Crick Boat 2024 - it could be YOU!!!!

9th December 2023

Although most people are still thinking about Christmas, the Ovation Team are planning ahead, and next week will welcome in one of two boats being taken to the Crick Boat Show in May 2024.

Crick boat 2024
60ft with semi cruiser stern

Keeping up to date - British Marine Autumn Conference 2023

4th December 2023

On Wednesday, 29 November 2023, Chris Williams & Julia from Ovation Boats attended the British Marine Inland Boating Autumn Conference at the Worcestershire County Cricket Club.

Chris & Julia with Justin Green (ABNB)
Chris with Justin & Emma Green (ABNB)

Entitled 'Navigating into the Future' attendees listened to a number of presentations (with subsequent question & answer sessions) on subjects which included 'Hydrogen Powered Narrowboats', 'CRT', 'Staff Recruitment & Retention' as well as 'Clean Marinas/ Codes of Practice'.

British Marine also gave details of their available courses as well as technical updates relating to Marinas & Boatyards, HSE Code of Practice, and Post Construction Assessment/ brokerage and decarbonisation.

Steve Furniss & Chris Williams

Now, you know the saying, 'all work & no play..........', well, after all that brain work, attendees who'd decided to stay over were able to meet up with old friends for a proper 'chin wag', and enjoy a wonderful three course dinner, followed by an hilarious, fun filled Quiz. (and NO, we didn't come last!!)

Quiz Time! Chris & Julia with Steve Furniss

Dominic - Ovation Boats' latest team member!

4th December 2023

Ovation Boats' latest team member is Dominic, who joined the company straight from school a few months back after contacting Chris Williams about an apprenticeship.

Looking good, Dom!

'Gypsy Spirit' - Tracey & Kelly's dream narrowboat is almost finished!

4th December 2023

Choosing the colour scheme for any narrowboat, along with the name, is a pretty serious business but as soon as the colours start coming together and the coach lines go on, a boat really starts taking on a character!

John taping up for the coachline


Black with red centre panel
Double glazed steel side doors in black

Black porthole and window frames

Bliss - and the engine is in!!!

22nd November 2023

Darren and Henry have been busy refitting the 50hp Barrus Shire engine into 70ft narrowboat 'Bliss'.

Darren & Henry

Always a cramped area when working on a traditional stern narrowboat but with these two, small spaces are never a problem!!

And it's in!!!
And it's in!!!

What's in a name??

22nd November 2023

For some time, the Ovation Boats' Team have been planning & designing a dream narrowboat with Tracey & Kelly, and with the build now well underway, what a dream she's turning out to be.............. but whilst most of the details for this little beauty were decided a long time ago, the name has proven a little trickier!!

Tracey & Kelly

We've all been there, haven't we............whether naming a new pet or baby, the name just has to be right........... and naming a new narrowboat is no different!

Dominic with.........?
John & Dominic

Creating the Crick Boat shell for 2024!

26th October 2023

Blaine with the Crick 2024 shell
HT Fabrications Chris at the stern of Crick 2024

Crick 2024 coming along nicely

It's not usually possible to buy a uniqe 'off the shelf' boat, but in 2022 Chris Williams decided to build a boat for Crick 2023 with the sole aim of selling at the show!

In the event, the Crick 2023 boat, ultimately named 'Saul Goodman II', was immediately snapped up thereby enabling the new owners to take off cruising as soon as Crick 2023 ended!

Crick boat 2023
'Saul Goodman II' our boat for Crick 2023

Could you see yourself in a galley like this?

'Bliss' - lined out & getting interesting!

25th October 2023


If you've been following the Ovation Boats news blogs you will know about our project boat 'Bliss' - a 70ft, traditional stern narrowboat, originally built in 2004 by Measham Boats. 

'Bliss' has been fully stripped out and cleaned back, the exterior grit blasted, including the baseplate, and her steelwork modified to bring her up to date enabling a more modern design and brighter and more pleasant living space.

With most of the unexciting preparatory work done,'Bliss'  is nearing the end of being lined out and is ready to be fitted-out!!


'Bliss' lounge area with sun roof
Lined out

On holiday with Ovation Boats - Banbury, then heading home!

25th October 2023

On their recent narrowboat holiday, Chris Williams & Julia left North Kilworth and headed to Banbury via Braunston, Napton and Cropredy.


The weather was perfect, being warm and sunny, which made for a very pleasant (and much needed) break away from the workshop!

They arrived in Banbury on the Sunday and headed off to find the Banbury Cross and 'fine lady upon a white horse!'

Did you know there were actually three Banbury Crosses!? Chris and Julia didn't know that either and as these are now long gone they were interested to see what had replaced them!! They found two crosses:

The most iconic of these was on a road island next to a beautiful statue of the said lady!

The fine lady, upon a white horse!
The story of Banbury Cross!

Do you see what I see!?

With exploration of Banbury completed, Chris & Julia headed back to 'Florrie the narrowboat' (and 'Flossie the cat') for a return trip and overnight stay at Cropredy........including an obligatory visit to one of the pubs.......... before heading back towards Leicestershire.

