Visit to Colecraft Dec 2018

Stuart visited on Friday to view one of our in build widebeam boats.

Colecraft is a leading UK boatbuilder established since 1974 and a family run business.

As you can see the factory has 5 boats in build all of which will be completed and delivered before Christmas.

The quality of work and fit out is exemplary with maybe the only disappointment being delivery times for new boats are stretching into 2020.

New build and stage payments

Narrowboat in build with stage payments at various stages during the build, should be ready in time for Xmas.

Winter advice – seacocks and skin fittings

Seacocks are present to shut off the flow of water from or to items of plumbing aboard the vessel.

There are three types of seacocks: the gate valve type, which is like the domestic plumbing type with a red wheel, which is turned clockwise to close; the ball valve type, which is preferred by many and has a lever to operate a chrome-plated bronze ball; and the traditional ‘Blakes’ type, which is complex in its construction and is comprised of a tapered peg, which is rotated by a lever inside a bronze housing.

Whatever type is used on your vessel, they should always be turned off when you leave the vessel, or, in the instance of the sink and sea toilet plumbing, they should be shut off whilst at sea.

However, the cockpit drain seacocks should be left on when leaving the boat to drain away rainwater.


Bronze is best as you do not need to wire seacock to an anode. This is because bronze does not contain very much zinc.  Brass is often known as commercial bronze as it is an alloy of copper, zinc and tin.
DZR is the most common material used for seacocks. DZR stands for Dezincification Resistant Brass but is actually a type of bronze.  So go for DZR or pure bronze.
Brass is too soft and contains too much zinc which leaches out of the metal.
Pure bronze is 88% copper 12% tin.
Pure brass is 90% copper 10% zinc.
Both are alloys so mixtures of the metal are used. Other derivatives of copper, tin, zinc and lead are gun metal and yellow metal.

The seacocks should be made of bronze and not brass, as is the case with domestic plumbing items that you get from a DIY shop.  Bronze is more resistant to electrolytic and galvanic corrosion, which is a major problem on boats.  When you buy new seacocks, you should ask the seller if they are bronze.  There are several different types of bronze, including Monel, but all include a mixture of copper, zinc and tin.  Brass is softer and the zinc can leach out away from the copper too easily.  You should check your seacocks every time that you visit your boat.  This should be done at least once a month, the seacock handle or lever should be turned from fully open to close a few times so that it does not seize up.  You should check for leaks.  The gate valve and ball valve types should not leak at all, but the Blakes type often drip a little, as they rely on a tapered peg with holes through it being pushed into a flange.

You should scrape the seacock every year to see if it has corroded.  A penknife or screwdriver should be used to scrape at the oxidised body of the valve.  If it is bright yellow when scraped, all is well, but if it is pinkish, it means that the zinc in the metal has started to leak away by electrolytic corrosion.  The seacock should be changed without delay if found to be corroded, as the metal will be brittle and might break off if the handle is turned.  Most sunken boats that I come across have come to grief because of a failed or leaking seacock.  This is a major weak point on any vessel.


Seacocks are mostly used below the waterline of the hull. They are screwed to a flange called a skin fitting, which is fitted to the hull to create a hole through which water can escape or enter the vessel.

Skin fittings are usually made of gunmetal, which is a mixture of copper, zinc, tin and chromium and is similar to bronze.

Skin fittings used below the waterline should not be made of nylon or other plastics, as they can become brittle and crack in time. Nylon is, however, used above the waterline for items such as bilge pump outlets and gas bottle locker drains.  Here are some examples of seacocks and skin fittings:


  • Cockpit drains – usually two and found under the cockpit;
  • Engine raw water coolant intake, sometimes with a strainer;
  • Sea toilet effluent outlet;
  • Sea toilet flushing water inlet;
  • Galley sink and vanity basin drains.


Flexible hoses of reinforced PVC should be attached to hose flanges or the seacocks with two stainless steel ‘jubilee’-type hose clips.


Some seacocks are made of plastic.  They are fitted to some new European and American yachts and work well.

