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Forward control narrowboat

I am looking to buy a small canal boat. My initial aim was a 20 - 25ft cruiser. However, I have come across a beautiful 20ft trad narrowboat which would be ideal. The only problem is that the steering is done from inside the front of the cabin. If anyone has any experience of this type of control, I would be grateful to hear about it. I just can't see how you would reverse onto a jetty for example.

Asked by: Andy Tulloch  | 6.55pm, Friday 6 July

WW says:

If the boat is the one I think it is, it may well a Cygnet, build by Bettisfield Pleasure Boats- especially if it has an outboard motor, with a semi-permanent double berth in the stern, galley/bathroom amidships, and single dinette and steering position forward, to port.
If you can send a picture, or more details to mark.langley@waterwaysworld.com we might be able to give more details about that boat.
Steering from the front is a learned art- but easy enough once you get the hang of it! reversing into a jetty can be tricky, however it can be done- many forward steer boats on the Thames and Broad are much bigger- and if it is outboard powered, you can steer very easily astern, not just ahead!
As long as the steering cable (or pulley wire) is easy to move and not stiff, you should have a firly easy time of it.
Although you aren't outside steering, and enjoying the sunshine, interior steering can be very socialble- and dry (and warm) when its raining, of course, until you have to get out to work a lock!
However, if you like the boat- go for it! Small boats are good fun- and , as my colleague Rupert often says- it doesn't matter what boat you are in, the canal still looks the same!

Mark Langley  | 10.03PM, Friday 6 July

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