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Pipa
Pipa

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 2:55pm

Post Subject: Fitting out a widebeam from scratch

Hello there! I'm new to this community and am really glad that you guys/gals exist and are here with a helping hand :). I'm due to buy a brand new widebeam boat size 60' x 12'. After exploring many possibilities (since September last year), I have arrived at the following two options: 1. Buying a sailaway boat unpainted (I'd not have money to buy it painted in this case...) with basic additions: lining (plywood - cheaper); electrics (AC/DC Panel, Landline hookup, Galvanic Isolator, 2.5kw Inverter/charger, 4 Domestic Batteries, RCD, Tails for 240v Sockets, Tails for LED lighting); plumbing installed Inc. Calorifier; bathroom (shower cubicle, handbasin, pumpout toilet); and bow thruster tube. 2. Buying a sailaway boat painted and with a bow thruster (I'd have money to paint the boat and get the bow thruster in this case) and starting from scratch to fit the boat gradually. Option 1 would cost me much more (from the start) and would not be exactly what I want - the boat would be very standard and with little personality of its own... The advisors from the company selling the boat have informed me that the builders would not fit the electrics, plumbing and toilet without lining due to insurance, etc.. I understand the point but wonder if this is always the case (the plywood lining is quoted at almost £7,000.00 so it's a lot of money right at the beginning...). Question: - Does the boat always need to be lined to add electrics and plumbing? Option 2 would be much more exciting in my view. I would not be able to live on the boat straight away but I would be able to fit it out gradually the way I want. However, as I am new to boat life, I have a few questions to prevent my excitement from turning into a real mistake in the near future... Questions: - Are there narrowboat builders in or near London (where I live and work) who can help me fit out the boat gradually? Any recommendations? - I would like these fitted out first: electrics, plumbing, toilet, kitchen sink and multifuel stove. Does this make sense or would you prioritise other things? - Would this (fitting out the boat gradually) probably cost me much more in the end? - Am I delusional? Should I never consider a fitting-out-from-scratch-project being a first-timer + living in London + having to be a continuous cruiser until I find a suitable and affordable mooring? A huge thanx in advance!! Pipa

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 5:25pm

Post Subject: Fitting out a widebeam from scratch

Personally I would not now even consider trying to CC in London. There are too many doing it already, the facilities for getting water, dumping rubbish, and emptying the toilet (of whatever sort) are scarce, and CaRT seem to be taking enforcement action against CCers who do not ply by the CaRT rules. If you ignored warnings from CaRT you could end up having your boat taken away from you. I also think the term "affordable mooring" and London do not fit well together. The London mooring prices reflect their scarcity and for proper legal live-a- board moorings the cost will be even greater. The second point I would make is fitting out a boat takes far longer than most people think. It is likely to run into YEARS if you do not do it full time. If you get the impression that I am trying to put you off then you are correct. To legally live aboard in London is unlikely to be any cheaper than a flat. What you call a "boat builder" is probably a boat fitter who buys in ready built shells and fits them out. I do not know any in London. I suspect the reason your builder wants to line the boat out when fitting plumbing, gas and electrics is because they need the supports for the lining to secure the pipes and cables. Once the pipes and cables are in it will be far harder to do any thermal insulation. I think "insurance" is just an excuse but some items like a cooker need to be secured to the structure to comply with the Boat Safety Scheme and the RCD. The builder is required to build the boat as far as they go to comply with the Recreational Craft Directive AND issue you with a certificate. You, as a home fitter out, do not need to do that as long as you do not sell it within 5 years of completion. To do so is likely to be an offence and you might end up in court. I can see all sorts of practical difficulties like how to get 2 dozen sheets of plywood and many meters of battening to your boat along the towpath. I also have no idea about your practical abilities or your knowledge about electrical, plumbing and gas instillation. If this is a live-aboard boat the gas installation will have to be checked by a GasSafe approved (Calor & marine) gas fitter, again not so many of those in the centre of London. After a lifetime of experience including the regular fitting out of hire cruisers I think that you probably are a bit delusional and have not done enough research. You may find slightly cheaper moorings if you look at the southern end of the Grand Union canal or up around Roydon on the river Lea that are still close to public transport. Legally living on a boat is a life style choice NOT a way to get cheaper housing.

Pipa
Pipa

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2017 7:44pm

Post Subject: Fitting out a widebeam from scratch

Hi Tony-B, Thank you very much for all the details and for your grounded reply - that was what I wanted! I've been doing some research in the past months (books, online resources, chatting with boat owners, etc) but, as I am new to boat life, I'm still learning; hence, contacting this Forum :). One of the main reasons why I would like to buy the boat is exactly the slow and close-to-nature lifestyle. I've spent some time on a boat and, despite the everyday challenges with electricity, broadband, water, etc (the boat was much smaller), I loved waking up on the canal and being much more in tune with nature and the details of every-day life. I agree with you that it is and should be a lifestyle choice. I will definitely process and take into consideration all the information you have given me. Thank you very much, once again!

Tony-B
Tony-B

Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:39am

Post Subject: Fitting out a widebeam from scratch

Its good to know that you are contemplating this as a lifestyle choice and not simply as a perceived way of getting cheaper housing around a large city. I think Roydon marina have some legal live-a-board berths but there may well be a waiting list at this and any other marinas that allow/tolerate live-a-boards so maybe start contacting some to get an idea of cost but I fear it will be several thousand a year and council tax might come on top. Have a look at "the new narrowboat builders book" published by Waterways World to get an idea about what you propose. Once you have an estimated time to complete the fit-out I would advise that you multiply it by four but it may well take longer.

Pipa
Pipa

Posted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:54pm

Post Subject: Fitting out a widebeam from scratch

Okey dokey, many thanks, Tony. I'll get the book and explore the other suggestions. Step by step, I keep learning! ;)

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