Forespar corrosion and electrolysis free lightweight plumbing units are an example.       


Flexible hoses fitted to the seacocks should be of re-enforced PVC and not plain clear PVC.  Plain clear hoses crack with age.

Flexible hoses should be fitted to the seacock flanges by two hose clips at each hose end.


Article courtesy of Nick Vass

Planning a canal boat holiday in 2019?

Best Canal Routes in the UK 2018

With the holidays quickly approaching it may be time to plan your next trip and with many beautiful sites in the UK, why not hire a boat?

Narrowboat Owner, Julie Cox, says: “If you are planning on hiring a boat, choose the area you want to visit and check the canal maps for what is involved.” With this in mind have put together a map of the best canal routes in the UK to help boaters discover the beauty of the country.

Grand Union Canal North of Milton Keynes

Included in the list, the Grand Union Canal starts in London and ends in Birmingham with multiple stops along the way. Perfect for exploring Oxford through to Aylesbury, it is the longest canal and is often referred to as the trunk of the system. This is because the waterway offers a diverse selection of traditional towns and villages and is ideal during the quiet autumn months; giving boaters’ more time to take in the stunning views.

Kennet & Avon Canal

Also mentioned, Kennet & Avon Canal is known for its spectacular landscapes and charming history. Linking Bristol all the way to Reading, the waterway takes boaters through some of the most beautiful scenery and memorable sites. With medieval buildings and Norman remains, the canal passes through many historic places and includes, the famous Avon Gorge, the Royal Crescent and lots of impressive structures designed by John Rennie.

Additionally, in recent years the canal has been redeveloped into a popular tourist destination for both boaters and families. Offering canoeing, fishing, walking and cycling, the area is filled with plenty of things to do and see.


The rise of narrow boat living

The amount of people permanently living on houseboats such as narrowboats and barges has been steadily increasing in recent years. In fact, around a quarter of the boats you see on the UK waterways consist of the owner’s primary home. Many others are used as second homes with people sharing their time between on-board living and on-land living.

There are several reasons why more and more people are choosing this alternative way of life. The fact that living on a narrowboat in a city can be significantly cheaper than living in an ordinary home is chief among them.

As is to be expected of the capital, London is the most expensive place to live in the UK, but not if you live on a boat. In fact there are somewhere between 3,000 and 4,000 people using boats on the capital’s hundred miles of waterways, with around two thirds of those permanently docked at various marinas.

Continuous Cruising Lowers the Cost of Living Even More

UK boat owners who constantly travel around either a city’s waterways or up and down the country’s 2,000 or so miles of canal networks, can dock pretty much wherever they please for up to two weeks at a time. This ‘continuous cruising’ option makes living on a boat even cheaper as there is no charge for mooring, so long as you move on every couple of weeks.

With the lower annual cost of running a boat including covering a licence and basic insurance, it’s easy to see why boat living is becoming a more attractive proposition for people who are priced out of owning their own land-based homes, especially in a city like London where house prices have risen well over 80% over the last eight years or so.

In fact, the number of continuous cruisers in Britain has quadrupled in just seven years. In 2010, there were 413 continuous cruisers around the capital’s waterways alone, with that number heading way over 1,600 by the end of last year.

Quality of Life Also Cited as a Primary Reason for Boat Living

While the financial aspect is a huge one for many people who live on boats, it is not always the main reason. Last year the Financial Times published a feature on boat living and the reasons for living on a boat. While the money aspect was right up there in importance, the general way of living also featured highly.

“Waterside living is wonderful,” wrote the feature’s author, the boat dwelling Paul Miles.  “Rippling reflections of sunlight patterning your ceiling; feeding ducks from your window; diving off your front porch for a swim.”

With such testimony along with the obvious financial benefits, it’s certainly understandable why narrowboat living is on the rise.

If you would like to learn more about the possibility of buying a houseboat using a marine mortgage, contact Promarine Finance who can talk you through your options.


Southampton Boat Show 2018 Review and Images

2018 was our second year exhibiting at the Southampton Boat Show and we were in a more prominent location in Mayflower Park and closer to the Marina.

