Solmates owners Ruth and Iain have a shared passion for water. Ruth is American and Iain is English. On meeting they decided to live on a sailing boat and travel the world together, which they did for seven years with several ocean crossings thrown in.
As you’d expect, they have a fairly honed list of what’s needed on a boat. Storage is often a problem on a narrowboat but not so with Ruth and Iain because they can manage with very little.
Their main residence is on the East Coast of the USA, Maryland. There they have a house on the water with its own pier and space for five boats.
The narrowboat will serve as their UK base and although will not be used all year round, needs to be comfortable in summer and winter and for extended periods of time.
Did I mention their love of Sol Beer? This is the inspiration behind the name of the boat, that, and the fact that Sol is Sun in Spanish. And as Spain is a very sunny place, I’m not arguing. A love of beer has been carried into the cabin and the wallpaper was specially designed to commemorate their favourite pastime.
The Semi Cruiser Sterns are continuing to be popular with Mothership Marines customers. With easy seating for 4/6 they are enjoyable spaces to pass time, stationary or travelling. Travelling because of the very, very quiet electric motors.
The deck is finished with Tek-dek and looks very smart, below is the generator, electric motor and heated lithium batteries. From the deck there is access to a deep drawer for storing all the sorts of things you would need whilst cruising, maps, sunglasses, bottle opener.
On descending the stairs the electrical cupboard is on the starboard side, and on the port side a large calorifier and small airing cupboard above. Forward of these two cupboards is a small head with a chemical toilet on the port side and a cloakroom on the starboard side.
All timber in this boat is reclaimed and all doors and drawers are made with an angle iron surround to provide strength and a little style. These boats are designed so that they can be easily maintained over a long period of time, making them a good investment for the future. The galley features all the appliances you’d expect and has a breakfast bar at the forward end. In the floor there’s special storage for, you’ve guessed it, Sol Beer.
Iain and Ruth have opted for double ended Chaise Lounges, upholstered with Burdock & Star Indigo and Brunswick Slate both by Morris & Co. They also have a dining table with extended ends when entertaining.
To finish off the saloon there’s a Reflecs stove with back boiler and a fold down desk for a laptop and a recessed monitor that can be turned 90 degrees when working or watching TV.
The bathroom features a semi-recessed basin, an 880 x 600mm shower and a composting toilet.
In the bedroom there’s plenty of storage for clothes in drawers and cupboards plus storage under the bed for items that are not often used. A drawbridge bed is fitted enabling easy access to the well deck. Below the well deck is a 670-litre freshwater tank.
The well deck is also finished with Tek Dek and is covered by a cratch. The forward triangle part of this cratch is made from marine ply encased in fiberglass and sprayed to match the paintwork. For convenience the Perspex forward window lifts up to allow easy access to the fore hatch and forward mooring point.
It’s worth mentioning that the fore hatch is made by Mothership Marine out of fiberglass so it’s nice and easy to lift.
On the roof there’s 10 solar panels supplying nearly 2kW of power, a lightweight gangplank that’s made by Mothership Marine in composite materials and 2 Wi-Fi Onboard aerials to pick up 5G.