Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Our Boating Days Are Over!

Some may have noticed that my last boat related post was back on the 10th March HERE when I wrote about having the boat routinely blacked, but with the tougher 2-pack epoxy blacking. Well, I can reveal that we did have that job done, but for reasons that I am unable to divulge here yet, our narrowboating days are now over! Once we get everything cleared up with that aspect, for better or for worse, I will tell my story then, but for now, we are to pursue a life of travel on the roads of the UK and Europe with our new motorhome!


I have been researching motorhome ownership for months now, and we have visited many dealers to view all the different makes, and the quality of their fit out. Importantly though, it should be the layout that is the most important aspect of investing in a motorhome. If you get that wrong I guarantee it will be for sale again within the year. We have finally gone for a compromise, so that our son and his young family might be able to share it for their own holidays. As such we have chosen ours with a fixed rear double bed, a pull down double over the cab, and 4 belted travelling seats. We absolutely loved the quality and layouts offered by the Autotrail Frontier range, but in the end, we saw this, a Rapido A class, which relates to its type, rather than the model. A class motorhomes are completely coach built over their donor vehicle chassis, rather than being simply grafted on, and so maintaining the vehicle's identity. Ours is based on the ubiquitous Fiat Ducato 2.8 turbo diesel, and is in superb, almost unused condition, but looks like a Rapido motorhome not a Fiat van cab with a motorhome body.
Although we had considered buying new, in the end we decided to go for a mildly used example not only to avoid the initial depreciation that is inevitable on all new vehicles, but also due to the circumstances we have now found ourselves in.
I intend to retain this website, but it will now feature motorhomes rather than narrowboats, as well as all the other aspects of our life in retirement that I sometimes go on about. I hope you will stay with us.












Continental Europe here we come.........Probably next year in this, as we have already booked an apartment in Southern Spain for this autumn. We take delivery next week.




10 comments:

  1. Good choice Peter, they are a very well built motorhome I had to rule them out as they are not allowed into Australia with the habitation door opening on the right.
    Have fun with it.
    Paul

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    1. Thanks Paul. The habitation door shouldn't be an issue hopefully, and could be a benefit, as we have bought this mainly for use on the Continent, although I do believe some UK sites aren't too happy about the door being on the "wrong" side. Hopefully they are in a minority.

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  2. Love it.... When are you going to be near us to show it off?

    Tom & Jan

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    1. Well that's the thing with a motor home, you just climb aboard, and travel to the nearest Caravan Club Certified Site, (up to 5 pitches, usually on farms), with very little time taken to get there. We take delivery next Thursday, and will then be planning all sorts of weekend excursions for the rest of the year to get used to it prior to visiting the Continent for extended periods next year, (hopefully).

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  3. Congratulations Peter and Margaret. We wish you many happy years of motor homing. Look forward to reading of your adventures.
    Elly & Mick

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    1. Thanks to the both of you. We decided the time had arrived to move on with our plans regardless.

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  4. I was avidly following your NB blog and was at first gutted that the news flow would stop. I was really looking forward to the report on hull blacking because we are currently in research mode on NB living. That said, we have always favoured MH but we are looking at trying to combine the two. Anyway, we are still two years away as our youngest has still to follow her sister to university and therefore have plenty of time to continue the research. Keep the reports coming and if you can complete the NB blog - very mysterious.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Tony. Although we were looking to acquire a motor home in addition to our narrowboat, circumstances beyond our control forced us to think otherwise. What happened needs to be, and will be told in public in due course, but presently I am unable to comment publicly. If you would care to contact us directly using the link in the page tab at the top of the page, I will enlighten you personally.

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  5. Hi
    We have a the same van. Have you had any problems with payload? We have been travelling for 9 months and just checked our axle weights to find we are overweight on the rear axle, with air suspension fitted! The payload seems low for a van with such a large garage. We do have a bike rack on the back, 2 leisure batteries, solar panel and carry a spare wheel! Not sure now I know the axle weights that the garage can be loaded with anything else!
    Keith

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    1. Hi Keith, we don't actually take delivery of our Rapido MH until next week, but I did conduct some of my own research into this issue before making our final decision to buy. This model, built on the Fiat 2.8JTD chassis was offered with a choice of maximum authorized mass (maximum gross vehicle weight in my day), of either 3500kg or 3850kg, and I do believe current models are offered up to 4150kg. This is all due to the current legislative driving license rules about who is allowed to drive such vehicles, and detail about that can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/driving-motorhome If yours is the standard MGW, then obviously you will be operating on a reduced payload than if it was rated at the higher level. For those who don't know and might be reading this, the vehicle weight ratings can be found on a plate located somewhere within the vehicle, such as under the bonnet, or attached to a seat base. This is the vehicles rating plate, and the information on it must be adhered to. However, if you find that your payload rating is too low, and you hold the correct type of driving license all is not lost, and it may be just a paper exercise to have the plate changed to the greater rating. I found a specialist company here who can offer advise on this: http://www.svtech.co.uk/motorhomes.html (Copy and paste links into another tab on your browser to view). I will of course make future posts on this kind of issue should we come across it ourselves in the as we start to use our MH.

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