Overnight stay at Cropredy
Chris at his towpath office

With friends at Midland Chandlers Braunston
The beauty of the canal & it's history

Like the journey to Banbury, the route home was very relaxed and calming, but what a lovely surprise to bump in to old friends at Braunston Midland Chandlers!

Now, anyone who cruises around the canal system will know that with a few exceptions, other boaters are incredibly friendly and, after a lifetime on the boats, Chris Williams has assembled more friends than most!! Here we see Chris having breakfast with Midland Chandler's manager, Ashley (2nd from left) and Steve Furniss in the maroon shirt (Grand Union Narrowboats, Weedon) at Midland Chandlers, Braunston, where, incidentally, Steve's lovely wife, Steph, works (far left). My, they certainly had some catching up to do!!

Up the Watford flight
And up again to the top!

Heading away from Midland Chandlers through the Braunston Locks and tunnel, Chris & Julia arrived at the Watford flight where Julia operated the locks taking them up, up, & up to the top!

Once again a stop off at Crick was called for and another very pleasant evening was spent with Mike Reid.......who you may remember owns 'Carrie Louise'.

Can you guess where we are?

On holiday with Ovation Boats - Napton to Cropredy!

19th October 2023

Whilst the Ovation workshop is a pretty busy place, every now and again Chris Williams and Julia are able to slip off for a few days away with 'Flossie the cat' on their own narrowboat 'Florrie'!

Now, 'Florrie the narrowboat' may be old, and is certainly not as long as the 60ft liveaboards usually being fitted out at the workshop, but what she lacks in size she more than makes up for in character and manoeuvrability, and she still has everything needed for comfortable living and long, lazy holidays cruising the UK's inland waterways.

On their latest trip the weather was particularly balmy as Chris and Julia set off from North Kilworth in Leicestershire. The plan was to travel to Banbury in Oxfordshire, and back again. A leisurely journey which took 12 days in all, even though by road it would have taken a couple of hours at most.

Throughout those 12 days the route was beautiful and rural; they didn’t pass anything taller than the odd house and saw parts of the countryside (and its history) most people don't get to see! More importantly they got away from the hustle & bustle of 21st century life, with its roads, cars and stress and became at one with nature and its healing properties.

HS2 construction site
Breakfast under the lift bridge

In this video Chris and Julia travel along the Oxford Canal, passing through the massive HS2 linear construction site, (a project that only a couple of weeks later was announced as having the northern section after Birmingham, cancelled) through Clayton and on to Cropredy where they joined in the fun at the ‘Rock on the Lock’ music festival and won a box of beer in the raffle!!!

Charity Rock on the Lock festival

'Bliss' - coming along nicely!

16th October 2023

Since announcing details of our project boat 'Bliss' there's been quite a bit of interest......... with the main question on everyone's lips being 'when will her fit-out be complete!?'

Whilst there's no definite timescale, 'Bliss' is available for immediate sale and will be ready to take to the water by Spring/ Summer 2024!

Cabin top linings going up!

Here we can see the cabin top linings being put up, and John Henty, working with one of our apprentices, Dom, fixing the cabin side linings in place! (Isn't she looking good??!!)


Teamwork gets the job done!
Say 'Hello' to Dominic!

'Ash' - Canal Art by Claire Norton!

16th October 2023


With ‘Ash’ being close to completion it was time for Claire Norton of ‘Claire Norton Canal Art’ to work her magic……..and didn’t she do well??!!

Here we can see Claire painting the design she created and was chosen by 'Ash's' new owners!


Claire Norton Canal Art
Another stunning creation by Claire Norton!

Willow and Saul Goodman II - new friends!

4th October 2023

The Ovation Team enjoy keeping in contact with their customers, and indeed, consider each and every one of them 'friends' but it's always nice when we hear of our 'friends' recognising other Ovation boats on the canals and hooking up for a good old fashioned 'chin wag!' 

We recently heard from Georgina & Andrew who you may remember are the proud owners of 'Willow?'

Now Georgina & Andrew haven't looked back since moving onto 'Willow' and have recently been busy managing the 60 plus locks between Hockley Heath and Stratford on Avon. 

As all our customers, past & present, seem to follow our builds, when they happened upon Nigel & Ann at Tixall Wide (and who they know own 'Saul Goodman II') they just had to stop for a chat!  

They reported how Nigel and Ann were delighted with 'Saul Goodman II' and, just like Georgina & Andrew, receive daily compliments on the colour & quality of the finish of their boat!

'Saul Goodman II'

The Ovation Team would have loved a photo of the two boats together but, as is often the case, the two couples were so engrossed in their chat Georgina & Andrew forgot to get their cameras out! Doh! It happens to the best of us.............maybe next time guys!?

Andrew also shared details of  the TecDek he and Georgina had installed on the back deck and rear steps of 'Willow'.

They're delighted with their modification, and we're sure you'll agree TecDek really sets 'Willow' off!

Willow TekDek

TecDek steps

'Bliss' - a unique opportunity!!

29th September 2023


Every now and again, the Ovation Boats' Team take on a challenge, and on this occasion the challenge is 'Bliss', a 70ft, traditional stern narrowboat, built in 2004 by Measham Boats.

