Well the answer is quite obviously, Yes!
My first thoughts were big is best. More space. More room for gadgets. Just, more! However the flip size of more size and more stuff, is more expense. Not only in the build, around £10k per metre, but also in running costs, heating costs, mooring fees, furnishings etc etc.
So we had to get our thoughts in order and decide how we would determine which size was best for us. And the answer was there really, the boat was for us, Thats me, Nicola and Alfie the Border Terrier. As much as we are expecting guests, family and friends, old and new, the majority of the time the boat will be enjoyed by just us three amigos. So one cabin, with optional sleeping space. Easy to handle (by me and Nicola, with Alfie having little to offer here)!
Piper, our preferred builders offer a couple of styles in a number of lengths and a wide and not quite so wide beam. The two styles are a raised aft deck, with cabin underneath this (the ‘L’, and a deck level aft deck opening from the wheelhouse, with cabin up at the pointy end (the M). After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing and um-ing and ah-ing we eventually decided on the ‘M’. A few of our reasons were not wanting to be isolated while steering the boat – the wheelhouse opening onto the rear deck seems to suit this, and ease of access to the rear deck for Alfie and also whilst carrying food and drinks (us, that is, not Alfie)!
As mentioned it would be just the two of us + hound, so single cabin was the preferred route. Ease of use was important – neither of us felt the need to learn a whole new Master Mariner skill set. Having had a couple of visits to the wonderful Piper weekend at Henley in September we had been on a few different Piper Barges and spoken at length to there owners, we decided that 49ft would be just about right.
Simon Piper developed the 49M model to be the ideal boat to cruise the inland waterways of France – just where we wanted to be. I wouldn’t go against Mary Berry when she recommends a Victoria Sandwich recipe, so why would I try to second guess Simon Piper when he points us towards a Piper 49M?