A new boat

Having cruised on Scimitar we had begun to develop our own ideas about boat layouts and what we felt worked and didn't work. When we first had Scimitar we thought that the corner bath was a really nice idea. 3 years later I think I've used it once and then couldn't fill it deep enough to wallow satisfactorily. (Don't worry - personal hygiene is satisfied by the shower over the bath - but I hate shower curtains, I always seem to be fighting them off whilst trying to wash).

We had seen at the IWA 'off the shelf' new boats but these weren't really what we wanted so we put together a 'spec' for the boat - setting out the things we wanted, the things we definitely didn't want and the things we didn't know anything about; we also included pictures of all the good ideas we had seen on boats or on the net. Ian really wanted what he calls a 'tonk tonk' engine - these are the big old engines that make a very satisfying 'tonk tonk' noise as they cruise down the canal. Generally they have their own room on the boat and are displayed in all their glory by their proud owners - all the brass fittings beautifully polished. These engines come from things like diamond mines, tractors, etc but we once met someone whose engine had rotated the light in a lighthouse! Names to conjure with are Russell Newberry and Perkins. A fully reconditioned engine like that would really blow our budget but Beta Marine build a JD3 Tug Engine which was just about affordable. Problem was that it needed a 6 foot cabin to itself and if we were going to fit everything else we wanted on the boat it was going to end up well over 60 foot - which would mean that some parts of the canal system would be 'off limits' as the boat would be too big to go in some of the locks.

Beta Marine JD3 Tug Engine

A lengthy e-mail correspondence with Beta Marine ensued and we discovered that the exhaust manifold could be horizontal rather than vertical so Ian thought that maybe we could have the engine but mounted as per a 'normal' engine - as we began our tour of boatbuilders he was disabused of this notion but didn't take kindly to the suggestion that we record the noise of a 'tonk tonk' and have it piped to the rear deck!

Decision made, we were about to embark into the unknown - The Build

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