Boat history – first steps

I was told by the previous owner that this boat is a Jannel Cruiser.  Naturally I want to know more about the history of my boat, so I’ve contacted Jannel themselves (now a family-run marina, still in Shobnall Basin on the Trent and Mersey Canal) and checked out the history section of their website – you can read this here. The history is more concerned with the industrial use of the River Trent and T&M Canal, but there is a line about Jannel setting up in the 70s:

Jannel Cruisers started business in 1973 in the tiny part that was left of Shobnall Basin. The Hines family reopened the basin and in 1980 created a dry dock on the line of the Bond End Canal. 

I also posted a question about Jannel Cruisers on the Canal World Discussion Forum and got this response from a helpful chap:

Jannel Cruisers operated out of Shobnal Basin on the Trent and Mersey Canal in Burton. The basin itself was part of the Bond End canal and Jannel restored it from dereliction in the late sixties (I think). The Bond End Canal linked the T&M to the Trent and closed around 1840, Shobnall basin surviving as a wharf.

Jannel named some of their boats after indigenous American tribes, or names derived from them. For most of their life the boats were painted a very distinctive orange livery. There are one or two pictures in the gallery on CWDF, this is one of them:


That orange hull must have been a beggar to keep clean and neat!

From memory, Jannel did have boats with a low front cabin, some of which hada central steering position as well as a tiller. I considered hiring one in 1995 but went to Clifton instead. I think the central cabin had a windscreen where the roofline dropped, it would have to if you could steer from it. Looking at your boat, the hull certainly looks right, but I wonder if the cabin has had some work done on it? 

I’m amazed at how little is out there on the web – these days I just assume that everything I want to know is available for me to read with just a little typing and clicking.

I couldn’t find any other pictures on the forum (or indeed on the entire web) apart from this one (presumably taken on the same day?). I love the orange hull! This boat is even dinkier than mine…though I guess none of them were actually designed to live aboard. I also can’t find anything else with a sliding centre section like my boat.


So I’m buying a boat with no easily accessible history. Well, that’s pretty exciting, I love a good mystery!