"Jass Four" is a 1972 model Norman 27 narrow beam cabin cruiser.
I have just returned from a two week trip to move Jass Four from a closing down CRT mooring on the Coventry Canal at Nuneaton to its now permanent mooring at Littleport Boat Haven on the Great Ouse. An eventful journey with varying weather, high water level delays on the River Nene, very tight bridges on Well Creek on the Middle Level and a rapidly flowing falling tide between Salters Lode Lock and Denver Sluice on the Great Ouse. Fortunately the latter being only half a mile, the 25hp Honda outboard was needed to stem the flow, I am not sure I would have made it with a 10hp motor, the size usually used on the canal system.
I bought Jass Four 13 months ago in Stourbridge on the Stsaffs & Worcester Canal to fulfil a long held wish to return to the water; being a former boat owner from 1973 until 1984. The first five years I lived aboard mainly in Birmingham, Atherstone and two winters spent in Peterborough working. After I moved to live in a house in 1977 I moved my then narrowboat to the Leeds & Liverpool canal at Parbold to a BWB mooring. Unfortunately the local vandals were damaging boats on that mooring so I sold the narrowboat and bought a 24ft fibreglass cruiser and joined the Douglas Valley Cruising Club where I moored it at Appley Bridge. I used this boat on the Leeds & Liverpool, Bridgewater, Trent & Mersey and Shropshire Union Canals and River Weaver in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Life changes forced the sale of the boat in 1984 and no boat since.
Being built in 1977 Jass Four has had few additions. I removed a Rhinnai Gas Water Heater that breached BS Regs and would have risked death by carbon monoxide poisoning. I had the gas system leaks resolved since the previous owner had badly installed the above gas water heater. I have also resolved the plumbing leaks in the pipework installed by the previous owner. I have installed a stainless steel 350 x 350 wash hand basin in the stern cabin fitted to the starboard bulkhead. I have widened a little the bench that is across the back of the stern cabin and fitted a 75cm mattress for me to sleep. I am 6ft 3ins tall so finding a comfortable place to sleep on a narrowbeam boat is not easy.
Jass Four appears to have its original twin hob/grill/ sink drainer unit. The BSS inspector was impressed that the hob burners burned so cleanly, nice blue flame. For my recent trip I used a portable Waeco 240/12 volt fridge with disappointing results. I will not bother again. There is a 12 volt Whale pump for use with the now removed gas water heater. Apart from that there are no frills. Jass Four does have working navgation lights and mast which was completely useless on the canal system and River Nene and Middle Level. The lower River Great Ouse upstream from Denver Sluice does have high bridges so I have re-instated the small mast. There is also a stern flag mast complete with Red Ensign, a nuisance on the canals but I may re-instate that now the boat is on the Great Ouse. The standard Thetford bog facilities are on board.
I will use Jass Four to cruise the Ely Great Ouse and its tributaries and the Cam Lodes. Having passed through the Middle Level waterways again I will return there to cruise these extensive and unusual waters and visit the villages and small towns, some of which are similar to waterside settlements in Holland. I may well cruise the upper levels of the Great Ouse to Bedford. At the moment I do not fell inclined to cruise up to Cambridge, there are probably few mooring opportunities. To visit Cambridge I will use the car and use the park & ride.