Beautiful lines, & long well deck for entertaining!!
Bringing Bliss into the workshop after grit blasting!

Base coats sprayed on!


'Bliss'-is-looking good!
'Bliss' is looking good!
Cutting back excess spray foam insulation!

'Bliss' was originally fitted out in a more traditional style, with portholes and varnished T & G interior, but to bring her up to date and provide a more modern look, the interior has been fully stripped out & cleaned back, the exterior grit blasted, and her old port holes modified to accommodate more modern windows.............and she now has a sunroof guaranteeing a brighter & more pleasant living space!

Following grit blasting, which included cabin, hull AND base plate, 'Bliss' was coated in a two pack epoxy Jotamastic 90, before the cabin received a coat of two pack epoxy high build Jotun Penguard.

The cabin paint system will be International 'One Up' undercoat with International Toplac high gloss finish, and the hull, including base plate, will receive a further coat of Jotomastic 90 prior to leaving the workshop.

The high gloss paint theme will be Atlantic Grey as the main colour with a Matterhorn White cabin side centre panel, and cabin top in Platinum.

The windows will be a mixture of black powder coated rectangular with top hopper opening and full opening portholes, all on hidden fixings.

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 will be:



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

'Bliss' floor plan!

Onwards & upwards - looking towards 2024!

27th September 2023

With the Southampton Boat Show now just a memory, the Ovation Team are looking forwards to 2024!

As well as the two commission boats currently being fitted-out, and the project boat due to be foam sprayed this week, the 60ft Crick Boat shell (2024) is well on its way to completion at our fabricators (with an expected delivery date of late Autumn 2023) whilst a 42ft boat from our Charnwood Hobbit range is due for delivery around the same time!


No, not one of ours this time!
PU spray foam insulation this week!


Shell for Crick boat 2024!

At the Southampton Boat Show with Ovation Boats!

15th September 2023

Having only been visitors to the Southampton Boat Show previously, Ovation Boats was very excited about having a stand at the 2023 show!


With a busy day surveying on Thursday, the stand was a bit slow off the mark when setting up, but when the show doors opened on Friday morning, everything was ready!



Chris Williams setting up!
And they're off!

On holiday with Ovation Boats - Braunston to Napton

13th September 2023


With the promise of warm weather approaching, Chris Williams & Julia continued their much needed break away on 'Florrie' the narrowboat by travelling along the Grand Union Canal and onto the Oxford Canal from Braunston to Napton, with their final destination being Banbury a few days later!

Fuelling up!
Jules Fuels!

Before leaving Braunston they met up with Ryan from Jules Fuels for a top up of diesel, and take on some coal........afterall, the nights had been chilly!!!


In the event only one fire was needed as this was the start of our recent heatwave and temperatures quickly rose!


The journey from Braunston to the Napton flight only took a few hours and after mooring near the bottom lock they took a walk into the beautiful Napton village. It really is worth a visit!


The Folly at Napton
The Folly is full of character!


Later, they nipped into 'The Folly' to sample the local ale and, with such a warm welcome, decided to stay for a 'couple' more and sample the wonderful food before heading back to 'Florrie' and Flossie the cat for the night!

Flossie the cat!


After a peaceful night, Chris & Julia headed up the Napton flight and were rewarded with a batch of plums scrumped from a tree on the canalside!  



Scrumped plums from the canal side!

'Ash' is coming together nicely!

13th September 2023

With most of the interior fit-out completed, 'Ash' is beginning to look a treat, and with the paintwork and coach lines finished on the outside, this latest Ovation Boats beauty, is set to be another head turner!!


Ash has a cross bed
Glazed steel side doors give added light!


It's always the finishing off that takes the time!
A stunning colour combination gives the 'WOW' factor!

With 'Ash' almost at the end of her fit-out-journey there's no time for the Ovation Team to rest!

Not only has the latest shell arrived at the workshop but interest in the new Charnwood Hobbit for 2024 is growing!!

If that isn't enough Ovation Boats are heading off to the Southampton Boat Show which starts 15-24 make sure you pop to the stand and say 'hello'!!

Sothampton Boat Show Flyer

On holiday with Ovation Boats and meeting old friends!

1st September 2023


As you may know, the Ovation Boat Team's world revolves around building narrowboats, but after a very busy summer, Chris and Julia decided they needed a break so went for a little trip on their own narrowboat, 'Florrie'.
The first part of their journey took two days, starting at North Kilworth Marina and ending at Braunston. In between, they bumped into Jeff at Yelvertoft.
Now, Jeff took ownership of nb 'Chatterbox' in Spring 2022 and since then he's been a very busy man...........
You have to admire the older generation for their 'can do' spirit and ability to design and create anything they need! Maybe it comes from living through years of 'making do' or doing without, but in today's world of being able to buy anything you want on Amazon, it's refreshing to find people who are still able to 'create' something they need at minimal or no cost!! (this younger generation would do well to take note!)
Needless to say, Jeff is delighted with his boat and, typical of so many in our boating family, has made a few modifications to his boat and associated paraphernalia to make life easier! Here's a few examples!
Modifying a nappy pin
By welding to a mooring pin
Saving your knees
Safely stored away next to a modified fender
Another handy idea!
A blade on a pole for nettle cutting!
After leaving Jeff, and on a planned overnight stop at Crick, Chris & Julia met up with another of the Ovation family, Mike on nb 'Carrie Louise' and, as has become the custom, they joined Mike for an evening meal at the 'Wheatsheaf Inn' before popping across the road for quiz night at the Red Lion!
'Carrie-Louise' (left)-at-Crick-Marina
'Carrie Louise' (left) at Crick Marina
Mike on 'Carrie Louise'
It's the taking part that matters!

