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John Orentas

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About John Orentas

  • Birthday 11/15/1944

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    Oldham / Rochdale
  • Interests
    Marine Diesel Maintenance Instructor (RYA)
    Commitee member, Rochdale Canal Society Ltd.

    Mechanical and electrical systems designer, (retired)

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  1. Hello John

    I know that this post was 8 years ago, but as it seems highly relevant I wondered if you were still willing to discuss this thread?

    Best regards


  2. After 30 + years of narrowboating I finally cracked this problem during the final couple of years.. Mooring pins in the towpath are not good as they can damage the structure of the bank and can be a danger to walkers at night.. As the use of steel pilling is now close to universal some form of mooring to them is the obvious way to go, hooks can be OK but they are a bit vulnerable to being kicked off by vandals, simply falling off as mooring lines slacken, or just pinched.. Anyway I have never quite trusted them.. That leaves Goat Chains, I managed to keep the same pair for 20 years but deploying them when the grass was wet or in a doggy walkies area is not pleasant.. I devised a method which not only dispensed with the need to kneel on the ground but it does not even require bending down, it needs no more than a '2 ft stick with a hook on the end', I acquired a particularly short window pole some time ago. Dangle one end of the chain behind the horizontal element of the pilling* using one hand, with the other, hook the hanging ring of the chain and pull it upward so the two rings are together.. "I have always favoured the use of old climbing rope for mooring lines", so create a loop in the line and push it through both rings and then take it back to your bollard or 'T' stud and pass it over.. Tie off in the usual way but note that you now have 4 lines, boat to bank.. *Sometimes to prevent jambing of the chain it is better to select a gap in the pilling that has a tie-rod passing through it.. Goat Chain:- 3-4 feet length of open linked chain, each end fitted with a ring 2-3 inch dia. ring fabricated from typ. 6mm dia m/s round bar. Reading this you will say, Hmm bloody obvious I knew that.. But try it, it will change your life..
  3. By far the most important criteria is to get one that can be readily handled by yourself or your crew, no point in having, the best anchor in the world if you can't lift it.. When I first went on the Manchester Ship Canal they sent me a formula for anchors sizes, the result of the calculation for a 50ft boat was in the region of 200 kilo's, totally impractical, although from their point of view a 50ft boat is quite a substantial craft. A good weight of chain is of equal importance and the rope should be about 4 times the maximum anticipated maximum depth of water..
  4. Good grief I didn't think anyone else has ever heard of the things.. They were at one time made by Lucas Marine when they existed, I think you will struggle to find one now.. For those that have never come across such a contraption, it is a unit that looks very similar and has the same mounting as a starter motor, many true marine engines had two starter positions and many authorities insisted on two independent methods of engine starting.. The idea is that you insert what looks like an old fashioned starting handle into the unit and literally 'wind it up' like a toy train, at the appointed time you press a button on the casing, the spring releases and it's energy spins the engine through a Bendix drive.. They were I think only ever intended as an emergency stand by.
  5. I assume you want the traditional stuff: Bolton Tarpaulin, Bolton. Tel.. 01204 380837.. They do two 'weights' and two colours.. They would make the finished thing for you at a reasonable cost.
  6. Fully agree with all of that, in many walks of life it is possible for some people to invent a problem that doesn't exist and then attain 'Hero status' by inventing a cure, and dare we say making a few bob at the same time..
  7. I planned to do this at one time, I found a Polycarbonate cubicle, B & Q I think that could readily be cut down to the required height.. I know they are not so common now but I would be surprised it there weren't any available.. Don't bother with boaty one unless you are very desperate, over priced and rubbishy.
  8. I owned a boat for 30+ years and never once suffered a a flat battery but I never suffered fools either, those who say "Buy one of my Acme controllers and never worry about batteries again".. Mr Lucas and Mr Bosch are not idiots, they manufacture alternators with all the necessary regulators and controllers built into them, and they work very well, when did your car battery ever discharge itself.. Don't go adding silly gizmo's into your electrical system and you won't have too much trouble..
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  12. This issue has been raised a couple of times previously.. It comes down to what comprises a fail safe system, for example an incident happened on my marina, a young chap was rolling some Tarmac on one of the pathways when the machine dropped into a ditch and it fell on it's side, to stop the engine it was only necessary to switch of the battery supply and no harm was done, many road vehicle now have an 'inertia switch', it's sole purpose to cut off the electrical supply in the event of a prang. On a boat things are very different, there must never be any systems that will arbitrarily switch off the engine, even if damage could possibly result, you may not consider it to be vital on a canal boat but with other craft a functioning engine is important to the point of being life saving.. The very last thing you want to happen is for the engine to splutter to a stop just because the electrics have been swamped and that's what would happen if a 'power to run' solenoid was used.
  13. I don't believe you could do better than use a traditional wax finish, very simple to accomplish too, for an oak floor I would do the following. 1. Sand down to a even constant texture. 2. A light stain, this is optional but it is needed to give some contrast for the grain. 3. Seal using a mat or eggshell varnish**, probably 2 coats sanded down between coats and after the final one. 4. Wax polish using a brand of your choice but you don't need anything more than the traditional stuff.. Repeat at least twice a year. ** Thin the varnish down with white spirit to encourage it to soak into the timber. With this method you should get a deep wax finish, but not shiny or glossy, a patina will build up.
  14. Hi Malcs. It was at one time quite common for people, often on retirement to move onto their boat and take off for a couple of years, often they would cover the entire system in that time, in my time I have met many of them.. It was recognised that to insist that they maintain an official mooring that they never used was unfair so they were given that special status of "Continuous Cruiser". Many envious eyes were cast upon them, the clever people saw an opportunity to profit by the arrangement, while living on their boat they were the parasites of the canals, they exploited all the services that the average boater enjoyed but on a 365 day basis, many would hog all the best visitor moorings, close to shops, pubs, and transport links all for the reduced cost of a continuous cruiser.. Some minor rules were brought in to try to ensure some sort of fair play, limited mooring times and minimum distances.. Many of them post on this forum, imagining they have found a unique dodge or fraud if you prefer.
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