Tuesday, 31 May 2011

You gotta like a nice rear end

I came across this on ebay of all places. The real thing can be seen at Crick. 

It is a one-off 44ft sailaway shell by ABC boats and I expect it will be fitted out by the Nottingham Narrowboat Company if no-one buys it beforehand. If so, I believe Canal Boat magazine will do a feature on it. 

You can purchase it as is for GBP 28,500 (AU$43,670) ... and to fit-out to a good standard, you could add another GPB 25,000 (ish).

Unfortunately there is not enough information available as yet regards inclusions so far. I would expect 'sailaway' means powered and operational. Not sure if it's lined though.

I like the style of this boat. Being 44ft will require a nifty layout to make it comfy, though the portholes and hatches will easily light and air the interior whilst maintaining privacy.

And with the butty-style rudder, that's a pretty nice rear end too !

Heaps more pics here

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

A Barn Owl Boat

I love Nb design. To say its a design challenge is an understatement.  

I have a half height wall in my house that has a 6'10" wide gap. I can't think how many times while taking the few steps to pass it, I have thought ... that's it ... thats the whole width of a narrowboat.

I am impressed at the ingenious ways some people utilise that remarkably restrictive space.

This blog was going to be about pull-out beds and multi-function layouts generally, but I gladly digress a little and will write about a boat from one of my favourite builders, Barn Owl Boats.

The boat is Octavia , which I discovered via Nb Caxton's blog, to be the "boat with the bed" pictured on the Barn Owl website (being a pull-out bed I intended writing about).

Anywayyyyyyy ...

Nb Octavia

Travelling bow to stern - entry to the salon is via 
curved stairs cleverly housing a double bed.

A very tasty galley leads onto a dinette.

A compact and comfortable bathroom followed by a fixed double in the 
stateroom complete the internal layout before exiting to the semi-trad stern.

Go here for a complete set of pics ... it's worth the trip.

Kudos to Octavia's owners and happy boating.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Related TV Series and DVD's

There are many TV series on narrowboats and canals. I don't think any of the shows listed here were aired in Australia on free to air.

I buy most of my DVD's from Amazon.co.uk or DVD.co.uk and occassionally on eBay. Postage and delivery times have always been very reasonable and reliable (touch wood) from UK. 

NOTE: Many of these DVD's are Region Code 4 (Aus/NZ) as well Region 2 (UK), so they play on Aus/NZ encoded DVD players. You need to check if you don't have a multi-region DVD player.

Anyway ... here's a listing of some narrowboat/canal related TV series and video.

Non Fiction :

Narrowboat (2005) - 10 Episodes

Alan Herd restores and refits Nb Dover, an old working boat with a modern fit-out.

Narrowboat Afloat (2006) - 10 Episodes

Alan takes newly restored Dover from Birmingham to London along the Grand Union canal.

The Water Boatman (2011) - 20 Episodes

A new series about to air by Alan Herd, exploring the inland waterways of Britain, following the Stourport Ring – the canal route that covers 65 miles of canals and 13 miles of the River Severn. 

He experiences some varied watercraft and visits some of the most fascinating parts of our heritage. Across the series, Alan will visit Birmingham, the city with more canals than Venice, known as the ‘workshop of the world’ during the Industrial Revolution.

The journey continues on past the birthplace of Cadbury chocolate, onto the cathedral city of Worcester and past the Severn valley steam railway. Along the way, Alan hitches lifts with other canal enthusiasts and discovers more about life afloat.

Locks & Quays :

- Series 1 (2006) - 10 episodes
Fred Talbot travels the Leeds & Liverpool canal. DVD's of this series are out of stock everywhere I looked. I bought mine a few years ago and they may be the first DVD's I wear out.

- Series 2 (2007) - 10 episodes
Fred travels the Peak Forest canal from Bugsworth Basin, through Manchester and along the Rochedale canal.

- Series 3 (2008) - 10 episodes
Mathew Corbett crosses England east to west by canal, starting in Hull and finishing in Liverpool.

The Boat that Guy Built (2011) - 6 episodes

Guy Martin, professional motorbike racer and engineer, fixes up an old narrowboat while learning a little of the life, times and industry that existed when the canals were built and commercially operated.

This series proves you can't take a racing line around bends in a narrowboat. One of the few bits I have seen of this show, they use the boat as a chisel to resculpt the stone sidings entering the Harecastle tunnel. This show may be more a 'how not to' rather than a 'how to' me thinks, especially where side-burns are concerned.

Canal Walks (2011)

Just airing on UK TV. An HD series where Julia Bradbury walks the towpaths of the canals of England. 

