1973 - 4 berth
This totally refitted early Water-Rat is one of the most remarkable Wilderness trailboats that we have ever been asked to put up for sale. It has been totally refitted by a master craftsman carpenter & joiner over a number of years in the mid 1990’s, it being a lightly used, structurally sound, Water-Rat shell.
About The Boat:
This totally refitted early Water-Rat is one of the most remarkable Wilderness trailboats that we have ever been asked to put up for sale. Desiderata was refitted in the mid 90’s by a master carpenter & joiner and subsequently the quality interior is very high.
The layout is faithful to our original 4 berth, two cabin layout, despite being only 15ft in length the well arranged cabin provides a double berth in the forward saloon and a further one across the rear cabin.
Before the refit commenced the whole cabin floor was replaced and the space below the floor was insulated with a styrofoam sheet. The central section of the boat is occupied by a compact but well-equipped galley, aft of which is, on one side, a large wardrobe and on the other, the combined shower/toilet compartment.
The galley contains, on one side, a good quality stainless steel combi unit with 2 burner hob and grill. Opposite there is worktop space and a high-level 60L Electrolux electronic ignition 3-way fridge with a small freezer compartment, The fridge benefits from a protective gauze around the burner, making it Boat Safety Scheme compliant.
The shower/toilet compartment has a one piece shower tray and space to the left, to slide the porta-potti forward out of the way whilst showering. The shower bay is lined out with soft, washable tile-effect vinyl, there is a pair of hot and cold mixer taps, a trigger controlled
shower head and an electric waste water pump.
Hot water is supplied to shower and sink by a 10L Atwood gas-fired room-sealed storage heater which is situated neatly in one of the under-galley storage cupboards. Space heating is basic and is supplied by a gas fired 1.4kw bulkhead-mounted catalytic fire. Although basic by modern standards, it is in good order, but could easily be replaced with a room-sealed gas-fired blow-air unit such as the British-made, thermostatically controlled Propex Heatsource, or, the existing heater could be resited lower down in the galley area.
Interior lining-out of most surfaces is with light grey cord carpeting from the motor caravan industry and is all very neatly applied. The upholstery, totally new at time of relaunching, is of good quality fire-retardant foam and is covered in a hard-wearing velour fabric; all cushions are in good condition and likewise, the 100% cotton curtains are as new.
The carpeted plywood headlining throughout the boat has additional insulation above it. Ventilation in hot weather is by a combination of aluminium-framed sliding windows and roof vents. All glass is approved safety glass including the “patio-style” front windows and central door.
The internal headroom is 5’10”
Lighting throughout is by twin tube fluorescents and upgrading to LED lighting on the existing wiring would be easily done. A stereo radio cassette player is fitted
As with most of our Wilderness trailboat designs, there is extensive storage under all the seating, spacious galley cupboards and even a pull-out step/storage box below the rear entrance way which usefully serves as a toolbox.
The fresh water storage is a flexible bag system up forward under the bow deck and supplies the sink, shower and water heater via an in-line 12V pump and pressure shut-off switch.
The whole of the restoration work has been meticulously done as a labour of love and every detail had been carefully thought out, even down to discrete travel catches keeping cupboards and doors closed whilst in transit.
Despite being one of our early models, it benefits from a modern low mileage twin axle, fully galvanized trailer (supplied new by ourselves in 2000). It has been regularly serviced, and, with the boat on it, has been jacked up when not in service, clear of the ground in the owners “boat shed” to ensure that the tyres are not under load. The trailer is running on 13” wheels and 8 ply heavy duty tyres. The all up tow-weight of the rig, (boat, engine, trailer and selected personal kit) is thought to be of the order of 2000kgs; the trailer is rated at 2500kgs.
The tiller steered electric start, much sought-after Yamaha F9.9 AEL outboard engine was supplied new by ourselves in 1997 and has recently been professionally serviced. It is an ideal engine for a craft of this size in that it has good electrical charging to maintain the boat’s recently replaced 85A/hr leisure battery and is fitted with a large high thrust propeller. It is also fitted with one of our double-finned s/steel rudders making for good slow speed control.
The rear deck of the craft has been extended by an ingeniously designed, robust rear deck safety rail effectively extending the craft from its original 18ft 6” length to nearly 20ft. This enlarged rear deck makes for easy access to the boat from bank to deck and to cabin interior. This rail has shaped hardwood seats for helmsman and crew and, as a nice touch, one of the seats has an easy access storage scabbard attached for mooring irons and lump hammer. There is also a dual bike rack on the stern rail for accommodating 2 adult bikes.
Externally the craft is in very good condition; all of its cabin-side panels were replaced at time of refit using good quality marine plywood and are painted to a good professional specification; all paintwork is currently of sound condition.
The coach lines and lettering have been applied professionally without cost restraints and are all adhering well.
The Boat Safety Certificate runs to June 2025. All in all, this craft is a unique well-fitted, Wilderness trailboat of unashamedly retro appearance and is a competent performer on almost all UK inland waterways. It is also well suited to the smaller inland waterways of France (by tunnel or cross-Channel ferry in caravan mode!) For anyone interested in purchasing a complete trailboat rig on a robust modern trailer, it would be well worth inspecting.
Boat currently ashore, South Wiltshire