Buying a second hand boat is fraught with problems.
“Does the person selling it, own it?”
“Has it been looked after?”
“Will everything that seems to be working now, just breakdown as soon as you sail off into the sunset?”
“You do know they say that BOAT stands for ‘Bring Out Another Thousand’, don’t you?”
So, how do we sleep at night?
We are purchasing Nb Silverdale from a broker – Whilton Marina. Our previous narrowboat: Nb MIRRLESS was purchased from there also, in 2018 (see Tales from the Bilge for some detail). We are return customers.
The reason we chose a broker rather than a private sale is because we believe there is a level of assurance afforded by this. You will generally have to pay more in the beginning but it could pay for itself in the long run. A second reason is that you can see several boats in one place. This cuts down on multiple jaunts across the country.
The reason we chose Whilton Marina again was because of the staff. We wanted to go back and give them our business because they are great people. No boat will be perfect, no matter how much you pay. Things will go wrong but the experience Whilton provided was to enable us to pursue our goal of owning a narrowboat. They have a selection of narrowboats and a turnover that ensures
So, what was the reason we chose Nb Silverdale? We didn’t, it chose us. Just like a cat…
I live by this boating mantra
Does It Float? Does It Leak?, Does it Go?
You got three ticks? Your’re good to go. Anything else is just background chatter…
Another early start to get on our way, back up to Whilton Marina to take a second look at Nb Silverdale. The last time we visited in January, we had little idea that we were searching for Silverdale but that’s just what it turned out to be. This trip was to photograph and measure our find. There would also be in the back of our minds, the fear of had we done the right thing, was this the one. It was to be our home now after all.
Storm Dennis was on its way. We had ummed & arrhed about whether the storm should scupper our plans but the Hotel was paid for and the pull of boat was greater than the push of the winds we might encounter.
We stopped at Solstice Services at Amesbury (as we always do) for coffee, tea & toast. The car ran well. We listened to Liam Galagher, Oasis and The Stone Roses, on our way to Whilton. We had now travelled this way several times and enjoyed the journey.
At the Marina
At the marina, the weather had become progressively worse. Harvey and Fred where there and a new member had joined the sales team. Nb Silverdale was in the water! It was off the hard standing where we had previously seen it.
Harvey went off to open Nb Silverdale. After first being unable to enter via the prow doors, he turned his attention to the stern. After much acrobatics, legs flailing to reach the lower bolt, he managed to open the stern doors. We were then allowed down and went aboard.
Our earlier fears were allayed – this is the one. Nb Silverdale was better than we had ever imagined. I took lots of photographs and mu took lots of measurements. We basked in our choice of new home.
Storm Dennis was now gathering force so we headed to Whilton Marina Cafe for a cup of tea and to sit and look at Silverdale. After speaking with the owner, whom we had met when purchasing Nb MIRRLESS we headed off. We drove into the wind and rain of the storm, into Banbury. We had stayed at Banbury on our previous journey down from Northampton to Bath (Tales from the Bilge – The Long Journey Hone – Part 5) and liked it. HMV called and I answered in the form of vinyl purchases: Revolver – The Beatles, Return to Ommadawn – Mike Oldfield in the sale. Banbury was wet.
We left for Weedon and the Crossroads Hotel where we were staying for the night. We were assigned Room 16. Room 16 is where we stayed while MIRRLESS was being outfitted and made ready. It was a nice touch of serendipity. We went to the bar in the late afternoon because we could and a had a three and a half hour wait for a table in the restaurant. Not all that time was spent at the bar – we went back to the room and published MEET ME AT THE JUMPGATE.
At the restaurant, we had Vegetarian Fish & Chips – halloumi & chips. We had waited a long time to re-experience this and it was as good as we had remembered.
We decided upon The Tales of Silverdale for the blog title.
Some Early Images of Silverdale
Sunday 16 February 2020
A Visit to Milton Keynes
Storm Dennis continued its downpour of rain as we left the hotel but we decided to visit Milton Keynes. I have always wanted to visit there. Something about its New Town status, being built from scratch and being aligned with the sunrise like Stonehenge appealed to me. It’s a nice drive from Weedeon. A simple straightforward run. There was however, lots of water on the roads and in the fields with the continuing rain adding to it all.
