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NB Willawaw

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Everything posted by NB Willawaw

  1. The wife and I have a couple of PMR hand held walkie-talkies that you can buy and use legally in the UK without a licence and will give you a range of about 2 miles. I think they cost about £80 for the pair and have proved indispensable when motoring with other friends boats or even for mooring when there is a lot of background noise. We get very little interference from other user and there are a lot of channels to pick from. I take your point about AIS and as I said earlier, I wont be fitting one. I just thought people might be interested in what our bigger cousins are doing on our tidal waterways.
  2. One of the biggest problems that I have as a continuous cruising liveaboard is that I am usually heading into unknown waters (relatively anyway) and sometimes it is difficult to know where it is safe to moor overnight (away from the effects of vandalism and other anti-social behaviour). I try to avoid towns whenever I can for overnight stops, but it is not always possible especially at the moment with short daylight hours. I had a situation not so long ago where some late night club revellers thought it would be a good idea to jump off a bridge on to the roof of the boat at 2am and run up and down. They soon cleared off when challenged, but my beauty sleep was broken. With so many forum readers, I just wonder if it is practical to set up a kind of notice board on this forum where any hotspots are posted by boaters with local knowledge of that particular navigation. I'm sure we all know a particular area really well and could list on a count of the fingers, the places we wouldn't stop at. If this is feasible, this could then be developed to add other points of interest (like out of action launderettes, lock stoppages that finish quicker than expected, useful shops and facilities close by the towpath, etc). These are the kind of things not found in waterway guides and come from local knowledge. Is it practical ?
  3. Whatever you do, put lots of fenders around her. We had a wide beam community boat delivered from Birmingham way down to the Stort, straight from the yard. The boat didn't have any fenders or fender eyes. By the time, she got to her base to start work, the blacking was looking a bit tatty.
  4. If interested in the subject, try www.aislive.com and you can view live ships using this system around the UK coast.
  5. I fully agree. I'm not advocating it - only saying that the technology is there ! Why do people use GPS on nb's when they are only ten feet from the bank, can see both sides of the river at all times and know roughly what speed they are doing by watching the bank slide past ? But they do ! P.S Yes you are right - everybody needs it to make it useful and that would probably never happen. They are having enough problems getting the big ships to install them and the powers to be have had to make it compulsory. PPS Could be good on the tidal Thames, Severn, Humber etc for tracking the progress of narrowboats on tidal, more open stretches of water - most port authorities have an AIS base station !
  6. I have a bit of layover due to the stoppages up at Marston, so I thought I would mention the Automatic Identification Systems that are now being fitted on all deep sea commercial vessels and which will gradually find their way into coastal recreational vessels. The system or AIS for short is basically a transponder that works on VHF and sends details of own vessel to all listening vessels in the vicinity. On ships, it transmits ID, course, speed, etc and the receiving ships normally have these shown on a little display a bit like a GPS screen. They are used for identifying approaching vessels outside of visual range and are ideal for "spotting" vessels around bends in rivers. As I say, these are gradually working their way into yachts on the coast on a voluntary basis and I wonder if they will ever start to penetrate inalnd waterways. The commercial operators on the Rhine and large canals on the continent already use a thing called ATIS to warn lockkeepers and bridgekeepers of their identity when calling up on VHF and I believe AIS is starting to be used there for the same purpose. Personally, I work with technology and electronics for a living and the last thing I want on a boat is electronics, other than a walkman or a DVD player, etc. However, it is an interesting scenario where a little box the size of mobile phone could tell you what boat was coming at you around a blind bend or how many boats were already tied up for lunch at the Bricklayers Arms 5 locks ahead. Best Regards Mark NB Willawaw - becalmed
  7. Have you tried AMC Diesel at 01772-613003. They carry a lot of BMC spares.
  8. I've been reading a report on another website about a 56ft boat with a Beta 1505 engine which appears to have a repeated fault where the bracket holding the water pipe is shearing with load/vibration and damaging the oil filter. I have a Beta Greenline 43, but don't seem to have this problem (yet!). Have any other Beta owners had similar problems ? the same page was also talking about the problem on a Greenline 38 ! Best Regards Mark NB Willawaw Cowroast GU (Moored)
  9. I believe a vertical calorifier holds its heat better than a horizontal one. This is because, as heat rises, by morning the top layer of water is warmer than the bottom layers. On a horizontal calorifier, there is a greater surface area, therefore heat is lost quicker. If you use a vertical one and the engine coolant inlet coil into it is higher than the engine, presumerably you would need an (even higher) header tank to be able to fill the circuit ? In this event, I presume that the inactive water pump (engine switched off) on the engine prevents the coolant trying to overflow out of the filler hole cap when the cap is removed ? If this holds water (excuse the pun), then the hot water should stay up in the "coils" when the engine is switched off. Mine seems to work, but not sure how. The above is purely my conjecture. Thoughts appreciated. Mark NB Willawaw Cowroast GU (moored)
  10. Luckily its a small but irritating minority !
  11. Variety is the spice of life. It takes all sorts and I think the variety of rec cruisers, liveaboards, canoeists, fishermen, on the UK network is just right. I really do believe that canals should be for everybody. The UK network is largely unique in the world and when I travel and tell friends in other countries about canals and nb's they are amazed. It would be nice to develop the network further and I applaud the work of the various bodies that do that.
