Year One: Lots of Fun!
Happy Chance was launched on the 1st of May 2015 and our first year on the Thames was fantastic. We had to pinch ourselves because she was even better than we imagined she’d be. And we’d set our expectations quite high!
Admittedly it took a couple of weekends to get used to her (our previous boat was a small, 8.5mtr cruiser). But after a barge handling course at the Bisham Abbey Sailing School and a slightly embarrassing incident in Culham (we basically ended up across the river and blocked the entrance to the lock – oops!) it was plain, glorious sailing.
Most of our boating took place at the weekends. The exception was in July when we put our EE portable internet dongle to the test and did something we’ve wanted to do ever since we bought our first boat five years ago: spend a month working and relaxing on board. We didn’t go very far – Wargrave to Abingdon – but it was lovely. We kept our respective businesses ticking over, went on amazing walks and enjoyed lots of riverside drinks and dining.
Friends and family also joined us for meals on deck, barbeques by the river and overnight stays, which is exactly what we wanted. To be honest, it’s the reason why we bought a barge. We wanted to be able to share our love of the river with our guests and entertain them in comfort. And Happy Chance passed the test with flying colours. The younger generation loved feeding the swans and watching movies on the wide-screen TV. The older generation enjoyed the relaxed pace of river life and the beautiful views from the deck and we lapped it all up – including the luxury of a walk-in shower, a fridge freezer and a dishwasher!
Bespoking a barge is always a bit risky, but turning our kitchen into a convertible dinette/office/cabin really worked for us. Guests liked having a private space for their things and we liked having a quiet office away from the distractions of the river when we were working. Another bonus was that when we had guests on board we didn’t have to wait for them to get up before we could enjoy our first cup of coffee and the stunning views from the wheelhouse.
We’re now counting the days to get back on board. We’ll be on the Thames most weekends from Easter until the end of October – and all of August. There’s always coffee on the go and drinks in the fridge. So if you spot us on the River (we’re quite hard to miss) stop by and say hello. And if you want to discuss anything from float switches to great moorings and riverside restaurants, just give us a call.
Happy Cruising from a Happy Couple on Happy Chance!