This is Bryun's Norman 20 "Polly Anna. Clearly a good project for the winter and the following year looks like!!




Here begineth the first lesson, the ramblings of a novice boat owner, I always wanted a boat, but didn't know what type so I bought a mag. After many tins of lager I saw one I liked the look of it turned out to be a Norman 20. the quest for the holy grail had started.

I travelled the length and breath of Yorkshire looking for THE BOAT that would fill my winter hours ,At last under a dirty tarp there it was the boat of my dreams, Not much to look at but after  careful negotiation a price was agreed, he also threw in the out board and trailer.

Here are the first pictures of the voyage of discovery{ what a good name for a boat}

Before the boat was collected the owner let me take a few photos and a few measurements so I could start my grand design. Then the task of costing and obtaining materials, I later forgot about the costing, too late to turn back now I was committed or should have been.

The first task was to give her a good clean that was the first weekend over with.

 Now what task next, do I sand all the wood work down and waste one weekends work I donít think so

The solution take out all the woodwork I can that accounts for two weekends


 The timescale   I had set myself was spring 2004, whether this is going to happen who knows




The second weekend came and went so the sanding down started, After multiple coats of cedar varnish and white gloss she is starting to look like a boat

In a fit of madness I asked the wife to give her a name she chose Polly Anna seeing as it is unlucky to change a boats name Polly Anna it is (My one concession) the rest is down to me .the picture above is before the next is after .

What to do next, thereís always something so start on the hull  2 days and 3 nights of sanding, filling and more sanding end result a smooth flat hull.

Now for the paint , After 7 or 8 coats the small repairs are no longer showing through But unfortunately no shine, so I decided to add a little thinners that did the trick. As Iíve bought all this paint itís going on, Ten coats later the paint is not going down I know get more labour ,So now thereís me the wife, son, daughter and grandson all armed with brushes and rollers that made the difference the paint disappeared.

Well week three, Hull painted and the first coat on the deck. I removed the top windscreen to make things easier and found that all of the woodwork had rotted, after talking to my brother who is a joiner {lucky break) WE now I have a new partner, Its great what a promised trip will do ,got hold of some Canadian Oak lovely wood. We set about renewing all the timber

When I bought the boat now called Polly Anna the chap who sold it to me said he had the glass for the front windows fine I said this weekend I tried to fit them, now in the past I have fitted car windscreens so no problem except the glass came from car windscreensConsequently it does not bend see the front windows are slightly curved so I would get three corners in then when the last was put in the first popped out after many choice words most are unrepeatable in print I decided to go for Perspex and now Polly Anna is water tight.


Scanning through the Boatmart I saw an ad for the hull boat jumble, fleet of foot I set off hoping to pickup the accelerator and gear selector, Mission accomplished as well as a fire blanket, winch, and £100 pounds worth of other bits so much for costing.


Well weekend 4, I decided to fit the rubbing strip around the hull Oak is really hard wood as I found out after 4 hrs of wetting and a multitude of saw cuts it was on, only to hear the crack of timber half an hour later luckily only a slight crack I can repair it.


We then set about making the hatch cover, now the hatch slopes away at many different angles so that was left to the joiner if left to me it would still be to do in spring.


Next task the gas, at first I Decided to have no joints great in theory but not all that practical and it looked a mess also after buying elbows and proper clips it looks a lot better, Just for safety 1 gas tap at the stern and 1 at the cooker

The wiring was next my own trade all the cables run in were butyl heat proof and fire resistant one thing I forgot was to have some circuits direct of the battery for the radio and the inverter, The thought I had was to run a battery charger of the inverter charging the battery up a bit like perpetual motion, the juryís still out on that one Ill let you know if it works in theory it should do.


Going back to the gas the day came to test it what a disaster could not get the joints to seal, lucky for me my nephew is refrigeration engineer, new pipe was obtained along with all the tools needed (another passenger, if I take on any more I wont need ballast)


The hatch finished at last and if I do say so my self it looks great thanks Bob, one thing I noticed I am becoming a skip rat, cannot pass a skip without looking in to see if thereís anything I can use. Costing who needs costing when youíre a skip rat.


