Living Aboard

Living aboard our narrowboat has always been our plan. However we needed to compress our belongings. This involved being really ruthless as to what we wanted to keep. So we set too in a car boot and on line selling spree. Our caravan and large car was sold, plus many other things like white goods.

We have now managed to sort out only those items that we needed. We moved onto the boat on the 27th November 2015, and have now got all our chattels in the correct place, and within easy reach for regularly used items. 

Getting thing ship shape is like a game of Tetris, getting things to fit together. We did not want a cluttered boat, and wanted to keep the feeling of being spacious. With our newly designed and fitted boat furniture we have been able to fit things on like a wireless printer, together with cutlery, and office items. 

We moved from Nottingham and we are now at Pillings Lock in Liecestershire. We needed to be near to our families for the winter period, together with really good facilities. This new marina fitted our temporary requirements, which was also cheaper than the previous one. Ok it’s not dirt cheap but reasonably priced at £260 per month.

We have to stay here until the 11th March 2016 as CRT (Canal River Trust), are replacing lock gates either side of us at Mountsorrel and Loughborough the other side. When this work is done we will be setting off on our travels.

We estimate March 27th, weather permitting, for our first trip which we think will be down to Newark on Trent to visit friend, who lives in the town. It will then be onto Manchester for a slow trip to the big city which has been revamped for boaters. We will be posting our trip updates as we go.

We are going to join the River Canal Rescue Scheme prior to setting off, which will give us some insurance against mechanical break downs. It’s a bit like the AA or RAC of the rivers, and has an excellent reputation. We hope we will not need them but one never knows what lies ahead. The website for them is here

Narrowboat Washing Machine fitted

The narrowboat washing machine has now been bought and fitted. Due to space restrictions, which is normal for a narrowboat, we elected for a Zanussi ZWC 1301. Zanussi ZWC 1301 Washing machine an ideal narrowboat washing machineThis is a studio washing machine lent its self nicely as narrowboat washing machine, with all the features of a larger washing machine. It also has an energy efficiency of A and has a 1300 spin speed. The size of 515 mm deep 670 mm High and 495 mm wide was ideal. This was mainly due to the width. 

We researched all the prices for a narrowboat washing machine and found that the most reasonable price was from the Cooperative Electrical Shop. At the moment they are providing FREE delivery so the price you pay is what you see. We paid £398.00 plus of course points on my Cooperative card. If you look at the reviews, it come highly recommended on most websites, with a lot of comments like ideal for a narrow boat.

I had a bit of a problem as I wanted to route the waste pipe via a cupboard under the sink to a dedicated skin fitting (boat side outlet), to drain the water out. The original skin fitting had a ribbed hose pipe moldings on it. There was plenty of thread showing when in position. So i removed the fitting and cut off the hose pipe molding, filed it smooth to ensure a good face fit and connected an adapter to 22 mm plastic pipe. I then also fitted an inline 22 mm sea cock (just a tap) should we go on waters like the Thames.  I was able to route the pipe work out of site so not cause problems with any items that would be stored in the cupboard.

The on board water pump was providing more than enough pressure so did not have to be updated. The boat had been plumbed in with a fresh water washing machine outlet so connection was easy. However, strangely no hole to route the waste hose. This was done with a hole cutter attached to an electric drill. 

The machine arrived and with help from my son in law took the machine on board and fitted it. After a test wash was completed with total success. 

The machine now lives hidden away in its own cupboard just below the gas hob, this keeps things really tidy and does not show the appliance. In addition the door folds right back and does not get in the way of the front loading door.

Narrowboat extras

Well as last.. we now have the new furniture installed in the same design as the original, so everything now is looking great.
here are some pictures of the finished projects.


Drinks Cabinet | TV Cabinet Book/CD Shelves | Print Cabinet & Drawers

This upgrade has given us such a load more space that will allow us to put a few awkward thing away and also make the ship remain open and tidy.
We are not falling into the trap of taking loads stuff, we are in the process as i write this of getting rid of everything we do not use by selling stuff off at car boot sales and auctions.

The rear cover is now in place. It has really added more useable inside space for when are moored. It is not really useable on canals when cruising, how many are… due to the low bridges and structures in the waterways, however we have had it designed a bit like a tent, the poles all break down so we can store the whole thing in a special storage area in the engine bay. We got the cover from Marine Industrial Covers, see link in post below. They have done a brilliant job as our cruiser stern is not like other narrowboats.

The place where you normally get on is near the bulkhead that allows access to the boat, however we have two large seats with soft white covers and storage bins under. So the place you get on is after these seats and near the back near to the tiller. It is a really good layout as it give you the features of a semi trad but with more space to move.  Moving to the seats. There was a bit of an orginal design fault because when you sat on the side seats they rolled over the edge of the store lockers, making uncomfortable to sit properly. So we have had some special rollover bars made which allow a 3 inch extension outwards on both sides to cure this problem. They roll back so that the deck boards can be accessed easily.

If you look at the pictures to the left, you will the mode prior to being painted. Carlos from at CMW engineering.  This man really knows what he is doing. He also cut holes in our bowthruster tube and fitted a Craftsman electric bow thruster. He also fabricated a large battery frame and an isolator bracket. Carlos is very reasonable in his pricing for the quality that you get.

Our next door neighbors when we were at Castle Marina Nottingham has a prop shaft boss completely removed and a new one machine fabricated and installed by Carlos. You can see the boss on his website.

Now that these items are complete we can now clean up and start to load things on board ready for our adventure on the waterways of Great Britain.  

This will include a new studio washing machine, which i will be fitting and plumbing into the galley area, as this is where the original cupboard has been located and serviced ready with water electricity and waste.

I hope to give you an update on this in short while.