Vlog 162: Reflections

After three-plus years on my boat, did I choose the right one for me and if not, why not? These are the thoughts I’ve been having on that subject, prompted by an email from a viewer (thanks Chris Begbie!)

The “alternator” video can be watched by clicking here.

The “Sail Life” channel is at www.youtube.com/SailLife

Got any questions?
Then please click here for my Frequently Asked Questions page!
Go shopping!
I have a merchandise store full of lovely mugs, t-shirts and suchlike!
If you'd like to buy me a cuppa every month for the videos, I'm on Patreon:
Or for a one-off gift, try this
http://www.PayPal.me/CruisingTheCut (please choose "Personal" rather than "Purchase" else PayPal charge a transaction fee!)
For the filming gear I use, click here
Keep in touch
Twitter http://www.twitter.com/CruisingTheCut
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/CruisingTheCut
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CruisingTheCut


  1. Hi David,
    Just stumbled across your channel on prime – what a delight !!
    Being an ex-pat and from the north of England I’m constantly on the lookout for all things Anglo, your show fit the bill nicely. I grew up around canals, not so much boating, more falling in them while messing around as a kid! I still love them, I’m looking forward to the upcoming (for me) Macclesfield canal episode, where I grew up. I do hope you cover the aqueduct at the Kings Head pub in Gurnet where there is a plaque to James Brindley and the Locks at the Fools Nook pub which are awesome!
    One episode that shocked me was the one where you received a “hoodie” from the Honolulu Fire Dept. ! I have lived on Oahu for 11 years and did not expect anyone would be watching or even interested in the canals of England – just goes to show! – BTW there is absolutely NO REASON to be wearing a “hoodie” in Honolulu unless you have a can of spray paint in your hand !
    Keep up the great work David, looking forward to more episodes, you are TRULEY the David Attenborough of the “Cut”

    • Hello Ian and welcome to the show! Thank you for tuning in and the kind words. It may be useful to know that where Season Four finishes on Prime is equivalent to vlog 201 on YouTube and thereafter the content is YouTube only, no more Prime seasons. I’m not sure I covered the locations and items you mention but I hope you will enjoy the films anyway. Cheers, David

  2. Hi David. I have not so much as stepped on a narrowboat, but like many, I have this dream… Thank you for this interesting vlog which confirmed many of my pipe-dream thoughts- especially the notion that seating should be raised (on storage units) so that one can enjoy the views. It may be a silly question, but if roofing over the well deck is a workable option, why is it left as a “deck” at all? Why are they not designed as a sort of easily opened-up sun-room/ garden shed in the first place without having to fit all the canvas and bits over the deck?

    • Not everyone has or likes a canvas hood, many people have the well deck open (and having been aboard such boats, it is actually quite a pleasant outdoor space). The cratch cover arrangement is a kind of halfway house.

  3. I have been interested in buying a narrowboat for less than three weeks and concluded the most desirable layouts before I even knew about your Vlogs. TBH I haven’t seen hardly any boats that tick all the boxes but Cruise Deck, Reversed Layout immediately into galley with breakfast bar, then Pulllman dinette (bed) then Sallon with stove and bed settees built-in or free standing, then the self contained bathroom (off hallway), then the self contained double/twin bedroom…add a hallway if another bedroom or two required and bunk arrangement – (a twin bunk can be a double bed or a twin – not rocket science)…bed at bow opens to well-deck for that morning ambience. Engine should be a hybrid diesel electric but agree costs prohibitive. Full off grid power system including solar and winter turbine. Plumbed in surround sound and fold-way ceiling mounted TV. Underfloor heating is a no-brainer. Double glazing, ceiling windows with solar built-in. Additional concepts would be pull-out rooms, open hatch to captain’s deck. pram and cratch covers are rudimentary…lots of scope for alternatives. Roof deck sun terrace system. All round cameras and bridge screen. Wifi on-board with Android security cameras and alarms……….. Interiors….never fails to astonish me that colour schemes and trim mostly accentuate the narrowness when there’s plenty of tricks for making it look wider than it is! Quit engine is important……..

    • I wouldn’t bother with the wind turbine, they’re largely useless on narrowboats. Only any use if you have a fixed, open mooring location with a considerable breeze and a site to mount it on a high pole.

  4. Hi David,
    Apologies for the delay in replying but a massive PC failure has had me sidelined for a while.
    Many thanks for a very comprehensive reply to the questions that I submitted.
    Your thoughts have helped me considerable to clear my retirement requirements.

    • Aggghhh! PC failure is most frustrating I imagine. Glad the video helped and thanks for the questions – I think a lot of people found it useful. Cheers

  5. Well done, I enjoyed this video, but thought of a couple of addon questions.
    Just wondered if you have Carbon Monoxide detectors in the cabin space? Just a thought, especially for the install of a diesel heater.
    I’ve also been looking in your engineering section and can’t recall or can’t find anything about your battery storage. Somewhere you say your batteries are approaching 10 years of age, so it might be timely to mention it. I know lithiums are horribly expensive, but I wonder of you’ve ever been tempted to go that way ?

