My wife and I plan to buy an nb and spend a few years as permanent cruisers. We disagree on boat length. She feels that 50ft. is too short and 70ft. would be just about right. We own a modern caravan of 24ft. x 7ft 6 1/2 ins internal length x width and spent last year touring the Aussie continent. ( grey nomads) The vans usable floor area is 181 sq.ft. and contains everything to be found in a narrowboat other than a solid fuel stove. We have to make do with a reverse cycle a/c. A big plus over the nb is the extra 12 ins. of internal width which allows for a permanent queen-size bed. My argument is that allowing 16ft. for fore and aft deck length, a hull length length of about 44ft. would provide a similar usable floor area as our van, which we find more than adequate. Question, where is the benefit of a far greater length. I see only negatives. ie. extra fuel usage, registration, insurance, mooring length, susceptibility to crosswinds, winding hole dimensions. I could add more. Your thoughts please.
Good morning Crosswind, and welcome to the forum.
The big plus with additional length of course is additional living space. James (my boat) is 62′ and has a 48′ cabin. The length of the cabin relative to the length of the boat will vary depending upon the boat design. James has a traditional stern which means that there is more internal space as the engine is within the cabin (extra storage space in the engine room) as apposed to a cruiser stern where the engine is under the back deck. A tug style narrowboat also has a shorter cabin because of a long front deck.
One of the negatives that you didn’t mention is the inability for a longer boat to travel on some canals. Fifty eight feet is the longest “go anywhere” boat. The lock length on the canals determines what length boat can travel on them. Some of the northern canals have short locks. The Calder and Hebble canal has a lock length of just 57′ 6″ but, by fitting in the lock diagonally, a 60′ boat can pass with care. The river Ure and the Ripon canal is 58′ and The Leeds Liverpool canal is limited to 62′.
Hope this helps.
Click here to get a FREE copy of “Living On A Narrowboat:101 Essential Narrowboat Articles”
When we bought our boat – 2 of us in our mid 50’s we went for 56ft. A go anywhere length, I think easily manageable by two with a good amount of space. We are still fitting it out and I hope to test my theories on length very soon by some real cruising.
Our layout is for a double bed with a small work space by the engine, a galley and bathroom. This gives a reasonably large space for the saloon, which is what we wanted. Talking to other boaters no matter the length of boat, they all say another 6 to 10 feet is what they would like. Also being very narrow a lot of layout space is compromised by the corridor, probably more so than in a wider campervan, so consider the layout and not just square feet of internal space. Good luck on getting your boat.
I would agree with the above posts but remember that as a continuous cruiser you will be carrying your life on this boat, unless you are lucky enough to have a relative or friend who has some spare space in their lift or garage. Besides your summer and winter clothes (and you’ll need more than one set of waterproofs) you will have tools, spare parts, paint of several different colours, personal papers, etc. You could rely on launderettes for your laundry but do you want to carry heavy bags of washing halfway across town and spend the day watching your clothes go round and round, that’s if you find a launderette. So you’ll probably need space for a washing machine, maybe even a tumble dryer, so you’re going to want a generator.
Joanie M is 58 ft long with a trad stern. This gives us about 47ft of cabin space but as chewbacca said, there are plenty of times we wish the boat was 2 foot longer. Over the 5 years we’ve been CCing, we’ve gained 2 roof boxes to store all that paint, tools, etc and a wooden platform to store our coal on.
That extra weight will make you sit lower in the water so the problems with crosswind won’t be so bad. There is always the bow thruster!
Living retirement in the slow lane.
20 years hiring, 6 years of shared ownership and a Continuous Cruiser since 2007 but still learning!
Most Users Ever Online: 298
Currently Browsing this Page:
Paul B: 183
Johny London: 142
Our Nige: 110
Guest Posters: 69
Newest Members:daviseox844519, delmarexk139, DavidSmyth, mosewillcock20, karolinwaechter, elisecallahan, emmettcastanon, ChrisLowe, JustineElliott, ChrisSpencer
Administrators: Paul Smith: 1797