Tuesday, 1 March 2011


The first serious suggestion came in the form of ENCELADUS, originally a Grand Union Canal Carrying Company "Small Northwich" and "Star Class" motor boat.  A good pedigree, and a relatively rare type of which only 12 pairs of boats were constructed by Yarwoods at Northwich.

When full scale long distance carrying by narrow boat was running down, many working boats were surplus to requirements, and British Waterways converted quite a number wither to trip boats or holiday hire boats, usually renaming them with a name commencing "Water".

Enceladus was such a boat, and had been cut short in 1960 for conversion to serve as the hire cruiser "Water Valiant".

Classic "Small Northwich" front end
Eventually. now in private ownership, its steelwork was in very poor shape, and it's owner was forced to give it up.

It had been acquired by a specialist in narrow boat restoration as a long term project, but now its new owner had decided they now wanted to do the necessary work on ENCELADUS to put it up for sale.  Perhaps ENCELADUS would fit the bill for us, but it would be a long term project, as it was not even yet a fully reworked hull, and everything else was missing.


But the back end would have been "all new".
At 50 feet, perhaps it might eventually be our CHALICE replacement.  We went to see the boat, which had obvious potential, but things started to emerge that caused us doubts.  Actually it wasn't even the full 50 feet, it was a couple of feet shorter.  To look right, it would need to be given a "tug look", but  a suitably long front deck, meant that the extra accommodation that could be created forward of a traditionally laid out engine room and back cabin was rather limited.

I drew, and redrew plans, and asked lots of questions.  Eventually some guideline costings also emerged, although the final costs really could not be predicted with any accuracy.

It was very much "work in progress" when we viewed!
We agonised for a long while, knowing that one day it will appear as someone else's very special looking boat, but in the end could not convince ourselves it was the right choice for us.

Also we had a major boating trip planned with CHALICE, so tough decisions needed to be made before we set off on the Thames ring and Upper Thames.

We withdrew, although at this stage we still thought we were looking for a CHALICE replacement.

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