Another successful open day for Ovation Boats 26 August 2023

30th August 2023

2023 is certainly whizzing by and in addition to the Boat Life show in Birmingham and Crick,  Ovation Boats is on it's third Open Day!! What a season!

As well as showing off the boats currently in the workshop, and there's another coming in this week, the Ovation team raised a few eyebrows and a lot of interest as they showcased new designs for 2024!

The doors are open at Ovation Boats!
'Ash' is looking good!

Although the 'Charnwood Choice' & 'Charnwood Edge' narrowboats are primarily liveaboards, there's been growing interest in a smaller (and cheaper) boat for the purposes of leisure and potential living. Afterall, if someone can happily live in a touring caravan then why not a smaller narrowboat!?

With this in mind, Chris Williams designed the 'Charnwood Hobbit' , a range of narrowboats which come in four sizes: 27', 32', 37' & 42'. Full details and floorplans are available from our website

Hobbit range


With a starting price of £64,000 these cheeky & versatile boats are available as electric or conventional diesel propulsion.

If this wasn't enough the Ovation Team also revealed details of the 'Charnwood Euro' - a luxurious Dutch Barge! (full details can be found on our website) Working in conjunction with Tristar Boats this beautiful boat is based on a 1926 Dutch Luxemotor, bringing together a blend of timeless elegance and modern innovation.

Finally, and in addition to all the new boats, the Ovation Team have 'picked up the gauntlet' by taking on 'a 'project' boat............the total refurbishment of a 70ft, traditional stern narrowboat, built by Measham Boats in 2004, details of which can be found on Apollo Duck Advert id 741617.

So, if you fancy having a brand new boat but can't quite afford those brand new boat prices, why not give Chris Williams a call on 07963 974 793 or email and get your name down for this beauty!?

70ft traditional stern project

Open Day Saturday 26 August!

22nd August 2023

Once again, Ovation Boats is opening it's doors on a Saturday for a special Bank Holiday Open Day!

Ash - cabin-top
Ash cabin top

Squared off counter

Visitors can take a tour around the workshop and step up and into 'Ash' - a 60ft, semi-trad which is currently in our paint booth and in the early stages of receiving her external 'make-over'.

Ash - reverse-layout
Ash reverse layout
Very popular tile effect shower board

Although there's still lots to do, 'Ash' is coming along very nicely. As you can see, the main components of the fit-out are complete!

Built to our customers choice
Stove fitted!

Furniture hand crafted at our workshop!
Is this going to be a cross bed?

A weekend away with Ovation Boats........and 'Florrie'!

3rd August 2023

Everyone needs time away from the 'rat race' and at Ovation Boats we believe in practicing what we preach!


After a busy 2023 so far, and with exciting new developments in the pipeline, Chris Williams and Julia decided to recharge their own batteries by having a short break away and headed out along the canal system for a much needed fix of peace, beauty............ and history!!


'Florrie' has a traditional stern


Whilst the Ovation Boats are mainly 60ft semi-cruiser sterns, Chris & Julia's own boat 'Florrie' is a cheeky 30year old, with traditional stern, measuring a mere 40ft standing on tip toe, but what she lacks in length she more than makes up for in character, and has everything needed for a relaxing narrowboat lifestyle!


The top of Foxton Locks
The way canal life was!

'Ash' is looking good!

3rd August 2023

'Ash' is getting lots of attention at the moment as she's the only boat in the Ovation workshop!


Internally, the bulkheads are in, the shower room & bedroom are coming along nicely and the galley is taking shape, whilst externally, the paintwork is being sanded down in preparation for the top coat going on!


'Ash' galley
'Ash' breakfast bar

'Ash' bedroom with cross bed
Semi trad with increased in height storage lockers


'Ash' will be transferred to the paint booth sometime in mid August so John can work his magic! 

'Ash' shower room with cassette toilet
'Ash' with squared off counter

At home on 'Janus'

18th July 2023

Nelly and Pip are loving life on their new boat 'Janus' and sent the Ovation Team a video tour to let us know how they're getting on.................not like we're envious or anything!

Wherever I lay my hat!

The beauty of wood!
Extra space with a pram cover

Fully fitted galley
Handmade sofa from Elite Furnishings

Sweet dreams in the king sized bed!

'Janus' - just loving the Locks!

13th July 2023

'Janus' has only been on the water for a few weeks but she's already turning heads!


Open Day, 8 July, 2023

9th July 2023

With the day threatening rain, the Ovation Team welcomed in a steady stream of visitors to the workshop!

A great start to our Open Day
And still they come!


