This page is devoted to pictures and information relating to my own Norman
If you have taken the time to read the "Voyage Home" page, you will already be aware of how I came to buy "Bona Dea", a Norman 23. I was sold the boat as a 24 and the man from "Coverit" told me the truth!! So for those that already know, skip this paragraph!
I spent hours combing the internet, magazines and newspapers and eventually came up with a shortlist of three or four likely looking craft. These were an Ormelite, a Trentcraft, a Norman 24 and an Estwood 24. The Eastwood was sold from under me by a mob at Chesterfield. The Ormelite turned out to be a bit of a wreck and the Trentcraft, although an unusual attractive design with a good layout, sadly had a petrol engine. I was extremely tempted by this boat “Perseus” although I got a distinct feeling the Rob, who was selling the boat, was somewhat pressured by “she who must be obeyed” and would be less than cheerful parting with it! Anyway, I had resolved to have an inboard diesel. That found me weaving my way to Mills Dockyard at Trent Lock where I met one Denny Brown who had a Norman 24 named Bona Dea for sale at £5,250. This seemed to meet most of my initial criteria and following a bit of haggling we agreed on £4,600. This was to include a full term safety certificate and the cost of the mooring until I could move it home to Yorkshire.
This is Bona Dea virtually as I bought her.
And these are of a sight we became all too familiar with !
Mind you, I have a liking for this picture taken on the way at Cromwell Lock.
Once I got her home to Yorkshire I made arrangements to put her in a dry dock at Shepley Bridge to get a good look at the hull and have the Enfield drive checked out.
Since then I have spent a lot of time on the hull and superstructure. Cleaned and rubbed down the lot and used nearly five litres of International Brightside making her shiny white. That's making no mention of the amount of fibreglass and gel coat filler I used!!
Then I had a very expensive experience with "Protectakote". For those who have not seen this stuff, it is a paint with rubber granules added, supposedly very tough and hard wearing for walk areas, roofs etc. When applying it you are generous with it but it does not go very far. I had bought or asked for 5 litres and ended up with three 2 litre cans. It also suggests two coats minimum. I used it on the gunnels and the roof and ended up with three different shades of blue!!! I contacted the supplier who told me that the manufacturers did not batch number runs so shades might vary, tough!! Fortunately I had enough left to put a thin coat of the same colour all around. Now I have to admit that it does a good job and looks well. I took her back to the dry dock to paint most of the hull and antifoul as well. I polished all the white paintwork using "Mer" and it looks OK. A fellow passing once commented that it looked like the original gel coat! I have also replaced the plastic vents with the stainless steel and perspex ones that we see so many of. I got these cheaply at the Humberside Boat Jumble. I've also fitted new navigation lights and a stern light which it did not have. Corner fenders have been added to the stern. I have three major items of expense to consider. A new canopy would be nice although, at a pinch, the one already on will last another season. I need a fridge and it seems it has to be electric only. (see "Lessons Learned" section) I do not have any hot water or heating apart from a radiator which only works when the engine is running. Should I invest in a calorifier? Spend a grand on that webasto diesel heating??? I don't know yet.
While I was wandering aimlessly around a camping and caravan centre hoping for an inspirational bargain, as we boaty types often tend to forlornly do, I spotted a radiant gas heater being offered for £50. On the box it actually says "for outdoor use only" !! I grilled the salesman for some time about this as it seemed a ridiculously small affair to heat the great outdoors. Now whether or not you accept this logic is up to you, but what he said was that by putting this the manufacturers protected themselves from any accidental misuse and that they were made for using in tents. I told the fella that I was wanting a heater for a small cabin cruiser and he reckoned I would have no problem with this as the boat must be vented anyway to use the cooker which made a kind of sense. To cut a long story a bit shorter, I bought one. It runs off smallish cans of LPG of which there do not appear to be any Calor equivalents but, once again, I was assured that there would always be stocks of the fuel. If you have read my latest tale you will see from there that it proved to be extremely successful and turned freezing cold damp times into very civilised comfortable times.
On a totally different and non-norman subject, back in September I had a week on the Lock-less Norfolk Broads along with the Bosun and his good wife, Liz. I personally have always preferred the traditional wooden broads boats as against these wonderful new shining palaces with every conceivable home comfort. No I'm not the sort of person who enjoys willingly depriving myself of life's little comforts, I just like these boats. Once again if you read the "Voyage Home" you would see that years ago we cruised and a whole selection of traditional wooden cruisers.
Here are a couple of pictures of the insides I discovered lurking amongst the reams of pictures I now have.
I have now installed a Waeco RPA-40: 40l hold-over accumulator cabinet fridge, the "accumulator bit means that, after running, you have up to 12 hours use without the batteries. Just the job for overnight.