Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lucky Duck, 48ft trad stern

Our boat, based in Cambridgeshire is for sale 
(Update: July 2013: The boat is sold)

Lucky Duck is a 48ft traditional stern narrowboat first registered in 1986, with a reliable BMC 1.8 engine. It sleeps 2, makes a great live-aboard boat and is well adapted to coping with being away from shore power. Easy to handle and well laid out inside with a traditional 'saloon forward' layout, it would be a good starter boat for anyone looking to begin a life afloat, or enjoy some holiday cruising. All systems are in good working order.

Last backed August 2011, BSC until 2016. Hull surveyed 2013 and available for viewing.

Guide Price: £23,500 ono

Starting at the bows, there is a large storage locker, with water tank below, and an outdoor space, with a vinyl cratch cover. Rolling up the the sides makes this a lovely space to sit outside in the summer. In winter there is plenty of room for fuel storage without resorting to using the roof. The two 19kg gas bottles are also out here. 

Entry into the cabin is through a pair of beautiful unique curved metal framed doors with glass panels. The boat is lined with a combination of T&G and plywood, with polystyrene insulation. It was completely refitted by the previous owner, with new wood floors, in 2006. Moving back through the boat there is a comfy living room, with shelving, a two seater sofa, a fold out table and some fixed seating with storage under. The boat is heated by the Morso Squirrel solid fuel stove, with a back boiler to a radiator in the 

In the kitchen, there is a domestic sized gas oven and four hobs, a very efficient Shoreline 12V fridge freezer, a sink and lots of storage space. All the oak cupboard doors open to reveal sliding drawers, maximising storage and access. There is a wet room with a Morco instantaneous gas water heater (no need to run the engine to get hot water!), a shower, sink, and a Portpotti toilet.

The bedroom again maximises storage space by having a double bed which folds away in seconds on gas struts when not in use. Underneath is a top access wardrobe, lots of deep shelves for storing books and clothes, as well as two chests of drawers, and a step with a lid for even more storage. Part of the space under the bed used to be a desk, and could be easily converted back. Up the step and through the door is the engine room, housing the reliable, skin tank-cooled BMC 1.8 diesel engine, which has been regularly serviced and run. I 2009, we had the engine re-aligned and new skin fittings installed by Fox's boatyard at March. Its relatively short length for this size engine means that it is a nippy boat. 

The battery bank consists of 4 100Ah Elecsol deep cycle semitraction batteries and a dedicated started battery, which are all two years old, but have been well-looked after and continually charged by the 136W solar panel on the roof, which charges the batteries through a top of the range MPPT (maximum power point tracking) regulator. There is also an alternator and a 20A charger which can be used to charge the batteries when connected to a generator or shore power. A 2000W inverter allows you to use mains powered devices when not connected to a shoreline or generator

The boat has a 12V circuit which runs the fluorescent lights, water pumps, fridge and 12V sockets, and a 240V system which runs additional lights, and power sockets. The solar panel means that from March until September, the boat is entirely self sufficient for electricity, This is great for live-aboards, but also means peace of mind if you are leaving the boat for extended periods of time, as you know the batteries will be full when you get back.

We repainted the boat (taken back to bare metal) in 2011, and refreshed in Summer 2012, using Craftmaster Grand Union Blue on the sides and International Atlantic Grey on the roof. We don't know who the boat is built by. Best guess is a Colecraft hull with a bespoke, one off cabin. The roof is double skinned as it seems to have been extended from a cruiser stern to a trad stern at some time in the past, and a new roof put over the whole lot. The hull was blacked in 2011 with two sprayed on coats of International Intertuf.  There is some minor, historic, pitting on the hull which the survey picked up, but this has not advanced  at all in the five years since the previous survey, so are not of concern. All mooring lines would be included in the sale. There is a double skinned chimney.

The boat is ballasted with shingle in the cabin bilge and with moveable paving slabs for adjustment in the bows.


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  1. Hi,

    Just to say Good Luck in your search for your ideal full length historic boat. It's one heck of an exciting adventure that you're setting out on, but a hugely rewarding too. I totally agree with your sentiment about getting a boat that you'll grow in to over the years, that really is an essential criterion, and one that caused us a few frustrating headaches before we found and bought BCN 18686, our old iron day boat last year.

    I look forward to reading about your search, best wishes


    1. Thanks, Nick! We are really looking forwards to the next stage of our boating adventures!

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  3. Exciting plans indeed!

    Have you managed to prise James away from Apollo Duck yet?


  4. I wish you well in your search. Over the last couple of weeks there seems to have been an increase in the number of boats being offered for sale (of the sort we're looking for, anyway).

  5. Good luck with your search and I hope you found one. I look forward to reading your, duck tails (please excuse the pun and wrong spelling) in future.

  6. Are you still potentially selling your boat soon? I am looking for a boat ideally based in Cambridge already.

    1. Yes, we will be. Unsure exactly when but hopefully in next few months. As I've said above though, the boat does not come with a mooring.

  7. That is fine, I am well aware of the Cambridge situation having previously moored there. My job does not flex enough at the moment to buy a boat from too far away.

    1. We will now be selling in the Spring. DO get in touch then if you are still in the market for a boat!

  8. A couple of questions. Who is the boat built by? And in one of your photos it looks like top of the cabin sides has an extra layer to it. Is it just a bad camera angle or is that the case? Also, how big are the water and diesel tanks? And how is hot water generated?

    1. Hi, We don't know who the boat is built by. Best guess is a Colecraft hull with a bespoke, one off cabin, but we don't know.
      The roof is double skinned as it seems to have been extended from a cruiser stern to a trad stern at some time in the past, and a new roof put over the whole lot.
      We've not measured the water tank, and it doesn't have a gauge but it lasts us about two weeks of normal usage by two people. Again we don't know the capacity of the diesel tank, again it has no guage beyond a dipsick - we have bought 80 litres of diesel at once before, so it's bigger than that! I think I said above about hot water - it's generated by an Morso instantaneous gas water heater.

  9. Your boat looks lovely Amy. Do you know about Jem Bates in your search for historic boats? Peggy

    1. Thanks! However, we are not brave enough to take on a wooden boat!

  10. The very best of luck with your search for your historic boat and the sale of Lucky Duck, she is a lovely boat and I am sure someone will love her as you have. Hopefully see you on the water in your new/old boat. Jo xxx

  11. Good luck with both buying and selling your boat