It would appear selling up and cruising the inland waterways on a narrowboat of their own still remains the dream of many and Ovation Boats are only too happy to turn that dream into a reality!


We currently have one boat in the workshop with another due to arrive early August 2023:


Ash is a 60foot reverse layout with a few changes to the boats we've recently fitted-out. She has a squared off transom enabling extra storage space in the engine bay and the semi-trad rear deck has larger storage in place of the usual low lockers with seating.


The Bee's Knees!

30th June 2023

The start of any journey can be very exciting, and whilst the Ovation Team are busily fitting out the latest family member at the Redhill workshop, a shell is being created at our fabricators in Thurmaston in preparation for a Summer delivery!

Affectionately called 'The Bee's Knees', this Charnwood Choice, the dream of Tracey & Kelly, has yet to be given her official name, but we know whatever that is, she'll be pretty special on completion.

The base plate is down
Creating the back end

Here we see the baseplate, and how the shell build has progressed.

Already looking the bee's knees!

'Ash' is coming along!!

30th June 2023

It's just over a week since 'Ash', our latest 'Charnwood Choice', entered the workshop, and the Ovation Team have already made good progress with her fit-out!

The interior has been batoned out, brick ballast neatly stacked across the baseplate and plywood sole fitted.

Spray foam insulation complete and cable trays in
Checking spray foam profile

The interior cabin top & sides have received a thick coat of spray foam insulation whilst the exterior steel hull has been blacked using a two pack epoxy paint, and the cabin sides & top sprayed with a two pack epoxy primer coat.

Primer coat on and 'all system's are GO'!
'Ash' is a semi trad with squared off counter

'Ash' - the Start of a new Journey!

20th June 2023

Say 'Hello' to 'Ash' the latest member of the Ovation family!!

'Ash' arrives!

'Ash' arrived by lorry at the end of last week, but was brought to the workshop on Monday following grit blasting!

Without exception, everyone agrees to feeling more than a little bit exited at 'Ash's' arrival. The Ovation Team enjoy a challenge and with each boat being individually designed by the customer, they're looking forward to see how she develops and creating someone's dream boat!

A little bit different to our last few fit-outs, 'Ash' is a semi-trad with squared-off counter - all at the customers' bequest. She also has porthole windows throughout and side doors both sides.........a 'Charnwood Choice' indeed!

Let grit blasting commence!!

All Ovation Boats are grit blasted before fit-out commences, to remove mill scale left during the fabrication process. Consider it a narrowboat 'facial!'

'Facial' complete!

'Grace' by Rob Bent! (2 years on)

20th June 2023

We talk about 'living the dream' but for Rob & Karen Bent that's exactly what they're doing!

After continually cruising the inland waterways of the UK Rob, of Facebooks's 'Boomers On Board' has opened his heart and reflected on the what life has meant for himself and Karen!

'19 June 2023 - It’s two years today since we moved on board our new home NB Grace; it seems like a lifetime ago since we took the momentous decision to sell our land based home of 18 years and commission Ovation Boats to build a narrow boat home for us.

After selling our house and moving out in October 2020, we lived in our touring caravan for 8 months at Market Bosworth Caravan Park while our boat was being built. Launch day was the 17th of June 2021 and on the 19th we waved goodbye to our caravan as the new owners drove it away. We said a tearful goodbye to the friends we had made at the caravan site and drove to the boat yard at Redhill Marina to start our new life. Bearing in mind we were completely novice boaters, we immediately felt at home.

Now here we are two years later and we would like to think we are seasoned boaters, particularly since we have literally spent all four seasons living on board!

Many people have asked us if we have any regrets about giving up our land based life or if there is anything we would change on the boat now we have spent this time living on board and we can honestly say we have no regrets and we would change nothing.

We’ve been to places that we would never have thought to visit in our old life. There is not a lot of choice when route planning on the canals compared to route planning on the roads with a car; you have to go where the canal takes you. For us,the canals have taken us to some great places (and maybe just one or two not so great).

We can choose whether we want to be in the hustle and bustle of the city or out in the wilds, quite often with no other people or boats in sight. We do favour the latter, so long as we are stocked up on water, food and of course wine. After being somewhere busy, it’s like stepping into another world when we get back to the canal, back into nature and peace and quiet. It’s the kind of life that would probably drive some people nuts, but we love it.

Last year we had the definite plan of getting to the Llangollen canal when we left the marina at Brinklow where we had spent 3 months of the winter. We had a nicely planned time scale for that, but soon realized that time scales don’t really work on the canals. We did eventually get to the Llangollen about 6 weeks later than we thought and it was everything we expected it to be; although by the time we got there it was rather busy, but we still managed to find some nice quiet spots.

We also had our sights set on getting onto the Leeds and Liverpool canal too but that plan was scuppered due to lack of water in that area, so we had to come up with a plan B and maybe even a plan C, but we still found lots of places we could get to and just got on with what we had.

With that experience behind us, we have been much more flexible in our plans this year and don’t really have any fixed time scales; we’ll get to our destinations when we get there, even if it’s not until next year!

