The Sheffield Handshake 2nd August 2015

Taken from NB Lillyanne‘s blog.
The last few days we have done lots of thinking and discussing of our boat builder for NB Oleanna. The reason for keeping the hire car was so that we could go to Sheffield for the Tyler Wilson open weekend to have a second look round the workshops there and chat things through with Jonathan before we finally made our minds up.
Although Congleton is only 45 miles away it still took us an hour and a half to get there. The roads across the Peak District are beautiful but wiggly both horizontally as well as vertically. As on our last visit we went past the right road into Victoria Boatyard, but this time realised our mistake straight away. Once corrected we found the proper entrance into the yard instead of the tradesman’s.


View down the boatyard. More boats in the canal, behind us and around the corner
The yard had been given a bit of a spruce up since our last visit, tubs of flowers lined the way from the office (a lady said they’d arrived this last week!) and all the workshops were tidied. We spotted Jonathan and had a brief chat, then had a look round the narrowboat that was being fitted out on our previous visit. Still not quite completed but only a few days short. We also looked round a Dutch Barge that was nearing completion. In the main fabrication shed two Josher Semi Trads were on show, one a semi tug, the other just a large bath tub so far.

Sheffield Keel wheel

Giant bath tub
After looking back around the Sheffield Keel they’d displayed at Crick, 60ft by 12ft, we managed to get to chat to Jonathan. He said all the right things, confirming the payment details with us that Ken and Julia had mentioned two days ago. A look between Mick and myself with a nod to confirm our decision, “We’d like to go ahead then please Jonathan”.  A shake of hands all round, although mine may not stand as it was with my left hand! This might mean that Mick has to pay for it all!

Semi Tug

Josher Bow partially made
We waited for Ken to become free then had another look around the boats and discussed various options we had with the hull. Jonathan’s son was on hand, his enthusiasm was such that it sounded like he’d make a start straight away. Our first meeting is already arranged for this coming week back in Sheffield. Our build will happen next year, with NB Oleanna hitting the water, so to speak, late spring/early summer if all goes well. This time around everything already feels better.
We will be doing a separate blog on the build, we’ll post a link to it shortly.

Maybe we should keep the car for two more days!
Our trip back was quicker as there were fewer cyclists on the road. We’d passed signs on our journey this morning to an Ice Cream Farm. But sadly Ken had kept us talking too long in Sheffield and we arrived ten minutes too late!