Say 'Hello' to the Charnwood Hobbit!

8th May 2024

The Ovation Open Day began with Chris Williams, Darren, Carol & Julia, welcoming in a steady flow of visitors, all eager to see the three current boats for sale........ in person!

Top of the list was the electric propulsion Charnwood Hobbit who didn't disappoint, but as always, once the Charnwood Edge and Bliss were viewed, with so much choice, the dilemma started!! Which do I like the best!!?

The Charnwood Hobbit still needs a few minor points finishing off, but, along with the Charnwood Edge will be entering the water at the end of this week.

As both boats will be travelling to Crick by water, via Leicester and Foxton Locks, there will be plenty of opportunity to watch them pass and give them a wave!

Should you like to view these boats before they leave for Crick you'll need to get a move on! Contact Chris Williams on 07963 974 793 or email to make an appointment!


Rear seating convertible into double sleeping
Rear steps with warm air blower vents

Handmade vanity unit
Walk through shower and into galley area

Galley with oak worktop and full cooker
Diesel Bubble stove and day seating/ sleeping

A comfortable way to holiday and travel

Meet the (new) team!

8th May 2024

Since Crick 2023, there's been some changes to the Ovation Team!

17year old Dominic joined the team in September 2023 having enrolled on an architectural joinery course at Derby College, whilst at the other end of the spectrum, Mike Hutley, an experienced cabinet maker, and his faithful friend Jess, arrived in February 2024!

With 'all hands to the pump' so to speak, the team have been busily getting on with preparing the boats for Crick, but not satisfied at being the only canine on the team, Jess insisted on having her own Ovation jacket............and doesn't she look smart!!

You can meet Jess and all the Ovation Team at Crick, but if you're planning on saying 'hello' make sure you have a few treats in your pocket for Jess!

If you would like to view any of the boats in our workshop before they leave for Crick, you can call Chris Williams direct on 07963 974 793 or email

Chris Williams

Mike Hutley

Mike, taking a break with Jess
Jess is ready for Crick!

OPEN DAY - meet our latest Charnwood Edge!

2nd May 2024

With the Crick Boat Show just around the corner, the Ovation Boats Team are having an open day at Redhill Marina NG11 0EB on Saturday, 4 May (10-4pm) to unveil the two boats they're taking to Crick.
Our 60ft Charnwood Edge is a versatile, 60ft, narrowboat with semi cruiser stern. It was built specifically for Crick and incorporates lots of practical & tasteful features our customers ask for!
Currently for sale, this beautiful boat comes with a cratch cover and pram cover included, so, if you're fed up with living life in the fast lane, why not jump the boat building queue and grab yourself a bargain!? With a price tag of £159,950 this Charnwood Edge is a bargain not to be missed!             
For further details please call Chris Williams direct on 07963 974 793 or email
Solid oak worktops
Ample lounge space
L shaped dinette convertible into double sleeping
Large shower cubicle
Compoost toilet & handmade vanity unit
William Morris Willow Bough soft furnishings
Day seating/ two single beds/ or King sized bed
Plenty of storage

Open Day - Saturday, 4 May 2024

1st May 2024

View-from-rear-looking forward
View from rear looking forward
Looking towards rear entrance

Fixed seating convertible to double sleeping
Large walk through shower room

Hand built galley
Full size cooker

Ample galley storage
Forward cabin

Charnwood Hobbit - the paintwork is almost complete!

19th April 2024

The exterior paintwork on our all electric 'Charnwood Hobbit' is almost complete, and now sporting the popular colour combination of greys and black, is looking very smart indeed!

Jon, you've done an excellent job!!

Jon painting the cabin top
Main colour now complete

Darker grey and coachline done!

Crick 2024 - almost ready to GO!

19th April 2024

Benjamin Franklin once said, 'if you want something done, ask a busy person!'

The logic is that busy people are better able to manage their time, are more effective in weighing up how long a task will take and the better they become at getting things done because they don't waste time.

This can certainly be said about the Ovation Team but in addition, each of our Team are passionate about narrowboats, love what they do and have a sense of pride in every boat they build!

