Monday, 8 February 2010


I am feeling a bit better today after the bitter disapointment of yesterday.

So I am back to my normal cheery self and the matter in hand. Most of my narrow boating experience has been gained from the occasional use of holiday hire boats. Most of it enjoyed over a period of twenty years or so. Our first experience being on the wonderful "Shroppie" which I have been back to a few times. Later spending a few family holidays on the Norfolk Broads just by way of a change.  As boating went, I found the whole experience very enjoyable. However, I was never in a position to devote the time as well as the family budget towards owning a boat. I suppose like many born-again-boaters, I did flirt with ideas around ownership. However, when it came to the real nitty-grity, I just could not make the final decision.

Now the chance of retirement has come around. We are about to become reborn so to speak. Our first faltering steps towards ownership was to get myself up-to-date with current ownership rules and regulations. Allied with this was a need to know of current technology. As much as to see for myself what was available in the narrow boat market. I started with buying boating magazines and searching on-line. This first of all enabled me to see how new and second hand  prices compared.  As well as to look at what features were being included in the more modern boats that might be needed by way of an upgrade to any second-hand purchase..

Suddenly I realised that what I needed was a itemised narrow boat check-list. I am good at lists! This was good because it made me think in a more structured way as well as guided my thoughts to what we would need. As I started compiling the check list, I soon realised that it was like Topsy. The check list grew and grew and grew. The more thought I put into the check list, the more I was forced into converting my superficial broad brush strokes approach.  It was only then that I realised I was actually drawing up a list of preferences and creating a specification. So a second hand boat can be specified just like a new one. Albeit, a second-hand purchase might need converting.  Or more likely, for allowances to be made to finding a boat that was a-best-fit!

So, I split the list into ouside and inside. Then split it again into include documentation and engine. Then split it again to include outside - fore, aft and middle. Then inside - cabin, galley, berth and saloon. Here I am with a six page document which, I am sure will grow even more. See, I told you I was good at lists!

As boats go - I am not a purist. I don't need to feed an ego based on the traditional styles and methods of operation. However, I do understand why people do that. For my sins I still have a 45 year old 250cc motorcycle that I purchased as my first ever new motorcycle. But I choose to ride a modern 1300cc bike on a day-to-day basis. However, what I do want to feel is all the creature comforts on board. Comforts that new designs, materials and technological changes can offer. Efficiency is the new watchword. Whenever efficiency is measured it is often quantified as a cost saving. However, If your of the green persuasion it can be measured in angst by ones carbon footprint.

So what am I looking for?

It is the use of more efficient insulation materials for instance, which will go some way to energy saving. Not only this, but more modern and harder wearing materials, for a better replacement life cycle. Better use of renewable energy, be it wood, solar or wind. Does any boat builder produce one of those EU Energy label  that indicate the efficiency of white goods – but for the efficiency and comfort of a narrow boat. And if not - how soon will EU micro regulation require this?

The EU Energy Label is a compulsory notice that is applied to all white goods and home appliances sold within the EU. It allows consumers to clearly see the efficiency and energy consumption of a product.

Someone once said - "If you have to ask, you'll never know".

Now where did I put that list.....


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