Proud owner of ex Canaltime boat

Published: Friday, 27 October 2017

I AM WRITING in reply to the article [Old Canaltime boats] by Conrad Palin, writes Geoff Dickson.

I have no experience of Canaltime as a hire company, nor have I come across their boats out on the cut, as they don't venture onto the Northern waterways.

Proud owner

But I will say that I am the proud owner of a 2002 55ft ex-Canaltime boat, and I love it. Maybe their boats don't match current specs, but it's good enough for me. The boat was in pretty good nick when I bought it over three years ago, maybe not luxurious, but comfortable enough for the cruising needs of myself and family.

I am in the process now of doing some modifications to the central cabin to include removal of the second, smaller toilet cabin, and installing a wood burner—essential for those long winter nights living aboard. I promise I won't light it when I get to London—if I ever decide to go there.

There is no escape hatch in the roof as such, but there is an opening side hatch in the forward bedroom, seen in your picture on the port side, though starboard on mine. You can see the small hatch opening onto the roof from the side hatch, but I wouldn't advise trying to escape through it without opening the side doors first as it's definitely not wide enough for an ordinary adult to squeeze through.

Like best

What I like best about this boat is the forward bedroom. I specifically looked for a reverse layout. To counter the starkness of the front panel without porthole/window, I use the space to hang my bike on. When I first bought the boat, and cruised west out of Nottingham, I came across quite a few boaters who rather disparagingly recognized the design of the boat—even though re-painted in an entirely different livery.

I did not then understand the hostility, although I think I do now. Anyway, horses for courses. I love my South West Durham Steelcraft recon and would recommend it as a great starter boat for families.