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All you need to know about living on a narrowboat
Living On A Narrowboat News
13th May 2012

Here's more news and information for you from Living On A Narrowboat. If you're wondering why you are receiving this newsletter it's because you subscribed to my site (Living On A Narrowboat). I hope that the information I send you from time to time is useful. After all, the site is all about narrowboats and you probably found the site from doing a narrowboat related search through a search engine. However, I don't want you to receive emails that you really have no interest in. I know from personal experience how annoying they can be. If you really don't want to receive information about living on a narrowboat and updates on the on-line, offline and marina moorings in England and Wales you can unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of this email. I hope you stay. I sincerely hope you find the information useful. 

After spending a weekend blacking the hull and the best part of three weeks painting everything else, James is back on the mooring and I've more time free to spend on the site. So it's business as usual once more as I relax and admire my hard work. Maybe I can do a little cruising now James looks acceptable and many of the lock restrictions locally have been lifted as a result of the recent heavy rain. Now where shall I go?

Narrowboat James back on the mooring after three weeks painting
How (Not) To Paint A Narrowboat

So the hard work has been done. I spent a day and a half on our slipway blacking James' hull, then took her into one of our covered docks as soon as she was back in the water. Over a three week period, I spent a total of 150 hours scraping, masking, painting and sanding to achieve a result that I'm happy with. Is it perfect? No, Of course it's not, but, according to popular opinion, it's not a bad job.

If you fancy painting your own boat, I've described how I went about it, where I went wrong and what I did to correct  the mistakes (and what I should have done to prevent them in the first place), what materials and paint I used, and how much it cost me to do it compared to the cost of having the work done professionally. I've also included painting and preparation hints and tips from the experts at Craftmaster Paints



Survey Results Updated

Two months ago, I published an article about life on the cut from the perspective of author Pauline Roberts. It was a contentious view to say the least. As a result of the differing points of view about her article, I created a survey and asked readers to record their experience about the effectiveness of narrowboat heating, waste and water management, dog muck, vandalism and the condition of towpaths. I published the result of the survey at the beginning of April. Because of the way I formatted the post, some of the survey answers weren't visible. I have corrected that now so, if you would like to read the survey results in all their glory, here they are.


Allan Has A Problem With Wind

No, not that kind. Although it may account for him living on his own. Allan is a very experienced boater but narrowboats are notoriously difficult to manage in windy conditions. They don't have a keel so anything above a gentle breeze causes them to skate across the surface in whichever direction the wind is blowing. Here's Allan's costly experience in a blustery day on the river Soar


Popular Posts

Here is a list of some of the more popular site posts
  • The true cost of living on a narrowboat - I don't get out much so I like to sit in front of my laptop, occasionally glancing out of the window to see what the real world looks like, writing stuff and recording details. In this post I've listed all of my day to day living expenses over the last two years (the ones you are likely to incur if you decide to live afloat)
  • The downside to living on a narrowboat - There are a few articles on the site along these lines. The popular dream of life afloat is one of lazy days cruising in the sunshine, stopping at peaceful scenic moorings for the night to sip wine and grill steaks on bankside BBQs. Of course this is a very pleasurable part of liveaboard life, but it's not all sunshine. There are far too many reports of home owners selling up and buying a boat before they've even set foot on a narrowboat. Here's the reality.
  • It's not all roses and castles - Pauline Roberts wrote this account of life on the cut from her own perspective. To put it mildly, not everyone agreed with her. What do you think?
  • How to constantly cruise the canal network - Of the estimated 35,000 boats on the cut, just over 2,000 of them are registered as continuous cruisers. To be a genuine continuous cruiser you have to be on a progressive journey and, barring frozen canals and winter stoppages, not stop for longer than fourteen days in any one place. Peter Earley is one of them. This is an excellent article he wrote for the RBOA (Residential Boat Owner's Association) and allowed me to publish on the site.
  • A case study of liveaboard narrowboat James - James is my own boat. She's 35 years old and has spent much of her time on her own, bless her! She was the first boat into the first marina at Calcutt Boats when it opened twenty four years ago. Much of that time was spent unused and unoccupied. I moved on board just over two years ago and have enjoyed every minute of it... even my first winter when I recorded an outside overnight temperature of minus eighteen and woke the following morning to a quarter of an inch of frost on the inside of the engine room.
  • An essential checklist before you consider buying a narrowboat - Although there are some bargain boats on the market at the moment, they're not cheap. You can still expect to pay well in excess of £100,000 for a new boat designed to your own specifications and anything upwards of £30,000 for a previously enjoyed boat. It's likely to be your single most expensive purchase after your home... although it may well end up being your home.
  • Living on a narrowboat in winter - Sooner or later, every narrowboat owner is asked, "Is your boat cold in winter?" The stock reply is a smile and the assurance that the boat is as warm as toast, But are narrowboats really that easy to heat in the winter? What systems are used to heat them? Where does the fuel come from? How do you fill your boat with water and empty your waste tanks when everything is frozen? What happens to your boat when the canal network is frozen solid?
  • How to choose a narrowboat to live on - There's a big difference between a liveaboard narrowboat and a holiday narrowboat. A holiday narrowboat is designed for a lot of people to share a boat for a short period of time. They have more beds, larger capacity toilet tanks, more space on the rear deck for standing and chatting and none of the facilities or equipment that you will need for day to day life on board. Make sure that you choose the best boat for your needs. We have a new boat owner staying with us at Calcutt Boats at the moment. He's bought an ex eight berth hire boat for him to live on on his own. He's discovered that it's totally unsuitable so has pretty much had to remove all the internal fittings as well as one of the two gigantic toilet waste tanks. Very difficult and disruptive to say the least.


Would You Like To Contribute?

Maybe you've written an article already that you think would be useful to site visitors. Maybe you think something is missing, and you just happen to know a lot about it. Either way, I would love to hear from you. All I ask is that the article is well written and relevant to the site's existing content. Just let me know.


Useful Links

Find out what parts of the canal are closed and for how long. Essential cruising information for you.
Are you interested in living on a narrowboat full time but worried about the costs. Here's exactly what it's cost me since the beginning of April 2010
Updated 18th March 2012
Do you need to find a home for your boat? Here's a comprehensive list of the narrowboat friendly marinas in the UK
Do you want to see where these marinas are on a map? Here it is.
Here's a map of all the canals on the system to help you plan your route.

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