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Canal Boat|October 2020
Extending the cabin does not mean losing the traditional appeal
ADAM PORTER

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Performance • Interior • Specification

If you’re planning to live aboard your boat, maximising interior space can be a big priority. Recently, we’ve seen more boats which have sacrificed their well decks for an extended cabin for just this reason.

But the look of the boats isn’t to everyone’s taste – including the owners of this boat, Andy and Tara Nash. Their shell builder, Tim Tyler of Tyler Wilson also isn’t a fan, so together they have come up with a design which extends the cabin, but looks traditional at the same time.

This boat, which has been fitted out by Braidbar Boats -– undoubtedly one of the top names in the industry – also pulls off the trick of combining that traditional outside with an unashamedly modern interior and the latest technology. It has a hybrid drive system, a huge battery bank, and is gas free.

Exterior

Flutterby is built on a 62ft shell which immediately comes across as being a bit special. It’s at the bow where the magic happens. Having rejected the modern take on an extended cabin, the owners settled on an interpretation of the cloth-covered hold of a working boat instead. But they were still worried about what the forward bulkhead would look like, so Tim Tyler suggested a Potters Cabin at the bow. This would really ramp up the traditional look, and have the added advantage of providing a huge storage locker.

Andy Nash liked the idea, but didn’t like the look of some of the modern Potters Cabins he saw, which are set inside the gunwales. His research turned up pictures of the historic boat Kildare, the butty which operates with President, the steam-powered boat based at the Black Country Living Museum, which has a Potters Cabin which starts directly from the top bend. It was this design on which Tim Tyler based his steelwork.

The bow itself is one of Tim’s standard Braidbar bows, rather than a more curvy Josher style – which works well. The eye has enough to look at with the Potters Cabin and the tarped section – and there are rivets on the bow too. As you might expect, the steelwork is very nicely done, with everything in proportion and beautiful lines.

The Potters Cabin itself provides a vast lockable storage area, right down to the base plate (which is a good place to store things which benefit from being kept cool, such as beer). Access is through a hatch at the top, so perhaps isn’t the easiest, but it is big enough that you can get right in if you need to. There are some nice nods to tradition in the covered section, such as the boat’s name painted on the tarps, and the fact that they’re held down by straps and strings. All this does a good job of disguising the fact that there’s steel underneath the cloths, not an open hold.

The stern is that modern invention, a semi-trad. There are lockers both sides with chunky hardwood tops – and they’re fixed rather than removable. Access to the lockers is via doors in the front.

Also at the stern is a shower attachment, for giving the couple’s two dogs, Amber and Toby, a quick wash down after muddy walks.

This is an all-porthole boat, in keeping with the traditional look, but there are also two sets of side doors each side which are all glazed, and there are three glazed pigeon boxes on the roof, meaning there’s plenty of ways for light to get inside. The portholes themselves are all double glazed. Rather than brass, the trim is chrome with the mushroom vents in a very attractive brushed finish.

The colour scheme is both classic and contemporary, with grey panels and black borders, and maroon handrails.

Layout and fitout

This is a reverse layout boat, with the galley at the stern. Next comes a Pullman dinette and the saloon. There is a walk-through shower room, with the cabin at the bow – the bed being in the clothed section.

The fitout uses combinations of wood throughout. Oak features everywhere, but it is contrasted with American black walnut in the galley and cabin, and with ash in the shower room. Braidbar is known for its quality joinery, and it’s certainly on display here.

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