Dan’s Boating Pages

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“Miss Louisa

“Miss Louisa” (Now sold)

As the years have passed I have found myself travelling to the Norfolk Broads more and more to satisfy my boating addictions! In November 2009 I decided it was a good idea to have one for my own amusement so I made the long journey over to Richardsons and spent a bit of time with Paul looking at the boats they had that needed a lot of work, having left their hirefleets some years earlier, as this seemed the favourite option given my budget!

I decided on “Miss Louisa 1”, which had sat at their yard since late 1998 when she had been retired from the companies (then) Thames Ditton base on the Thames.

She required a new front cabin window and new windscreens as these were too badly damaged to make repair a sensible prospect. All the work was completed and I collected her in April 2010.

Internally the interior is quite complete, but the teak veneer fitout requires a good sanding & re-varnishing (should keep me quiet!), and the floorboards need replacing as the most immediate jobs.

November 2009

New canopy, April 2010

April 2010

May 2010

The boat is a Lytton Discovery 850 that was built in 1979. These have the 27ft Elysian Super Sportsman hull and were built between 1979 and 1982. The interior, is fitted in teak veneer, as was standard on the Discovery. This would have been quite luxurious at the time though combined with her tinted glass does give the interior quite a dark feel. The boat was built as “Maid Barbara” for the Thames hire operators Maidboats and would have ran from their Wallingford or Thames Ditton base until the end of 1991.

The company was then taken over by Richardsons New Horizon Holidays and the boat ran from 1992 under the new base name of Ferryline Cruisers at Thames Ditton. I often used to visit the base when visiting my Sister, and once hired a boat from there, so was really sad when the fleet closed for good at the end of 2002, though “Miss Louisa 1“ as she had been renamed had left a little earlier, at the end of 1998.

When I saw her she was looking a bit worse for wear but her superstructure was still in her original gel-coat so this had an appeal as I could see that with just a good clean off & polish there would be a big improvement. Also the other craft they had were a bit over what I was wanting to pay so I decided she was the one!

It was agreed that Richardsons would paint the hull, clean off the superstructure, organise a new canopy to be fitted & carry out any necessary BSS Safety Compliance certificate work. At least this way she would be useable and I could do the other work myself over a period of time. As there was no cooker onboard she has been treated to a new one!

Pictured here as “Maid Barbara” at Hambledon Lock during the 1980s

June 2010

August 2010: New floorboards

The existing floorboards were in varying stays of deterioation but in some places were literally crumbling underfoot (possibly I’d also been eating too many pies!).

Luckilly the interior fitout had gone in first and the floor last, so to get the floorboards up I did not have to remove the fitout as with some craft. The floor was in several

August 2010: Side panels painting:

The aft side display panels were looking a bit flat, and the old Hoseasons logos were still visible on one side. A good sanding revealed this was mainly glue and a bit more sanding revealed the original apple colour from Maidboats. I toyed with the idea of repainting them this colour but in the end, as I had some white paint this won! I used International undercoat & Toplac which seemed to cover well.

September 2010: Forward cabin:

The forward cabin ‘V’ berth side pieces were not looking in the best of shapes. The bottom section was badly stained and rotten. So rotten I could easily plunge my screwdriver through and move it about to make a big hole! The pieces did not want to come out but after unscrewing and lots of brute force (enjoyed that bit!) they were out.

However one side was so rotten it fell in half as I ripped it out


Just failed the rot test!

Ah! Oh well, who needs someowhere to sleep anyway!

September 2010: New Water & Diesel tanks:

I’d had issues getting clear water to run from the water tank and after emptying and refilling it several times resulting in clear water it would later run dirty. After repeating this process a couple of times it became clear the tank had rotted and rusted and this was the culprit of my brown running water!

Richardsons manufactured a new stainless steel water tank and during fitting they confirmed that the diesel tank was in a bad way too. I had seen it didn’t look too clever so decided it wasn’t sensible to see if it hung on as if it suddenly gave way it would have made a mess, and probably left me stranded somewhere! It also made sense that whilst already working in that area it was easier to do both tanks at the same time.

October 2010: Varnishing:

After lots going on at home and work, and a bit of creative avoidance too the season was fast running out and I hadn’t started varnishing! I had removed the cabin and cupboard doors and brought them home, planning to power sand them down.

On closer inspection it was clear this had been done in the past as the veneer had been worn through in places and so I decided just to sand it by hand with wet & dry paper. I was also worried that if I power sanded it the colour may go very different to the sections that could not be brought home or power sanded easily – such as the bulkheads.

I was really impressed how well they came up and this has given me the motivation to make October varnishing month!

I used International Original varnish which I thinned down to help it soak in.

Before (Sanded down ready to varnish)

small sections so I removed it all, brought it home and using them as templates made replacements. Suprisingly they fitted quite well with only one alteration needed (something of a miracle in my book!)

The bearers were not too bad so only one of these was replaced.


and promptly fell into little bits! This made making replacements harder as I didn’t have a very good template to work with!

I used marine ply that I stained using Blackfriar’s “Burmese Teak” varnish which was found to be the closest colour to blend in with the rest of the fitout, and then used International Original varnish for additional coats.


All sanded down

October 2010: A bit more painting:

The area around the morse control had been varnished many moons ago. Time and subsequent sun exposure had left the area looking very worn & shabby. I sanded it all back with some rough paint stripping sandpaper (also recommended for removing your fingerprints!) and re-painted in white which looked much tidier & smarter.

January 2011: Carpeting:

Louisa’s lino was half missing and the half that lived on was looking like its best years were behind it so I decided carpeting would be the smartest option.

I used the existing lino as a template where it existed and I made a template out of paper of the other spaces and then used this as a template to cut the tile down using a very sharp stanley knife.

It took twelve tiles to complete the job so was not massively expensive although I fear I may have eliminated carpet fitting as a potential profession, though the end result was not bad at all.

In September 2011 Miss Louisa was sold, as I had found it a little difficult with the distance to spend as much of my spare time on her as I would have liked. Also I quite enjoy hiring different types of boat so it seemed for the best.

She now has a new home and some new owners, but has stayed on the Norfolk Broads.