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Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:33pm

Post Subject: Electric engine

Dear Sir / Madam, I am interested in purchasing a 'traditional' design narrowboat. I will be living on the narrowboat as a continuous cruiser. Please let me know where I can obtain a new or second-hand environmentally friendly boat that relies on: -solar power -solar water heating -double-glazing (for insulation in the winter) -electric engine. I understand that electric engines are already being used on canal boats, e.g. - I look forward to your advice. Best regards, Jeff Waistell


Posted: Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:22pm

Post Subject: Electric engine

Dear Jeff, I do not want to appear rude or unhelpful but I think you need a dose of realism unless you have just won the lottery. Double glazed windows are available from marine window suppliers but you also have to consider the amount of ventilation the Boat Safety Scheme demand and the fact that getting thick sheets of insulating foam into the cabin side and roof of a typical narrowboat is not easy. I doubt you would get more than about 50mm into the cabin sides and 25mm into the roof unless you are not very tall or have the boat specially built. As far as I am aware there are no commercially available solar hot water systems for boats but a few people are experimenting with DIY solutions. However requiring solar electrical power is rather limiting in the available roof area. I am going to leave your web source to do the calculations for a solar electrical power system suitable for all the year round cruising because I do not believe it is practical or economically possible. Even if you have the finance for the panels and batteries I doubt you will have the roof area on which to install them. You may be able to make limited journeys in the summer but I doubt you will in the winter. I am sure that if you start phoning the boat builders who advertise in the magazine you will eventually find someone who says they can do it but it will be extremely expensive and I fear there is every possibility that you will be installing a diesel generator after the forst winter. I am sure this will have to be a bespoke boat and you may have to do the specifications and provide the parts for the solar part of it. Sorry, Tony Brooks

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