Dreaming of sailing on the sea ?

photo Stephen Spencer

Maybe you think it can never happen for you.. what? you don’t deserve it? Here is how it has happened and might happen for you. If you want to sail away like you dream of, you might have to consider the time of life. Before you start a family or after they have left home seems favourite. You don’t have to be single, but a couple need to be well aligned to sail away together in what is always going to seem a small space. Not got the money? you will need to be practical anyway to sail far, so how about building your yacht? Bruce Roberts has been publishing first class plans and books for the amateur boat builder on bruceroberts.com for years. Many of his designs have been built and are a credit to his vision, knowledge and experience. Maybe you can afford this from Stephen Spencer, he wrote

…..our well traveled Roberts R50. We have owned her for 12 years and know her back to front. We have sailed many thousands of miles in all weathers and lived on board all year round. We are offering her for sale now as we have commissioned a new boat so will be moving on in the summer. She is ashore for a refit at this moment. The refit has included removal and inspection of the entire rig, engine and generator, a complete re wire and re plumb, new pumps and an internal update to the galley, shower, heads and cabins.. The ketch rig and canoe stern make this a most seaworthy design

Externally the last 20 years of paint and antifoul have been removed and she is all primed up ready for new paint in the spring [what colour would you like?].

We are open to offers and will discuss finishing to your specification on 07522395666

We have a huge amount of information available on this boat so I have created a web site and am updating it every day, check it often! www.maranaf.co.uk
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Houseboat Moorings


If you are new to living afloat, And have any dependents, I strongly recommend you to buy your new home already on an established residential mooring. This means the mooring has planning permission for residential use and you have official residents status at that address, essential for bank accounts, driving licence, benefits etc.

If you are continuously cruising or on a mooring that doesn’t have residential planning permission, there may be many others living on the same mooring and it is worth asking their advice as to the local situation and how things happen in that area. If you have family responsibilities, a mooring with residential planning permission has to be favourite.

(ESSENTIAL for a STATIC houseboat is a long leasehold OR Freehold Mooring.

Many lives have been shattered when their static (= unpowered) houseboat has been told their rented mooring is no longer available.

These moorings are disappearing fast due to development and you have no protection as you would in a house or caravan.

It then cost many of them thousands of pounds to have the boat towed away and broken up for scrap. Study the mooring agreement and imagine the worst case scenario – THAT is the risk you are taking. The true valuation of a Static houseboat WITHOUT a long leasehold OR Freehold Mooring is the scrap value of the weight of metal, less the cost of towing away and breaking up plus what you can get on ebay for any re-saleable contents. ) NEVER buy any houseboat without an “Out of the Water Survey” If that costs too much (get a quote first) Then it will cost too much every 4 years for maintenance and insurance survey.

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Deck hatches as Fire escapes

It is vital that every home has adequate fire escapes. On a Houseboat this means at least one at each end.

Many Cruising boats have a forward hatch, but it might need to be made wider. Another aspect of hatches is that many old wooden hatches leak.

So here is what I did when I had to replace two original wooden Hatches on my steel decked vessel Kiwi III. They were leaking. not easily locked and not very easy to open from inside.

First I removed the hatches and the wood frames.

Then measured the aperture cut in the steel deck.

Then I looked at the new hatches available for modern yachts. See examples here .

Choose the best fit that complies with these standard requirements :-  Escape routes and exits to be not more than 5 m distance. Not passing over cookers and if separated by a solid partition not leading past a
cooker or engine space. Minimum clear opening of 450 mm diameter or 380 mm smallest dimension if
not circular.

Taken from  BS EN ISO 9094 Small Craft – Fire Protection.

cut your deck hole larger if needed (wood, GRP or steel) drill the holes, apply mastic and bolt the hatch in place.

Now you have an elegant strong waterproof hatch that provides extra daylight through the toughened glass and has effective modern locks, much more practical for summertime ventilation – all you have to do now is fix a stable ladder if none  exists.

Shoud last a lifetime and look great !

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Electric Issues

Electric Issues

Electrical systems must be carefully installed for safety reasons. I admit that I started wiring our first floating home using the Readers’Digest DIY guide and never looked back. You may prefer to employ a qualified electrician! It is important to minimise the risks from shortcircuits and overheating cables. Also, I don’t use the old-fashioned unsealed batteries, because they produce hydrogen when charging (I still always make sure that batteries are stowed in a ventilated area,that batteries and cables can’t move around, that fuses and circuitbreakers are correctly installed and rated for the circuits they protect. I like to look over the wiring a couple of times a year to see what is worn out and needs replacing.I also have cut-off switches for main circuits, clearly marked and easily accessible. ( extract from The Houseboat Book by D Greenaway. If you want to read the full text click here. )

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Static or Cruising, what type of boat?

