Friday, 16 August 2019

It's turned up it's toes

Steadfast is ten years old and so I believe was the 12 volt Shoreline fridge; note the 'was'.  
Yes folks a dead or dying fridge is no use to man or beast so we have had to source a replacement. 
After much trawling around the internet we found what we needed, size being a critical factor in the choice, but also saw that the supplier, Shoreline, wanted £45 to deliver.  Plan B then.   Could Midland Chandlers get this particular model for us?  The advantage is that we are only 6 miles from the Penkridge branch of Midland Chandlers and they would take the old fridge for us.
They called me back to say that Shoreline wouldn't supply this model to them but they had an Inlander fridge that would fit our space. A quick call to Joe who was at the boat, to go and look at the fridge and if okay, pay for it.  Picking it up, and more importantly getting the old fridge out of it's snug location and off of the boat was a two man job to be tackled when I was on hand to help.
Last Friday we both travelled up to Hatherton and performed the said task, old fridge out and off of the boat and new fridge collected, unpacked and installed. 

 It occurred to me that whilst all this was going on it was me that it was walking backwards along a narrow pontoon, over the gunwale and down the steps into the boat...a bit of a Ginger Rogers to Joe's Fred Astaire...and he jammed my fingers between the fridge and the bulkhead... Did Ginger have this to contend with?

Just a note about Midland Chandlers Penkridge who couldn't have been more helpful. we were really impressed with the service provided.

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

No more Department of Guesswork

When we started this boating malarkey in 2008 we faced the usual dilemma of what loo system to opt for.  It was fairly simple then with only two choices, pump-out or cassette.  Today you can choose from a pump-out, cassette, incinerator or 'composting' system. The conversations about boat toilets have just got wider along with the wider choices now on offer. 
In 2008 we opted for a compromise between the two standard variables and had a vacuum loo fitted that emptied into a cassette.  We never regretted the decision to use cassettes though we can't say the same for the vacuum loo which was replaced with a Thetford over time.  On our second boat we had fitted a ceramic bowl Thetford, a simple effective system to our minds, we have never been tempted by a pump-out but guess what, Nb.Steadfast has a pump-out system!
Does it stay or does it go?

The holding tank is under the well deck and reading the boat manual the size of the holding tank is given as 220ltrs but there is no gauge to indicate how full the tank is....or isn't. 
There is on board a back-up Porta Potti which was hurriedly released from it's cubby hole the day after arriving at our home mooring as the light on the loo went red the morning after passing the last pump-out facility en route... Is this Sods Law in operation?

In all respects the loo works, we cannot see how a cassette system can be fitted without destroying a perfectly good shower room, neither of us are keen on the separation system that is a 'compost' toilet and an incinerator option is a hungry gas user so, the loo stays.   Joe has fitted a new non return valve, don't ask...but there was an incident.  This week Joe has been fitting a tank gauge so no more surprises and hopefully no more use of the low-to-the-ground Porta-Potti that is less than kind to creeking knees!

The product, a Gobius level indicator. Works like sonar sending a pulse and depending on how long it takes to read depends on the level of the tank.

Chaos reigns

Two sensors fitted, half full, three quarters full

The lower sensor on the side of the holding tank

Monday, 22 July 2019

Lightening the load

While our engine is away being modified and refurbished and our cruise is consequently delayed, Joe has been trying to remedy the trim issues Steadfast has.  The boat is very much stern down with only one of the two tunnel bands visible, the lower band being below the surface of the water, as is the rudder top.  Obviously the boat was built like this, ballasted throughout with paving slabs before the floor went down and the fit out was completed.

Then they bolted in a great lump of engine at the stern.

I imagine there was a bit of consternation when she was launched and the issue became apparent... Steel billets and pavers have been added to the front of the boat by way of correction but that was never going to bring the stern up sufficiently.

After investigations it was decided to remove all the ballast in the rear of the boat which essentially is the shower room.  The shower room has been dismantled carefully, floor removed and 512kg of slabs removed, they are sitting on our drive awaiting a skip.  The tunnel bands are now both visible and the  rudder top clear of the water.

This was taken by Adam Porter as we passed No Briar Rose at Crick Wharf. You can see Steadfast is dragging her stern.

Vanity and basin removed

Toilet removed and new non-return valve ordered

Slabs revealed

A grubby tunnel band emerges 

Rudder top emerges

The next job after putting the boat back together is to remove the taff seats at the stern, more weight reduction!

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

RN thumper rebuild

Steadfast has a Russell Newbery single cylinder engine, a 'thumper'. It runs well, shifts the boat comfortably through the water and sounds good.  We haven't specified it, or sourced it, it just came with the boat so we claim no credit for the choice of this engine. As we are about to go out for a month we thought to get the slight oil leak at the top (head) of the beastie sorted. Joe was going to simply change the head gasket but as that would have involved buying a set of new tools we opted to use an expert.
Expert duly turned up on Monday and removed head. Too much oil pressure in the top of the engine so solutions were discussed... Next day expert, Richard Milligan, returned and removed piston and block. The engine is having a rebuild and modification and will be away for a couple of weeks so the four weeks cruise is now on hold.

Thursday, 27 June 2019

A couple of days fettling..

We are just back from a two day visit to Steadfast where Joe fitted and wired in a 12volt TV and charging points for phones and tablets. The battery bank onboard comprises of three 125amp hour batteries so rather limited.  We intend to add solar panels next year but Joe’s thinking now is to minimise the waste of battery power inverting to 240volt only to reduce it again to charge mobile phones etc.
All this is explained to me by Himself,  apparently the inverter uses power to do it’s thing... meanwhile I did the catering and knitted in the sunshine.

Work in progress, bracket and 12v TV fitted.

A moving time

After completing the purchase of Steadfast we  wrangled a temporary mooring at Yelvertoft Marina just along from Crick on the Leicester line of the Grand Union.  Now back in 'boat mode' the annual Crick Boat Show became very attractive once again.  We planned to go to the show on the Sunday with friends David and Amanda who were providing the transport and then set off on the Bank Holiday Monday, car less, to Steadfast's new home mooring at Hatherton Marina on the Staffs and Worcs.
We had travelled down the Watford flight and I found myself walking along the towpath to the next bridge hole to get back on the boat  so I took the opportunity to record this of Steadfast.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Nod’s as good as a blink...

So, he had blinked, or nodded and the hunt was on for another Narrowboat.. I was on a mission!

What did we want?
Something small?
A tug? A small tug?
Hens teeth?

We needed to be realistic.  Something small, tick. Something well fitted out with reasonable electrics, tick.

I found a TUG at ABNB brokerage and booked an appointment to view it. We then went and looked at a 42' trad at Shardlow and a 41' BCN boat at Hatherton Marina and then another boat at Crick.
We looked over the latest offering and then went for breakfast to digest what we had seen as well as a full English.

"What do you think? I like it." says Himself.

" Not sure, I'm not convinced. I love the fit out, the engine, the galley, the size but... the lines? The boat is 'arse down' but that's resolvable I guess".

We ate breakfast and resolved to go back for a second look after which we made an offer and bought our third boat.

I give you NB Steadfast, a 47' trad.