Ann-Marie’s parents picked us up from Heathrow on Thursday morning and took us back to their house in Fleet where we are staying for a few days while we get ourselves sorted out. After 18 hours in the air and a 10 hour time shift we spent the rest of the day sleeping and drinking tea.
On Friday the Big Boat Hunt began. We’d already made a shortlist before we came back so it wasn’t long before we’d got 4 lined up to see on Saturday. Our criteria were; 50’ to 57’ long, trad stern, proper engine (ie. Not modern 4 cylinder) , decent sized well deck, from a well-known hull builder with some scope for putting our own personality into it. What that meant is that we could rule out about 99 out of every 100 boats for sale. Our shortlist had about 15 boats on it, but a couple of them were stretching our budget.
By strange coincidence, 4 were all to the west of London on the GU. Peter & Carole kindly did the chauffeuring; two more people we owe so much to. The first one we looked at was 57’ and the second one was 50’. That made us realise just how big that extra 7 foot is.
We had a lot of discussion about what we should do. We could live in 50’. Cheaper licence, easier to handle and we’ve been living in a damn sight less for the last 9 months. But we have a lot of stuff and it’s good to be able to have enough spare beds to put 4 extra people up. The 50’ was beautifully fitted out, but the 57’ was nicely panelled and gave us scope. We went back and forth all day on Sunday, then on Monday we borrowed Carole’s car for a week and set off northward. Our goal for the day was Dave’s sister Anne’s house in Chesterfield, via Blisworth and the Oxford canal. An hour into the journey we'd been turning it all over and ruled out anything less than about 55'. The two boats in Blisworth were shorter, so we headed straight to Oxford. These two and the other two we’d looked at on Saturday re-enforced the opinion we were coming to ourselves; the first one we’d looked at was the best. We fired off a couple of e-mails to people whose opinions we trust – they agreed with us. Was there any point driving around anymore when we’d found what we were looking for? Decisions.
Here’s our new home.
1990 Hancock & Lane, Lister SR3 air cooled, 90amp alt, 3+1 batteries <18 months, Thetford cassette + spare, SS water tank, Solid oak flooring, Panelled sides and ceiling, Shoreline fridge, Instantanious gas water heater. Bath & shower. Out of water survey Feb 11 – all recommendations carried out.
What it needs.
Painting. Lots more cupboards. A new side hatch. Front doors with windows. Cleaning in the engine dept. A new seal on the weed hatch and the access improving. All within our capabilities.
We should be moved in in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime we've got two campervans to sort out. At the moment we don't know exactly where either of them are.