Classic Iron Narrow Boat ‘Sara’ SOLD

The hull of SARA was commissioned by the Oxford Canal Company as an open horse-drawn icebreaking boat. The frames were supplied by the Harts Hill Iron Co. of Dudley and she was probably built in the 1850’s, making her one of the oldest craft on the internal waterways. As an ice boat Sara would have been based at either Banbury or Thrupp on the southern section of the canal.
The iceboat hull was laid up for sale at Braunston in 1961 and purchased for £100 that year by Alfred Matty, who gave her the name SARA. He commenced a protracted fit out at Cubbits Yacht Basin, Chiswick utilising salvaged woodwork from many London redevelopment sites. The oak decking purportedly comes from the former wooden fire escape of the Carlton Club. This fit out was damaged by a neighbouring fire in 1965 and was finally finished in 1968.
Throughout the 1970’s Alfred lived on Sara at a mooring on the Welford Arm of the Grand Union Canal, later touring almost every connected waterway with his wife Jean Calder. She later wrote a
book detailing a year of their travels, A grand Tour of England’s Waterways, in which SARA features throughout. The couple later married in Ely, where there were family connections, and their
honeymoon consisted of a tour of the Anglian waterways. An extensive write up on SARA featured in Classic Boat magazine in August 2008 titled Ice Princess.

Hull: riveted wrought iron (rivets re-welded in 2009). Square section elm keel. Cabin and decks mixed hardwood (oak, teak), internal ply paneling.

Single cabin accessed fore and aft, small utility space with basin, wardrobe and electrical services to starboard aft. Bench seating folds out to make single double berth. One fold away table suitable for two. Movable table with provision for locating in cabin or forward well deck capable of seating four. Galley to starboard with adjacent mains sockets and storage cupboards. Folding table/pantry to port. Internal water tank (capacity 20 litres) under starboard bunk supplies galley basin via foot pump.
Boatman stove more than capable of heating cabin in winter and keeps it warm overnight.

Lister Petter TR2 twin cylinder air cooled diesel, new and installed in 2010. PRM 120 gearbox installed at same time. Day tank c.20 litres is generally sufficient for 2-3 days cruising. Running time c.650 hours.  New propeller and shaft in 2017. Propeller accessed via weed hatch in rear cavitation plate.

Shoreline hook up supplies three sockets in main cabin and two dedicated chargers for each battery bank. Single 45Ah starter battery with 1.5 amp maintenance charger. Single 110Ah domestic battery with 7 amp sterling charger. Starter battery supplies starter motor, bilge pump and horn circuits. Domestic supplies 4 internal LED cabin lights and a small travel inverter capable of charging small devices (phones, laptops) whilst underway.  Split charging of domestic and leisure batteries from engine whilst running.


Whilst every care has been taken in their preparation, the correctness of these particulars is not guaranteed.  They are intended only as a guide and they do not constitute a term of any contract. The Vendor does not make or give, and neither the Broker nor any person in its employment has any authority to make or give, any representation or warranty in relation to this vessel, in respect of which any Purchaser must rely on his own inspection.
A demonstration of the vessel will be conducted once a Sale and Purchase Agreement has been signed by both the seller and buyer and a 10% deposit has been paid into the broker’s client account.

Price, Contact and Location






Fish and Duck Marina


Fish and Duck Leisure Ltd as broker on behalf of the seller

Boat Safety Certificate



Vessel Name


Vessel Condition


Vessel Type

Ice Breaker


Harts Hill Iron Co & Oxford Canal Co


Ice Breaker

Year Constructed

c. 1850s





Number of Engines


Engine Model

Liester Petter TR2

Fuel Type


Drive Type

Shaft drive

Cruising Speed

4 mph

Maximum Speed

5 mph

Length Overall

31' (9.45m)


6'10" (2.08m)

Maximum Draft

2'3" (0.69m)

Bridge Clearance

5'6" (1.68m)

Hull Material


Hull Type


Hull Colour


Keel Type


Dry Weight


Fuel Capacity

20 litres

Water Capacity

20 litres