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Narrowboat Living? A solution to the housing farce?

#1 User is offline   Twirly 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:26 PM

I am thinking of living on a narrowboat. There are moorings in the Mounmouthshire area.

Anyone else thinking of living on a Narrowboat?

#2 User is offline   rantnrave 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 03:47 PM

View PostTwirly, on 01 August 2011 - 03:26 PM, said:

I am thinking of living on a narrowboat. There are moorings in the Mounmouthshire area.

Anyone else thinking of living on a Narrowboat?

I heard that the costs of the licence, berth fees and maintenance should not be underestimated!

#3 User is offline   Timm 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 04:11 PM

Second best thing I ever did.
Selling it was the first.

There is no way I'd do it again without a top spec, solid hulled* boat on a full residential morring with water, electricity and severage disposal.
In fact, I'd want a wide-beam.





*goes without saying you would think, but lots of people buy old Springers and hope for the best.
Less credit - more money.

And I beheld a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a days wages, and three measures of barley for a days wages; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

#4 User is offline   Twirly 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 04:24 PM

View PostTimm, on 01 August 2011 - 04:11 PM, said:

Second best thing I ever did.
Selling it was the first.

There is no way I'd do it again without a top spec, solid hulled* boat on a full residential morring with water, electricity and severage disposal.
In fact, I'd want a wide-beam.





*goes without saying you would think, but lots of people buy old Springers and hope for the best.


Oooh Timm tell me more, how long did you live on it? Didnt you like it? Why not?

I wouldnt go without residential mooring anyway, the fees look quite reasonable.

#5 User is offline   Tim Miller 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 05:24 PM

View PostTwirly, on 01 August 2011 - 03:26 PM, said:

I am thinking of living on a narrowboat. There are moorings in the Mounmouthshire area.

Anyone else thinking of living on a Narrowboat?



I am thinking of doing exactly the same, but I am looking at spending time here and in France over the next few years. I am lucky, I have retired so I won't be wanting to stay in one place. I would strongly advise you to join http://www.canalworld.net/ and use there forum. A wide beam narrow boat is I feel better than just a narrow boat, however you must check that you can pass through all the locks etc. There are plenty of boats for sale on http://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/ with wide beams on http://narrowboats.a...gs.phtml?cid=72 . I lived on a steel sailing boat for 7 years, steel boats rust on the inside mainly; and that's hard to treat without ripping the insides apart. Living costs are covered on http://www.canaljunc...liveaboard3.htm which is also a very good site. You only get one lif, go for it.

#6 User is offline   erranta 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 05:45 PM

View PostTim Miller, on 01 August 2011 - 05:24 PM, said:

I am thinking of doing exactly the same, but I am looking at spending time here and in France over the next few years. I am lucky, I have retired so I won't be wanting to stay in one place. I would strongly advise you to join http://www.canalworld.net/ and use there forum. A wide beam narrow boat is I feel better than just a narrow boat, however you must check that you can pass through all the locks etc. There are plenty of boats for sale on http://narrowboats.apolloduck.co.uk/ with wide beams on http://narrowboats.a...gs.phtml?cid=72 . I lived on a steel sailing boat for 7 years, steel boats rust on the inside mainly; and that's hard to treat without ripping the insides apart. Living costs are covered on http://www.canaljunc...liveaboard3.htm which is also a very good site. You only get one lif, go for it.


An old mate of mine (who actually now deals in letting out properties after jacking in IT job) in Cambridge bought one of those huge euro-barges and rents it out chugging around Mid-Sarf France when he isn't using it.
(Like the one Rick Stein did his France on a barge trip)
It was always amazing how many volunteers there were (in our local) to go and work on it for the long summer. Great boats to live on - tough in French winters though!
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#7 User is offline   Tim Miller 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 06:04 PM

View Posterranta, on 01 August 2011 - 05:45 PM, said:

An old mate of mine (who actually now deals in letting out properties after jacking in IT job) in Cambridge bought one of those huge euro-barges and rents it out chugging around Mid-Sarf France when he isn't using it.
(Like the one Rick Stein did his France on a barge trip)
It was always amazing how many volunteers there were (in our local) to go and work on it for the long summer. Great boats to live on - tough in French winters though!