The only thing we do without fail, unless the weather stops us is our early morning yoga session three times a week. We can usually find a quiet spot somewhere by the canal or in a nearby park or pub car park or even a cemetery. It doesn’t matter if it’s freezing cold, the only thing that will stop us is pouring rain.

We’ve covered some old ground again in the last twelve months, but we have travelled some new canals too, the last one being the Caldon Canal which was very pretty but quite shallow and very twisty, so it was hard work but worth the effort.

To get up to the Caldon we had to travel back through Leicester on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal then onto the Trent and Mersey Canal. We cruised through our old stomping ground around Leicester, Wigston and Glen Parva where we’d spent the last 30 odd years walking by the canal on a regular basis. That seemed really weird covering the same ground on the boat that we’d walked along so much for so many years.

Currently, we’re on the Macclesfield Canal; we’ve only just got onto it but first impressions are very good. There are some restrictions on the locks due to low water levels again, but nothing we can’t handle. We are on a nice quiet mooring with a couple of other boats, and believe it or not there is a Lidl store about 10 minutes walk away right next to the canal - result.

The very loose plan now is to spend a few weeks exploring the Macclesfield and Peak Forest Canals before heading to the Leeds and Liverpool canal, water levels allowing, via Manchester and the Bridgewater Canal, maybe we will be up there by Christmas. But who knows?

Considering our only previous boating experience was a 3 day stint in the winter of 2017, we’ve adapted to boat life very well. We can honestly say we’re totally happy living in the space we’ve got and have no hankerings for more space or more stuff.

We’ve had no problems getting supplies of food, wine, water or diesel, so it’s not a difficult lifestyle if you’re prepared to be active and walk everywhere. Some boaters have groceries delivered and maybe have access to a car, but we didn’t feel it was necessary for us.

To live a lifestyle where you have a choice how to spend your days is an absolute gift and something we’re very grateful for. Of course, none of us know what the future holds, but 2 years into our boating lifestyle we can honestly say we love our floating home and hope we have many more years of canal based adventures ahead of us.'

The dream begins!

Sometimes we have neighbours!
The beauty of nature

Chris Williams - Marine Surveyor!

20th June 2023

Chris Williams was bitten by the narrow boating bug as a West London schoolboy and has subsequently spent most of his life living & breathing narrowboats.

As well as heading the Ovation Boat Building Team, Chris is an active surveyor with Ovation Boat Surveys where, alongside Graeme Pearce, he surveys both modern and historic narrowboats throughout the UK.

Chris trained as a small craft surveyor in 2012 after completing a number of years as a Boat Safety Scheme examiner and Gas Safe Registered marine gas engineer, and holds a Small Craft Surveying diploma from the International Institute of Marine Surveying. (IIMS)

Chris is a current member of British Marine and is part of the Boat Safety Scheme advisory commmitte as examiner rep for IIMS.

Chris Williams
Chris at Mercia Marina

Having lived and worked in the marine environment for so long there's fewer people better equipped to advise and help you through your narrowboat journey, whether new build or second hand, and with the knowledge and expertise accumulated over the decades, you can be assured a professional & friendly service.

Assessing the baseplate
Who knows what Chris may find while surveying!

Julia helps Chris with surveying
All done!

Final tour around Rest And Be Thankful!

2nd June 2023

On Thursday, 1st June, 'Rest And Be Thankful' took her first dip into the River Soar ready for her hand over on Friday, but before she left the yard (and had her final wash down) we took a peep inside!


Inside Rest And Be Thankful
Almost ready for the new owners

Rest And Be Thankful has left the building!!!

2nd June 2023

'Rest And Be Thankful' is on her way, being brought into the yard so the boat lift can gain easier access.


Rest And Be Thankful!

Goodbye to the Crick Boat Show 2023

31st May 2023

If you blinked, you could convince yourself that the Crick Boat Show 2023 didn't happen, but the photos and sun tans tell a different story!


Ovation Boats may not have won 'favourite in show' but we're delighted Braidbar Boats won in their 40th year - they truly are worthy winners indeed....................and from the wonderful comments made in the course of four fun packed days, the Ovation Team feel like they won the jackpot regardless!

Chris Williams packing away

So, as we put away the chairs, table and gazebo for yet another year, the Ovation Team would like to thank all the visitors who came to view 'Saul Goodman II', and Izzy Bradley & Mike Reid in particular for stepping in to give the team a hand during a very busy show.


We're already planning for Crick 2024 but hope to see everyone at our open day at Redhill Marina on 8th July 2023!!

Almost finished!
Izzy & Mike Reid

A tour around the workshop following Crick 2023

31st May 2023

With 'Saul Goodman II' now in the hands of new owners, the two remaining boats in the workshop are nearing the end of their respective fit-out.


Paddle Boarding at the NEC Boat Life Show 2023

31st May 2023

Although the February Boat Life Show at the NEC Birmingham is just a memory now, we thought you might like to see a video of one of our apprentices who took up the challenge of having a go at paddle boarding!


At 18 years, young Henry is quite an accomplished yachtsman, but nothing prepared him for this! We hope his skills have improved by next year as he's planning to sail to Australia in 2024!


