Wednesday, 8 June 2011


I know this may be a bit unusual but I've been thinking for some time about shortening my boat. Well, what I really mean is shortening the cabin length, to give me a bigger hold. The boat is 52ft long and has a very small cratch area of about 3 or 4ft long floor space. I don't particularly want a bigger boat but I long for more outside space. I guess there's all the countryside and towpath to be had, but I want to lug it all with me. And sit out in it. And grow veg and small trees in it. And make things that I can't make indoors.
I'm wondering if it would be cheaper to get Blackbird altered rather than sell up and buy something a bit different and I'll have to start by getting some quotes from boatyards. I think I'd prefer to keep my boat as I'm very attached to it.
So, it would mean losing my large sitting-room so you'd come straight into the kitchen area from the front entry. Then the room that is currently a spare bedroom/work space would become my sofa area. So I'd probably make the kitchen/new sitting-room an open plan space, partly divided, with the stove moved up to this area.
I'd lose a lot of bookshelf storage but gain maybe another 13 ft of hold. Would it be worth it? I'll have to measure up properly, do some proper sketches, get the boatyards to come up with some figures and decide if it is!


Nev Wells said...

How about getting something to tow - a small butty or old (wrecked boat) that could be used as a mobile greenhouse/shed/ patio? Saves messing about with your boat and could be cheaper (not sure how such craft are licensed?)

Take care

Nev NB Waterlily

Neil Corbett said...

Wow, I've never heard of anyone doing that. It might even be cheaper just to have the foredeck lengthened as nbCaxton did last year? Or, you could have a new set of front doors further back in the boat, then just cut out the existing front doors and bulkhead, leaving you a sort of indoors outdoors bit at the front like a veranda.


nblazydays said...

I sympathise. After seeing all the herb and flower gardens at Todmorden I am itching to start growing things again. Even though we have lots of lovely scenery around we can't always sit out on the towpath and you need somewhere to leave things out. It would be good to have a conservatory effect for your "outdoors" area, a cover you can put back when you choose. Seems a shame to lose some indoor space though - maybe the foredeck lengthening is a good idea? If you don't go beyond 57ft you can still go everywhere. Happy planning. Frances

Anonymous said...

Not a bad idea Nev, thanks. But to be honest, I think I might struggle a bit doing single-handed locking with a butty (though I would like a little rowing boat just for fun ;-)

Neil - I was thinking of leaving a couple of feet of 'overhang' roof to be like a porch area/hanging baskets/greenhouse part. But I would like the rest open. It's fun to explore the possibilities..

Hi Frances - another gorgeous set of photos on your blog again I see!
You're right in saying it's good to have outdoors storage space. I could stack my logs there and bike as well as plants. As there's mostly just me on board and I no longer have my darling dog, I don't know that I need 52ft. Isn't is funny how you get used to small space living? I remember once worrying if I would be able to adapt to the size in the beginning!


nblazydays said...

I think the reason that I feel that our space is too small is because Alan has too many interests (he says they aren't hobbies!) I do find myself fighting an urge to throw things in the canal from time to time! I have such a pleasant mental picture of your lovely cosy living area with the fire blazing that it would seem a shame to lose it. You can tell it was depths of winter when I last saw you, though its so chilly here today it remains an immensely appealing memory. Frances x