I was planning in mooring up the boat for the two coldest months of the year and travel to warmer climates. I am interested in talking to your mate, there might be a deal to be had for both of us. Could you arrange this?

#8 User is offline   rantnrave 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 06:23 PM

Memories...



#9 User is offline   browneconomy 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 07:10 PM

I posted this a couple of years back:



"A friend lived for 2 years on a 35 foot narrowboat. (only 6ft wide)

It worked out very well, about 20 years ago & he was only 20 at the time. He was a student and rather than pay rent, at about 60 per week (3000 per year)he borrowed 1500 from his dad & bought a narrow boat outright. Did it up, lived on board whilst at college & sold it for a profit so his total accomodation costs at Uni were negative.

It was fvcking cold in winter mind. No shower but a small wood burner. Had to do a weekly 'log run' i.e. emptying out loo at specified place along canal (Grand Union near St Albans/Hemel Hempsted ).

I think it took some bottle, you are not allowed to stay in any one place for more than a couple of nights but he just moved down the canal through a different lock every few days. communication was a problem in those days before mobiles "



suggest you do a search on this site for 'canal boat', 'houseboat' etc

#10 User is offline   silver surfer 

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 07:31 PM

I've sailed all my life, and although I've never lived on a narrowboat I've spent a few extended periods as a liveaboard in a sailboat, including a period on the Thames and on the Medway.

It sounds romantic, and for brief moments it genuinely is romantic, but overall it's a pretty bleak and uncomfortable existence. Even a very big boat is dramatically smaller than a very small flat, so you have to prune your possessions back to the barest minimum. And lack of everyday facilities like a decent sized sink or a washing machine (although I believe one or two houseboats are now getting washing machines) means that you face quite a logistics challenge just staying clean and mildew free.

But the biggest issue is this, a boat afloat (even in an inland marina) is in constant motion and in a hostile and corrosive environment. It really helps to know how to maintain your vessel yourself and to understand when she's comfortable and when she's at risk, if you don't you'll be plagued by anxious thoughts (most of which, like electrolysis and boat pox, you've probably never yet heard of...but you'll find out all about them the day after you buy a boat!) that your floating investment is about to rot and go to the bottom.

#11 User is offline   sarahleyburn 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 07:52 AM

I did it for a couple of years - would highly recommend it. Hard work, cold etc but the freedom was fantastic (would spend summers moving it every weekend and mooring up near railway stations to commute to work), and I liked the simplicity. Fully agree with silver surfer that you need to learn how to maintain the boat, strip the engine etc. Not for everyone but I loved it.

#12 User is offline   Twirly 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 11:11 AM

View Postsarahleyburn, on 04 August 2011 - 07:52 AM, said:

I did it for a couple of years - would highly recommend it. Hard work, cold etc but the freedom was fantastic (would spend summers moving it every weekend and mooring up near railway stations to commute to work), and I liked the simplicity. Fully agree with silver surfer that you need to learn how to maintain the boat, strip the engine etc. Not for everyone but I loved it.


Sarah why did you leave the narrowboat, just curious?

#13 User is offline   sarahleyburn 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 12:48 PM

View PostTwirly, on 04 August 2011 - 11:11 AM, said:

Sarah why did you leave the narrowboat, just curious?


I sold the boat when I left the country. I'm now back and considered buying another boat but decided I wanted a house (main factor being to have a garden / some land) - so here I am, waiting for the HPC :)

#14 User is offline   Twirly 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:04 PM

View Postsarahleyburn, on 04 August 2011 - 12:48 PM, said:

I sold the boat when I left the country. I'm now back and considered buying another boat but decided I wanted a house (main factor being to have a garden / some land) - so here I am, waiting for the HPC :)


Yep thats the impression I get from a lot of ex boaters. Sometimes I think narrowboating would just be a stop gap.

#15 User is offline   Tim Miller 

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:42 PM

View PostTwirly, on 04 August 2011 - 01:04 PM, said:

Yep thats the impression I get from a lot of ex boaters. Sometimes I think narrowboating would just be a stop gap.


If you buy a boat you might regret it, if you don't buy a boat you will probably always regret it.

Having had a steel boat, don't buy a rust bucket and remember it's the inside rust that matters, not the outside rust. .

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