Luxury Day Boat – Water Vole is changing…
Poor Water Vole.
She was the least-loved of the four day boats at Union Wharf because she had cupboards that didn’t open and a toilet which only skinny people could use. She had a tiny water tank and narrow benches to sit on. Her engine had survived it’s last season in 2019 and then died.
If ever a day boat needed an overhaul, Water Vole was the one.
So over various lockdowns we began to empty her of things. Out came the fixtures and fittings. The floors. The steps. The wiring. The plumbing. The walls. The engine. We did what we do best – started from scratch, with a few crazy ideas and a vision to create something different.
Bit by bit, Water Vole has undergone a transformation and whilst we have a few weeks left on the project, this is where we are up to.
This boat – the first Boutique Day Boat – runs entirely on electricity. No more smelly fumes and noisy diesel engines to contend with; rather an incredibly quiet experience powered by a large battery bank which charges overnight at the hire base at Market Harborough.
We have put together the system state of the art components from industry-leading manufacturers. It means that Water Vole is uncannily quiet which is a serious bonus when you are wanting to spend a day in nature. The wildlife is much more forgiving if you pass through its landscape in hushed tones.
Unlike the longer Boutique Narrowboats, Water Vole is not for sleeping in. In some ways, this has made the interior easier to configure as we haven’t needed to think about beds or showers.
We have focused on a plan which makes the most of the space we do have and our talented joiner has turned the drawings into reality.
If you are familiar with our design style, you will recognise some of our signature touches in Water Vole. The standard day boat benches have given way to 19th century antique dining chairs and a faux marble table, creating a space perfect for inimate dining.
The onboard toilet is housed in a bespoke curved “pod,” cocooned in classic mid-century cladding. It is a tiny room but you no longer have to be freakishly skinny, and we’ve still made space for a small riverstone sink. The tongue and groove panelling is Farrow and Ball’s Setting Plaster.
The little kitchenette will have an real oak worktop and rattan shelves, with a whistling kettle to boil your morning coffee.
On the floor we are laying a beautiful vinyl parquet, which will withstand the riguers of towpath life. The radiators – a practical necessity because this boat will be hired all year round – are a design feature, too. On this boat we have chosen a charcoal finish.
And framing the intimate seating area for two are a pair of stunning contemporary brass downlights. Just the thing to set the scene as you clink those champagne glasses…
In total, Water Vole will seat 6 people very comfortably (sorry, no pets on this one.) We are taking bookings from May 2021.