THE OWNER

Canal Boat - - The Boat Test -

AN­DREW RI­D­LEY’S LOVE of canals be­gan when he used to cy­cle the tow­paths of Lon­don. Then a friend bought a boat and he saw the ap­peal of liv­ing afloat. He bought his first boat in 2012 and has been on board since re­tir­ing in March 2015.

That first boat could hardly be more dif­fer­ent from Roci­nante: it was just 42ft 6in long and had a cruiser stern. He chose it mainly be­cause it was vir­tu­ally the only one of those he looked at that he could stand up in. Since then, he’s come to ap­pre­ci­ate the look of tra­di­tional boats and the ex­tra in­te­rior space of­fered by a trad stern.

An­drew had al­ready spo­ken to Jonathan Wil­son about build­ing the shell for his new boat when he read CanalBoat’s re­view of the Tyler Wil­son Sh­effield Keel wide­beam, which had also been fit­ted out by the com­pany. Be­fore then, he hadn’t re­alised they did any fit­ting-out. By the time he came to place an order, Fi­nesse Boats had been formed and An­drew saw the case for hav­ing the whole boat built in the same place.

Choos­ing a name for a boat is of­ten prob­lem­atic, but An­drew was read­ing Don Quixote at the time and liked the name of his horse. Just don’t let the boat look up Roci­nante’s Wikipedia en­try, which says the horse is Don Quixote’s dou­ble: ‘Awk­ward, past his prime, and en­gaged in a task be­yond his ca­pa­bil­i­ties’!

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