The next job I tackled was the awning the previous owner had taken all the plastic out After obtaining new plastic sheet I started to pin it into the gaps, canvas is fairly tough and I did not have a thimble, the fingers took on a pin cushion look and bloods a bugger to get off, now all I need is to borrow the wifeís sewing machine (without her knowing)

And try to sew them in remember Iím a bloke not all that good at sewing Iíll keep you posted.


Well, sewing machine obtained you need a degree to set them up managed to sew in one window then it all went pear shape the cotton kept breaking sewing postponed for the time being.


While on my travels I popped in to a boat yard at Wakefield and picked up a seat for a £5er


I can now rest my weary legs and imagine of course, The guys there were so helpful in trying to find mooring s on the Calder navigation, and by the way I may have found my

Next project.


Lesson 3........


From wreck to boat in two and a half months thatís got to be a record for a novice, All I have to do now is get it comfy for the memsahib you know the little feminine things like carpets and curtains running water, Because of the space or lack of it 2 collapsible water containers were bought to be fitted under the sink area when full they mold to the shape when empty they lay flat. For some reason the nav lights are the wrong color one side blue the other is yellow if any one knows why please get in touch, final job for today is to fit the labels for the gas and so on, New nav lights ordered and when they arrive will be fitted then the safety cert will be mine (I hope). Just time to clean up the out board. January came and went the weather was too bad to work so just the cleaning and polishing to do, the nav lights arrived and were duly fitted along with a front one.

Father Christmas brought me a horn so that went on as well, the service I received from Allan Pemberton at Mayday Marine at Chesterfield was second to none, I would like to thank him here for the keen prices of the nav lights and fuel tank. I would recommend him to any one (he also does mobile servicing)

The safety inspector booked for Wednesday I wait with bated breath, till then everything cleaned again and the covers put on, now time to reflect and dream of the happy hours to come, only one problem the awning is in an appalling state still now that the pin holes in my fingers have healed I might have another go.


The 4th of Feb a day that will go down in history the safety cert is mine and now we are on the first step to getting her on the water, the moorings have been arranged and booked for April so about 5 weeks to get PollyAnna ready

I decided to redesign the galley I donít like the idea of sitting on the bunk to cook so a slight modification to the sink was required, I removed part of the edge of the sink and most of the cupboard underneath and fitted a work top then made a new unit with more space .the only way to try it out is to live on it for a few days and see if it works, if not I will redesign (at a later date) all I need now is some decent weather to finish the painting.

Well its Friday the 13th the carpets are going down and sheís starting to look comfy, I'm getting good at being a skip rat, around the corner from me they are building some new houses and guess what they are carpeting them lots of off cuts all about a meter wide just perfect and good they look too. Insurance was the next task so I used the company recommended by one Norman owner, very competitive, just the river license to get and Iím away, Still need 2 good days of weather though to get the paint finished. Because I live close to the Sheffield canal and also the Chesterfield canal with its own cheap license I decided to opt for chesterfield less traffic and an easy launch and B&Q not far away for ballast.

Sunday again day of rest for some but the clock is ticking, Out of everything Iíve done on Polly Anna the one thing that bothered me was the engine, as I had not heard it running I had grave concerns whether it would so the only way to see was to get some petrol and a bin, everything in place give it a pull then and other and a another not a sausage plugs out and cleaned, not a chance, Up to the car spares 1 tin of easy start and a tin of carb cleaner, after a few more pulls and choice words she fires, a bit lumpy and after a few tweaks she runs (o joyous day) I left her running for about 3 quarters of an hour thinking if she runs for that long she should run all day ,so dear reader bring on the first launch date to be set on the Chesterfield canal

