Why a wheelhouse is a good idea

Before they were a trendy alternative and city lifestyle choice, narrow boats and their wide beam counterparts were a popular, fun and sensible option for retired couples. Life on the water can be whatever you imagine. Whether you fancy setting off on a grand canal adventure around the vast network “Tim and Pru style”or choosing to stay closer to home and commission a dream floating cottage for a life of absolute leisure.

One such couple are Simon and Sarah, who own a wide beam and retain a mooring in one of London’s most interesting and idyllic private moorings on Muriel Street. The residential moorings are in a prime location. Only 10 minutes walk from Kings Cross, makes them the perfect place for a young active retired couple. The location and it’s residential status offer the savvy couple an additional bonus; they’re a unique Air B&B experience for fellow travellers.

“We love our boat and it’s location makes it perfect for our active lifestyle. Occasional lets for travellers make sense for us, we enjoy meeting new people and people love the experience. We’ve created a nice atmosphere here. The world is at your door step, yet it’s a very peaceful and relaxing. We wanted to give our guests their privacy without sacrificing ours and designed the boat accordingly.” Simon said.

When Simon and Sarah approached Cluett Carpentry Ltd they knew exactly what they wanted. Up until then, the wide beam’s stern deck had been open. Open, it was a lovely resource in the warmer months but lost in the winter. By having a custom collapsible wheelhouse designed and fitted they could have the best of both worlds.

In the summer the wheelhouse can be taken down allowing alfresco dining and the perfect place to sip wine in the warm evenings whilst still keeping the space fully functional in the winter. As an enclosed space it also gives the couple an additional seating and sleeping space in summer if they have personal guests and are hosting.

“Commissioning the wheelhouse was a big investment, but one we don’t regret. It has already proven such a bonus for us, the space is just transformed and so much more usable.”

brass latches

Brass fitting and oiled Sapele - High quality brass hinges and a thoughtful design adding to functionality and design. The deep rich Sapele hardwood and solid brass fittings mean that not only is the wheelhouse beautiful it’s also going to stand up well to the elements and retain functionality for many years.

The removable roof is a rare combination of strength and lightness. It’s imperative to the functionality that couple can remove and refit the roof themselves yet be strong enough to withstand significant weight. A combination of aluminium and vekaplan sheet made this achievable.

“Short of physically lengthening your boat, the addition of a wheelhouse to a cruiser stern style boat is one of the most practical ways to extending your living space. It’s smart way of increasing your boats value, without additionally increasing your yearly license.” - Dan Cluett.

On a practical level the couple can now do rudimentary boat tasks, like swapping gas bottles whilst protected from the elements, which any boater whose ever lived aboard in winter can appreciate.