A Difficult Decision

After dewinterising Polly Anna in February 2004, fixing the central heating, fitting another radiator and fitting a new starting battery, thoughts turned to the need for having her taken out of the water by the end of the season, and what cruising plans we could make. However, my work as freelance was causing me some financial worries, as two regular sources of work had dried up, and it was likely that what work I would get this coming year would be during school holiday times. With great regret we decided to get the boat valued to see how much money we would need to spend if we were to put her on the market.

I approached ABNB, as I was obliged to under the mooring agreement, and Paul Mundie made a trip out to see us while moored at Weedon on what was to turn out to be our last long weekend on Polly Anna. His valuation cheered us up, as he suggested putting the boat on the market for an amount that covered our purchase price plus the professional work done on the shower. To cut a painful story short, after a few days tidying things up and a week or so for the details to be published, the boat was sold to the third person that viewed it! It seems that there is a particular demand for boats big enough to live aboard, and the work done on the shower and the toilet/washroom was well received. We had also chosen well not to start “modernising” the look of the interior as we would never have finished the job.

Polly Anna was handed over to her new owner by Fiona the week after Easter – I couldn’t be there as I was working away, so we couldn’t have used the two weeks school holidays then anyway.


I haven’t had the courage to sit down and do a proper audit, but it would be fair to say that we nearly broke even on the boat. Eight and a bit weeks of school holiday cruising in a six berth boat is the equivalent of around £8000 of hire fees – not to mention the numerous weekends away. Interest rates were at a record low for the time we were buying the boat, so we more than paid off the additional loan on the sale. We did a considerable amount of the work on the boat ourselves, but I got great deal of pleasure from it, although I would have preferred living nearer to the mooring. If we had kept the boat for another three years and resisted the temptation to have her professionally repainted we could have easily run to a significant profit, but been forced to take most of our holidays on the boat to do so – and Elizabeth keeps mentioning going somewhere on an aeroplane…..

It has been a great learning experience, and not too costly. We can now say that when we go continuously cruising, we will be much better prepared 🙂

Footnote 1 – September 2004

The decision to sell has proved correct – work is still a bit thin on the ground, but I did have jobs for the entire duration of the Easter and all but one week of the Summer Holidays. Oh, and interest rates are starting to climb. We had a week in Spain that cost lots more than hiring a narrowboat. After putting boating things to the back of my mind for a while – to ease the disappointment – I’m thinking about another trip on a hire boat now. I’m going to keep this site running because it is still getting hits, and we will probably call our next boat Polly Anna when we get her!

Footnote 2 – April 2020

We have been on a number of boating holidays since selling Polly Anna. We have moved house to be within walking distance of the Grand Union. Elizabeth has grown up and left home – but still joined us the last time we hired. Work has been very kind to me recently and we had been talking about when we could finally buy our next boat, what size it should be, and where we might moor it.

However, I sit and write this in lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus. The financial uncertainty caused by the current crisis means we can make no plans. The holiday we had booked on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is on hold this year, and we can’t even be certain that will be something we want to do next year – if you can’t get off the boat there is little point in travelling.

I’m going to add the logs of other boating trips to this site, and maybe, just maybe, introduce you to a new Polly Anna in a few years time.