New Widebeam Cruisers
The very finest widebeams - built by some of the best craftsmen in the UK, we would be pleased to build any of these new widebeam cruisers for you to any stage of build
Our 'Brigantine' Class widebeam is a very good example
The 'Brigantine' is one of our new look widebeam barges
Now available in several sizes and at all stages of construction
Sizes: 55, 60 or 65ft are the most popular
You tell us what you want and we will build your barge to any length you ask for up to 75ft
From Shell to Sailaway or fully complete - supplied at any stage to suit your pocket
The fabulous wheelhouse version is also available
Can be constructed to catagory 'C' to undertake coastal passages if you wish
So choose your own barge and we will:
Build the bare hull, fully primed and you then choose which stage you wish us to get it to
Provide a list of all the fit out stages and prices
Suggest various options for engine packages etc
Construct the complete vessel for you if you wish
Help from design to full fit out, privide pictures and possible layout plans
We Start with a few pictures to show you what is possible aboard the Widebam Barges
These are nice but anything is possible with the right help - when planning you must consider the following:
You would not build a house on poor foundations, the same applies to a barge - always purchase the best shell available, even if it is a little more expensive it will be worth it in the long run
The shell must be absolutely right for you and built by professionals to the highest quality
The basic interior layout plans must be drawn up before the build starts
Use the best equipment and materials that you can afford, if not you will have to replace
Remeber that you have to live aboard and you may also want to sell her one day - quality always sells
So what do we have available in widebeams?
We have two basic designs that we will build for you:
The 'Brigantine' Class Cruising widebeam - please note that this is the only vessel that we build to category 'C'
The 'Sheffield' Class Home afloat widebeam
What lengths can we build these vessels in?
The most popular are the 55ft, 60ft and 65ft but we can build up to 75ft if required
You tell us what length you wish for and we will custom build it for you
If you are going to live aboard for long periods then you may not have to pay VAT on the purchase price if the barge is over 60ft - more will be explained about this later
What Beam do we build to?
The standard is usually 12' -6'' as this gives plenty of clearence each side in the locks
There are other options from 10ft to 16ft to maximise your living space aboard
Incidently, we also have a wide range of superb narrow boats available
What stages of build do we supply or customers with?
Stage 1 - is the bare hull - fully primed
Stage 2 - is the sailaway
Stage 3 - is the fully fitted barge to your specification
We will also supply to any level of fit out between these stages including fitting a fully lowering wheelhouse
So, now to the widebeam cruisers
This is the top of the range widebeam, 'we believe the finest widebeam in the UK' (our clients also think so) She is safe and seaworthy to undertake coastal passages and still fit in most of the widebeam canals. Having been designed in house and built to the highest standards by our craftsmen - you will not get better steelwork on any vessel but this is only the beginning - now the fit out stages start,
The fit out will depend on how much you want us to do, as with all our barges you can decide how far we go to help you, if you want the vessel delivered as a shell in primer paint or at any stage to a quality completion we will do this for you.
The 'Sheffield is the latest design in our range and very popular because of the traditional looks and amount of space that we have achieved on board. The traditional cargo carrying barges from the North of England, for example - The Sheffield barges were bluff bow and stern to squeeze the maximum size barge into the locks. You could say the same applies now instead many of our clients require as much space INSIDE the barge for any given length. Our 'Sheffield' will provide this for you.
Many of these barges are bult to be lived on board as static homes in marinas however they can be cruised under their own steam if you have an engine on board for propulsion. Of course you do not have to do this straight away if you are finding that you are short of funds during the build program but we will make provision so that you can easily retro-fit the engine at a later date.
Remember,- It is a delight to go cruising the lovely English canals aboard your own home - just think about your holidays or weekends away, - no packing, no tedious airports and no traffic jams. It can be your own adventure and you can on occassions invite family and friends to join you. We therefore highly recommend the fitting of a good diesel engine from day one and we can also do this for you.
Special Project Boats (one off boats and barges)
We find that many of our clients do not always want our Standard range but we are specialists in providing one off project vessels (including commercial craft) - just show us what you are thinking of and we will do our best to help you in the design and construction.
Here are a couple of good examples of what we can build for you:
We are one of the largest producers of narrow boats in the country and whilst this article is dealing with widebeams only we can assure you that the same quality build is on every boat that we produce.