Henry Jones

Crick Boat Show 2023

29th May 2023

It's the last day of the Crick Boat Show 2023 and 'Saul Goodman II' has been creating a lot of interest!!


The praise and compliments have been coming thick & fast, with 'spacious', 'tardis', 'quality fit-out' and 'this is my perfect boat' being some of the most regular comments as people exit via the front deck!..............


And, people are amazed we can build any shape of hull, and work with them to design any fit-out of their choice!


Here are a few photos of the Ovation Team at the show - more will be posted later, along with the two boats due to leave the workshop over the next two weeks.


Just check out Rosie & Jim, courtesy of Tracey & Kelly Bevin, whose shell will be coming into the workshop in August!! Many thanks Tracey!!


Many thanks should also go to Izzy Bradley (grand-daughter) and Mike Reid (nb Carrie Louise) who joined us for the entire show!!!!  


Just so you know, Rest And Be Thankful will be leaving us this week and Janus will be heading on her way next week! (photos & videos very soon)


Rosie & Jim with Julia
Chris Williams

John (left) with Chris Hill H T Fabrications (right)
Henry (left) with Mike Reid and Izzy



'Saul Goodman II' at Crick 2023

25th May 2023

We always hope for a warm and sunny bank holiday weekend, but it very rarely happens, and yet the skies were blue and the breeze warm when 'Saul Goodman II' arrived at Crick Marina for this year's boat show! What a great omen!!

On Thursday 'Saul Goodman II' was given a wash & polish before the rear pram & forward cratch cover were fitted by Titan, and by the end of a busy day everything was ready for the visitors!

The Ovation Boats team are very proud of their latest creation and hope you'll pop by to view this beautiful boat in person! 

'Saul Goodman II'

Off to Crick 2023!

23rd May 2023

After being slowly eased from the paint booth on Monday, 'Saul Goodman II' the Ovation Boat for Crick 2023, finally emerged from the workshop and into daylight! And what a glorious day it was!

Easy does it!
Looking good!

'Saul Goodman II'
Left a bit: right a bit!

After a quick dip in the River Soar to check the trim, 'Saul Goodman II' was carefully loaded onto the back of a low loader for the journey to Crick!

If you would like to see 'Saul Goodman II' in the flesh so to speak, why not pop down to the Ovation stand at the Crick Boat Show this bank holiday weekend!?  We're next to the hard standing on stand number F34 - and if you like what you see make sure you vote in the 'favourite boat in show' competition!

And we're OFF!

Inside the Crick Boat 2023

22nd May 2023

The final week, and we're really counting down now, and, as previously promised, here's a few photos of the boat the Ovation Team will be taking to Crick!! We always wanted versatility with our 2023 boat, and that's what we've got!
King sized bed
Or two singles
Forward seating and day table
L shaped dinette
Double sleeping for guests
TV with storage
Shower room with compoost toilet
Galley with ample storage & full size oven
On Monday we'll be bringing Crick 2023 out of the workshop so we can check her trim in-water, and on Tuesday she'll be transported to Crick by road via the M1.......... so make sure you give her a wave if you pass, and maybe get any passengers to take a photo of her journey! 👋🙏📸
By Wednesday this beautiful boat will be in the water and Thursday will find us giving her a bath to wash off all that motorway dust, ready for the preview/ trade day on Friday. 🙏🤗🥰

The weather forecast for the Bank Holiday weekend is pretty much perfect (so far 🙃) so why not give yourself a treat and get yourself down there, and, if the forecast changes to rain, well, remember to take your brolly!!! It's a boat show after all!!😅🌂🌈🤗

We'll be posting more later in the week but if you would like to discuss your own dream boat you can call Chris Williams direct on 07963 974 793 or email

Rest And Be Thankful - Update!

19th May 2023

Well, we've come to the end of another week and once again the lads have been working very hard on the three boats currently under construction.


Here we see Darren working on an internal door for 'Rest And Be Thankful' whilst Ian is finishing off the dinette table.




Darren: Rest-And-Be-Thankful.jpg
Darren: Rest And Be Thankful
Ian: Dinette-table
Ian: Dinette table

Janus - Update!

19th May 2023

Janus is nearing the end of her fit-out, but there's still a few finishing off jobs left to do!


Here we can see Henry fitting some under gunnel lighting whilst Josh is building the rear steps and John is putting a final coat of paint on the tunnel band.

Henry on Janus
Joshua: rear steps for Janus


John with Janus

Crick boat - Update!

19th May 2023

Apart from a good clean to remove all the dust accrued over the past few weeks, our Crick boat is ready for her big reveal!!


We shall be posting more photos and a video leading up to Crick but for now here's a taster!


If you would like to see this beautiful boat first hand why not pop by and see us at the Crick Boat Show, and if you would like to discuss your dream boat, please call Chris Williams direct on 07963974793 or email


Leading down from the rear steps
Spacious galley with ample storage


Saloon with sky light
William Morris roman blinds (Willow Bough mink)


Bubble diesel stove
Dinette convertible to double sleeping

Crick Boat - the final stages!

12th May 2023


With only 9 days before our boat is transported to Crick Marina, we really are coming to the end of her fit-out journey!


