Saturday, 4 July 2015

At Last

After ordering self adhesive names for the boat several months ago I have at long last got round to fixing them. I'd finally run out of excuses, on previous occasions when intending to fix/stick the names to the boat either the weather wasn't right or there was something else more important/urgent that needed to be done.

Name added to boat.
Today however the weather was sunny and almost perfect, it was a bit too windy and after I'd started fixing the lettering realised it was in fact a bit too hot (the plastic stretched slightly as I pulled the backing off). Although there were other jobs that could have been done (there is always something to do on a boat) none of them, on this occasion, were more important or urgent.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

New furniture & curtains

Since buying the boat we have wanted to change the layout of the saloon and upgrade the seat coverings. The windows have blinds instead of curtains and we have wanted to change them as well.

The saloon is a fixed L shaped settee and there are two further bench seats either side of the bow doors where a table can be set up for meals.

The pictures below are of the old furnishings and window blinds.

We wanted to remove the L shaped seat replace it with free standing furniture (a 'normal' chair and a 'Captains' swivel chair). After looking at various furniture makers/upholsterers we settled on Elite Furnishings of Litchfield to make new curtains, a chair and provide new seats and backs for the two bench seats. They also supplied the Captains chair for us.

The pictures below show the new curtains and new furniture.

We also had some square blinds made up from the curtain material for the portholes to cover up the foam inserts.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Second Part of Move Hatton Locks to Birmingham

For this part of the trip Josie had to go back to work, but fortunately a friend, Steve, said he would help and then turned up with his Grandson Storm to do the heavy work.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Hatton Locks
Storm opening gate for first lock.
With Steve & Storm working the locks (21) it only took 2 hours & 55 minutes (Just over 8 minutes a lock)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sculpture of mosquito by Lapworth locks.
Lapworth Locks 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Steve & Storm working Lapworth Locks (20), again very fast 2 hours 25 minutes (just over 7 minutes a lock).


Although on this flight they clearly had time to sit & chat.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Monday, 3 November 2014

Moving Notos to our Permanent Mooring (1st Week End)

Leaving Kate Boats

Our winter mooring with Kate Boats at Stockton finished at the end of March. Although I had been able to arrange some holiday, Josie was unable to get out of her work commitments for the first week of April. This presented a slight problem as between Stockton and Birmingham (where we hoped to be after the first week) are three flights of locks.

  • Stockton Locks (6),
  • Hatton (21) and
  • Lapworth (20 from the Grand Union)
We started the move on the Saturday with Josie on board for the weekend, this solved the problem with the Stockton locks and by Sunday we were in Warwick.

There was a small issue of low pounds at Stockton Locks, but solved by flushing water through from the top pound.

 Josie at the tiller while I 'shunt' the car to the next set of locks.

 Josie meeting me after parking the car.
Cape of Good Hope Warwick

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Future Trips

One of the advantages of now owning our own boat is that we don't have to wait for 'our turn' to come round before we use the boat. This means that we are able to participate in canal events and activities.

We have so far volunteered to help out with Black Country Half Marathon. The route used is along the tow path of the BCN Mainline and narrow boats are station every mile or so to act as water & refreshment points for the runners. We've not heard anything back yet, so not sure if we will be needed.

I have over the last few years always wanted to take part in the BCN marathon challenge, but our weeks on Eos never coincided with the event so it has always been a bit of a pipe-dream. This year however we are able to take part and have sent off our entry fee.

Saturday 24 May 2014 - Sunday 25 May 2014

BCNS 24 hour Marathon Challenge 2014
Start planning your routes now - start anywhere on the BCN that you wish, and finish at Hawne Basin at 14:00 on the Sunday.
The event is open to everyone with a boat licensed for use on British Waterways canals.  Historic working boats and pairs are welcome.
A friendly competition, starting at 08:00 on 24 May, wherever on the BCNS you want to start, and finishing at 14:00 on 25 May at Hawne Basin with a compulsory 6 hours rest.
The winner is determined by a point system, with extra points for full length boats, buttes, small crews, cruising the lesser traveled parts of the BCN.  
The detailed information & rules are on this link, and an the entry form is here.
Having got the rules back I was a bit surprised at the time allowed for the cruising. The event starts at 8am on the Saturday and finishes at 2pm on the Sunday. This is a total of 30 hours and boats/crews must rest for a minimum of 6 hours. That means that if people use the whole of the 24 hours allowed for cruising then there  are both very long days and traveling late into the night. For example a 14 hour day on the Saturday will mean a 10pm finish and a 4am start on the Sunday to use all of the available 24 hours.

