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The 57ft MYTH

ABNB frequently gets requests from buyers
for details of craft no longer than 57ft
- should they limit themselves?

Does size matter?

ABNB frequently gets requests for details of craft no longer than 57ft. When a prospective customer is asked why 57ft is the magic number the answer is invariably based on a mistaken belief that 57ft is the maximum length narrowboat that will permit you to go anywhere you like on the whole connected waterway system of England and Wales. Not so. In fact, to be strictly correct 40ft is the maximum if you wish to cruise the last few hundred yards of the Little Ouse River to the town of Brandon in Norfolk.

Excluding that small anomaly those in the know generally contend that 58ft 6in is possible for whole system. 60ft will enable coverage of almost all and 62ft will get you through most of it except the Calder & Hebble, the Huddersfield Broad Canal, River Derwent and the Ripon Canal (including Yorkshire Ouse above York), which is why there are so many 62ft boats on the system. ABNB did have one boat on brokerage in 2006 that measured 59ft 11in and whose home mooring was on the Calder & Hebble, although the owners admitted it was a tight fender lifting squeeze at a number of locks. And it is worth remembering that a full length 70 footer will get you round a great deal of the system with all the extra living space it offers.

Your views are always welcome as is any additional useful information you have gained on this matter.


For more information on lock sizes/restrictions see our page based on Bradshaw's Canals & Navigable Rivers.


Just think that a 70ft boat gives 13ft more space!

ABNB Ltd, Crick Wharf, West Haddon Road, Crick, Northampton, NN6 7XT

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