I own a boat!

Today I took possession of my own boat. Yipee!

The old adage is that the happiest days are the day you buy a boat, and the day you sell it. I hope it will be some time before the latter comes.

We took her for a little spin up to Tixall Wide and back. She handles so well – I’m very happy 🙂

Survey complete

I arranged for a survey to be carried out, including an out of water hull inspection. The current owner arranged for the boat to be pulled out using the slip at Stafford Boat Club.

My surveyor was happy for me to be present for the latter part of the survey, but wanted to start on his own. I was a bit disappointed that when I arrived she was already back in the water – I had really wanted to view the parts that are normally under the waterline.

Apart from that niggle, the survey went well. I had been confident as she’s not very old, was built by a reputable builder and appeared to have been well maintained. The survey didn’t show up anything major, so the sale is on.

One of my concerns was that having been used as a liveaboard with no electricity supply, the engine has quite high hours having been run to charge batteries every day. I did some research on ‘bore glazing’ which is thought by some to be a problem when diesel engines are run without sufficient load and therefore don’t get up to temperature. However there isn’t any consensus on how real this problem is so now only time will tell.

Now it’s just the hard part to do – being separated with a rather substantial wodge of money!

Another possibility

Another boat has come on the market – being sold by ABNB brokerage. I’ve been impressed with ABNB – they put a fantastic amount of detail into their listings with a full 4-page downloadable sheet giving all the information that you could want about any boat.

In this case the boat is at its home mooring rather than ABNB’s yard at Crick. So the full and honest information is really useful in deciding whether or not to take the journey to view.

I’ve arranged an appointment to view, so here’s hoping that it’s worth the trip.

Almost bought a boat

Well my offer on a boat was turned down. I’d made a low-ish offer and was given the opportunity to increase it, which I did, but not to the full asking price. Someone else obviously offered more, so they win! I’m still trying to get a feel for how much to offer. I’ve no idea if boats sell for anything close to the prices asked for by brokers or not.

But for now it’s back to watching the broker’s websites for anything interesting.

Still looking

Well, I’ve still been keeping an eye out for a second hand narrowboat of my own. I’ve had some great holidays this year on my Ownerships shared boat, and been really lucky with the weather (1 week at easter and 2 separate weeks in the summer – and lovely weather for all of them). But a boat of my own would give me more flexibility over when I can go away on it.

So in between long stints of working abroad I’ve been keeping an eye out, mainly on the various brokers websites. I saw a boat that appealed, so before flying out to Denmark I went and took a look. Then after a lot of thinking I made an offer. The vendor is also abroad at the moment so it will be next week before we can discuss things further.

If the sale goes ahead then I also need somewhere to moor! Well everyone says that moorings are hard to come by, but having followed Andy Edward’s blog ‘Khyamanzi’ for some time, I know that Brinklow Marina is newly opened and so I rang to see if they have space. They do, and I now have all the information that I need and the terms and conditions, so if my offer is accepted I shall have to go and have a look and sign up.

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.