How Do You Know When It’s Right To Make The Move From A Boat?

We talk so much about how we adore Fantine, believe me we really do in fact she is almost personified as a member of our little family unit. In fact, short of a gigantic windfall that enables the purchase of a dream property, we can’t see ourselves ever moving to a house. But would we consider another boat? I almost feel like we are cheating on her for saying it.

We do keep up to date with boats that are for sale, out of curiosity more than anything else. I think it is much harder to justify moving from one boat to another, particularly to those outside the boating world, boasting that your new home has two extra bedrooms and an en suite is instantly recognisable, boasting that it has an engine which makes a wonderous pap-pap … not so much.

As much as we love Fantine (And close your ears now sweetheart) that doesn’t mean there aren’t things we would change if we were to choose a boat all over again. In fact we are often told by those in the boating community that your second boat is your perfect boat, having learnt from the short comings of your first. So, what would change?

There’s no accounting for taste

From the moment we started looking at boats we knew we wanted a traditional layout, none boaters’ reference here, as we saw this as maximising the amount of usable space. Should we look for a boat again, we wouldn’t even look at a narrow boat. Mic drop I know! But don’t worry we wouldn’t be looking at a humungous and impractical wide beam. We have fallen truly, madly, deeply for Dutch Barges. I know they are a total marmite boat, but we would have them on our toast, crumpets, roast potatoes and just out of the jar! Comparison below.

D Barge

Can you keep the noise down please?

Now I know that carpet on the boat just isn’t going to be an option for us, I’ve come to except that. But we are regularly woken when a pooch decides to get a midnight snack by the tapping of their teeny claws on the floor. This is because our corridor goes straight into the bedroom and we often won’t close the door. This problem is magnified if one person has to get up before the other, as you will hear them pottering around. Whilst I despised the idea when we were looking I would now much prefer having to go through the bathroom to get to the bedroom.


Flip it back and reverse it.

Honestly, we hadn’t really heard of them when we began our search, but they seem to be super popular (I know I don’t know how we missed them) reverse layout boats (Diagram below for clarification). Fantine has what I will refer to as a standard layout, but we really like the idea of the reverse layout, I don’t think it would massively impact the way we use our boat, although reflecting on it I suppose the cratch would become what we refer to as our ‘shed’ or perhaps a lovely bedroom balcony!


I just want to be with you

Now this is a tricky one, we love having the traditional style narrowboat, as we said earlier it means we can maximise the space inside and also benefit from the rear area being our ‘shed’. But this does limit the space you have when cruising, I like to be on the back with James, which isn’t too bad I tend to perch on the roof, but if there is ever more than the two of us things become trickier. Sometimes you just long for that extra space, and as all we use that rear area for is as a ‘shed’ there’s no reason a semi traditional couldn’t give us the best of both worlds, if we were to stay with narrowboats of course.


I mean how can it call itself a stove

You only need look back to last year to see my posts on the stupid useless hobbit were happening at least weekly. This year we seem to of gotten a bit better at making a longer lasting, warmer fire, practice makes perfect and all that! But that doesn’t excuse how teeny and ridiculous the hobbit is, it’s something we are considering upgrading next year, along with the big kitchen and floor re-do, should we be in the purchasing position again I would be looking for a sizeable stove!


As I said at the beginning we’re not looking to change Fantine, but I don’t think it hurts to recognise areas that you would change. It’s even more interesting to consider the situations which could encourage boaty folk to change from one to another, when as we are, there is no major issue which forces that move. I always try to stay in touch with what’s happening out with the boat market, and no doubt if something which ticked a lot of the boxes came along we would more than likely take a look at it.

I suppose when you think about it it’s all about having that feeling, I had it instantly with Fantine, and up until that point I thought people were being ridiculous when they said ‘You’ll know it’s meant to be your boat when you get on her’. Now I say it all the time, and whilst I can’t imagine any other boat feeling right, I suppose you never know.

James & Kirsty

A diary of live aboard life

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