In the November 2013 edition: Delivery slots booking up fast, meet baby Arthur as well regular features 'Latest Launch and 'In Progress'... 
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In Progress
We’ve had a really busy 2013 and as we head into winter and the New Year that trend looks set to continue.

We always like to keep our steelworkers on their toes so we’ve tasked the workshop with two ‘firsts’ as work continues on the brand new Piper 65L Dutch Style Barge design for Peter and Gill Bennett from Dubai and we begin the first of the brand new Piper 49M Dutch Style Barge design too.
Peter and Gill's 65 feet x 14 feet lux motor style design sees a king-sized rear cabin being incorporated at the rear of the boat with a service corridor underneath the wheelhouse with access to the engine room, stairs to wheelhouse and doorway to galley area. There is a king-sized master cabin at the front of the boat with a generous living space in between.
The Piper 49M design is a 49 feet x 14 feet motor style barge and has one master cabin allowing for a larger galley area than features in the Piper 49L model. The boat is being built for Gerald and Janet Walker who commissioned Piper Boats to build Toulouse, a 58 feet semi-trad narrowboat, in 2011. After two seasons cruising the UK aboard Toulouse the couple now plan to take their new Dutch Style Barge across to Europe next year. We’ll keep you updated on the progress of both boats in the next issue of Piper Press.
We currently have three boats in our fit-out workshop.

Final touches are being made to Guy Clifford and Vicki Drabbble’s 57 feet x 12 feet 6" Dutch Style Barge ‘Manuka’, scheduled to be finished this month and also in fit-out is Stuart and Tina Barlow’s 65 feet Dutch Style Barge 'Kororareka' and the last of our Nivernais models –
55 feet Dutch Style Barge 'Safran', being built for Jerry and Diana Saville.
Changes to the VHF SRC Radio Operator course

Bisham Abbey Sailing School have made Piper Boats aware that the VHF SRC Radio Operator course is changing as of 1st January 2014. The RYA has provided them with information about how it is changing and the structure of the new course.
The key changes to the course and examination are:
  • Course duration increased to a minimum of 10 hours
  • A theory and practical examination must take place, separate to the training, carried out by an independent Assessor after the course
  • The licence fee, payable to the RYA, is to increase from £30 to £60
  • The course will be available online although you will still be required to attend an examination in the classroom.
These changes have been forced on the RYA by the MCA in order that the UK Radio SRC licence becomes CEPT compliant. As a consequence of these changes, after 1st January 2014, it will take longer to obtain a VHF SRC Radio Operator licence as well as being more expensive.

Bisham Abbey are trying to help you beat the changes and have scheduled some training dates this year. The scheduled course dates are:
  • VHF EXTRA: Wednesday 27 November 2013
  • VHF 287: Friday 29 November 2013
  • VHF 288: Thursday 12 December 2013
If you’re yet to book your training it may be worth a chat with the guys at Bisham Abbey. If these dates don’t suit you can contact them directly as they may schedule more courses before Christmas if the demand is there:
+ 44 (0) 1628 474960
Email Click Here
Website Click Here
Piper Team Expands... Yet Again!

The Piper team has expanded again but we think it may be a few years before this new member picks up his tools!

Baby Arthur was born on the 14th September - pictured below with proud mum Rebecca Merry who you’ll all know from our Accounts Department.

Rebecca, who already has a daughter, Ava aged four, is currently enjoying maternity leave and will re-join the team next year. We’re all so pleased for her and partner Mark.

Also joining the team – but definitely as a much more active member than baby Arthur – is Alec Bushnell.

Alec has decided on a complete change of direction with his career so has joined us as a mature Apprentice on the woodworking and joinery side. Alec, who will be working with Dave Young who manages our bench joiners, has been studying on a full time bench joinery course at Stoke-on-Trent College but wants on the job training to get some real life experience.

His college lecturer Rob Wilton has helped him to make the transition between courses meaning Alec is now working towards his Advanced Apprenticeship in Bench Joinery. Welcome Alec!
Congratulations Becky Young!
We want to congratulate Becky Young who joined us in July to cover Rebecca Merry’s maternity leave.

Becky has just successfully completed her Level 3 in Business Management from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

Well done Becky!
Monchique - an update

In our August issue of Piper Press we left our demonstrator boat – Piper 49L, Monchique, in July at Aigues-Mortes awaiting Simon and Andrea’s return in August.

During the last few weeks of the month Simon and Andrea flew into Nimes airport, caught the train to Aigues-Morts and headed off on Monchique along the Canal du Rhone a Sete for the Etang du Thau (a salt lake separating Sete from Beziers).

