Following a few years hiring narrowboats from Alvechurch Hire Boats and touring the midland's canals we decided it was time to take the plunge and get our own boat.
We looked at second hand boats, expecting that this was the way we would go, but felt that if we were spending this sort of money then we wanted the boat to exactly match our needs.
So the search changed - shows were attended and builders visited, talk about being swamped with information, ideas and prices! Did we go for an "off the peg boat" from The New Boat Company, a bespoke boat from the likes of Severn Valley Boats or something else?
The funds wouldn't stretch to the bespoke boats. Beautiful as they were, dreaming won't move the decision making process on.
The "off the peg" boats whilst affordable (affordable is a relative word here!) just seemed too much of a compromise. We did not want to have a generic layout that somebody else has designed and other people would be cruising in.
So it was the sail-away route, find someone to build the shell and we'll fit it out. That way we could have a boat that was ours and nobody else would have one the same. But who would build a shell to our specification at a quality that we would be happy with, at a price we could afford and in a sensible time frame. This led to a new round of searches, calls and letters.
In the end we found a small family owned company only 10 minutes from home, never knew they were there, we have cruised passed the yard and seen the chandlery but never taken too much notice.
So, in February 2004 following a visit to JL Pinder and Sons in Stoke Prior near Bromsgrove we started the ball rolling. They could build a shell to our specification, deliver it early 2005 in-line with our plan to spend 2005 fitting the boat out and at a price we considered reasonable.
A couple of further visits and phone calls and we booked our slot for a 58ft narrowboat, a £500 deposit sealed the deal (the last small invoice we're likely to see on this project) all we needed to do now is work out what we really want!
This site details our decision making, the designs and the boat as it comes to fruition.