Why a Barge?

Well ……………

I must admit, sailing the ocean waves in a Grand Banks has always really appealed to me. The thought of going anywhere I like, when I like, has a certain romanticism. No one can deny that. The thought of navigating the oceans and seas of the world would be a challenge and an adventure. Unfortunately though, not one that Nicola wanted to subject Alfie or her to!!

grand banks

A Grand Banks – “A life on the Ocean Wave, tra la”


So my ropes were shortened and my charts were downsized a little. Inland waterways it would be, but perhaps with a little coastal cruising (Alfie the terrier seems fine with that, but, Dear Reader, perhaps don’t mention it to Nicola yet if you happen to moor next to us!)

Research started in earnest in 2014 trying to find if such a craft existed. We had had a couple of holidays on the Broads, but wanted something a bit bigger than the Broads Cruiser style.

A narrow boat would allow us access to the whole of the UK waterways and with a spirit of adventure and a following wind would get us across the Channel.

narrow boat

Narrow boat – a little on the compact size


However, a dutch barge style of craft seemed absolutely perfect.

But which one?  Old or new? Size? shape? Style?

Why a boat?

You may well ask!

Twenty odd years ago I nearly bough a Princess motor yacht previously owned by Nigel Mansell. In the end, common sense won and I bought a house in Watford.

However, I think it was then that the seed was sown and a continued and reoccurring dream was born to own a boat.

For the past six or seven years this desire has been getting stronger. Websites have been visited. Catalogues poured over. Blogs read and re-read. Tim & Pru’s and Tim & Shane’s adventures closely followed, until, eventually, a plan was hatched to buy a boat with a view to taking her across the channel and cruising the waterways of Europe.

It’s obviously a good idea, because I have had no objections from Nicola – the Admiral – or Alfie – the ships dog.

Things have just got real

Never have I been so happy to receive an invoice!

This one was different thought. It was from Nick at Piper Boats and signalled the purchase of the steel for my 49M.

Over the next few posts, until the boat launches around May time, I shall try and give you, dear reader, a bit of insight into how the decision to purchase a Piper 49M was made, what a 49M is, and, looking further ahead, a travel blog detailing our travels on board.