Howdy motor folk. I feel a bit dirty venturing in to this room, but alas, I suppose us raggies can put up with motor nonsense for a while
I know this isn't really a narrowboat type of forum, but I wondered if there's somebody on here that can advise on the following conundrum...
Long story short: Good friend of mine has a silly wife, so he has to move out the house he pays for to make room for her new boyfriend. He was pondering a narrowboat a few years ago, but then child/wife happened and that was the end of that. Now he can do what he should have perhaps done in the first place. Every cloud....
So, knowing slightly more about boats that him, I've agreed to help find a boat. I saw one today and it's just right. Going fairly cheap because it has a wooden top that's in need of some repair (a walk in the park for me compared to compound curves on a sailing boat). It's all in order, but for one thing that concerns me; It hasn't been lifted since 2006.
Now, the chap had it lifted the year after he bought it, did the usual application of gunk, then put it back in the water and carried out a major rebuild of the wooden top structure. I've seen pictures, and looked at the work first hand, and it's up to scratch. This suggests that the bottom was indeed in good nick in 2006, otherwise you wouldn't have bothered doing all that work, right?
Anyway, where the boat is located is about a day away from the nearest lift-out facilities, so a survey (especially for the money that's been offered) is probably not realistic.
I've so far suggested that if he buys the boat, but budgets for some re-plating needing to be done, he won't go far wrong.
Is that good advice, and how much is re-plating likely to cost. What would be a worse case?
Thank you fossil burners
Nathan you might get a more informed answer on liveaboard or Thames maybe??
A good few years back my Uncle had a narrow boat building business on the Trent and Mersey. One of the main problems back then was corrosion due to poorly fitted electrics. Also canals were'nt regularly dredged, the only dredging that took place was narrow boats scraping the bottom.
I think I'd have it checked.
TBH I would be as worried about the top as the bottom - plywood can be nightmare if it starts to go.
How old is the boat?
Narrowboat bottoms do wear out, I guess due to abrasion from all the dirt in the canal water. Older steel boats were often built of say 1/4 inch plate, but then they started using thick and thicker steel so I think 10mm is common these days. The fact that it has a ply top suggests it is getting on a bit, and so I think there is a reasonable chance the bottom will be getting thin in places.
Surveyors have nifty gadgets that can measure the thickness of the plate - I don't know if they work with the boat in the water
Wooden top narrowboats are inevitably a nightmare. That's why they are cheap.
Never made out of marine play and even so, there are always problems with the sides to top interface and more particularly hull to topside joint where water accumulates and rots from the bottom.
Think on't why are there so few wooden tops around and /or why aren't boats built that way any more - even when building the boat in steel was / is more expensive. The first two paragraphs indicate why.
Perhaps a more cogent explanation is consider the following:-
How rigid is a biscuit tin with the lid off - not very, the whole structure flexes in every direction with little load. With the lid on - somewhat better.
Without the superstructure linked solidly to the hull the sides an the gunwhale will actually move in and out.
If you look at an old working narrowboat you will occasionally see chains along the inside of the hull. These stop the boat getting wider when loaded with cargo. Any flexing (we are talking inches here) will allow water ingress.
There were some builders (as noted on Canal boat world recently) in the early days - Springer and Harborough marine for example who would supply bare hulls up to gunnel level, but these were low cost with questionable quality steel thickness and construction standards.
My opinion is AVOID.
To answer the question the hull MUST be examined when out of the water and if (the idiot is) going to proceed clean the hull and black it preferably NOT with the cheapest Bitumastic type paint but Comastic or a similar product.
I suspect the hull will be shot as well as the wooden top.
The money spent in fixing this type of boat would buy a better made all steel hull.
Thanks for the reply. Most helpful.
Originally Posted by TrueBlue
You comment above obviously makes sense, but for various reasons the move cannot wait, so continuing to save for an all steel boat is somewhat impractical.
The wooden top was totally rebuilt 6 years ago, the need for which continues to prove you right in many ways, but I was assured by the owner that it was done using marine ply. Regardless, narrowboat owners do seem to be a bit too attached to old methods of doing things. If the boat were to be purchased, I'd recommend stripping the wood back and coating it with epoxy. As the guy who's interested in it said to me; he's skint and knows on his budget he is going to be buying a set of problems, and is prepared for that.
Basically, the wooden top, though not ideal, is easily fixed, and if it requires regular maintenance, then so be it.
The hull is my main concern. He's got a couple of grand budget for re-plating work, but without knowing the state of the hull...
I think perhaps he's going to have to bite the bullet and come to some agreement with the owner to take the boat to the nearest yard to be lifted and surveyed.
Thanks again for your response. It's given me a lot more to consider.
How much is it?
and finally has it been connected to shore power for the last 6 years?
If you can stand it ask here
general consensus there will be avoid I think, but a lot depends on the price.
Nathan, I have a sort of friend, with a cheapish narrow boat for sale, in Salwick, just up the road from you, have not seen it, except from a distance, so no idea of condition. Suspect roughish.