NB Lucy is a 60 foot English Narrow Boat.
She (assume it’s a girl) is from the Stone Marina of the UK Canal Cruising Company. She sleeps 4 comfortably and could handle 6 if necessary; has onboard toilets and a galley and saloon. Her layout is as follows:
We will update this more as we know a little bit more about her history and as we learn about some of her idiosyncrasies. I’m sure there will be many !
Here is a link to a some pictures and a video that will give you a guided tour.
Update 1 – Balancing the boat
NB Lucy is a very comfortable boat, within the confines of the fact that she is narrow and there is not a great deal of space. One issue that came up within the first month of the trip though, is the state of balance or actually in-balance of the boat.
We suspect that when the hull of a boat is built they sit perfectly level on the water as they should, and we are sure NB Lucy fits into this category. However during fit-out, NB Lucy’s designed called for the placement of the internal fixtures (two beds, the bathroom, oven, fridge and kitchen area) on the left hand side of the boat. This means that the boat leans over to the left as shown. See picture below.
BTW this is not an unusual situation with narrow boats. Many others have the same issue and stability is not being compromised. But in walking around the inside of the boat you do feel you are always on a slight lean which is not great.
Another observation we made as that the longer we were on the boat the more it lent to the left. On thinking about it the reason for this is that the pump out tank that stores the used toilet water is also on the left hand side of the boat and as the day pass this gets heavier and heavier causing even more lean. Of course this is relieved every 20 days when we get a pump out.
Anyhow after a bit of thought we did decide in about week 3 of our journey to rectify this situation and it was a simple matter of loading up the right hand side of the boat with extra weight. The source of the extra weight was 31 house bricks we found from an old dumping side which we loaded into the right hand bow compartment that was not being used for anything except storing the anchor. This we reckon has added about 190 pounds of weigh to the right hand side of the boat and most eliminated the problem making the boat more comfortable to be on.
Picture below shows the loading of the extra weight.
Update 2 – Making a comfy bed
The NB Lucy being a “luxurious” cruising style narrow boat, comes with sleeping for 4 adults. The configuration we chose was for 2 double beds. Being very narrow however means that double beds are also narrow and they are in fact only 4 foot wide. Di and I decided that to maximise comfort on the boat we would sleep separately with one of us in each bed.
Di’s bed is very comfy and has its own 4 foot wide double mattress. Fraser’s “double” bed however is actually two 2 foot wide single beds pushed together. The problem this creates is that in sleeping across it, you tend to fall through the gap between the two single mattresses.
This created a problem and needed an “engineered” solution. The problem was solved in the first two weeks of our journey as follows:
1 Source a wide elastic ribbon from the Leek, Staffordshire market (3 pounds) and tie the two mattresses together so they can’t move apart
2 Purchase 5cm of high quality memory foam to spread over the top of the two mattresses. This was sourced by Di looking on Gum Tree (an on line buy and sell site) for 20 pounds. We have found gum tree to be a wonderful site and we purchased both the foam and previously our fold up bikes this way. In the case of the foam, the seller, Lee from Milton Staffordshire, upon hearing that we were on a canal boat, kindly delivered the foam to a pre -determined Rendez Vous point near our mooring in Milton (OK – it was a pub). In negotiating the price, the conversation went something like this:
Fraser – so how much do you want for the foam?
Lee – 20 pounds. By the way you have a funny accent. Where are you from?
Fraser – Australia
Lee – in that case I better make it 30 pounds.
Fraser – would thought that knowing that I’m Australian and travelling in your fantastic country you would make it 10 pounds ?
Lee – tell you what matey, since we beat you at the cricket we will stick with the asking price of 20. How about that.
Fraser – OK
3 Installed the memory Foam on top of the mattresses
4 Put the mattress cover on and then Install sheets, blankets, pillow and obligatory Dog
Problem sorted – one comfy bed for Fraser
Update 3 – Chores around the Boat
Like running a house a boat requires the normal daily and weekly chores. Here are some of them
Check the oil and water
Turn the grease cartridge to ensure adequate lubrication to the propeller shaft
Check the weed hatch that gives access to the propeller and shaft and pull out any weeds or other material (plastic, string, fishing line etc). This is quite critical as this stuff can get wrapped around the prop and you can loose propulsion and steering. It seems to happen just when you need it of course and it happens at least once every few days.
Shopping – with dolly 1 and 2 the trolley sisters
Washing when we can find a laundrette which is not that easy
Washing the dogs – they hate it.