Monday, October 15, 2012

Herbie in the nude - narrowboat genealogy

While we were at Calcutt having a new camshaft and all that, I took the opportunity to find out a bit more about Herbie’s origins, for she is a Calcutt boat – sort of.

In the documentation manual that comes with the boat she is described as a Clipper i.e one of Calcutt’s standard budget boats.  I have never been able to reconcile this because Herbie is a semi trad, and Clippers all have cruiser sterns.  So in the office I asked if they could look up the original records.  Chris, the owner of  the firm  denied ever doing a semi trad Clipper.  Eventually, we traced it through the name of the original purchaser whose name was in my documentation.  Well it turns out that despite the handbook calling it a Clipper, it ain’t.  It was built bespoke for the original owners with a Clipper style reverse layout, but with a lot of changes.

I knew that the shell was built by Andicraft (which is normal for a Clipper).  I hope Andicraft won’t mind me borrowing a photo from their web site of one of their shells.  Believe you me, that looks just like Herbie in the nude.

herbie nude

Pat Buckle who has fitted out most of the Clippers did not fit out Herbie, because he told me so when I met him once.  He’s never done a semi trad for Calcutt either. So we don’t really know who fitted her out.  Apparently Calcutt have used a number of other boat fitters from time to time.

I also asked what the original owners had paid, and the answer deepens the mystery still more, because Chris said it was the basic Clipper price.  Now that can’t be right because Herbie has a lot of extras that would have bumped up the price by quite a few thousand smackers.  Examples are the Eberspacher central heating, the 240 volt electrics and a charger and an inverter, the Morco gas water heater , the 240v generator originally on the engine.  In fact I have documentation to show that the second owners paid a fair bit  more than the price of a new Clipper when Herbie was 18 months old. So my guess is that either Calcutt didn’t record all the extras, or the owners had a lot of stuff retro fitted elsewhere.  On top of that of course Herbie has had a lot of extra joinery done by Roy, her second owner.

On top of that of course, we’ve made quite a few changes ourselves.

So it seems that Herbie is truly a one off- evolving over time.   I like that idea.

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