Bespoke storage
Modern galley

Light and airy
Sadly, Ian is not included!!!

Popular grey theme with red coachline

'Grace' and 'Janus' - A family get together!

4th April 2024

With so many Ovation Boats' continually cruising the UK inland waterways, it's inevitable that at some point the paths of these boats will cross.

We may be biased but our customers are definitely the nicest & friendliest on the cut, and when they see 'a sister' boat they're likely to stop off, moor alongside, and swap stories!

'Grace' and 'Janus' with owners Rob & Karen and Nelly & Pip recently did this before heading off for pastures new......or should that be 'waters!?'

'Grace' is now moored near Gargrave on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, and being in the centre of the Yorkshire Dales, Karen & Rob are contemplating lots of walks! Let's just hope it doesn't get too boggy!

Many thanks to Rob Bent for providing such wonderful photos! You can follow 'Grace' and 'Janus' on Facebook!

'Grace' - (Boomers on Board)

'Janus' - (The Adventures of Narrowboat 'Janus' aka @theadventuresofnarrowboatjanus) 


'Grace' moored with 'Janus'

Pip (left) & Karen catching up!

Latest 'Charnwood Choice' 2024!

4th April 2024

With two of our three current boats attending Crick in May, it's time to start planning the arrival of a new commission boat ........due after Crick, for fit-out beginning the start of June!

To say the team are excited is an understatement, as this yet unnamed boat has many innovative features!

At 61ft, this Eurocruiser is a combination between Dutch barge and traditional style narrowboat,  with wrap around seating at the rear and to maximise interior cabin space a Dutch barge style bow to replace the well deck.

The interior will be a reverse layout, but that's where any similarity to our previous boats ends! Fit-out will mainly be walnut, with an oak floor, and heating will be underfloor, with a solid fuel stove taking pride of place!!

The steel baseplate was put down a couple of weeks ago and the shell, as you can see, is coming together nicely!

If you have a dream boat swirling around in your head and need a bespoke builder, whether in shell or fit-out, please call Chris Williams on 07963974793 or email to discuss your ideas!

We have the skills & expertise to make your dream a reality and with one remaining build slot this year, you too could be living the dream very soon!!

Base plate going down

Coming along!
Dutch barge style bow

'Ash' - crossing the River Trent

22nd March 2024

It was time to move 'Ash' from Redhill Marina to Trent Lock, and with the River Trent being swollen by recent rainfall, it was an ideal time to put both electric and diesel propulsion to the test.............and this hybrid engine passed with flying colours!!

Starting off from Redhill Marina, Darren used the diesel engine to turn 'Ash' around at the weir, before changing to electric propulsion for the short stretch onto the Trent. As you can hear, the difference between the two propulsion systems is quite noticeable and, had it not been for a resident at the shoreline pressure washing his slabs, the electric cruising experience would have been perfect!

With the flow on the River Trent being particularly strong, Darren changed seamlessly from electric to diesel propulsion, again, demonstrating the differences in engine sound.


On feeding onto the Erewash Canal, Darren reverted back to electric propulsion and, just to show how clever 'Ash' is, he skilfully reversed into the dry dock using the boat's remote control device!! (actually, we weren't sure who was showing off more......'Ash' or Darren!!!)

Rachel & Karl will soon be taking ownership of their beautiful boat but they'd better be quick............because Darren has 'Ash' in his sights and may very well 'boatnap' her!!!

If you're currently planning your own dream boat, or would like to discuss any of the features demonstrated on 'Ash', you can call Chris Williams direct on 07963 974 793 or email


Ash has a semi traditional stern

Ash - the benefits of hybrid!

21st March 2024

In today's world of green energy and the need to protect our planet for future generations, the boating world and canal system is no different and doing it's best to keep pace.

With so many people asking about the various propulsion options, especially hybrid engines, the Ovation Team are happy to oblige whenever asked!

With 'Ash' out on the water and almost ready for handover, Darren (who loves anything electric)  was more than happy to demonstrate the differences between 'Ash's' diesel & electric propulsion, and, as you can hear, there IS quite a difference!

