Model : Norman 266
Cockpit : Rear
Year : 1982
Engine & Fuel : Diesel inboard
Capacity : 45 hp
Stern Drive : Volvo stern drive
Fridge : Electrolux
Calorifier : Yes
Gas Water Heater : Yes
Warm air heater : Yes, Gas
Shower : Yes
Toilet : Portapotti
Also has VHF Radio, GPS and an Alarm.
We have a mooring on the Lancaster canal which appears to go from very quiet to very busy with little in between. Our original goal was to have a costal cruiser with the challenge of eventually reaching to the Isle of Man from Preston. After looking at various vessels in Preston, Liverpool, Windermere!! and loads of web sites it was obvious that inexperience and not wanting to have our limited leisure time controlled by the tides we (the wife) decided that a couple of years “learning the ropes” close to home would be a good idea. The 40 miles of lock free water and ease of access of the Lancaster Canal seemed to be a good choice for a novice. With 2 children to accommodate and wanting to make good use of the boat we went looking for a suitable vessel. It soon became evident that finding a boat and mooring on the Lancaster was not as easy as it appeared. We came across a boat that hadn’t been used for a couple of years (due to the owners ill health) it was the right size but the cost and amount of work that seemed to be needed put us off. 2 months of looking later we returned to the first one we looked at “Sunquest” a Norman 266 We were aware there was a big cleaning job to b done and suspected that we would find some hidden problems but by the evening of the second 12 hour cleaning day all seemed ok but we moved into the last big area the toilet / shower. The design of this area confuses me, white padded walls with a shower head and a sink with no taps!!
Unfortunately we found that what the survey comment “evidence of some water leakage in the toilet” actually meant as a large padded panel disintegrated into black crumbly splinters following a vigorous clean. The picture shows were the panel was fitted around the leaking corner of the window but the fibreglass is surprisingly clean. The side window wasn’t leaking to any noticeable extent but was constantly dripping from the corner when it rained. Cleaning the small amount of moss in the gutter made matters worse and so we are looking to re-ferb the side windows (the rubbers looked a bit past their best so this was on the list to do but not this year) before going for a complete boarding out of the toilet with more functional fittings.
The next weekend we continued the clean up “t” cutting the exterior which took off most of the embedded grime and once we get some polish on the outside will look a treat. However (as always) we found that some of the deck fittings had been “patched up” with clear silicon and looking closely inside there was evidence of some water getting through. So off to the chandlers for some mastic tape 2 hours later the rails were back on and seem watertight.
3 weeks after having bought her we hadn’t been out of the marina, which probably isn’t such a surprise as she is one of the largest boats 27ft long 9.5ft wide with an 8ft plus air draft. My concern was bridges and visibility but a quiet Sunday on the canal and with some encouragement off we went. The marina exit looked very small and there was little visibility up the canal but this was negotiated OK. The first “test” was to attempt to moor up, the family had practiced this drill and all went smoothly however we were “grounded” on the side of the canal by a deep extended rudder that had been fitted to the stern drive. Eventual we were able to push off after lifting the stern gear but another job was added to the list.
The boat performed very well on the next leg but as we rounded the corner the dreaded first bridge loomed up with some trepidation we lined up (luckily there was a good line of sight on the other side) and with some relief thru we went my wife reporting on the clearance which was about a foot. Rather than tempt fait with another bridge we did a couple of practice moorings a 3 point turn and returned to the marina. The marina entrance seemed even smaller than the exit probably due to the small crowd gathered on the side however we went through without incident and with some “well done” comments on the “maiden voyage” but relief was short lived. Our mooring approached, It seemed tiny the boat seemed to develop a mind of its own and after 10 mins of fighting around we went again. This time a small “appreciative” audience had gathered at the marina’s exit and entrance but further embarrassment was saved by a very helpful couple who guided us in after grabbing our ropes. We thanked our helpers locked up and made our way home quickly.
We have spoken to several window / seal suppliers about re-ferbing the side windows and hope to have this and the toilet refit completed before winter sets in. The overall plan is to make the boat a family weekender and use the quiet winter months to get some decent boatmanship practice. If we could find someone in the area to do some formal training on our boat we would be happier but this is proving difficult.