And now to turn my attention to the awning ,yet another sowing machine was found, an old one it works like a dream and after half a days work all the plastic sheet is in place, still a few pin holes in the fingers  but they will heal, Next task to make a frame for the canopy, but out of what I know I have some 22mm copper pipe and fittings and after a bit of trial and error a frame was made not ideal but  it will do till I can get a new one

One more clean and polish and then sheís ready. Alteration number three to the kitchen sink and cooker this time thinks ive got it right only time will tell .The last job to do is the rubbing strip I am having real problems getting it to bend I've wet it steamed it but it wont go I will call in the joiner and promise another trip.            How fickle fate can be I had this week off to launch Polly Anna the weather was to say in the least grim, but all is not lost, while going stir crazy I set off for Sawley by the time I had some dinner at the restaurant a mooring was booked for the 2nd of April, now I must finish the rubbing strip.

With the canopy looking a bit tatty I decided to get some canvas paint this is proving a real challenge and also the weather is against me, I now have 2 weeks to do all the little jobs I put off. The moorings at Mexboro for gotten.

One job to do is put a rail to hang up my tuxedo you know for the dinner parties on board not forgetting the memsahib ball gown, quite fetching she looks in a ball gown and deck shoes   and where does one put the candelarbra.and the royal doulton. Oh my so many things to plan and so little time, the table now time to attempt making a table the top was no problem and nether was the legs but I got the height wrong and left just enough room to get a plate on no chance of spilling any food because thereís only 2 inches between the table and your mouth          so out comes the saw. 


Well Saturday morning arrives and so does the joiner takes one look at the table and bursts into fits of laughter laff I nearly bought my own fags he says, so on to the rubbing strip. After breaking 2 of them trying to bend them we decided to do a system of mitres and Iím glad to say it looks fab thanks again Bob heís nearly permanent crew now but I can still milk him a bit more, By the time we had finished it was raining cats and dogs and blowing a force ten but I managed to get one coat of varnish on, by the time Bob left he had just about stopped laughing at the table     


The list of jobs is getting smaller the table is still a disaster but it works for now plus itís a great conversational piece and raises a smile, it my even grow on me. About a week to go shore power installed and yet another clean up.

Whilst scanning the net I came across the denaming ceremony, not being the superstitious type but not wanting to take any chances either it will be done only one problem I do not know what she was called originally.

Itís now Saturday morning overcast sky and seven days to go so time to put the last coat of white on her its surprising how quickly paint fades I can see this being an on going job, but if I do say so myself she looks well.

Four days to go and the fine weather is here time for the last coat of gloss and varnish that done and dry a good coat of Mer polish. A little nervous now will I be all right will I be able to steer we will have to wait and see all I can say now is HERE ENDETH THE FIRST, SECOND, AND THIRD LESSONS and now we start on a new chapter.

And the chapter starts thus 2 day to go, thinks Iíll fire up the motor not a sausage it turns out that the piston has scored the bores so itís a non starter, so near and yet so faraway I am gutted, after chasing around trying to find a new outboard Allan at mayday marine comes to the rescue, That puts the launch back 1 day, Outboard fitted off on a Saturday morning I set only problem is we loose the guy who is towing my boat down to Sawley. We have time to get their book in and then set off looking for him on the M1 unbeknown to us heís gone to the wrong mariner, We are nearly back home in Sheffield when we get the call, so its back down to Sawley once again.

So we start to launch only one problem his car wont go in the water deep enough to float her off the trailer, we finished up dragging and pushing her off finally afloat we have a short cruise to the moorings not forgetting the denaming and renaming ceremony, oh bliss my first outing in my own boat what a great feeling



And there she is on the water


On the original out board there was a tiller so a steering kit was fitted, then I had to alter the cables to suit.

Its now Sunday the 11th and I have not taken her out, so a remedy was in order fired her up first time and set off at a snails pace no problem Iíve got all day, out of the mariner at Sawley turn left down to the lock gates turn round and up to the next lock gates ONE SMALL STEP ringing in my ears turn her round a few more times and back into the mariner heart pounding moor her up then time for Tiffin first hurdle over come, confidence growing all the time, The next trip planed already through the locks and away into the wild brown river Trent TO INFINITY AND BEYOND.

