Page last updated by KW on 2nd October, 2021

You will find these and more photos of Andante  HERE


  Andante is a semi-traditional style boat, built in 2003 by the highly regarded Milburn Boats, on steelwork by the equally highly regarded G & J Reeves. She was built for the ‘Ownerships’ company, presumably to their layout design.

Although the CE Compliance certificate shows her as 18 metres in length, our tape measure shows her to be 60' long in the steelwork, plus fenders. At 62' overall, she is not really a 'go-anywhere' size. It is claimed that navigations such as the Calder & Hebble can accommodate 60 footers by not sharing locks, going corner to corner in locks and descending locks backwards (mainly to avoid the stern being under the waterfall from leaky gates).

In 2006, she was fitted with a four cylinder, Nanni Diesel engine onto the original PRM 260 hydraulic gearbox. Nanni Diesel engines are very reputable units that are essentially Marinised Kubota industrial base engines (as also marinised by Beta Marine and probably others). PRM hydraulic boxes are equally reputable and the 260 is a heavy duty unit.

Andante has been in shared ownership from new but, since the demise of ‘Ownerships’, has been managed privately by the shareholders. This group decided to sell her on at their 2016 AGM, several or them wanting to start again with a new vessel.

Andante has a ‘reverse layout’ with galley at the stern. This arrangement has become increasingly popular in recent years, being regarded as more sociable that the conventional arrangement (with galley further forward beyond at least one bedroom).

Most daytime ‘traffic’ inside a boat is between the stern deck and the galley/dinette or toilets so is much reduced when both are close to the stern. Communication between those at the stern and those inside is also much easier.

On occasions when people need to go right to the bow they need to go through every cabin anyway so this layout offers no disadvantage.

Sorry about the quality of this layout diagram, which comes from the original boat manual. I expect I'll get around to doing a clearer one in due course.

The Tour.

The Semi-Trad stern allows space for at least two people to accompany the steerer (without needing to perch on the gunwales and hold on tight). There is raised level seating on the port side, this being storage for the gas bottles and engine coolant header tank. For those who like or indeed need to sit at the helm, there are 'taff rail' seats installed on the stern (see photo above).

The engine is below the rear deck, along with a horizontal calorifier situated over the port swim and battery banks over the starboard swim. There are four domestic and one starter battery. 

You enter the galley through the hatch/doorway and down the steps.

Immediately on the left is an L-shaped worktop with a Vanette four ring hob in dark green and a microwave oven at high level above. 

Along the worktop there is an inset stainless steel sink unit with built-in grill & oven unit (matching the hob) below the drainer. There is a generous length of work surface with cupboards and fridge under and a double wall cupboard above. Opposite the sink unit is a fold-up worktop, which provides even more workspace when required. The galley is well equipped with a good range of saucepans, utensils, cutlery and crockery.  


Moving forwards again there are opening side doors and hatch in the port side and there is a transparent panel that can be used when the doors are open. There is a stainless steel, diesel fired, Refleks stove, where it is ideally situated for heating the daytime living space.  

The dinette table and seating is next. It can accommodate six utilising two stools and also converts to a 3'6" wide ‘make-up’ double bed. There is locker space under the seating and a wall cupboard above with inset reading lights underneath.

Through a door, the corridor towards the bow is on the port side, passing the bathroom. This has a washbasin,  toilet and corner bath with shower over. There is a radiator, airing cupboard, extractor fan and shaver socket.

Continuing along the corridor through another door, there is the main cabin with a full-length wardrobe, a cupboard housing the Alde central heating boiler, under-bed storage, high level cupboards and a radiator.  The fixed 4' double bed can be extended to king size utilising an extra cushion but this does take up most of the corridor.

Through another door there is the saloon with a full-length wardrobe to starboard followed by a toilet and washbasin.


There is a cupboard unit to starboard incorporating electric and aerial sockets, and then a fixed bench sofa/single bed either side of the central walkway. Both make full length berths but in one case this involves use of a lift-up flap and additional cushion. There is locker space under these benches and they can be combined to create a Super-king size double berth.

The 'Desmo' tables can also be used in the space between the two benches and, although further from the galley, a six strong group can sit around the large table more comfortably than in the dinette.

Beyond the benches is the front double glazed door and window unit, which has two doors that will completely fold out when the weather permits. The well deck has storage lockers on each side which double as seats. There is a cratch and cover enclosing the well deck, which is cleverly designed to give full headroom, even for tall people. This is achieved by having the floor at the same level as the floor inside the boat and draining the well deck back to the engine bilge.

Warts 'n' All Summary:

Andante is a comfortable and well equipped boat for an average family, with space for additional overnight visitors as long as the total complement is inside the limit of three couples or two couples and two singles. For single adults, the limit is four (two of them on double beds).

Like most '6 berth' boats, storage for 6 people's belongings is rather limited and a crew of six for more than an occasional overnight would need to be very tidy, well organised and to all have the minimum of kit.

Seating six around the dinette table is something of a challenge though the same table in the saloon would be more realistic for those rare occasions.

The typical, 4' wide fixed double has the facility to extend by 1' to King size but this encroaches badly on the corridor, making it difficult, if not impossible, to stand beside the bed or access the drawers under. The 1' wide extension mattress is stored under the bed. This cabin does have excellent storage for clothing and paraphernalia.

The 'make-up' dinette double, at just 3'6" wide, is 'cosy' for a couple and might not be adequate for large people, except as a single bed. It is however typical of narrowboat 'make-up' second doubles. In daytime mode it is a comfortable 'L' shaped sofa with storage under. Access to the storage across the end is reasonable but that under the long side is obstructed when the 'extension' is pushed in. Until we get around to opening the front panel this will serve as storage for things we don't need regular access to. Given the storage issues for anyone sleeping here it's helpful to reserve part of the high level cupboard for personal things.

The saloon, with its en-suite toilet and washbasin and, optionally, a Super-King size double, is definitely the 'Master' suite. In daytime mode it is two long settees that can serve as two single berths or can be combined to fill the space across the boat. There are two table leg sockets for one or both of the small tables, or indeed the large table from the diner.


Advantages of Andante’s layout:

1. Sociability of having the galley/dinette within ‘conversation’ distance of the stern deck.

2. Reduced foot traffic through the central section of the boat, compared to the more conventional layout with galley/dinette well forward.

3. Stove ideally situated for the main daytime living space. Many are badly sited close to the bow doors.

4. All three sleeping cabins have direct access to a toilet without passing through someone else’s cabin.

5. Only one cabin dedicated to ‘night-time’ space. Many six-berth, two-toilet boats have two dedicated double cabins, often between the stern deck and galley, leaving less than half of the boat as useful daytime living space.

6. Saloon is well away from much of the daytime activity so perfect for anyone needing a rest or seeking peace and quiet.

7. Very flexible sleeping arrangements catering for any combination between 4 single people and 3 couples.

8. Very good headroom throughout the boat, including the well deck.