We have started making a list of things we would like on our narrowboat that may not already be on the boat. For example, we want a cross bed and that would mean buying a new mattress.
We definitely want a cratch and cover. We would want glass in the front to be able to see out. Another thing we thought we would want is a pram cover or pram hood - particularly if we are lucky enough to find the perfect semi trad boat. It would give us another dry area in Winter (aside from the cratch).
Camberwell Covers give a price guide of £700 for a pram cover. Their website shows a recently completed widebeam cratch board and cover for £900. We're thinking we should allow £1,500 for both.
Coverit Canopies - Cratch Cover - these people appear to have made the canopy for nb Grumpy Git (our earlier pick of the week). I'm not too keen on this style cratch cover with a square front.
This canopy maker was recommended by Sue on nb No Problem
Here are some others I found when browsing.
Camberwell Covers - Cratch Cover
Camberwell Covers Pram Cover
Waterside Boat Covers - Pram Cover
Boat Hoods Direct - Pram Covers
The subject of covers. First, my own opinion of pram covers over the semi-trad cockpit is: I don't like them! Once again they spoil the traditional looks of the boat. I know they offer protection against the weather, but there are many bridges that have to be gone under carefully or they will be damaged or worse knocked off. I watched one get knocked completely off at a bridge on the Llangollen after the steerer went under slightly off centre.
As for manufacturers, there ar many as you already know. As you look around the system at others boats, you will see that one company seems to have the bulk of the market. That is Coverit of Atherton Lancs. See http://www.coverit.co.uk/ They have been in the business for 50 years, and used to be the sole canopy manufacturer for Norman Crusiers in the 70's. They now have contracts with many narrowboat builders. As it happens they are based only a couple of miles from where we live. When we bought the Freeman in 2005, it had a serviceable but well used canopy, and I thought it was letting the boat down. So, again, after research, ordered a new vinyl one off Coverit. Gary, a partner in the firm, dealt with me all through, sent a person 40 miles to the mooring to measure up, made the canopy, then returned to the mooring to fit it. The cost in 2006 was £700. You can see the canopy in "the cruiser we bought in 2005" post on my blog. Gary used to only make canopies in vinyl, saying that canvas was not fully waterproof, and was subject to green mould very quickly in the British climate. He has since relented and now offers canvas as a choice due to public demand, - it looks much more classy. As with all things in this industry, there are premium manufacturers and popular manufacturers, and I think Coverit will fall into the latter bracket. Having said that they have been around longer than any of the others, seem to have fitted most of the covers in Britain, and do a first class job at a reasonable price, in my own experience. Sorry about the long comment again, but once again you have talked about a subject I have direct experience of and I hope it helps by adding to your own experience.
There is also our canopy maker Staffordshire Canopies http://www.staffordshirecanopies.co.uk/
I would recommend Tim and Lisa, a small company who make back canopies for semi trads and trads as well as cruiser sterns.
There is a picture of one of their semi trads on the pramhoods page.
Chas and Ann of NB Moore2Life have a different type cover, you can see a picture of that here at the bottom of the blog post --->
Peter, we don't much like the look of the pram covers either. We just figure we are going to appreciate having one in Winter.
Sue, thanks for recommending another canopy maker. Chas and Ann's canopy is different. I wondered at first how they stopped rain coming in from the side if they were stationary but then realized it's a trad stern. Great idea!
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