A couple of years ago, I designed a narrowboat using Visio, down to the inch. Visio is cooller than you imagine and can be used like AutoCad as a 2d drawing tool (although AutoCad can do much more). I designed many layouts until I came across the standard called the “floating cottage” design. I had this design made for us. In the UK, narrowboats are only 6 feet 10 inches wide, however it’s amazing how much you can squeeze in.
My friends in the USA can’t imagine what it’s like to travel on the UKs inland waterways where everything was originally designed for a 7 foot width. Canal travelling in the UK is a sociable activity and we meet lots of people every day. Often the locks are double width (14 feet) which means we will share a lock with another boat and their crew. Locks are often in “flights” which means we’ll get a few in a row. The ladies tend to work the lock paddles and gates (with the kids) whilst the men tend to stand on the back of their boats and talk turkey to each other.
I am amazed at how detailed some men can talk about the differences between such esoteric nonsense technical drivel. Many are consumed with amazement at all my antennas. Narrowboaters haven’t worked out yet that they can improve their cellphone or wifi with an external marine-grade antenna.
At the end of the day, the family all comes back together and we share a bottle of wine and discuss all the people we’ve met that day. It is very amusing.
Of course, we also get lots of onlookers. They are called “gongoozlers”. These onlookers can be very funny and they ask lots of questions. Many think we might live on the boat permanently and that we’re some kind of pre-historic or romantic throwback to the canal trade. Others think we’ve hired the boat for a day out. Many are very envious of the laid-back life-style of the canal boat holiday feel. Even funnier, some think that my 28 foot HF SSB antenna (ham vertical antenna) is a sail-mast. Great fun!