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Home - New Build Barging
Having owned a narrowboat for 4 years, Mike decided to hav
e a new build barge built by Piper Boats.
Not a Dutch style barge, nor a widebeam narrowboat. She will be flat bottomed, with a wheelhouse and a conventional Dutch layout.
The steelwork was started in January 2009, it will be built to a "sailaway additions" level.
Un-named at present. O ver the next few months Mikes barge build progress will be depicted here.
That's it. We've committed to having a new boat built and there's no going back.
Having owned a narrowboat for the past 4 yrs, I soon came to realise I'm not going to travel the whole network. Chugging around the North West is as much as i can hope for at this time. Work and family commitments allowing. Lack of living space is becoming an issue, especially when my fiance and my young boys stay, so, with the future in mind, here we are. SUPER SIZE MY BOAT.
A hybrid was required, with as many of the lines of a Dutch style barge combined the practicalities of a widebeam narrowboat. i.e. Lower air and water draft with more usable living space per foot.
After plenty of research and many miles we've decided on Piper Boats. They have an impressive track record and premises to match. In these uncertain times it was important to find a fine boat builder with a healthy order book, and then, one prepared to try something that wasn't "off the peg". Simon Piper himself instilled a great deal of confidence and the work carried out there was second to none.
At 57ft by 12ft, the available space will be similar to Pipers' magnificent "Dutchys'" but many of their features would not be relevant to the cruising we are likely to do. So we agreed a spec. A complete boat without the frills. It will be more than adequate, allowing then for freestanding furniture.
Next came the layout. I had some sketches which were woefully inadequate but at least gave some impression. Simon then made sense of them. Pretty conventional Barge style really. Rear collapsible wheelhouse, down to a corridor with double bunk cabin off. Leading then to open plan galley and saloon. Further forward to bathroom and "walkin" wardrobe. Then to main cabin.
Work was started in Jan 09. With completion scheduled for April.
My first impressions. Whoa!!! Big boat. Massive construction. Thrilled.
Base plate, hull sides and stern already fabricated. Back in 2 weeks. Cabin sides and roof ought to completed then. Apologies for picture quality.
Starting to see it making some sense. Especially at the stern, with the deck looking like it will make a really useful outside space. Easily able to take a table and chairs for summer chillin'.
Twin tanks have been fitted so both Red and White Diesel can be used if the boat goes to Europe.
With a step down into the wheelhouse, airdraft is reduced. Even though the top will be collapable, it's something to be avoided when possible. Also, at just over 8ft wide, bridges will be easier to centre.
It was important that the cabin sides weren't too tall thus making the boat appear top heavy. Therefore the hull sides were raised 3ins to compensate for the required reduction and then provide the necessary internal headroom.
As the steelwork neared completion, the lines of the bow and the stern especially stood out. I'd trusted Simon to use his design flair with minimal input from myself. Lovely curves on the cabin sides set the boat apart from many other wibebeam barges. A massive swim will enable the barge to be more easily manouvered. Nice touches include having the fuel tank fillers situated in the mooring posts and the fuel tank breathers in the guard rail.
With the windows cut we were soon in primer and moved into the fitout shed. This was when it all moved at the speed of light. The Piper team shifted into high gear to move the build back onto schedule. After ballasting, the floor went down. Then the line out started in earnest. The bulkheads and the lower half of the cabin sides in Maple faced ply and the top and roof painted white. (Primer was spray painted by myself. Over 1200sft. Once fitted i took a week of work to paint the top coat once the boards were in place) As said earlier, the layout is simple. Good sized accommodation. A few tweeks on measurements here and there and it looks great. The plan is to have the boat in the water around Easter.
And now afloat
Please note: whilst we have tried to establish facts
wherever possible, any views given are only our opinions.
Created 25th January 2009 - Last updated 20 March 2010