Milton Keynes is a big place! A grid layout from the ’70’s with references to Wiltshire’s monoliths. We went into the centre and wandered around the covered shopping area. For breakfast, we made a rare stop to Starbucks and enjoyed it. We then drove down to the marina and looked at the moored boats. However, the rain was pouring and being driven by Storm Dennis. We ended up in Ikea, browsing…
The drive back to Wiltshire was long and uneventful but made bearable by remixes of The Stone Roses and Ian Brown.
Videos of narrowboats cruising and a portable generator oil change ended the day. A second look had proved very fruitful…
We’ve decided that this time around, we want a generator. We think it will make a difference.
mu and I both love music, it’s how we met. We were students in Huddersfield in 1981. I was going to see Adam & the Ants in Sheffield and mu asked if I could get her and her friend tickets. I did and the rest was history.
A Musical Fidelity Sound
We knew that this time around, we would make our narrowboat full of sound. However, a narrowboat is just that; narrow. There isn’t a lot of space. Power is also at a premium, you have to generate it yourself when on the cut. I have a stereo system I built many years ago. It’s based around Musical Fidelity with floor standing Ruark speakers. Everything is big, heavy and uses a lot of power. there had to be a change.
So, on 9 February 2020 we went into Bath and purchased a Hi Fi system for Nb Silverdale. Funds are at a premium so it had to be something on a budget. Now I know the comments will flood in with
We needed sounds and we needed a mix of digital and analogue sounds. And we needed it on a limited budget! The ‘One’ is small but has some power provided by a toroidal transformer. The One forms the hub of the entertainment system: CD, Bluetooth for phones, laptop and TV but most importantly; vinyl.
The speakers had to be small. Coming from Ruark Prologue Ones, the DALI Spektor 1‘s are minuscule but upon listening to them in Richer Sounds I thought – I like the sound of that. The combination of Spektor 1’s with the One sounded great. Once at home, they sounded even better. I also love the Danish design of the speakers.
My Pro-ject Carbon Debut, now coupled with the Alva Duo sounds amazing. Some might say it’s had a counterproductive effect in that it’s spurred me on to buy more vinyl. This inevitably takes up space but the solution has been four record boxes made in Glastonbury, from The Record Station.
I have to say, Richer Sounds were outstanding in their customer service.
A Sound Verdict
Overall, it’s a size-limited system, for not much money and I think we’ve got something really special that will work. It’s also expandable. I added the phono Pre-stage. A Rega Planar 6 Record Player would be a great upgrade choice. A Sub-woofer could be added in. The possibilities are endless. However, for now I’m happy if I never get to move away from this.
Is it the best in the world? No. It does however sound great and my vinyl has a new lease of life.
I can’t wait to spin up Yellow Submarine aboard Nb Silverdale.
It’s Saturday 25 January 2020 and we’re on our way up to Whilton Marina in Northamptonshire. A month ago, if you had told me we would have been driving back up to look at narrowboats, we wouldn’t have believed you. It was the furthest things from our mind.
We decided on the 2nd January 2020 that we were going to buy another boat and promptly went to Saul Marina on the 3rd with a mind to potentially finding a mooring there and what a journey to Bristol would be like.
The journey to Whilton, via the Solstice Services at Amesbury for porridge took in a grey day but no amount of drizzle could dampen our excitement. Our times at Whilton purchasing Nb MIRRLESS are documented in Tales from the Bilge and the great memories of our times there came flooding back. Even though it was only a year before, they had been packed tightly away at the back of our minds. The thoughts of having to sell MIRRLESS and return back to land, our daughter’s wedding and the day to day of work seemed to push the thoughts of boating adrift.
We’re only here to look
We looked at three narrowboats that potentially met our criteria: Early Bird, Sara Louise and Dippy Too but they didn’t seem to suit. They were too dark or too old-fashioned (as opposed to Traditional) and just didn’t have that ‘thing’. We learned from living aboard MIRRLESS what worked, what didn’t and what we would like so we were a lot more choosy this time around. We were only here to look.
