Canal Boat - - The Boat Test -

It might be at the front, but this re­ally is a ter­rific space, we’d be happy to en­ter­tain here lock­ers like th­ese are miss­ing a sec­tion, so the front doors have room to swing open; on this boat, the doors open in­wards, so the lock­ers are com­plete and max­imise the seat­ing and loung­ing space. To make this a proper out­door eat­ing space, a ta­ble drops down from the front of the cratch. The deck it­self (and the one at the stern) is cov­ered in a syn­thetic teak deck­ing. There’s also an ex­ter­nal 240-volt socket and lit­tle red LED lights. Un­der­neath the well deck there’s a polypropy­lene water tank.

At the stern, the diesel tank is larger than nor­mal, ex­tend­ing for­ward around the curve of the counter be­cause there’s a diesel stove on board.

The handrails have scrolled ends and finger-grips, and there’s a boat­man’s beam across the roof. Also up here are built-in sup­ports for Mark’s kayak and pad­dles: “I like ev­ery­thing to look as though it’s sup­posed to be there,” he says. The lay­out is where this boat dif­fers from most oth­ers. In essence it’s a vari­a­tion of a stan­dard lay­out be­cause there’s an en­gine room at the stern with a cabin and shower room for­ward. Then things change a bit; the sa­loon is in the cen­tre of the boat, while the large open plan space at the bow in­cludes an L-shaped dinette, the gal­ley and a break­fast bar.

The fit-out uses an at­trac­tive com­bi­na­tion of oak and painted ash pan­els. Below the gun­wales there’s shadow gap tongue and groove; above this the cabin sides are painted, as is the ceil­ing.

The port­hole lin­ers are in­ter­est­ing. At first glance they look as though they’re made of oak – and they also do at a sec­ond glance. It’s only when you touch them you re­alise they’re not wood at all but fi­bre­glass, which has the dis­tinct ad­van­tage that it won’t suf­fer water dam­age from con­den­sa­tion. What’s more, they’re made in-house, by a mem­ber of staff who used to work with fi­bre­glass boats.

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