Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Dire straits for deep drafted boats and this years cruising?

Just seen this post about Tring summit water levels - Clicky

The bit about low pounds and red amber and green cruising routes is startling.... see below

BW is shortly going to publish a map showing Red, Amber and Green areas and hopes that boaters will stick to Green routes.
Also BW will man 12 critical sites to ensure that locks are shared. The 10 till 3 openings times will also come into effect. 

We recently looked at a lovely boat but it was quite deep draughted and I could imaging it would be a real problem on low pounds. I recently saw some pics of the pound between Shadehouse and Woodend lock after it had been drained and it was clear unless the centre channel was used anything with a deep draught would struggle.

Challenging times  - one thing we all need is water !

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Will we ever cruise this canal?

It is of course the Cromford Canal. Only two decent pics as my camera battery was out of charge! Just to the right of the bridge is the railway line and then the A6.

We went walking on our anniversary and enjoyed the relative solitude walking this stretch of the canal provides especially on a week day.

These two were from my Iphone, just to show
  1. It was raining for part of the walk
  2. The canal was still iced over in places
The weird thing was today Leia decided to go for a swim across the canal to chase what she thought was a squirrel  - she hates squirrels. She also hates the water but for some reason she went for a full blown swim - daft dog!

Anyhow we pondered if we would ever bring our boat along this scenic canal, I really hope so. We have put Whatstandwell into our Rightmove property alerts as we were quite taken with the houses at the back of the canal, plus this might be a good way of getting a house with a canal frontage..... at some point in the future !

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Derbyshire peaks

I live on the doorstep of the Peak district but have not entered forth as often as I should. Anyhow today I did and completed a really nice 12 mile walk starting and finishing at Over Haddon taking in Lathkill dale.

It really was perfect walking weather not too many other people about and some really fantastic scenery. Should do it more often. The best bit was I feel good after the walk so this bodes well for my fitness !

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Cheek of some people

This is a post on Canal world forum  clicky

Buys a boat without survey - through a broker at reduced price then sends a letter to the previous owner asking for £5,000 to put right (and in some cases improve) the boat.

Gotta admire his cheek!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Solar panel output

When I was looking to add a solar panel I did my research....There are various controllers, all take the voltage from the panels and put it into the battery and also protect the battery bank from overcharging. Some do it very simply some with more finesse.

I opted for the Sunseeker MPPT (Maximum Power Point Tracking) It was not the cheapest but it puts more into the battery bank than the lesser PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) type - the Steca being very popular and the one the now defunct chandlers at Burton on Trent tried to sell me.

My understanding (basic) is that the MTTP works with the batteries to monitor them and try to get as much charge into them as possible compared to the PWM type that stop when they read the battery voltage as being a certain amount. I interpret it as the MTTP is like a clever battery charger. Anyhow it works and today when I visited to collect my phone I left behind the batteries were 100% on the Samrtgauge - that is 15% from last week. I also read on my research some owners with Smartgauges and PWM controllers were not getting the Smartgauge up to 100%

As noted before it is doing what we planned and this is over winter so I expect better as the sun gets higher and shines for longer. I like the frame that Ian on NB Freespirit has constructed - this seems like the real deal, might enquire on commissions for other boaters solar panels....

Anyhow the Sunseeker has a 30 day log of lots of info. I have taken just one piece of info - IMHO the most important - the amount of charge going in.... charted over the month of October

Monday, 13 February 2012


The Puglia went first then the Merlot and the Rioja is waiting for tomorrow. Wine is a good thing !

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Best laid plans......

We were due aboard this weekend for our 27th wedding anniversary on the 14th but Rachel has gone down with a bad cold so we are reviewing options at the moment. One member of the crew is certainly taking every advantage....

We had a bit of a lie-in and Leia joined in to.

I will have to visit the boat as last time aboard I left my work Blackberry aboard. Vodafone were very helpful and redirected my calls to my personal Iphone number but I need the phone for those email things that intrude into your life so badly.

Plus I need a canal fix right now.......

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

More blogs to follow

I use my blog list on the right as an indicator to me that one of my fellow bloggers has posted. I have noticed some are dropping off and some not at all. Some with explained reason, some not.

I followed a few links on other bloggers sites and found myself adding a quite a few more active boaty blogs. I used the simple rule of if they had blogged in February I'd add them. So welcome all to my blog roll and specifically the Ian and Irene Jameison  who are following this attempt at a part time boater blog.


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Solar panels

I fitted a 135 watt solar panel in October last year....clicky here  It is doing exactly what I wanted in that on getting to the boat on Friday we had 100% on the smart-gauge. We left the boat at about 70% after the New Year so it has been trickle charging the batteries just perfectly. All we did was run the engine for some hot water, then the stove back boiler kept the water hot via the new Calorifier - it's great when a plan comes together.  We were happy to leave the boat at 85% knowing it will be 100% when we are next aboard.

At the moment it is flat on the roof held in place by 4 x taxi sign magnets (good to 70pmh !) plus a lock to the roof. We will make a folding bracket to lift it to the required 30 degrees when we need more performance from it.

We have to run the engine for an hour to get 10% (on average) into the batteries. I know that our boat uses about a litre of fuel an hour so its in real terms about a quid for every 10% so we are starting to see the return, albeit slowly, on our investment !

Monday, 6 February 2012

Flying vsit... and a plumbing job

We were aboard Waterlily on Friday night....it was really cold, minus double figures. It took a good couple of hours to get the boat warm but the Squirrel is very good and the back boiler and two rads sorted the boat out so we went to bed lovely and warm.

I did not sleep too well as the central heating pump kept kicking in and it is noisy. It needs to cycle on and off to take the excess heat from the stove. When we got the boat it was on a switch - on or off, the pipe work is 22mm copper and inclined so it should work without a pump. I fitted a pipe stat that now switches the pump and I can adjust the switching temp. I have looked at getting the pump replaced but the pumps sell for about £250 !!

I was also woken by the cold air on my face.... that is a first so it must have got cold in the boat even with the stove on tick-over. Still a really nice place to be.

I also tracked down a leak on the central heating to a valve on the vent side. I should have lagged it or realised it would get damaged even with antifreeze in the system. I think it has been weeping for a while. I had a space on board so that went on temporarily until I can do  full fix. I think it is there in case the system boils when it would vent overboard rather than back into the expansion box that is in the wardrobe.

We were forced to leave when the snow started falling. I would have liked to have stayed but we had other stuff to do so we left the boat slowly cooling down. One thing that was a positive was no leaks so far this year. The extra lagging is doing its job.

Old above new on the right....

Yes the canal was freezing, at common lock the ice was well over an inch thick and even though I broke it with my boots I still could not get the gate open, another reason not to cruise when the canals are frozen.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Everyone has a book in them....

....not me. They tried to teach me French at my grammar school when I did not understand English. So for my life to date the written word has not been sought out. The Internet, spell checkers grammar checkers and synonyms looker uppers are like manna from heaven for me.

So no book, little imagination helps but wait there is a book with my name on it in production. I have ordered a book to be made of my 2008 blog entries. If it looks and reads ok, then it will be the first of a volume that may be a legacy for my lads or maybe even their kids if they are interested.

I used Blog2Print as the tool of choice, seemed easy enough but I'll know in a few weeks when it is delivered.