Today involved 2 trips to B&Q in Ipswich, once in the morning by bike (I'm training for a long distance cycle tour in the spring) and a second trip in the afternoon with Kay (for a second opinion).
I discovered, hidden away in a dark corner under a shelf, some very expensive looking hard wood laminate floors, an 'end of the line' laminate called BevelLoc Antique Oak Effect Plank Flooring at a hugely discounted price. It seemed to fit the bill. It was in character with the boating image (fairly rough), not too dark, warm enough to touch, thick enough not to buckle, good vfm and with an ingenious locking mechanism that does not need glue or nails. The fact that it was not totally waterproof, just splashproof, did not worry me too much (but I did take it into account).
Being new to laminate flooring, I understand the tight interlocking mechanism is a fairly common approach nowadays. This is a great improvement on the systems I have used in the past but then I am easily impressed. It should make the job of fitting the boards easy and quick and give the right final effect. The fact that they 'float' on the floor and tend to shrink and expand a little bit means that a gap of some 10-15mm must be left around the edges. This is good because I also understand the hull is likely to move by a similar amount as it gets hot or cold. As I don't know the exact physical properties of either material, I'm just hoping that this will work out in practice.
I also bought the highly recommended 3mm underlay designed specially for laminate floors (almost the same price as the laminate flooring) and will finish the job with a simple skirting board to hide the expansion gap. This will be fixed to the bottom of the wall so it will allow for the required movement.
As far as timing is concerned, this job will best wait until all the walls, bathroom, bedroom and the kitchen fittings are in place as the floor must not have these types of things fixed to the surface otherwise the 'floating' bit won't work. I'll post some photos once a few boards have been laid.
By the way, B&Q do a useful range of 'how to do it' video clips on Youtube so worth looking at.
I also picked up an extra soft paint brush to apply the final stroke for the top coat. The plan is to rub the last coat down with a fine sand paper, apply the top coat with my usual 4 inch brush and then gently stroke the paint backwards with the soft dry brush from the wet leading edge. This should remove any heavy brush strokes and should leave a smooth finish. Thursday looks like the best day to continue this. Further report to follow...
By the way, I'm sorry there are no photos on this post but once you've seen one B&Q, you've seen them all.