    • I have two CO detectors, one in the saloon and one in the bedroom. Lithiums are too expensive and have their own pernickity requirements eg about temperature. Also, any boat I switch to will be second hand, I can’t afford new, so I’ll end up with whatever it has.

  6. Have just watched the 3 videos on traditional engines. It looks so much easier to look after an engine that isn’t in a hole. Are any modern narrowboats made with new engines sited like that so the less agile can get all the way around them without any gymnastics needed?

    • Not many because it eats into valuable living space, of course. If you’re buying new, you can specify what you want – I saw a picture a few days ago of a very modern boat with Beta engine in a silenced housing in its own engine room with cupboards etc – it looked so clean! But second hand you only tend to find dedicated engine rooms with the massive vintage engines that simply wouldn’t fit under the deckboards anyway.

  7. David. After your last VLOG most things you would like on a new boat we have had built into our new narrowboat. The areas of interest are: 58.6 foot semi trad with a pram cover. Power unit is 16kw Lynch swordfish electric motor, with a 7 kw kohler built in generator. It is a traditional layout as we have a sun room at the front where the steel roof carries on to the front of the boat and is spray foamed and lined with ASH with led down lighters and strip lighting with a wrap around cushioned seating. The side panels are clear vinyl with fly screens which cam all be lifted or removed. The central heating is is diesel and is built into the skirting boards so as to give a underfloor type heating arrangement. We also have a Refleck stainless steel heater. The tv can swing out and be viewed when sitting in the weld deck area. We have a composting toilet with the exception of a pump out tank for the liquid. We only need to pump out every three months. As it is an electric boat we have 240v appliances throughout except for a dual electric/gas cooker. The dinette is also your preferred option of a raised pullman with swing open double hatch. If you are ever up North and want to visit so see if some of our systems are of use then please visit. I can also forward pictures of any of the above if of interest. Your video was very enjoyable and your wished seem to match in the main what we fitted in when the boat was built and handed over the December gone.

    • Wow! That sounds amazing. Whereabouts “up north” (ish) are you?

      • Ripon Racecourse Marina


      • David.
        Another bit of info is that we have a transverse bed at the rear which slides inwards to make an extra lounge where we have another TV. We also had a door fitted which separates the rear stairs/hatch from the bedroom. As the bed is a transverse rather forward to back we gain an extra 10 inches in reducing the length of the bedroom. This allowed a large quadrant shower to be fitted.



  8. Hi David
    I’m considering to retire in a narrow boat once l reach that stage!
    Let me ask you what is your perception about the electric boat market and why you didn’t take in consideration for your eventually new boat?

    • There are very few electric narrowboats around (and by electric, I mean hybrid, with a diesel engine or generator, as solar is insufficient for truly independent cruising) and even fewer on the second-hand market so there just aren’t any to buy. I certainly can’t afford to buy new!

  9. Have been anxiously awaiting this next vlog and you did a splendid job. Living across the pond I’m envious of your canal travels. Having been a sailor for 20+ years I enjoy time on the water and our boats name, Andante, fits with a leisurely style of travel. We have few canals as you may know and unfortunately not in my part of the country. Your adventures do make me want to move to the east: Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York states and spend years discovering life along those water routes. I think I was born in the wrong era. I anxiously await more news of your potential boat search. Best of luck.

  10. Why do they call a boat with the kitchen at the back “reverse layout”. It is the only sensible place for it. Imagine coming in past your bed when you are wet and muddy.

    i have watched your vlogs except for the technical ones. i started cruising with my late husband in 1975 and hired and owned over the years and now in my 90s have my holidays on hotel boats. What has struck me is the lengths of piled banks and 48 hour moorings available now. When we started out it was difficult to find a mooring spot. We painted a line on the short pole to indicate the depth we needed and at mooring time one would walk along the edge prodding until we found a deep enough place. there were some designated places but these were few and far between.
    Keep the blogs going. Much enjoyed.

    • I think because the standard old working boats had the boatman’s cabin with bed at the back so this became known as “traditional” to keep the bed there. The more useful trend for modern day boats to have the bed at the front is therefore “reverse”! I don’t fancy having to prod around with a stick for a mooring, that sounds quite tedious. Cheers

  11. Very informative, thank you David. I thoroughly enjoy the vlogs and look forward to hearing more about your adventures. I’ve only had holidays on a narrowboat, always reverse layout, personally works so much better. Intrigued to see what you find.

  12. Enjoyed the fireside video chat, particularly the distraction of the passing boat. Thanks for another interesting video.

  13. We’ve watched probably most of your vlogs and love them – will be watching this one later – yours was the first vlog we started watching – I think about a couple of years ago – while planning to have a boat built and you helped a lot – however we didn’t end up having one built but we have bought a used one – and are now starting to live our dream – thanks for your inspiration and we will continue to watch and love your vlogs xx

  14. David, easily one of your very best videos, so informative and backed by three years experience. I know if I were presently in the market for a boat , I would take this information with me on my hunt. I wish you every success in your potential quest for a new boat, may you find the perfect fit if that is possible, as well as all the logistics falling conveniently in place. Your comment on feeling like a Meerkat had me rolling with laughter. A very enjoyable video David, thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.