By the time you read this the cabin top will have a coat of anti-slip paint and the rear pram cover will be fully fitted.

John taping up
Taped up and ready for the anti slip paint

Here we see the pram cover framework being constructed and the cover fixed into place. Of course this will all be carefully stowed away when the time comes to move the boat by road and reassembled ready for the opening day

Pram cover framework being fixed into place
Assembling the pram cover


Almost done!

Crick Boat Show ready (well almost!)

9th May 2023

Two weeks today and the Ovation Boats' team will be giving their boat her final spruce up on the Crick Marina exhibitor mooring!


Hard to imagine when you look at these photos, but if you look closer you'll see most of the important stuff is done and there's only some finishing off to do!! 

Coach-lines-on-and-cabin-top- solar-panels-to-be-fitted
Coach lines on and cabin top solar panels to be fitted
Tinted windows and portholes


Already there's lots of interest in this beautiful boat, not only in the design of forward deck steelwork but in the way the boat maximises potential in the forward cabin for twin or King sized bed, or day table with seating for socialising when family & friends turn up!


Window linings and trim fitted
Doors to galley cupboards going on

Two singles convertible into King size or day seating

Crick Boat now FOR SALE!

2nd May 2023

With the Crick Boat Show a mere 24 days away, (and less if you consider transporting a boat to the show), the countdown is well and truly underway!! Yipes!!!!


Just like any project, it's always the final touches which take up the most time so, whilst the bulk of the fit-out and painting is complete, some finishing off is still underway.

Handy storage locker
Red coach line to follow

Ample storage on the cruiser stern
Cabin top sky light


There's been quite a lot of interest in our yet to be named boat and, as previously reported, we've combined a selection of features from previous fit-outs, into a unique, one-off build - and she's available to buy immediately, and cruise away after the Crick Show.


The perfect liveaboard
Light bright and spacious

L shaped dinette convertible to a double bed
Reverse layout with rear galley

For those interested in interior design, the soft furnishings include roman blinds in William Morris Willow Bough (mink) - beautiful, but don't take my word for it, come and see for yourself!


Versatility with a day table facility if required
Versatility with two singles convertible to a king sized bed

Revisit our Open Day (and Janus) - 1 April 2023!

4th April 2023

FOR SALE - New, fully fitted, 60ft narrowboat!

4th April 2023

Ovation Boats are delighted to reveal the boat they'll be showing at this year's Crick Boat Show in May!

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Internal video of Rest And Be Thankful

4th April 2023


With Rest And Be Thankful out of the paint booth the Ovation Team can set to work on the internal fit-out.

Here we see Joshua with the front of the double wardrobe prior to fitting.

So, enjoy this progress tour of Rest And Be Thankful as she starts her internal fit-out journey!

Joshua with wardrobe front

FOR SALE! New, fully fitted, 60 ft NB - Available from tomorrow!

31st March 2023

Every boat built on commission is unique! Our customers may have different dreams, and tastes do vary, but without a doubt, the end result is always spectacular!

At Ovation Boats we understand that after months, sometimes years, of mentally planning your dream boat, it's very frustrating to be told that the next available build slot is many months away, and, even when a build slot becomes available the decisions needed before a boat is even started, can be overwhelming & draining.

When considering the design and fit-out of the Crick boat, the Ovation Team decided to do something different for 2023................They've taken the most popular aspects of previous builds, added a few touches of their own, and incorporated them into a 'one off' special which, as from the open day on Saturday, 1st April, will be available FOR SALE!


The Crick boat is a 60ft reverse layout with semi cruiser stern.

The engine is a Canaline 42 with hydraulic gearbox and hospital silencer.

Electrics: 75kgf vetus bow thruster. Engine start battery with standard alternator.

AlphaPro 135amp charging 300amp Lithium house/ domestic battery


3KW inverter. 40amp AC battery charger

Leading from the front:

Bedroom: King size bed, convertible to two singles or seating with raised day table. Wardrobe, vanity cupboard and storage.

Shower room: Doors set to starboard, 800mm quadrant shower, Compoost (separating) toilet & wash basin on wooden vanity unit with acrylic top.

L shaped dinette: Converts to double bed, duck doors opposite.

Open lounge: Sky light and corner Bubble diesel stove

Galley: 3 burner hob, undercounter Belling oven with separate grill. 230 volt fridge and 230volt freezer. Washing machine.

Internal: Main theme is oak with cream cabin top and upper cabin sides. Galley worktops are white acrylic, black sink & taps and sole (floor) slate grey.

External paintwork: Main theme is dark grey with white centre panel & cabin top. Coach line colour to be decided.

Fittings inside & out are chrome.

Soft furnishings fabric & colour scheme, to be decided.

Skylight: Bubble diesel stove will be rear starboard


Wardrobe with split hanging & shelves
Two single / king sized bed or day seating

Compoost toilet & vanity unit with basin

So, if you like what you see and would like to cruise away from the Crick Boat Show when it ends in your very own, brand new narrowboat, why not come along to the open day at Redhill Marina NN11 0EB between 10am and 4pm and take a look at our Crick Boat.

Alternatively, you can call Chris Williams on 07963974793 or email for further details.