Here they spent a few days in Meze before continuing onto the Canal du Midi stopping at Beziers where the Fonserannes nine- lock flight and water slope are, Capestang (the lowest bridge on the Midi), Ventanac where there is a lovely wine cave right by the moorings and finally Carcassonne (with its medieval citadel) where Monchique will be spending the winter.

Monchique has been visited by several customers between then and now and Simon and Andrea will soon be flying over to winterize the boat for the colder weather. Look out for updates on her travels in spring/summer issues of Piper Press in 2014.
We want to hear from you!

We cannot produce Piper Press without the input of our fantastic customers and as Louise, who produces our newsletter, is going on maternity leave from this week she won't be around pester you for content!

Louise will continue to produce the newsletters while she is off but if you help her out by keeping in touch with the team at Pipers with any stories or photographs she will really appreciate it.

While Louise is away you can send your stories to
or continue to email Louise at

Delivery slots booking up fast!

The success of our Henley event has seen the order books go crazy as our delivery slots for the next two years are fast booking up!
We only have two build slots available for 2014 and already have half of 2015 fully booked as well as boats on order for 2016 too.

A popular choice is the NEW Piper 49M which is the rear deck well version of Simon Piper’s demonstrator Dutch Style Barge ‘Monchique’, launched at the Henley Event in 2012. The wider 14’ design but shorter length makes it a popular choice for European cruising as it helps keep mooring costs down whilst maximising on space inside. There are already three on order for 2014 delivery and the first has been started in the steelworks workshop for Gerald and Janet Walker.
For more information on available build slots contact the office on +
44 (0) 1782 510610
or email
Latest Launch

60’ x 13’
2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

Martin Sibson’s brand new Dutch Style Barge Antares (pictured just as she was delivered, bottom right above), is being commissioned as we go to press. The 60 feet x 13 feet Dutch Style Barge has been launched in Sawley, Nottinghamshire and we’ll do a full feature in our next issue of Piper Press in February.

60’ x 13’ Dutch Style Barge
Part Fit

Pania is a 60 feet x 13 feet Dutch Style Barge (pictured top right above) that has been built for ‘Kiwis’  Baden and Ros Smith. Keen boaters, they were living aboard their narrowboat – also named Pania when they first got in touch with Piper Boats. They already had extensive experience of their own build projects and as the couple had a very specific idea of how they wanted their boat fitted out they chose to fit out their boat themselves whilst living aboard at the same time.
They commissioned Piper Boats to build their boat to include a fully finished wheelhouse, with first fix plumbing and electrics as far as the dashboard. The interior was lined out and ready for the couple to begin work.
Launched in September the boat was at the Henley event. So far the galley and bathroom is well on its way and some of the photos of the work so far can be seen below. The aim is for the fit-out project to be completed by Christmas so in the next newsletter we hope to show some more pictures of the finished boat.
Baden and Ros decided to stick with the name Pania for their new Dutch Barge too. The inspiration came from Baden, who as an eight year old boy was left besotted with a statue of the sea maiden from Maori legend which is in the New Zealand town of Napia on the East Coast. The legend says Pania gave up her life in the sea to marry her lover from the land – however, in this tragic tale she was eventually drawn to the depths of the sea once again by the sea people, never to see her lover again.

You can read more about the legend of Pania here:

Pania being fitted out is pictured below.
65’ x 14’
2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

Wanderlust means ‘a strong desire for, or impulse to wander or travel and explore the world. This is made it the perfect name for Becky Gray and Dave Oare’s new 65’ Dutch Style Barge, also launched in September ready for our Henley Event.
The couple, who are from the San Francisco area of the USA, have travelled a lot. It was whilst on their travels to the French town of Moissac in 2011, on a journey from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic in an 11m long fiberglass hire boat, that their dog Gigi would influence their decision to go Dutch!

Whilst out walking Gigi met Kes, a boy Border Collie, and Kes’s owners live on the Dutch Barge Kotare. Kes’ owner showed Becky around their boat and Becky was bitten by the Dutch Barge bug.

As the couple continued across France they found most barge owners would be happy to show a curious visitor around their boat if they asked - and Becky was not afraid to ask!

Soon seeing the advantage of a home that can move with you the barging lifestyle became appealing and the couple began to look for a potential builder for their dream boat. It was at the end of their trip across the Canal des Deux Mers that they took a look on board Stuart and Christine Barry’s Piper Dutch Style Barge Hilda May – and from there they arranged to visit Piper's Staffordshire factory in the UK.