If you haven't yet made a decision as to the propulsion system on your dream boat, Chris Williams (or Darren) are more than happy to take you through all the options and benefits!

We will be taking a fully electric 'Charnwood Hobbit' (Arfer) to the Crick boat show for you to view at the end of May, as well as a conventional engine 'Charnwood Edge'! Both of these boats are currently for sale.

For further details on 'Ash' or any of the boats in our workshop, you can call Chris Williams direct on 07963 974 793, or email


'Ash' - ready-for-testing!
'Ash' ready for testing!
Lithium batteries below rear steps

Ash - electics
Ash electics

Ash - and remote control steering!

21st March 2024

With remote control systems becoming a frequent part of our everyday lives, doesn't it make sense for these to transfer into the boating world!?

When travelling through locks, especially when single crewed or the gates are particularly heavy for one person, there's sometimes a need for everyone to get off the boat, leaving it unmanned.

This isn't usually problematic but, once in a while, boats can be found drifting aimlessly on the river or  just out of reach of their frantic owners, having been left unmanned for only a moment.

With this ultimate remote control device, (as demonstrated beautifully by Darren) any fears of a drifting boat can be put to rest, and just like a model plane or boat, a narrowboat can be manoeuvred safely back to the owner! (as long as you turn the isolator on!)

If considering having your own boat built and would like to discuss a remote control system, you can call Chris Williams direct on 07963974793 or email

Ash is ready to go!

'Ash' - internal tour & system review

21st March 2024

'Ash' is the latest boat to leave the Ovation stable but whilst the weather isn't quite sure what it's doing, 'Ash' has no doubts about the next stage of her journey!

A delight to behold and sporting the latest technology, with the assistance of the Ovation Team, Rachel & Karl have turned their dream vision into a reality!

The final stages of fit-out are now complete and Rachel & Karl will be moving in and heading off very soon!

Before Ash leaves us, take a tour around the inside, and also see her technology in operation.

If you would like further details about 'Ash' or any of the boats currently in our workshop, you can speak to Chris Williams direct on 07963 974 793 or email

If you'd prefer to visit in person feel free to contact Chris to arrange a convenient date & time.

We will be taking an all electric 'Charnwood Hobbit' (Arfer) to the Crick Boat Show at the end of May along with a more conventional 60ft 'Charnwood Edge'. Both boats are currently for sale and will be sold at Crick, if not before!


Inside 'Ash'

Ash - on the water at last!

14th March 2024

The Ovation Team took 'Ash' out on the water for the first time this week and she'll be handed over to her proud new owners within the next couple of weeks!

We'll be posting an interior video and pictures in a few days, so keep a lookout for those, but call Chris williams direct on 07963 974 793 or email should you need any further details about 'Ash' or any of the boats currently in the Ovation workshop

'Ash' is looking good!

Henry....passing with Distinction!

1st March 2024

In February, our longest serving apprentice, Henry Jones, was presented with a certificate of achievement for successfully completing a two year course at Derby College in 'Carpentry & Joinery' (Architectural Joinery) for which he received a distinction!

Henry joined the Ovation Team in 2021 aged 16years after turning up at the workshop asking for a job & holding a CV that had everyone stunned!

Henry was passionate about engines and had been buying up, stripping down and rebuilding engines since the age of 7years. In addition, he was a skilled yachtsman and was refurbishing his own 21ft Caprice sailing boat............... but he wanted to learn about narrowboats!

Although Henry is a much valued member of the team he'll soon be sailing off with the Outside Your Zone crew to Australia in two sailing yachts of 32 & 38ft.

We'll keep you  updated with their progress!

Henry (centre) with Darren and Chris Williams
A distinction no less!

The Crick Boat is coming together!

1st March 2024

The Ovation Team have been kept busy again this week preparing & fitting out the two boats due at Crick in May ('Charnwood Hobbit' and 'Charnwood Edge') but before work started on Monday we took a short tour around the 60ft Charnwood Edge!