Both the long hours and cruising when it is dark do not seem to be very safe or be very considerate of other canal users. However the event has been run for a number of years, presumably without any mishap so, the organisers must be aware of the risks. We though won't be cruising when it is dark or starting before the crack of dawn on the Sunday, so second place (in our dreams) for us.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

2nd Trip (Sun 16th March)

With another nice weekend forecast we decided to take Notos out again. It would have been nice to use the whole weekend, but I had already arranged to stay over in Southampton on the Friday so that I could watch the Saints. A satisfying 4-2 win, but very fraught for the last 5 minutes when Norwich scored two late goals to make it 3 -2. Only eased at the last kick of the game when Sam Gallagher scored his first senior goal to secure the win.

Leaving the yard, with boats ready for new hirers

We managed to get a little further this time, but not as far as planned.

 We had hoped to get to Braunston Junction, but were following a pair of boats (Turo the motor & Ditton the butty), which delayed us slightly and meant we had to turn at the winding hole between bridges 99 & 98. As it was we only just got back and moored before the light faded completely.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

First Trip.

The first weekend of the year with good weather predicted and we decided to take Notos out for a couple of hours on the Sunday.

I went to the boat on the Saturday to make sure everything was ready. The main tasks were to refill the stern greaser tube and fit a strap to secure the second gas bottle.

We were a bit delayed Sunday loading up the car with stuff (bedding, cooking utensils, crockery, cutlery etc) needed on the boat. At least we won't need to bring it back with us and in future we will be able to get way from the house much quicker. The drive to the boat takes just over an hour (this is why we are moving to a mooring nearer home) so it was about 10am before we got to the boat yard.

Once at the boat yard by the time we had got everything out of the car, stowed on board, taken down the 'Pram Top' and generally gave the boat a bit of a spring clean it was gone 12 before we got underway.

Leaving the yard.
 We decided to head up to Napton Junction, past Ventnor Farm & Calcutt marinas and up Calcutt locks. We would wind at the junction and then fill up with water just before coming back down the locks.
The Boat just outside the boat yard (currently closed)

Moored to fill up the water tank.
 Prior to filling up with water we decided, as the boat had been in the boat yard all winter, to empty the tank and completely refill it. The refill took just over 45 minutes,
Calcutt middle lock (From the top)

Calcutt middle lock (from the bottom)

On the way back to Stockton Top Marina with the sun setting

Entrance to Kate Boats (very tight fit!)

Josie concentrating to reverse into a very narrow gap

Almost there

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Preparing to Move

Notos is back in the water and we have to leave this mooring at the end of the month to move to a new, permanent, mooring just outside Penkridge on the Staffs & Worcester. This means I'm spending most Saturdays down on the boat doing various jobs to prepare for the move.

The first jobs to be tackled were a (short) list of BSS failures and some recommendations from the survey.

The BSS 'fails' were:-
  • Insecure gas pipe in the gas locker and behind the fridge (apparently the clips holding the gas pipe were too far apart).
  • No fuse in the positive lead of the battery charger.
  • A defective fire extinguisher.
All three were fairly easy to fix, although securing the gas pipe in the gas locker would have been easier if I had been a contortionist.

The surveyor visited again in January to inspect my work on the 'fails' and was satisfied. Notos now has a BSS certificate valid for the next four years.

The recommendations from the survey included:
  • Fitting a galvanic isolator.
  • Bonding the 230V earth to the hull.
  • Having the boat blacked.
  • Fitting new anodes.
  • Topping up the distilled water in the leisure batteries.
I was a bit concerned about the leisure batteries as the water level had been allowed to fall to well below the level of the plates. They appear to have survived at the moment, mainly I suspect beacuse they are currently on a trickle charger and are (at the moment) used very infrequently. A friend suggests that because they have not been used very much it is possible that the plates have not been damaged - I can only hope he is right, time will tell.

All of the above jobs have now all been done and I'm getting round to doing other jobs. To day I refilled the stern tube greaser (the screw was at the bottom of its travel). There was a little water and oil in the engine bilge which I cleaned up. The gas bottles in the gas locker were secured by a strap system that was very awkward to reach. I spent two hours this afternoon rearranging and fitting new straps. Again being a contortionist would have made the job much easier.

Hopefully that will be the last fiddly job in the gas locker, although a suggestion from the survey was that the locker would benefit from a de-rust treatment and being repainted. I think I'll leave that until the summer.

Tomorrow we are visiting the boat with a view to actually having a short cruise for the day - our first since buying the boat.

Friday, 28 February 2014

Notos Blacking

One of the recommendations from the survey was to have the hull blacked and anodes renewed. Notos has been moored at Stockton Top Marina for the winter. This is a small hire boat yard (Kate Boats, Warwick) which has repair and maintenance facilities, which was a good opportunity to get the blacking and anodes done.

The pictures below are before and after the blacking and also show the state of the old anodes and the new ones.

When we brought the boat, the previous owner had told us that there was no need for a galvanic isolator, he was convinced that there was no problem. He did sound very knowledgeable, but having seen the state of the anodes (and he was not moored in a marina) I have now fitted a galvanic isolator.

Whilst Notos was out of the water I took the opportunity to remove the old name, still visible in the top photo, but removed in the picture above.