  12. Fully agree with what has been said re outdoor education. I sometimes teach canoeing on the canal and it is still possible to have fun and create adventure. One just has to steer a course through a modern world of risk assessments, etc. What is also interesting is the way narrowboats react to a flotilla of canoes on the canals and also how some react to community boats full of children. I have quite extensive experience of this and can see the situation from both water and deck level so to speak. Most narrowboaters are very sensible and slow down, although I have seen a few exceptions, who were going too fast around a blind bend anyway and couldn't stop. I have also encountered a few experienced boaters who have no tolerance for children generally. I once had a huge argument with a skipper who was waiting for the community boat I was on, to clear the lock so that he could enter. He raised his voice to a teenage girl who was gingerly working a paddle under supervision and just didn't move fast enough for him. One bad experience like that can put a child off the canals for life. Mark NB Willawaw Hemel Hempstead GU (Northbound)
  13. Going slightly off at a tangent, I would suggest that you consider either installing two water pumps (main and back-up) or carry a spare. My water pump packed up and I had no running water for a few days (had to live out of bowls of water filled from BW taps as I cruised - very inconvenient). Also, the toilet wouldn't flush. Apart from the engine, I reckon the water pump is the next most useful bit of kit on a boat. I now carry a complete spare pump so that it won't happen to me again. However, I met a fellow boater who had two wired in circuit with a changeover switch. If he had a problem with one he would just isolate the faulty one and throw the switch !
  14. Hi I'm Mark and live aboard my boat. I've just found this site and find it quite addictive. Its even luring me away from the TV at night !! Mark NB Willawaw Kings Langley GU (Northbound)
  15. Interesting. Does anybody know the name of the fuel additive ? Does anybody have any experience of whether it works ? is it expensive ? I have not been following every twist of the red/white diesel debate as I'm cruising during the day and my internet access is rather expensive during the dark hours when moored up (mobile), but I assume that the goverment are trying to stop red diesel for boats in favour of the more expensive white stuff. Will the farmers still be allowed to use red and if so, whats to stop boaters getting their diesel from agricultural outlets (apart from the fact that its probably illegal) ? Regards Mark NB Willawaw Kings Langley GU (Northbound)
  16. I read in one of the earlier replies that a reader had experienced problems with an Eberspacher using red diesel and I think somebody else had noticed problems running a genset on red diesel. My boat has an Eberspacher and a genset, which both run on red, without any noticeable problems. I think the person concerned reported their genset was a Victron Whispergen - isn't that a Sterling engine rather than a conventional diesel ? Experiences of using red dielsel for auxiliary machinery welcomed ! Best Regards Mark NB Willawaw Kings Langley GU (Northbound)
  17. I have mine in my back cabin where I can get at the element if I need to. We have a generator onboard and can heat the water that way or on shore power (as well as engine/Eberspacher). It (the calorifier) doesn't take up much room and I can replace the element/thermostat if I need to (we have hard water where we normally winter on the Stort and Lee and limescale is a problem). I have seen calorifiers under the dinette or bunks in some boats which seems a good use of space. I would imagine that the engine space might not be such a good choice due to frost. I guess it depends on whether the boat is left unattended for long periods of time during the winter; would you drain the fresh water system down when laid up ? Good question ! Mark NB Willawaw Kings Langley GU Northbound
  18. Thanks for all that guys. I had pretty much decided to take a pilot anyway, so finding out that it is compulsory has cemented that. I have also seen the advice about waiting for the tide to turn at Portishead Marina, so I have taken that on-board as well. I'm not one of those gung-ho types and have been involved with boats and ships since a young lad, both in a recreational and professional sense, so I'm well aware of what can go wrong when you take the sea for granted. I've seen what the wash at Limehouse can do to the "biscuit-tinned" shape of a narrowboat hull, so I will not be venturing out unless there is high pressure over the Severn estuary and a force 2 max. Best Regards Mark NB Willawaw Cassiobury, GU (Northbound)
  19. Just a postscript. The heater is in and works well. It is an Airtop 3500 and was bought on E-Bay. The heat output is good (not unlike the hand driers that you get in a public WC). We have even managed to connect it up to a thermostat like you get in domestic central heating so that the cabin temp can be controlled. The only downside is that the fuel pump supplied with it ticks, which I guess could be a bit irritating at night on a quiet mooring.
  20. A friend of mine on the River Stort over in Essex had an elderly Eberspacher which gave up the ghost. He has bought a Webasto Air Heater from a written off, virtually new truck. We are just fitting it together this weekend. It came with a manual and all the fitting kit, so I guess he must have got it from some form of trade dealer. I'll ask him when I see him later. Air heating is fine for smaller boats. His is 37ft and it heats up fine. The installation is also pretty easy, providing you can get the air trunking, which is quite chunky through the bulkheads and around obstacles. It also has a variable speed blower which moderates the heat.
  21. I am considering making a summer run from Sharpness down the Bristol Channel into the K&A at Avonmouth to avoid a long back haul back down the Grand Union. I will probably engage a river pilot for the passage and of course, will carry all the safety gear and charts and publications. I have seagoing navigation experience so am not worried about that side of things. The pilots notes recommend running on the Ebb tide preferably with a North or NE wind of Force 3 or below. I plan to carry spare belts, etc for the engine and will clean out the water and sludge from the diesel tank before leaving the G+S canal. I am also thinking of doing this in a convoy with any other boats that want to go at the time, as there is safety in numbers and we can probably split the pilotage dues. Are there any readers who have done the trip and can offer practical advice or tips from bad experiences.
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