassette toilet. We also brought two spare cassettes so our cruising wouldn’t be dictated by having to get to an Elsan point. The other huge benefit we’ve found is that not having a waste tank under the bed provides for a lot of extra storage space.

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

Initially with a Three dongle and balancing the laptop on a pile of books by the window or hanging the dongle out the window when the signal wasn’t good. Ended up getting a Three Mi-Fi and found that it works very well, even inside the boat. If the signal is a bit poor then it goes out in the cratch. The other benefit is that you can then use the laptop, plus other WiFi devices, where you want in the boat without consideration to the signal.

What is your favourite canal or section of canal?

Early days for us, but The Langollen has to take pride of place so far.

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

We had some solar panels fitted in December ( 3 x 195w ) and since the beginning of February we haven’t run the engine other than for travelling. We very rarely travel every day, normally every other day and in February we only clocked up 26 hours on the engine. We’ve recently stayed put in the same place for four weeks (June) and only ran the engine for one hour during that time to move the boat to comply with mooring/cruising regulations.

We are considerate about the power we use though and have fitted LED lights throughout, had some 12v plug sockets and car charger sockets installed and use these for power whenever possible. Even came across a car charger with just a USB socket in the end of it and brought ourselves a USB cable and selection of adaptors. We leave the inverter switched off and when we do have to turn it on, we try and do so when we’re travelling.

The darker months of November, December and January will be the telling time for us though and we’ll no doubt have to scale back our power usage or give consideration to running the engine, but we’ll cross that bridge (or travel that canal) when we get there.

NB Badger Sett on the cutHow warm is your narrowboat in the winter?

Warmest house we’ve ever lived in.

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

Be ready to make compromises as you’ll need to adapt your lifestyle to the boat and not the other way round.

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.

 

 

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