First stop was a visit to Whilton Marina Cafe and the lovely people there. We then went over and met Harvey and Fred in the Sales office – they remembered us! We chatted about old times and how things were and about what we were looking for. Fred explained that there was a boat, it was on hard-standing at the end of the marina that would seem to fit our bill. It had had a hull survey completed and would be over-plated. It was called Silverdale – a cool, Lord of the Rings-sounding name to my mind. We asked if it was possible to take a look and after a bit of discussion with the engineers and staff at the wet dock, it was. After all, we were only here to look.
mu and I walked down the length of the marina, past where Nb MIRRLESS has been moored when we purchased it, to the hard-standing area. Nb Silverdale, maroon in colour stood on huge blocks of wood, towered above us. Blue movable steps had to be moved into position for us to get aboard. They barely reached the side above the gunnel but we scrambled on and into Nb Silverdale. We entered via the Cruiser stern to a modern bright interior. Each of the windows (of which there were a lot) were louvred. I loved this look and it was one of the things I wanted a potential future narrowboat to have – this had 11 of them!
This is the One
We liked what we saw, it had some great features like 12v sockets easily accessible, a safe and built in staging for books and things.
Back at the Sales office we explained that
“We’re only here to look”
but ummed and arrhed…
We knew it would ‘go’. As yet, it wasn’t on the books but it would be on Monday morning and it would sell (one boat we had seen on the website and had planned to look at had already been sold and was gone. A week’s turnaround.
We arrhed and ummed as we were only here to look…
But in the end, we bought it! Little did we know we were searching for Silverdale.
We put down a deposit to secure Nb Silverdale. Our search for ‘the narrowboat had ended barely before it had began. We had found it. It seems that since the decision to buy a narrowboat had popped into our heads, we had been searching for Silverdale. And we had found it. It was longer than our previous boat, by a full two feet! A Cruiser stern as mentioned, ticked another box. It a had a large Galley. It had storage and it had those louvred windows. The colour was still to grow on us. We talked about re-painting it Olive Green or Midnight Blue as we drove to Northampton to stay the night at the Travelodge there. We were making the most of our trip and walked over to the comfortably placed Sixfields pub for a pint and then on to Frankie & Benny’s.
The Next Day
The next day we awoke excited at our purchase. Bang had gone the idea of visiting all the marinas possible to look at all the possible boats. We had bought one.
After vacating the Travelodge (basic but adequate), we travelled into Banbury under miserable weather. Cafe Nero beckoned for Brunch. After said nourishment, we stood and watched a narrowboat come up through the Town lock. It brought memories flooding back. We had travelled down through that lock and stopped at the facilities there on our Long Journey Home.
The drive home was wet. We stopped at Amesbury to complete the journey. Once home, we watched The Narrowboat Experience and an episode about painting their narrowboat. We were painting Nb Silverdale in our heads.
Our searching for Silverdale was over. So much for “We’re only here to look”.
Hello world. We’re buying another narrowboat. Yes, always gluttons for punishment but after a landborne hiatus we can’t bear it anymore – we’re off back to the canals…
We are buying narrowboat Silverdale – a 59 ft Cruiser stern, ‘pre-loved’ floating home on shallow water.
Initially we won’t be fully off-grid as we plan to be based in a marina. Our plan has been foisted upon us due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, which has everywhere in lockdown. However, we will eventually continuously cruise the canal network of England & Wales. Our previous endevour in Nb MIRRLESS (see Tales from the Bilge) saw us traverse a small section of canal: from the Grand Union, down the Oxford, around the Thames and onto the Kennett & Avon. We will at some point be repeating this journey but our eventual aim is to set off and roam…
The countdown is underway, we aim to own Nb Silverdale from the 27 May 2020. Whether or not we will be able to move aboard is another matter. One thing these strange times has taught us is expect the unexpected. We’re keeping upbeat but it’s not easy.
If you’re interested – step aboard but you’ll probably be press-ganged into pumping out the bilge, changing the engine oil or emptying the toilet – Mmmm, appealing…