Saturday, 1 April 2017

Narrowboat Wishlist - Lessons Learnt

Sitting on the other side of the world last summer I put together a narrowboat wish list. At the time I felt that I had done enough research to know what I wanted in our new home. The reality was that when we actually started looking around at boats for sale, a lot of this went out of the window and I realised that we would actually be able to compromise on quite a bit. 

There is also a factor that you can't quantify; that feeling you get, like when you are buying a house, when it just feels right and you know you have found your new home. 

We have a strict budget, and that factor alone rules many boats out of our search. 

Probably the most important factor. We stepped on to so many lovely boats that were an immediate 'no' because Michael couldn't stand up straight or was scraping his head along the ceiling.

The quality of the fit out
When scouring the ads, I began to dread seeing the two little words 'owner fitout' as it often meant that this boat has been fitted out by someone with no carpentry skills, or any sense of what makes a sensible layout. 

Less than 58 feet
The ideal length boat for us would be between 54 and 58 feet, to give us enough room and still enable us to 'go anywhere' on the integrated network. 

Room to work
This is still important, but we have realised that any boat with a somewhat open plan saloon will be able to be adapted into a workspace. We have also realised that any boat shorter than 50 feet will probably be too short to provide adequate living and working space. 

Semi traditional or cruiser stern 
We have gone full circle on this and realised that is not actually that important to us compared with other features on the boat, and that this is one area that we don't mind compromising on. For a while we thought we wanted a 'trad' stern as we were under the impression that this would give us more room inside the boat, but we soon realised that the engine room is just a crawl space in reality, and that it actually just makes it harder to get in to the boat from the stern. A cruiser stern may offer the ability to store a motorbike, but the bike would then probably just get in the way. 

Reverse layout
This is probably still my preference, and one of the boats that we offered on was reverse layout, but there are actually so few options around that if we insisted on reverse layout we would be severely limiting our choice. 

An open bow
It would be nice to have an open space on the bow to sit in, but it would also be nice to have the extra storage space that a cratch cover provides. 

Solar panels and even a wind turbine
Still not essential for the initial purchase, as these are things that we can add ourselves, however we both really love the idea of being able to generate our own electricity. The more research we have done, the more we have realised that solar is probably the better option. 

The ability to carry a motorbike 
This is still on the wishlist, but probably not something we are realistically going to find. It may have to wait for if we ever move onto a residential mooring with parking.

Engine room
Not important at all. In fact I would rather not have one!