Static or Cruising, what type of boat?

Where do you want to BE??

It may be your job determines the area you need to live in, or a need to be near family or friends. If so you know what area you should live in and even if you choose a Residential Cruiser, you will need a secure mooring within travelling distance of that area

But if you are retired, or can work from anywhere (maybe you work over the internet, or as an artist in studio, or you are regularly travelling all over the country to clients. ) Then you can consider a life of freedom, using the many moorings provided free on the waterways.

You can choose to be a Continuous Cruiser all year round as I have

for years.

Sometimes for a particular contract, or family reasons, choosing a suitable Marina to stay in for a few months.

I love the freedom of the river. It is kind and friendly if you treat it with proper respect, no tides to worry about, being inland there are very few harsh gales.

It feels so civilised to be able to cruise gently up to a nice Restaurant mooring, tie up and saunter in for a drink or a meal.You may well, like me, love to see grass and trees, they are always in view on the River.

Go through any town in Europe by train, you will see the worst views, go any where by boat and you will see the best views, partly because for hundreds of years, many people with the means have bought riverside land for its beauty and often made the effort to enhance that beauty with landscaping and architecture ).

Only Buy a Static houseboat if you have a Long-lease mooring or a freehold mooring….

A static houseboat gives a permanent address and a fixed journey to and from work/school/family. There are very few moorings with planning permissin for static houseboats and their numbers have dwindled over the years as houseboat “marinas” close for that business and are developed  for a more profitable market. For this reason it is important that you control the future of your mooring with a freehold or adequately long leasehold. In any case have a solicitor with experience in the field of “Riparian rights” to examine the mooring contract you are offered before you sign anything. One owner came to me heartbroken that he had bought a static houseboat on a rented mooring that the unqualified broker (who had never owned or lived in a houseboat) advertised as a “Secure residential mooring”. Went on holiday just after buyng the boat and came back to find that the mooring owner had moved him to a place where his view was blotted out by a huge three story houseboat. Ther was nothing he could do about the move. The Landlord had the right to move him.

The only recourse in such a case is to sue the broker, who is legally liable to reveal everything he knows that could affect the value of the boat. Brokers normally have professional third party liability insurance to cover such claims up to several million pounds. It still takes a lot of time, causes  lot of stress and does not give you back your dream home.

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Welcome to the new look website.

After 12 great years, The Houseboat Centre website has been completely redesigned.
The reason is that internet buying has changed completely in the last two years.
The leading force for change, growing in sales produced faster than any other, is – – Facebook.
So we are integrating with facebook establishing links and feeds which means that adverts tend to be spread virally between people with an interest in Houseboats. It does mean we deleted our entire website, (“omlettes & broken eggs”)some elements will be restored later, including the lists of Houseboats for sale.If you are a broker and want your list of boats to be sold much faster in a new channel, or a private owner selling your houseboat yourself, here is your chance.
Sell ((or rent out) your houseboat/s (for FREE!)

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The Boat where it all began – Kiwi III

The Boat where it all began – Kiwi III on Lady Lindsay,s Law Shepperton.

Kiwi III is a Kiwi Class Harbour launch selected in 1997  by David Greenaway as the ideal conversion object for a single-handed cruising houseboat. 

David Greenaway’s  company Greenaway Thames Ltd in, was run from his Houseboat on the Thames

the address was “Gauntlet”  Ryepeck meadow, Shepperton Middlesex TW17 9NU

Tel 0378 143977  VAT NO 6360560  Co reg No 2997358

Interesting related links :-








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The original Houseboat Centre Office

The Houseboat Centre was founded and run by David Greenaway C.P.Y.B. who has been a lifetime houseboat enthusiast and author, Thousands have visited from around the world to learn about Houseboat buying and living at his famous “interviews”. “The Houseboat Book” is a must read for those considering buying a houseboat for the first time. He also had an Office in Dover and has boats yachts and ships, on behalf of owners, around the Globe. A leader in successful yacht internet marketing, The Houseboat Centre website has a large regular following of buyers, sellers and fans of houseboats and yachts. We have high standards of integrity and ensure that all buyers realise in the final act that the broker acts for the seller and the Surveyor acts for the buyer. Consequently we have no links or associations with any surveyor.

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