For further details of the boats currently in our workshop call Chris Williams direct on 07963974793 or email

Galley with solid oak worktop
Versatile forward cabin

'L' shaped dinette
Plenty of storage

Hobbit & Bliss!

25th February 2024

Saturday, 24 February 2024, found Chris Williams, Julia & John beavering away at the Redhill workshop to get some of those little jobs done which a full compliment of workers doesn't easily allow.

With coffee and cakes provided, everyone got on with their respective jobs before heading back home to watch the 6 Nations Rugby.........and yes, England lost to Scotland......... again!! Doh!

Take a sneak preview of the electric propulsion system in our 42ft 'Charnwood Hobbit' then see how 'Bliss' is coming along! 

Being a traditional stern there's maximum capacity inside 'Bliss' and at 70ft with two toilets, is ideal for family living.

For full details of the boats we have in our workshop or if you would like to visit in person, call Chris Williams direct on 07963974793 or email

Hobbit electric propulsion

Boat Life Show - 2024!

19th February 2024

Boat Life Show 2024

Friday, 16 February started early but relaxed as Ovation Boats’ Chris Williams and Julia headed off for a day at the Birmingham NEC Boat Life Show.

Arriving just as the show was opening, they immediately bumped into Justin and Emma Green (ABNB), before a quick tour to get their bearings.

This years’ boat show had an abundance of coastal vessels and paraphernalia but, with narrowboats never far from their thoughts, it was inevitable they’d drift off towards Hall 17 and the inland waterways Zone.

A quick coffee and catch-up with Crick Boat Show Manager, Ian Sharpe, was first on the agenda before Chris & Julia headed towards the Lynch Motor Company stand to say ‘hello’ to ‘Mr Lynch’ himself, Trevor Lees. Lynch have provided the motor for the ‘Charnwood Hobbit’, a 42ft fully electric narrowboat being shown by Ovation at Crick.

Trevor Lees from Lynch Motor Company

Chris & Julia then moved on to speak with Pete Bambury, Sales Executive of Fischer Panda. With more and more people enquiring about electric propulsion, an efficient & convenient way to extend cruising time is by way of charging ‘on the go’, whether solar panels or generators. Ovation are currently in discussion with Fischer Panda about generator charging for future ‘Charnwood Hobbits’.

Chris at Fischer Panda
Chris with Pete Bambury Sales Executive

At 1.45pm a much-needed break was called for, and with ‘Cruising the Cut’ blogger David Johns doing a presentation on the main stage, Chris & Julia watched with Justin & Emma Green who’d also decided they needed a break!

Waiting for 'Cruising the Cut' presentation

Back to the ABNB stand
Barry & Hannah Caldwell with Chris

Crick 2024 - the top coat continues!

19th February 2024

Do you remember back in the day when the only form of entertainment available to break the monotony of the working day was a transistor radio, well, with the first top coat on the yet unnamed 60ft 'Charnwood Edge' almost complete,  John Henty is getting through quite a few episodes of his favourite podcasts and books!

Honestly, youngsters today don't know they're born!! (but keep going, John, you're doing a grand job!!)

John: Enjoying his books whilst painting!

Charnwood Hobbit for Crick 2024....... has arrived!

7th February 2024

The first day of February 2024 coincided with the arrrival of the first of our all electric 'Charnwood Hobbit' range. 

The 'Hobbit' comes in a range of four boat lengths: 27ft, 32ft, 37ft & 42ft, and is very similar in concept to that of an all electric car, giving around 2 days of cruising before needing a charge, whether by returning to base or planned excursion to a Marina charge point. As an alternative, the cruising range can be extended with on-board solar and/ or generator.

Of course, as a bespoke boat builder, there is always the option for a conventional diesel engine, if preferred.

'Arfer' has arrived!
Darren's on the case!

Crick 2024 - Top coat going on!

7th February 2024

With the Ovation Team taking two boats to Crick this year, a total of four narrowboats are currently being fitted out at the Redhill workshop!

As all Ovation Boats are hand painted that means the paint brushes & rollers are well and truly out!!

