Crick boats broaden their appeal
THE CRICK BOAT Show has for many years been the event to go to if you’re thinking of buying a narrowboat, with many of both the bespoke and volume builders exhibiting craft. But in recent years they’ve been joined by increasing numbers of broader beam craft – and this year, there were no fewer than 15 widebeams on display.
This trend was reflected in the organisers’ decision to replace the coveted ‘Favourite Boat in Show’ award – chosen by visitors to the show voting for the craft which catch their eye – with two separate catagories, narrowbeam and widebeam. The first winner of the category for boats wider than 7ft was Elton Moss Boatbuilders’ Kingsley, a 65ft x 12ft liveaboard built to Category C standard for coastal waters; runner-up was the ‘slimline widebeam’ Pioneer of just 9ft beam by Narrowboats Ltd, designed to provide more space than a narrowboat but still with a decent inland cruising range.
Narrowboats still outnumbered broadbeams comfortably, and the winner in the under 7ft category was Bourne Boat Builders’ Threepence Ha’penny, a 60ft reverse layout semi-trad with an oak fit-out and hybrid drive, designed with extended cruising in mind. Braidbar’s Mei Long, a 62ft semi-trad with traditional layout, was runner-up. See page 28 for our Boat Test on Threepence Ha’penny, and our Crick Boats on Show feature on page 39 for a full report on the rest of the boats on display.
Two days of fine weather on the Saturday and Sunday (and a not-too-wet Monday) brought the visitors out in healthy numbers – with the organisers suggesting that it might be a record turnout. The exhibitors that Canal Boat spoke to reported that the levels of serious interest in buying boats were high, too; once again the widebeams featured strongly, with Collingwood reporting total sales over the weekend (including craft displayed by themselves and in partnership with New & Used Boat Company and Narrowboats Ltd) of no fewer than nine. Meanwhile, bespoke narrowboat builders including Braidbar, who wouldn’t expect to sell craft
at the show, were experiencing serious interest that they believed would lead to sales later in the year. And BCBM Boat Share reported several sales of boat shares during the weekend.
Crick isn’t just about new boats for sale, though: new for this year was an ‘affordable boating’ feature, with second-hand cruisers which promised to get you afloat for an outlay of £3,400 and £30 per week for moorings, insurance and everything else.
And there was a good variety of boating gear on offer too: three new engines all reflected the introduction of the European RCD II emissions rules, with the new Barras Shire 90 and the Canaline 70T both achieving this by turbocharging; while the Shire 70 takes advantage of electronic injection control. Meanwhile Vetus offered engines packaged with what they believe is the first ever stainless steel calorifier. They say that this not only makes it stronger, but reduces the chance of chemical issues involving the traditional copper and the aluminium in a heat exchanger. And new from the Netherlands was a company specialising in made-to-measure plastic window surrounds in any shape and size.
So much for the serious business of shopping for boats – but to keep the public entertained and interested there was the usual fine line-up of historic craft; seminars on boat ownership; a Canal & River Trust display including modern apprentices showing the traditional woodworking and masonry skills they’re learning and a re-enactment of a 19th century Ellesmere Port shipyard worker describing a new patent slipway which could reduce the cost of docking a boat from £170 to £3 – now there’s something the modern boater would appreciate…
New award winner Kingsley
A glorious day for looking at boats
The new Barras Shire turbo 90 engine
Never mind the new...
Lots of lovely art
A skill to watch all day long