More about Narrow boats on another dedicated webpage coming shortly
Thames river launch
Now to the Fitting out
STAGE No.1 - Steelwork
The steelwork comes first, we can build most things that will fit into our workshops however we are now looking at the widebeam barge and this is what we call a shell complete and this is your starting point:
This widebeam is now waiting to be fitted out. There are a number of things to think about before you reach this stage, namely:
What do you want your layout to be, this is very important as you need to tell your boatbuilder where to cut in the windows and portholes - for instance, you do not want a bulkhead in the way of a windows, you may want the hatchway over the centre of the saloon, the window may come exactly where you want to put a hanging locker - there are many things to think about before you can move on to your next stage of build.
Get all of the steelwork finished before you have the builders start any paintwork or insulation, alterations after this stage can be costly due to having to undo work and repairing what has been changed.
STAGE No.2 - Primer coat
The primer coat has now been appied:
This is the 'sheffield' in a full coat of primer paint, please remember however that primer paint is porous and it is best to complete the paint system if the vessel is going to be fitted out outside or in the water. Please do not take short cuts on the preparation or paintwork, for instance fully complete the paint job before you fit the windows, hatches,vents and doors - if not this is where you will find rust appearing, it will come to any surface that does not have a full paint finish, even hidden away under timberwork and bedded down fittings. If you wish to save moey then I recommend that you do so elsewhere as the paintwork is one of the most important stages of building a steel vessel.
The paintwork quality is so important to us that we will not supply any vessel except a bare steel hull that we have not fully painted. Please do not ask us to fit windows and doors when you are going away to paint your barge yourself for the above reasons.
When the steelwork is complete and the steelwork is fully primed the hull is shipped from our facility near Stoke on Trent to Sheffield for full painting, insulation and fitting out. These are covered facilities in our large workshops and we also with a fully enclosed spray booth that will accommodate our largest vessels.
STAGE No.3 - Spray foam and battens
Spray foam and battens
We first batten the accommodation area before spray foam - this is is the best insulation and quickest to instal however it is messy and best left to our experts. They will achieve full adhesion onto the steel work - there will be no gaps to allow condensation to form and therefore no dampness from the steel. Note- the battens are the timbers that we attach the lining of the interior to and they have to be fitted at this stage.
STAGE No.4 - Painting
Full exterior paintwork - before the windows and portholes can be put in place the exterior paintwork has to be completed, this however does hot include the ships name, artwork or anti-fouling. If you do not fully complete the paintwork before fitting the windows, vents and other deck fittings you will find that this is where any rust will start to appear in the future. A good paint system on deck will protect all of the steelwork from rusting and if cared for should last, without repainting up to 10 years. The hull topsides are slightly different because they do get scuffed in the locks and on the quaysides if the frnders are not in place. This can be touched up with a bit of topsides blacking before the rust starts to show.
STAGE No.5 - fitting of hatches and vents
Windows, Vents, hatches and doors - painting is complete, it is now ime to make the vessel completely watertight.
STAGE No.6 - Ballast
Ballast - we recommend concrete bricks, engineering bricks or railway iron if you can get it. Never, never use poured concrete as this will not allow access to the inside of the hull and Surveyors hate it as they cannot see what is happening to the steelwork. Years down the line when if you have a problem with your hull steelwork it is almost impossible to get the concrete out.
The ballast is required to sink the vessel in the water to make sure that the bow thruster and propellor are well submerged, it also adds stability to the barge. Usually the bricks etc. are placed under the floor, between the frames and they are made secure by the flooring. Remember that the ballast adds a great deal of weight to the vessel and so if you are having a sailaway it is best to ballast the barge when it arrives at its fitting out destination.
Stage No.7 - flooring
We do provide flooring if required - it is supplied loose but fitted because you have to ballast the barge when you get to your final destination and put the barge afloat. You also need to provide inspection hatches and it is no good the builders cutting in these for you if futher along the build process you are going to place a bulkhead just where we have put the hatch. The flooring is exterior grade plywood, untreated - never use chipboard.
Lined and battened - ready for ballast, flooring and lining
Stage No. 8 - lining
This is an important issue as the lining that we provide is standard unfinished plywood but many owners wish to have a special lining material in their barge, for instance veneer faced plywood or a surface that can be painted - the quality of the finshed barge interior starts here and we would need special instructions on your requirements.
Stage No 9 - Engine
The engine is the heart of the barge and has to be carefully chosen, you need enough power for the conditions that you can exepect to encounter in the areas you want to cruise. For instance if you are going to cruise in fast flowing rivers like the R. Humber and the R. Thames then you need more power than if you are staying in the inland waterways. We can advise you on the Engine.
We Recommend the Vetus package or Barras Shire Engines.
Stage 10 - the steering and controls
Usually we fit wheel steerng with tiller emergency steering. The engine controls are Morse and instruments are the Engine producers.