Here we see John Henty in the paint booth, carefully rollering on the first layer of top coat onto our yet unnamed 60ft 'Charnwood Edge', whilst the affectionately named 'Arfer', our 42ft, all electric 'Charnwood Hobbit', is in the main workshop being prepared for the insulation.


John: carefully does it!
Applying a two pack epoxy top coat

'Bliss' - check out our project boat!

7th February 2024

'Bliss' has been quietly moving forward with her fit-out and is coming on nicely. Already her bulkheads are in, and the interior is really beginning to take shape.

This quality, 70ft shell, originally built in 2004 by Measham Boats, has been totally stripped out and prepared, and is now being given a brand new fit-out for some lucky person to savour and enjoy!!

But why fit out an older boat when people want NEW!!!???

Well, believe it or not, there are some people who like a bargain...........and 'Bliss' is certainly that!

Measham Boats are respected boat builders for quality & lines, and with a steel specification of 10mm base plate, 6mm hull sides and 5 cabin sides & top, (not to mention a long, 'head turning' well deck) this is a shell that was built as a classic, and to last!

The interior, leading from the front:



Pullman dinette

Main double bedroom

Walk through shower room

Versatile area (option for fixed seating with table/ two single beds/ one double bed)

Utility area with toilet and laundry

For further details about 'Bliss', or any of our Charnwood range of boats, call Chris Williams on 07963 974 793 or email

Long well deck for socialising
Reconditioned Barrus Shire engine

Good access to header tanks
Convenient electrical access

Pullman dinette

Shower room

A new generation and creating memories!

5th February 2024

As we get older, life always seems to get in the way of having fun, but at Ovation Boats not only do we build boats, we build memories too!

Whenever the opportunity arises Chris Williams and Julia will take their 40ft traditional narrrowboat, 'Florrie', out for a spin, and if the kids & grandkids want to come along too then so much the better!

Chris, Ayla and Jackie

Chris's love for narrowboats and the UK canal system began as a London schoolboy, when an inspirational teacher took a group of lads out on a canal boat...........Chris never looked back!

For the the grandchildren though, their first experiences of boating started much younger, and on each subsequent trip, the memories grow!

Steady as she goes
Ayla is learning fast

With some basic instruction under her belt, 10 year old Ayla was soon confidently steering 'Florrie' towards The Wharf Inn for Sunday lunch, followed by a cuppa from 'Florrie's' side doors before heading back to the mooring!

Anyone for tea??

Crick 2024 - painting the cabin top

2nd February 2024

All Ovation boats are hand painted, and so with lead carpenter, Ian Shepherd, working hard on the inside, our painter, John, can be seen applying the first coat of a two pack epoxy top coat to the cabin top.

Lead carpenter, Ian Shepherd

Using International Perfection Pro undercoat and top coat gives a hard protective covering to the steel whilst also providing a high gloss finish.

John - Painting-the-cabin-top
John Painting the cabin top
Ovation boats are hand painted

Crick Boat 2024 - lined out!

29th January 2024

The as yet unnamed 60ft 'Charnwood Edge' being prepared for Crick 2024 is now lined out and ready for some bulkheads to go in.

As you can see the interior colour scheme consists of the ever popular cream cabin top and upper cabin sides, with light grey panelling below the gunnels.......................


Cabin top
Lined out 1

Lined out 2

Crick Boat 2024 - moving forward!

23rd January 2024

Foam sprayed and lining out
Primer coat

With the new 'Charnwood Hobbit' (42ft) due into the workshop within the next couple of weeks, the Ovation Team have been working hard to progress both the internal & external fit-out of the Crick 2024 'Charnwood Edge'.

Preparing for undercoat
Semi cruiser stern

Like Saul Goodman II, this current 'Charnwood Edge' is being built specifically for Crick and is available for sale now.

It's always exciting to see how a boat develops, so we'll be keeping you updated on a regular basis but should you require any further details on the 'Charnwood' range of boats or our project boat 'Bliss', you can speak with Chris Williams direct on 07963 974793 or email