Wednesday 27 July 2011

Same dream - extra challenges

Having been awake in the night thinking about the plight of Tom, Jan and nb Waiouru it has reminded me of how much more challenging planning to cruise the UK canals is when you're starting out from the other side of the world.  We don't know many people in the UK... we aren't very familiar with the towns, roads, canals... we won't know which shops are better for buying things, and we've never heard of a lot of the stores...  buying groceries will take longer with so many different brands we've never heard of... we aren't used to the UK weather.... there'll be a bit of "culture shock"... we won't be able to access our stored belongings once we fly off into the sunset... we'll be leaving behind our family and friends... but biggest of all is the process of acquiring a boat to begin the dream.

If you're buying a second hand boat like we will you can't go out on weekends and browse what's available.  How much easier it would be if that were the case.  We'd have a much better idea of the market in a much shorter time if we could look at boats for sale on a sunny Sunday.  Instead we can only look at photos and descriptions provided by brokers and they aren't always a realistic representation of the boat. 

We've had two visits to the UK that we've looked at boats for sale.  The first time in 2007 was more a pipe dream but last year it was with the plan firmly in mind.  There were certainly brokers with every boat just as we expected it would be from what we'd seen on the internet.  But there were also many that the photos appeared to be a bit of trickery.  Of course when you're selling something, whether it be a house, a car or a boat, you want to show it at it's best.  There were a couple of boats that were a sad disappointment!  One had exterior paintwork in terrible condition.  The photos on the advertisement were at an angle that you couldn't see this.  Another one had extremely shabby timberwork inside but with all the interior photos of that boat being at a distance you just couldn't see it.  And another... well it just stunk!  You can't smell a photo!!

Having a new boat built?  Well... if the thought made me nervous before, it is now something we wouldn't even consider unless we could be in the UK during the process.  We did consider the option - I have a blog post about narrowboat sponsorship.  I even went to visit a boat builder in 2008 that built boats for sponsorship to discuss it and it was a tempting option.  We just couldn't see how we could have a boat built for us if we couldn't go visit it and see the progress.  We would want to be regular visitors, not just once or twice.

I wonder if any boat surveyors offer a service of "build progress inspections".  They could inspect and photograph the progress to date before the next instalment was paid.  Paying for this type of service would be money well spent!


Nb Yarwood said...

Hi Mick and Elly
We are in the process of having our second boat built but we have moved ourselves and our boat to within 6 miles of the boatbuilder. We have used the same builder as our first boat because we trust him, this based on our previous experience of his work. But, we are still at hand to check on progress almost daily.
My advice, for what it is worth, is do not have a boat built from the other side of the world, buy a good secondhand boat. Having said that also take the following into account. Take advice about what you will need in a 'liveaboard'boat, be clear about what YOU want from your boat and draw up a spec of your 'must haves'. Look at dedicated broker sites. The saying, you get what you pay for, applies here as in many areas. And personally, I would only buy when I got to the UK and saw and 'touched' my investment.
Good hunting!

Elly and Mick said...

Thanks for the comment and suggestions Lesley. We most certainly won't be buying a boat until we arrive in the UK. We did toy with the idea of buying one of the boats we saw last October though. We calculated the mooring costs and how often we might be able to go and use it in the meantime and decided we'd be better to wait. It's just that the exchange rate is so good!