“,I then went on to build (or,at least, assemble) a racy looking, modern solar electric day boat at the Houseboat Centre lakeside research and development office of AYB. This has developed into the test-bed and eventual prototype for the much lighter ( “car-toppable” ) self-drive solar electric boats in the e-boat range.
Henry Ford provided his vision for the Model T:
“I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.” (Ford. Page 73)
Most boats spend most of the time not moving!
This applies to many houseboats (especially, of course, the “Static” ones!)
On quiet inland waters it is great to be able to take family and friends out (in good weather) to enjoy life afloat.
I was at Shepperton in the Summer of 2018 and really enjoyed a cruise in a 1930’s Slipper launch which had been converted to Battery power.
Replacement electric engine seen through forward hatch of Swallow.
Quietly and gently gliding over the water it is easy to tune in the harmony of nature and relaxed, civilised conversation is so much easier then over an outboard racket or while rowing.
So the idea developed to build a modern economical electric inland day-boat for cruising with family and friends.
Our first Andrews Slipper launch was a real success, with its original quiet watercooled Ford petrol engine, bought specifically so wife and baby could cruise from Taggs Island to Kingston-on-Thames with our son in a large traditional pram, buy all the shopping and cruise back in comfort and safety.
Slipper Launch Ilona alongside Houseboat Iona
We loved the cruising characteristics and it proved to have an added bonus, simply place crying son in Slipper Launch, cruise round the Island and you have a quietly sleeping baby ! Worked every time.
That particular Slipper Launch subsequently became the favourite leisure pastime of Michael Parkinson, who had the boat restored and name changed from “Ilona” by the famous Peter Freebody.
Parky helps David Walliams out of the Thames, in the launch that soothed our boy to sleep.
Enough of the distant past, I then went on to build (or,at least, assemble) a racy looking, modern solar electric day boat at the Houseboat Centre lakeside research and development office of AYB. This has developed into the test-bed and eventual prototype for the much lighter ( “car-toppable” ) self-drive solar electric boats in the e-boat range.