Now that she is on the water the one thing I miss is going out of the front door and just sitting on her I have to restrict that to the weekends. The second outing did not go without a hitch, the steering ball came off and there was I heading broadside for one of them large narrowy things coffins I think theyíre called, like an old seadog slammed her into reverse and proceeded to go round in circles watched by onlookers that twenty seconds ago were no where to be seen, they seem to come out of the wood work when disaster is impending one even had the cheek to whistle the minute waltz, being a man of gay wit and repartee I just gave him the digit, wait while he wants help MY TURN WILL COME donít get mad get even.

After 2 minor disasters the third trip was planed this time to actually leave the mariner and get on to the river and this I did well nearly I got through the sluice gate and the steering went again, moored up and did a repair off we set at this point everythingís going well then time to put the revs on, well if we had had a sail we could have done a good impression of a yacht tacking I think I need to address the ballast problem and of course the rudder, but thatís what its all about isnít it.

The bank holiday is coming up and I will be at Sawley hopefully going in a strait line but we will


 While all this was going on the memsahib calmly chilled out with the Sunday paper Great this boating lark


Saturday may 1st my bro and I set off for Sawley car loaded with ballast, after moving sacks around finally got it right, took her out she is still wandering after another 5 bags and the addition of a rudder she is fine. At this rate I will never get out of the mariner, so off we jolly well go ten yard out the wheel breaks it spins and spins nothing happens, out comes the grips and I just manage to get it back to the moorings more good luck than good judgment, new wheel bought and fitted, fine time for river trials great at slow speed even better at high speed well 3.9 mph according to the GPS.

Sunday arrives full of confidence we set off for our first cruise out of the mariner turn to port thatís left to you non nautical types and full speed up the river, doing a full 3 mph I can feel the G forces already every thing is fine until we get to the Trent canal junction and the cross current, the 3 mph slows down to 2 then 1 and there we are neither going forward nor back full revs applied and we start to make progress, how I miss the 20 hp motor .we cruised for about ĺ of an hour then turned round Iím a  dab hand at turning now , should be all the times Iíve turned back into the mariner.  .

Coming back thatís another story we have the current with us cant resist opening her up this time got an amazing 8 MPH be fore the bottle went but all in all a very good day with no dramas.

Here is the memsahib doing her thing check out the white knuckles

Well its time for trip 3 and this time we are going to do locks, out of the mariner turn right and on to the lock this one drops a whole 4 ft, tie up close the gates and let the water out, then stop and loosen the ropes, first mistake no one watching though so I got away with it with no damage done, on to the main river with the current and we are fair buzzing along, cruised along for about an hour or so then back. All in all quite a pleasant trip, not worthy of a log entry though.

Monday arrives, no work on so I decide to alter the galley again seeing as I have a new to me cooker now.

All the work done previously stripped out and the sink made to fit around the cooker, a friend of mine of many years and with whom I work has had to listen to me ramble on about how relaxing boating is, so under the pretence of offering him a free trip.

He came along; fool there is no such thing as a free trip within minutes I had him jumping about opening locks and generally getting him hot and bothered, oh and by the way we finished up doing the cooker together, but he said he enjoyed it see what did I tell you Fool. He firmly believes that the man who wears the captainís hat is God, well on my boat thatís true unless the memsahib is on board then god takes a back seat if he knows whatís good for him

We decided to go up the Trent and Mersey canal for a couple of miles just to let him have a go. What a pretty stretch of water that is, and god made him a brew I bet that made him feel humble, cant wait for bank holiday Monday he and his wife are coming for a proper cruise 2 slaves to order about, as said before the memsahib is on board so Ill take a back seat thank you, and as someone says on the forum 4 beers please and my friend will pay. What is it someone said? Power corrupts; Absolute power corrupts absolutely, how true that is.

Bryun's completed a new canopy for "Pollyanna"  and he's willing to share his secret with others.....



More pictures to follow