Gigi - pictured below on board Wanderlust.
Becky and Dave have interior design roots and so they wanted to be heavily involved in the design and finish of their boat. At Piper Boats there is always the flexibility of layout options and on this occasion the team was also happy to incorporate some new and different design features. Dave said:

“The reality is always different from the vision for this sort of thing but we’re happy with the end result. Wanderlust really suits our lifestyle and is very comfortable. Friends who have been on board are so surprised at just how much space we have.”

So what’s next for our American explorers? At the moment they’re ‘Stateside’ and will head back to Wanderlust, who is moored in the South of the UK, soon. From there the couple plan to head for mainland Europe to travel the extensive European waterways network.

“We’ve really enjoyed taking Wanderlust out since she was launched; it reminds us of why we decided on a Dutch Style Barge in the first place. There’s nothing like the freedom to move your comfortable home from place to place. We’re looking forward to starting our European adventure next summer,” added Dave.

Dave and Becky have started a blog about life on the water and it can be found by visiting:

Pictured below: Wanderlust's Bathroom on the left and Galley/Saloon on the right.
77’ x 15’ Dutch Style Barge
2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms

You will have seen a brief overview of Pilgrim in our October Stop Press edition of Piper Press. A full specification can be downloaded here which outlines all of the gadgetry and engineering spec but we wanted to tell you the story of the couple behind this ambitious build!
This 77 feet x 15 feet gentle giant has been built for GPs, Dave and Trish Bee who will be looking to retire aboard next year. The thought process so far is that they can practice cruising Pilgrim along the British waterways where they’re close to the support of Piper Boats should they need ‘assistance’ before heading across the Channel next summer and the waterways of France.
This ambitious build probably took friends of the Bee’s by surprise as their first experience of owning a boat was a less than smooth one. In 1988 the couple lived aboard a 70 feet narrowboat aptly named Clouded Vision… so named as friends at the time thought it a foolish move for David’s career prospects as a junior doctor.
The boat had a lot of problems. The couple would get by, keeping her running, working in A&E one weekend a month – keeping them in supply of food and beer. They shared their boat with a dog and two small children too – their supply and beer and fuel could easily have been increased should they have chosen to write a book of the playgrounds and parks to be found along Britain’s waterways!
Alas… Clouded Vision did eventually give up as the engine mounts sheared. David and Trish abandoned her in Warwick and – like you would – went to work in Portugal instead! Here they ‘regrouped’ and decided that should they ever do ‘boats’ again they would enlist help from an expert and employ a surveyor – to make sure they got what they paid for.
In 2004 David and Trish started to research building a Dutch Style Barge. They took expert advice from a well-known surveyor and were led, two years ago, through the gates of Piper Boats with a 24m idea in their heads – a size of boat they were told would be optimum for European waterways.
Piper Boats came up with a new hull design and the steel was delivered at the end of August 2012. The couple continued to use the advice of a surveyor and it was whilst in a meeting in the steel workshop that the surveyor announced there was something important missing. David said:
“At first we thought ‘something important’? Must be the wine fridge! It turns out that our surveyor was talking about a crane and a car! It was that fateful meeting that led us to agree to our crane and the purchase of one Mini. We’re still perfecting the art of craning it on board!”
Pilgrim was launched on the Thames in September this year and was the centre piece of the Henley Event. David said:
“Although the design and build took slightly longer than we expected we feel fortunate to have been so involved with the process. We were lucky as we had a dedicated project manager due to the scale of the build and everyone at Piper has gone the extra mile to make us feel welcome and accommodate our visits.”
The couple are currently practicing taking her out and getting used to manoeuvring such a big boat. David added:
“The highlight to date has been mooring the boat on its spud legs at Tesco at Reading and putting a bright red bit of string from the centre bollard to the bank via a tent peg as the only visible means of securing it!”

Pictured below - Wheehouse, main bathroom, master bedroom, saloon
Join the Club!

From this year all boats built by Piper have come with a year’s free membership to The Piper Owners’ Club.
The club is run by the owners, for the owners and they welcome new members to the club, whether they’re Piper Narrowboat, Dutch Style Barge or Wide-beam Barge owners.

In return members receive a quarterly magazine, have access to a dedicated website with a varied online forum and the opportunity to attend an annual dinner in the springtime and Christmas lunch in early December.
For more information visit:
Football Team Sponsorship

Piper Boats have sponsored Congleton Rovers U10 football team by paying for their new season’s tracksuits.

The boys, all under 10, secured promotion to the Amber League of the Mid Cheshire FA last season. This is the highest division within the mid Cheshire region and at the start of this year, with new recruits, the team so far remain unbeaten.

The team and their new tracksuits are pictured above.
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