First looks

I’ve been keeping an eye on the broker’s websites for some time. I was working in the north of the country a couple of months ago and on my way home popped into a brokers to view a couple of boats I had seen advertised. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. They were nothing like they were described; the particulars hadn’t mentioned the fact that one boat wasn’t complete, and that another had a substantial leak from a side hatch (it was an advantage of visiting while it was raining, but the warped floor would have given it away anyway). These were boats being advertised as being as good as new and supposedly in great condition. One was a ‘Crick show boat’ for a builder last year! Oh well, put it down to experience and cross that broker off the list. Glad I didn’t make a special journey!

I then scooted across to Sawley Marina where there were a few boats that sounded promising. Well, it’s so difficult to tell from the websites! One was interesting – a 70′ boat which had been used for some sort of business, with desks, IT infrastructure etc on board. It was promising, had potential, but would have needed quite a lot of work to change the layout into a more ‘domestic’ arrangement. Shame as it seemed to be a soli, well built boat in good condition for its age. Another boat seemed to be exactly what I wanted, in the condition I wanted, with the facilities I wanted, and not too much over a price that I could have managed. But being so early on in the ‘looking around’ stage, I thought that I should look around a bit longer rather than making an offer.

That was a mistake – in the next 3 months I never saw a boat that came anywhere near that one. By the time I had realised, it had of course been sold.

Ah well, keep looking!

To buy, or not to buy?

I’ve been toying with buying my own boat for a while now. I’ve been boating on and off for many years and for the last year and a half have had a 1/12th share in an Ownerships boat. I’ve had some great holidays, but would like to be able to use the boat for odd weekends, or when I have some time off (I work freelance and pretty irregularly). So it’s been at the back of my mind for some time that I’d like my own boat.

Of course there are plenty of reasons not to buy, not least the cost! Shared Ownership is great for keeping the initial outlay low and as you split the ongoing costs between 12, things aren’t so expensive! And everything is done for you – when the boat is yours, you go on holiday. You don’t have to worry about changing engine oil or touching up the paint, unless you want to. But at the end of the day it’s not your boat.

So I’ve been looking and researching for some time now. Reading blogs and forums has been really useful in getting an idea of what works, what doesn’t, what pitfalls there are, what are the advantages and disadvantages of different systems or layouts. One thing I decided a while back was that I wouldn’t be buying new. Not just because of the cost and the depreciation but also because there are so many horror stories and problems with boat builders. They aren’t all bad of course, but with such a big investment it’s not worth the risk – knowing my luck it would all go pear-shaped!

I take the view that ‘you only live once’ so why not give it a go? If I can get the funds then if it doesn’t work out, I can always sell again in the future. I worry whether I will use it enough, and have enough time to care for it, but really only time will tell. Being freelance is a double-edged sword in that you don’t have to work when you don’t want to, but if you don’t then no money comes in! I’ve been working abroad a lot over the last 12 months and some of my stretches of work have kept me away from home for weeks on end. I need to be confident that I can visit a boat often enough to keep it in good condition. We’ll see.

Previous Cruises

I’ve added a brief summary of my last two trips out on NB Rodbaston. One of these was after Christmas, the other running up to Easter this year.

I’ve put them on the blog with the correct dates for when they appeared, so confusingly they appear below the first post that I made! I hope to add some more detail and photos soon (when I get the CD of photo’s that Gareth has been promising me!)

Comments

At the moment I’ve set up the blog so that the first time you post a comment, I have to approve it. Once I’ve approved a comment from you, your comments will be posted automatically.

Hopefully this will keep any spammers at bay, without being an inconvenience to genuine posters. Feel free to comment away!

The First Post

I wonder how many blog writers call their first post The First Post. Well 0/10 for originality I suppose – doesn’t bode well for blog writing does it!

This is where the blog started. Posts before this date were added afterwards – summaries of trips that I’ve had in the last year on Rodbaston.

Well, what’s this blog all about then? To be honest – I’m not quite sure. It think to some extent I will have to see how it evolves. I certainly see it as being a trip diary for my canal boating; something to be able to look back on and remember great times. I think that if I can update it while afloat, it’ll also be of interest to family and friends to keep up to date with what I’m up to. Whether it’ll be of wider interest – who knows. I guess that only time will tell, depending on what I write on it! I certainly don’t see it as being a Granny Buttons type site, with lots of canal related news items, but perhaps more of a No Problem or Khayamanzi (not that I even have my own boat yet!).

Anyway, only time will tell – call back soon and I’ll tell you a bit more about me, what has brought about my interest in canals, and where I think the future lies.

Ta ta for now.