Episode 01 - Caledonian canal 
Episode 02 - Worcester & Birmingham canal 
Episode 03 - Kennet & Avon 
Episode 04 - Llangollen canal 

More info to come as it materialises. However, the whole series is already available in UK on DVD (on Region 2 discs only), Blu Ray (all region), and in book form. I'll be ordering this shortly.

Fiction :

Travelling Man - (1984 - 1985)

A 2 season drama with Leigh Lawson playing Lomax, an ex-drug cop, disgraced from the force and out of jail, travelling the canals of England seeking revenge for a drug raid gone wrong and to find his son. Filmed around Cheshire and Manchester. 

Has a remarkable rating of 9.5/10 on IMDB and is available on DVD  yet is basically unheard of. If you like UK drama and are fond of narrowboats, you will not be disappointed buying this set.

The boat 'Harmony' used in this series, resides on the Bridgewater Canal these days. I'll do a blog entry about this boat a little later on, as the builder built some remarkable (timber) canal leisure craft. Harmony is a fairly standard 40ft steel narrowboat.


Stay Lucky - (1989 - 1993)

A 4 season series with Dennis Waterman and Jan Francis, also with a favourable rating on IMDB (8/10). A cross between Minder and Travelling Man is a good and brief description. Only seasons 1 (3 episodes) & 2 (7 episodes) have been released on DVD so far. And yes, Dennis Waterman sings the theme tune. Nice timber work in the Dutch barge.

Canal therapy??  (note expressions in S01 to S02)

Friday, 6 May 2011

re: What boat is this ?

File this under "this never happens" ... but just after publishing my last post, I returned to surfing. A few minutes in, I followed an unrelated link ... and what did I find ???
Nb Leviathan
The following comes from "For Sale' info ... butty's been sold. I believe a hobbit with a large bag of money was seen leaving the boat yard shortly after the sale.

Length:                                 70 ft
Year of Construction:         1899
Stern Style:                          Traditional
Hull Manufacturer:              BCN
Fitted Out By:                      Owner
Designed Purpose:              Liveaboard
Engine:                                 Lister JPM3

General Description:
Leviathan is a BCN butty, built in 1899 (rebottomed 2005). She has been extensively rebuilt with stunning beauty and originality. Externally she displays all the markings of a very traditional working boat. This however subtly disguises the truly remarkable interior.

There has been an incredible attention to detail throughout. The bespoke interior has been hand crafted from ash and oak.

The boat is entered from the stern, through the bathroom, and on into the engine room. After the engine room is main living area. A full height door takes you into a reception space, and on to the kitchen. Following the kitchen is the curvatious sofa, and office area. There is a additional seating before the bed raised up in the bow.

In addition to the unique interior, Leviathan, has many additional features and services worth noting. She is powered by a Lister JPM3 in it’s own engine room. This room also contains the other services for the boat.

Sleeping Accomodation:  Sleeps 2 in 1 Fixed Double Bed. The full size double bed is raised up in the bow of the boat. Underneath is storage for clothes. This includes chest of drawers and hanging space.  

Galley:   Beautifully hand built kitchen with 5 inch thick sculpted work tops and contemporary units.

Bathroom:   Lovely white bathroom with red pot bellied stove, and sunken bath.

Other Equipment: All the furniture is hand crafted in the impressive style. There is ample seating and a great office area. 

Other features not yet mentioned include:
1500w inverter
Morco instantaneous water heater
Solar controller and 160w solar panels
Extensive battery bank (5 x 135A each)

 Yep ... wrap it up ... I'll take it home.

What boat is this ?

Came across this pic of a narrowboat 'kitchen', though it's a galley to me.

There was little accompanying information, but I can surmise from the lines that it is a restored cargo carrying boat or reproduction of a working boat.

The red cupboards are from Ikea ... though the timber work definitely doesn't appear to be out of a flat pack. The hinged drop down table looks very artistic and functional for two, if that's what it is. If not, its a window cover or summat.

I'm sure with timber work like this, the rest of the boat is well worth a look. 

If you know something of this boat, please respond to this post.

And no ... it's not NB Dover. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

When the route is blocked

One thing about canals is that it only takes one boat to come to grief on a cill or lock gates and traffic on that section of canal comes to an immediate and complete stop. 

Or at times, canal infrastructure can fail and require repair or replacement. Perhaps nature inflicts flooding, snow or ice to your passage. 

This can be pretty inconvenient when you are travelling to a timetable.

Here's a couple of sites to help you look for hazards or stoppages that may lie ahead, allowing the opportunity to revise and rearrange your route.