Indigo Dreaming

The journeys of the Narrowboat Indigo Dream

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Indigo Dream – the beginning (part 1)

Posted by indigodream on 3 June, 2008

The naked......boatI said I’d keep the tale of Indigo Dream’s beginning until a rainy day – well, we’ve had a month’s rainfall in a day today so I guess that qualifies. However, I’m far too excited about starting our cruise tomorrow to dwell on the misery and sheer hard work of the build so I’ll give you our top tips for getting a bespoke boat built instead

1. Be clear on what you want – in our experience communication and customer care are not key skills in boatbuilders (they tend to want to build the boat that’s in their heads rather than yours!) so it helps to know what you want and be able to describe it in language they understand. “The narrowboat builder’s handbook” by Graham Booth was helpful!

2. Get lots of graph paper and spend ages sketching out different layouts – be creative and really give some thought to how YOU will use the boat. Don’t be bamboozled by ‘oughts’ from the traditionalists (unless that’s what you want). We drew us up in autocad but then Richard is an Engineer.

3. Watch your finances but more importantly watch those of your boatbuilder. The magazines are littered with people who’ve lost money to bankrupt boatbuilders.

4. Choose a boatbuilder that’s accessible – believe me, you’ll want to keep and eye on progress – partly out of excitement and partly to make sure that it is actually progressing! Ours was in North Wales which was a weary long way but at least there were good cheap trains which made our frequent trips a bit less of a burden.

5. Pay for as many components yourself as possible- get title to each major component – this means that you’ll own something if your boatbuilder goes bust. We paid the manufacturers direct for the shell, we also paid direct for the engine (well actually we paid for the engine twice) and for the painting. This stood us in good stead – our boatbuilder went bust a few weeks after we took our (incomplete) boat from him – because of the way we’d handled the finance there was no argument about who owned what when the debtors came to call. We hear that people ‘next in line’ with the boatbuilder weren’t quite so lucky.

That’s enough for now – as you’ve seen from our previous entries the naked boat was finally clothed and suits us just fine – so we, at least, had a happy ending!

What’s in a name?

I forgot to mention yesterday that we’ve since found out that Indigo Dream is also the name of an indie band, a variety of passionflower and, in dream interpretation means that someone’s is taking advantage of you. We’re honestly not like that, unless you count the relentless rattling of the charity collecting tin whenever guests come on board!

2 Responses to “Indigo Dream – the beginning (part 1)”

  1. Matthew said

    Hi Sue and Richard,
    Well you already have one avid reader who can’t wait to hear about all your travels and is desperately trying to think of a way to find you and pop in to say hello as you float serenely through the Midlands!
    I look forward to your next instalment.

  2. Great advice about boatbuilders (and great blog!). Two thoughts: if what you want is a long way from the way the builder usually builds, find a different builder, and watch out for the RCD reqs if you split the purchasing with your builder – you may become responsible for compliance.

    All the best


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