OK - so here we are. It's January 2016 (already)... nearly 6 years after the savings began. Well I say savings - it's been more of a 'don't spend anything we don't have to' endurance event... there's still not enough money in the bank of course but will there ever be?
No - that's the short answer. SO - why has it taken so long?... Well the original plan HAD been to save up, buy a sail-away, move aboard and fit it out around "life". Best laid plans and all that... Instead, we had a bit of a 'lets plan for old age' epiphany I suppose and bought a house (well bungalow but let's not split hairs) to retire to when our knees/backs *insert any other bit that'll be knackered* can no longer mange access to the boat or lock landings... and here we are. The bungalow is as finished as it's going to be (it was a bit of a wreck that hadn't been touched in 40 years) - new kitchen, bathroom, rewire, new boiler,garage, floor and garden re-modelling all complete (ish..)
Presently on our dining table is a scale plan - when I say scale, what I mean is a big roll of squared paper with a boat hull drawn on it 57 squares long by just under 7 squares wide. Yes I know in this hi-tech world I should have been using some clever software to design it but cutting out photos of things and 'prit-sticking' them to the plan is a) more fun and b) adds to the point of narrow-boating... in a get away from stuff that stresses you out kind of way.
In an ideal world, we'd be on our way to Sheffield to meet with Jonathan Wilson and ask him to build the boat we want. Nothing is ideal about the world though is it? so the next best thing is to try and get hold of a "proper" Tyler/Wilson hull.
Things are a little up in the air right now as plan f (I think it was) had been to get a "lined sail-away additions Mike Christian shell from Lymm Boat yard - it might still be as having met Chris briefly on a visit before Christmas, we were quite taken with him both personally and professionally. Having also been fortunate enough to meet up with several boaters who (whom?) have already bought sail-aways from him, it's clear his boats are well produced and have a well deserved positive reputation.
Reading that back, I realise I've not explained WHY things are up in the air... quick version is that having spoken with Jonathan on Friday, he confirmed he can't match the spec of the boat for the price. That's a shame as getting a sail-away back from Sheffield to Wakefield would be a lot easier than from Lymm... however, from reading one of the many marvellous posts on canalworld.net, I discovered that Calder Valley Marine ALSO produce sail-aways using Wilson's shells - and they are in Sheffield AND have Saville Warf Marina in Dewsbury... ergo right on our doorstep!
Watch this space!