Generally we feel that visitors were thinking about buying boats in the future rather than buying boats now. More visitors were considering keeping their future boats in the Med rather than the UK and those that were enquiring now were looking at buying boats currently in Croatia, Greece and the Eastern Med with the plan to keep them in these locations.  Unusually this was true for the lower value and older boats that we usually finance.

We met lots of our  customers and it is great to share a beer with them often meeting them for the first time and renewing friendships with those that we already know.

Boat dealers we spoke to did not sell much at the show due to such reasons as the weather, exchange rates and the looming elephant that is Brexit.

No doubt Princess, Sunseeker and other luxury brands will report record sales which is perhaps typical of their wealthy client base who appear to be insulated from the more common troubles that affect most of us mortals.

On a social front the title sponsor, were very generous providing Sundowners each evening. The Exhibitor Party was heaving under any dry spot available, drinks tokens must have been subject to Quantitive Easing because there were lots being handed out.

We had a great evening with the British Marine Boat Retailers and Brokers dinner at Banana Wharf.

And successfully managed to cycle safely home each evening with only 1 drenching.

So all in all a thoroughly enjoyable show which was well organised by Charlie Merchant.  Thank you Charlie for doing this and to Olivia, this was her first employment ever as she only finished A levels this summer.

We will be back in 2019 – in the meantime a few pictures that made our knees wobble meeting sailing heroes and laugh at others too

Brompton at the Gate

Liquid essentials

Brian Thompson, Stuart and Dee Cafari – sailing heroes and Volvo Ocean race superstars

English Braids – our friendly splicing neighbours

Mike Golding OBE and Stuart

Bob Beggs, multi Clipper Race Skipper

A Mermaid in a Tank – weird accompanied by the music Sailing By

Graham Snook – Yachting Journalist and Photographer



Dazat Team, Oriel (video & musical editor) Daz Newton, Stuart and Simon Biffa Baker

Socialising with a fellow Smethwick Yacht winner

Aye Aye

Liza Austin spent 3 days at the show and loved her borrowed Brompton

Black and Blue on Day Two – Olivia – working in her first job after passing A Levels this summer. Good luck at Uni and thanks for your help. See you next year!

Girls Abroad team – looking happy, but it is still some time before they row across the Atlantic

Stuart, Pip Hare (sailing hero) and Justin Jones of English Braids – the Splice Master

An empty pontoon – well it was the day before the show opened

Top Secret, purchased at the Show 4 years ago and sold during the Show this year, a replacement is planned.

Olivia and the Info Twins




Charlie committed to the Promarine Cause











































Grand Banks 42


Charlie, Liza and Stuart

Thanks for the email confirmation, Colin has confirmed receiving funds.

May I take this opportunity to thank you all for your assistance in this transaction.

It has been a real pleasure in dealing with everyone in the purchase of this boat and you have all contributed to us looking forward to owning her.

Hope to meet up at the Southampton boat show where it would be good to discuss if we can do other business together.

Have a great weekend.



And more boats like this from  Boat Show Rooms

Super testimonial for Bavaria 29

We wanted to take this opportunity to express our sincere appreciation for the professional service provided by Stuart and his team at Pro-Marine. They have been a breath of fresh air to deal though out the whole process. Having run our own business for 15 years (ie “self employed) we felt we were given the “square peg in a round hole” treatment by other potential lenders. However Pro-marine are able to look past this and have detailed understanding of financial accounts for owner Directors and how their earnings package comes together. Dealing with financially savvy people that aren’t box tickers sets Pro-Marine side from the rest. So if you are keen to get on the water but feel you will be turned away because you don’t fit the standard criteria, we would suggest you talk to Stuart and his team. If you can afford it and they can help fund it then they will! They are extremely prompt and attentive to your application too – no waiting around for weeks, as they know that once you have found something it’s all about timing. We would strongly recommend anyone looking for marine finance talk to these guys as they have put us into two different boats in 2018! Thank you Stuart & Co for making it happen.

Drew and Shirley