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Black Rose is a 57 x 12' narrowboat style widebeam supplied by Liverpool Boats as a lined sailaway in 2005. Mike's fit out is now complete, bathroom & the gas installation. Mike has been living (camping) aboard since the day Black Rose was launched without running water, electricity, etc. Using a garden waterbutt on the bow deck for the first 3 months for washing dishes etc and showering elsewhere including buckets of Thames water over his head on the stern deck and a few dips into the river at Reading in the summer of 2005! Mikes photos and fit-out story is depicted below.
Black Rose on her home mooring
Fabrication at Liverpool Boats
Some Fit out Photos
As a lined sailaway, most of my electrics were already in and I just had to fit lights etc and connect the 12v DC side up. I've put in battery chargers, battery monitor, had to correct some of the mistakes that LB had made like putting my bow thruster batteries in a completely inaccessible place. They're now in a locker on the foredeck. (The BT is a vetus 95 kgf by the way)
The engine is an Isuzu 55hp which is probably a bit small for the boat but I've taken her from Brentford to Limehouse and didn't have a problem turning against the tide to get into the Limehouse basin.
I have 3 x 12v bilge pumps on board. One in the usual place under the stern gland (a vetus water lubricated job), one at the stern end of the cabin under the stairs in the kitchen (those stairs are solid oak, made by a carpenter but fitted by myself and they lead out onto the big stern cruiser deck). I also fitted a bilge pump under the bow thruster and water tank outlet in case of leaks. Of course there is no bulkhead there but I used some PU sealant to seal any gaps between one of the cross members & the baseplate, in effect creating a mini-bulkhead about 5" high just aft of the bow thruster tunnel.
My BT has no weedhatch as the only way this could have been done would be to incorporate it into the foredeck. Under warranty I got LB to change the positon of my BT to within about 12" of the port side in case the prop got fouled. They tapped out the 2 existing small holes and used these to screw a curved plate over the old hole to seal it up along with a gasket and PU sealant. I even managed to black the boat during the week it was out at the same time!
The saloon is big enough to have a 3 seater & a 2 seater leather sofa. Saloon and kitchen area measires 24' 6" x 11' 6" (beam) bathroom is 6' x 9' (wide) and bedroom is 10' x 11' 6" (beam). I sacrificed bedroom space for saloon space, but the steps you can see in the bedroom are actually about 3' away from the bed. I made them from 2 sets of caravan steps and some surplus kitchen worktop.
The stove is a Morso Panther (8 kw). I think when it gets below zero a Squirel might not have been big enough for that space, but I could be wrong. The Panther can get it to 25 degrees in the kitchen very easily even when it's zero outside so it can get too hot, but I'd rather have a big stove ticking over than a small stove that's red hot. I also have an Erberspacher DW10 that I might use for an hour a day in winter to heat up the boat while I'm making a fire and to get some hot water. There's a 60 litre calorifier under the sink in the kitchen which runs off the erberspacher and immersion heater when on shore power. The calorifier was already fitted but I put in the immersion. When I eventually get gas fitted I've also got a gas hot water heater which you can see near the kitchen sink. At the moment I'm still cooking on a camping stove (see picture). I'm not planning on having a gas oven at the moment and I just have a convection microwave in the cupboard under the hob. I might get a gas oven eventually
I used carpet tiles over a 8mm foam underlay apart from the kitched & bathroom where I've used water resistant tile effect laminate from B&Q. Originally I wanted a wooden floor but for reasons of practicality I didn't do it - my floor was cold and needed insulation.
The kitchen is Ikea, solid oak doors & 2" solid (butchers block) worktop. The design of the kitchen was my own idea. I was originally going to have a U shaped kitchen where the solid fuel stove is, but I'm glad I went with what I did. I think you'll agree it preserves the open plan space of the boat and if I have guests for dinner that drop leaf table you can just see in one of the photos, can be pulled out and opened up completely. The posts above the steps in the kitchen are B&Q pine banister posts which I stained and gave 3 coats of varnish.
Twin Sterling battery chargers (30 & 40 amp) are in the vented kitchen cupboards on the left and a Sterling psuedo-sinewave inverter is in the vented cupboard on the right. The two small boxes that you can see under the top step in the kitchen are Sterling alternator controllers. I have one fitted on each 70amp alternator because my start battery alternator also charges the bow thruster batteries via a BEP voltage senstive relay. The system seems to work quite well. I only have 3 x 135 a/h of domestic batteries, 1 x 110 a/h start, and 2 x 110 a/h BT batteries.
The boat is slightly lacking in storage space but the narrow cupboards on the port side were made from Ikea 1" butchers block worktop & pine doors which I stained & waxed. Since I had very little previous woodworking experience I'm quite proud of them. They used up the dead space under the gunwhales. I opted for bi-fold doors because they were practical on a boat The bathroom is opposite the narrow cupboards and also has a bi-fold door without a window. It has a quadrant shower similar to your own <Elessina>, a 3kg load washing machine & a small dedicated dryer. I've left fitting out the bathroom until last so I didn't include any pictures but I'll send a couple when it's done. I also have a Vacuflush cassette toilet in there but the remote cassette is located in the cupboard under the TV in the saloon (I also made that cupboard and those doors are on catches and just pull off).
Instead of curtains I made 14 porthole bungs out of 9mm ply and 1" thick high density polyethylene foam which are stuck together with an expensive 3M contact adhesive (Evo-Stick didn't work for very long!). I happened to be working on a project with the MD of a foam converting company so he very kindly got the foam discs cut for me. The ply is painted with Satinwood paint.
I think one benefit of the bungs is that they help to insulate the boat far better then curtains would and personally I like the look of them too. I reckon putting them in and taking them out is no more hassle than opening and closing curtains and when not in use they live in a bin I made from two wooden plant bedding containers which I screwed together to make a dustbin-sized bin.
Earlier this year (2009) I finally finished the fit-out of Black Rose. The bathroom is now complete... It's a bit difficult to take pictures of small spaces without a fish-eye lens but these were taken from a few different angles with my mobile phone camera.
I can't think of what else to say about it, other than it's taken me a bloody long time to get to this stage! But when I sit on my sofas there are very few places I'd rather be...
Please note: whilst I have tried to establish facts
wherever possible, any views given are only my opinions.
Created 10th March 2008 - Last updated 20 March 2010