Neither of us have any meaningful experience with boats, nor are very handy in the DIY department. So, the relatively easy first decision of new or old was reached quickly.
Once we’d come to the decision to splash (sorry!) out on a new build we then started the search for a builder.
To be honest, I’m not sure whether to be surprised or not, but, we didn’t have a lot to choose from in the UK. We wanted a UK build as our plan was to cruise the Thames for a season or two – more of that later. Some of those we found on line no longer existed. One or two didn’t respond to emails.
We narrowed it down to a couple of builders, both producing a similar product at a similar price. Piper’s though, invited us to a weekend at Henley on Thames, about half an hour from home. Here they had around a dozen or so barges, brought their by their owners, and moored up alongside a marquee. Prospective owners could swarm over the assembled Piper barges, chat to their owners, speak to Pipers staff, and have a beer and a sandwich.
Piper barges ready for inspection at Henley-upon-Thames
A great idea. It really made us think that if Pipers were being this open – and, by the way, we were allowed unfettered access to the owners and their thoughts on their barges and the builder – then they just might be producing a fine product.
We were sold!
Now we just needed to decide which model !