There has been a lot of hot air flying about in this topic but I know from attending various user group meetings that there is an issue. Marina Owner/Operators and Hire Fleet Owner/Operators are putting enormous pressure on C&RT. What these powerful groups would like to see is ample visitor moorings kept free for use by their smart and wealthy hirers and weekend boaters - what they don't want to see is what they regard as scruffy boats (and scruffy boaters) hogging the nicest moorings and littering the towpath with detritus. And I have been exceedingly conservative in my translation of what they regard as 'non-conformist boaters' - some of the things that I have heard said are far more descriptive than just 'scruffy'.
If everything else on the boat ticks all your boxes - seek a reduction in the price to allow for the fact that the steering gear needs attention. When the boat comes out of the water for blacking, a good boat builder will be able to fix the steering issues quite easily.
Assuming that Kevin Whittle is still trading and I have no reason to believe otherwise, I dont think he will be too concerned about his email address being published. Commercial websites are published all over the place and most firms use adequate spam filters and anti-virus/anti-phishing software to provide adequate protection.
As previously stated there are many firms dealing in vintage engines and it would be well worth talking to the likes of Tony & Paul Redshaw (http://vintage-diesels.co.uk/), Chris Bennett at Marine Engine Services (www.marineengine.co.uk/) and, if you really want a Kelvin it is worth talking to the menat Seaward Engineering, 974 Pollokshaws Road, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, G41 2HA. Telephone: 0141 632 4910
Burning it is OK if you do it properly - we often use a mix cotton waste soaked in old oil to get the fire started or just on its own to warm the boat up on a cold day when the fire might otherwise be out. Remember every internal combustion engined vehicle in the country is doing the same thing so a bit of smoke from the odd boat isn't going to make a huge difference. Whatever you do with it, it will end up being burned one way or another because you cannot put it back in the ground . . .