It is now two weeks to the day since we took ownership of PhoenixIII and today we embarked upon our first weekend trip away. Straight after work we headed off to the marina and took the necessary clothes and food.
Stopping to pick up a new gas bottle and a tankful of diesel on the way out, we headed in the direction of the Coventry canal. Mindful of the sunset, we had only planned to go the short distance to bridge 15 next to the Limekilns, a pub that we have visited many times in the past, but not this evening.
We moored at about 5.30, giving us about another half an hour before dusk gave way to night time. After a meal of steak pie and new potatoes, we discuss the following day in more detail over a glass or two of wine before retiring to our cabin.
The plan is to start as soon as it is light at 8am. The forecast for the weekend is clear and bright, maximum temperature about 14 C, overnight frost. More important for this time of year is knowing when the sun rises and sets each day. At the moment the sun rises at 8am and sets at 6pm giving us ten hours of daylight cruising on a good day.
We awoke at 6am, it was dark and cool, the heating has been on all night at 15C so the chill is off the boat. This is one of the things that we will be setting up to suit ourselves this weekend. Daylight seems a long time coming so we fortify ourselves with bacon sandwiches and tea and wait for the light. As the sun comes up, we can see just how cold it has been overnight, it is misty and although we are only half a mile away from home, it seems like we are at the dawn of another world.
Amy stayed overnight last night at the house and today we took a trip down the canal to Marston junction. We attempted to leave at ten o’clock, however a light wind presented some difficulty in getting out of the berth. Further difficulty leaving the marina itself provided a couple of onlookers some early morning entertainment. Once underway, we didn’t encounter many boats as we made our way to Marston, a couple of hours away. We turned around at the junction and stopped at bridge 5 on the way back. Lunch was one of Sue’s tasty cottage pies, delicious and very filling! Amy did some design work for college along the way as well as getting some steering practice. It must have been exhausting for her because she spent the last half an hour asleep in bed! We arrived back at the marina just after 3pm, about twenty minutes after the rain started but we were berthed before it became too heavy.
10 am and we board PhoenixIII for our first trip. This is really just a chance to take her out to see how she performs. We are joined by Rebecca, Daniel and Rachel for the day and within minutes we are manoeuvring out of our mooring, through the marina and out on to the canal. A two hour trip sees us heading in a north easterly direction towards the top of the Ashby canal, reaching our turning point at bridge 34, Sutton Cheney. On the way we pass through Stoke Golding where a couple were sitting on the banks fishing and six year old Daniel wasted no time in telling them that there was a no fishing sign on the bank. A short stop for lunch before we turn the boat around and head back for Hinckley. The Phoenix continues to handle faultlessly and we are soon back at trinity marina where we get tied up in a few minutes. All in all a good trial run for us and PhoenixIII. We are now planning our first “proper” trip in two weeks time.
11th Sept Today, we looked at two narrowboats for sale on the Trinity Marina, Hinckley. One of them, “Phoenix III “, really caught our eye. A 52 foot 4 berth cruiser, she is 10 years old and is presented in a good, clean, well cared for condition.
12th Sept Today, we returned to take another look at “Phoenix III “ and we were not disappointed. As a result, we made an offer to buy her. Unfortunately, we will have to await the return of her owners before we can take ownership.
21st Sept So much frustration! The current owners of Phoenix III are unable to be contacted, perhaps they didn’t expect an offer so soon. Anyway, this leaves us in a sort of limbo, not knowing whether or not we are going to own this particular boat. In the meantime we walk to the marina, take a look at her and feed the ducks.
23rd Sept The sound of silence is now deafening. We understand that the current owners are abroad and that the man who lives on the boat when he works here will be returning to work on Thursday 27th. It still seems unbelievable that anyone would put a boat up for sale and then “disappear “ for three weeks.
28th Sept Well, Thursday 27th came and went and still no sign of the mysterious boat owner. A visit to the marina to see the broker reveals that there has been a mix up with the dates, the sellers are actually on holiday until the 29th! Let’s see what tomorrow brings?
UPDATE At ten past four we had a call from the broker letting us know that the owners had returned from holiday and have accepted the offer. Within ten minutes we had walked to the marina and paid our deposit! Hopefully we can take ownership within the next week or two. Afterwards we sat on the decking outside the Marina pub and had a celebratory drink. A boat passed by piloted by a couple who had been in the shop at the same time as us, “Which one did you buy? “, they called. “Phoenix III! “, we replied, “It’s in the marina! “. We got a big grin, a thumbs up and a cry of “Well done “, from the couple as they headed off down the canal towards the Limekilns.
29th Sept The weather today was pleasant, sunny and bright so we took a drive down to Braunston which is just under 25 miles from Hinckley. After a walk along the towpath to The Admiral Nelson, we sat by the adjacent lock, had a drink and watched a number of boats navigate the locks in both directions. Sue decided that she wants to be the lock keeper rather than steer the boat. We purchased a map of the Warwickshire Ring before returning home.
30th Sept Today was the big day! We visited Sam, the broker at the marina at 3pm. We have learned that we can take ownership this Friday, October 5th and we have now signed up for our mooring. Having handed over the necessary fees, all that remains is to insure the boat, transfer the BW Licence, see the owner for a handover meeting tomorrow and get the keys on Friday!!! Another celebratory drink at the Marina (how many more times are we going to celebrate buying this boat?) and then off home, happy!
1st Oct Today we met the current owner for a “handover “ meeting. Of course the real handover doesn’t happen until this coming Friday, however we had a chance to find out about the various pieces of equipment on board. As we first thought, this boat has been lovingly cared for by its owners. We also had our first opportunity to sit and relax in the comfort of the cabin, the rain was gently falling outside while we sat in the warmth provided by the stove. The boat has central heating, an immersion heater, a battery charger and a generator, so with the stove as well all forms of heat and light are on tap. Roll on Friday!
2nd Oct There’s not much left to do now except wait. We took a walk over to the marina this evening to have a look at how easy or more importantly, how difficult it will be to enter and leave the marina. After surveying the area from the bridge which spans the marina entrance, we were left with the impression that it should be alright if navigated with care.
5th Oct Mid afternoon and we’ve got the keys! We’re both pretty excited and pleased that Phoenix III is finally ours. We only spend about an hour or so, familiarising ourselves with the inside layout again. It is a beautiful sunny day and the temptation to take her out is almost overwhelming. However, we resist and leave our maiden voyage until Saturday.