True Blue – 60ft Electric E Line Bespoke Narrowboat

Steve and Jill started their journey with us by visiting our workshops where they viewed our boats in build to gain some  further ideas on layouts and the cabin space.  However, they loved the layout of Coffin Dodger with the single dinettes and were especially attracted to the idea of a short bow as this increased their internal cabin area as it is to be a live-aboard in the future.  Although they loved the U shape stern seating area, they opted for a slight change to their build.  Building our own bespoke steelwork allows us to design each and every hull to suit individual requirements

Steve was very interested in electric propulsion together with a large bank of lithum batteries, therefore, whilst planning the narrowboat we looked into various electric propulsion/hybrid options and together we chose the Vetus E Line system.  The Vetus E Line system consists of an 11kw electric motor with a 6.5 kva slow speed diesel generator for when the 1950 watts of solar power are not sufficient in charging the batteries. With some meticulous planning and discussions we agreed to accommodate the 8 x 200 ah Victron lithum batteries under each of the dinette seats.  This prevents the additional weight at the stern and balances the weight evenly port to starboard. The dinette dismantles should there be any need to access the batteries or the fuses in the years that follow

On her maiden voyage to Crick Boat Show in May, True Blue was cruised by her proud owners, Steve and Jill for two days and arrived at the show with over half of the battery life still available! The generator wasn’t required to be started as the 1950 watts of solar panels were putting in sufficient power to run all of the domestic appliances on board.

We also discussed in detail the hull design and the interior layout together with their cruising plans. The hull design, the linings, materials and electrical/engineering equipment were discussed and finalised over a few meetings.  During the hull build we fabricatedour elegant square stern with a seating area across the back and side lockers, this is vastly becoming our most popular hull design allowing more area for socialising. 

Upon completion of the hull, True Blue was shot blasted to remove the mill scale and contaminants and a two pack epoxy primer was spray applied to the superstructure and a two pack epoxy blacking applied under the waterline. 

Following the installation of the ballast, under floor insulation, flooring, battening and spray foam to all areas within the cabin, the proposed layout was marked on the sub-base floor for Steve and Jill to walk through to ensure nothing needed altering or moving from the agreed design before we started working on the interior.  

It was during this visit we discussed and marked all of the electrical wiring to be fitted with the inclusion of TV aerials, wi-fi, solar panels etc.  The fitting of the lining and the bulkheads followed, whilst cabinetry was commenced together with the complex engineering.

Throughout the build Steve, Jill and Molly (their dog) visited regularly and we guided them through the various decisions that were made and various material choices through to the final furnishings and the metallic paint colour scheme, which they left in our very capable hands to bring the colours together.  

The electrical system on True Blue consists of a Victron Energy 48V 10 kva Quattro, a Victron Energy 3600w isolation transformer, Cerbo GX touch screen battery management system displaying the input from the batteries and the solar panels and the power comsumption, there are also three Victron Energy DC convertors transferring from 48V to 12V.

The 10 kva Quattro simply converts DC (battery) power into AC power and then passes it along to connected equipment and is connected to an AC power source to continuously charge the attached batteries when AC utility power is available.   

The 3600W isolation transformer prevents electrolytic corrosion and above all serves as a device to guarantee a safe electric system. Soft start circuitry will ensure that the shore circuit breaker will not trip when plugged in.

The Cerbo GX enables you to monitor and control the electrical system from anywhere, at any time.  It is a master remote system with real-time monitoring, historical analysis, remote access and control with the Victron Remote Monitoring (VRM) portal an VictronConnect app.

The GX 50 touch screen display provides Steve and Jill with an instant overview of their system whereby they can instantly monitor their battery’s state of charge, power consumption, power harvest from solar panels, generator, and mains and temperature measurements. They can also easily control the shore power input current limit, auto start/stop generator or change any setting to optimise the system.

The Victron DC – DC Converters take the 48V DC voltage from the batteries and modifies it to product a lower 12V DC. There is a dedicated DC converter for the lighting and the remaining two DC converters power the shower pump, Webasto heating and water pump.

The two 250/60 Victron MPPT solar controllers gather energy from the 13 x 150W solar panels and stores it in the lithum batteries. The solar panels are wired in series and split between two banks of solar.  Having 1950w of solar should avoid having to use the generator frequently in the summer months.

Towards the end of the build, True Blue was moved into our paint workshop where we spray applied high build finishing primers, undercoats with non slip coatings to the gunnels and metallic top coats in Alexseal.  An acrylic urethane clear coat system was applied over the metallic top coats and offers a very high gloss and exceptional depth of image.  It also offers excellent colour stability values and additional resistance to UV rays, salt water, abrasion and fuel. The acrylic urethane Alexseal top coat provides a buffable finish from tree damage and scratches that can be buffed and polished back to its original condition.  The stunning graphics have been reproduced from Steve’s tuna fishing business and perfected by our local graphics company.  

To complete the professionalism True Blue has been inspected by an independent marine surveyor and certified with a RCD to approve all the requirements have been met throughout the build.  

True Blue on her way to Crick Boat Show 2024

Why we chose Bluewater Boats, by Steve and Jill Porter

Originally in the market for a second-hand narrowboat to take the place of our previously owned share boat, Jill and I found ourselves at The Crick Boat Show in May 2023.

During the show we viewed many of the new boats on display and realised that having a boat built for us would be a better option than buying a used vessel.

Bluewater had two boats in the show and we couldn’t help but be impressed by the build quality of both boats.  For us though, although build quality is very important, our main reason for choosing Bluewater came from talking to the owners of their vessels on display.  Both owner couples explained how Bluewater Boats build their boats from scratch.  They don’t buy in hulls, but fabricate their own on site. As a result Bluewater are able to cater for any design modifications that a customer might want.  Furthermore, their paintwork is second to none with great emphasis on preparing the steel hull for that important first coat of primer by shotblasting and removing any mill scale.  Something that you cannot guarantee has been done when a hull is fabricated and primed elsewhere.

The attention to detail in Bluewater Boat’s paintwork will provide protection to the hull for years to come and the superior finish on the topsides will ensure True Blue continues to look good for years to come.  Something we have seen evidence of in some of Bluewater’s previous boats.

The feedback that Jill and I received from previous Bluewater customers about their positive build experience has proven to be well justified.  Our experience throughout the build has been very positive indeed.  David and Sharon always made us welcome during the build and were always available to talk through our ideas and/or concerns. 

Such has been the relationship during the build, that Jill and I don’t really feel like customers anymore. We feel like friends.