Harnserís basic crew until January 2004 was 4, this consisted of my wife Diana, a large 13-year-old chocolate Labrador called Rolo and a 6-year-old black Labrador called Magic and my self, unfortunately we are now down to 3 as Rolo passed away in January 2004 We started Canal boating by hiring in 1988, then in 1993 we bought a 12th. share in Waterwitch which we later increased to about a quarter, The syndicate was disbanded in 2001 with one of the members buying all the other shares.
We had by this time decided to have our own boat built and I started to keep an eye open for ideas and equipment. The first item purchased was a Beta Marine BD3 Tug engine which spent several years sitting in the garage waiting for a boat to go into. A later found out that this engine was developed for the Ford Dexta Tractor and I take great delight in telling people that our boat is powered by a tractor engine.
We had a Hull delivered in September 1998 and I was offered voluntary Severance/early retirement in 1999 which I jumped at and finished work in May of that year. I had worked in the Offshore Gas Industry for over 20 years which entitled me to a fair pension, removing the need to find another job. Diana who was a Dietitian at the Local NHS hospital was not to be left out of the fun and resigned from her position in the following June. We could now concentrate on Harnser "full time".
In July of 1999 we both completed the RYA Inland Waters Helmsman's Certificate and obtained our International Certificate for operator of pleasure craft. We did this at Cambrai on the French Canals in a Dutch Barge called Friesland. This is operated by Di and Tam Murrell. They normally take 4 guests in two twin cabins for 3 days, but when we went the other couple had called off so Diana and I had the boat and the tuition to ourselves