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Everything posted by KenK

  1. When water freezes it expands, so if you half empty the tank there is space to allow the expansion. When we had our narrowboat I fitted a connector with a schrader valve to the calorifier and used a foot-pump to empty it and the pipework, never had a problem with damaged pipes. Our Dutch barge which is in Europe has much better insulation but even so I still half empty the calorifier, drain the pipes and leave all the taps open.
  2. Bikes get stolen in France as well as the UK, my friend had two bikes stolen this year from his boat despite being moored in a "safe" marina, They were chained up on his boat and were taken during the night when my friends were asleep.
  3. There are a couple of moorings on the river before you reach the first Bath lock, on your right in front of some newish flats, 24 hour, so you could be lucky. You used to be able to moor close to Sainsburys on the left hand side but last time I passed in 2017 they were building there, so no idea now. There are also moorings between a couple of the Bath locks and above the last one going East and more still on your way out of Bath I never had a problem finding a mooring even during August, enjoy your trip
  4. Like most items intended for boating Victron and Mastervolt inverters are expensive, if you believe the price is worth it then that's your choice. I spent all my working life as an electronics engineer and used different types of inverter for different tasks. They are mostly built in the far east, including I believe, those sold by Victron and Mastervolt the technology to build them is the same irrespective of the name on the case. Yes, Victron and Mastervolt have clever software which gives them options not available on cheaper units but are those options really necessary on a narrowboat. In my opinion a simple cheaper unit and a separate charger make the most sense, especially as the expensive Victron combi failed after four years.
  5. I ran a narrowboat for 14 years using a 3KW PSW inverter which I purchased from a supplier in Taiwan and a separate charger without any problems. My Dutch barge is on its second Victron combi as the charger failed on the first one, the previous owner replaced it with another Victron combi, if the charger on that fails then it will be a replacement standalone charger or if the inverter fails then an inverter and a separate charger. You really do not need an expensive Victron or Mastervolt combi, you can find a good 3KW PSW inverter and a separate charger for half the money, do an internet search Amazon comes up with one for less than £400.
  6. KenK


    Our narrowboat had a cassette, we had a spare but very rarely needed to use it as we passed an Elsan at least every other day. We now own a Dutch barge which has two macerator toilets feeding a black water tank. So far we only have had problems with the Tankwatch system which measures the level in the tank but previous owners have virtually had to rebuild the system due to problems, not helped because the boat is in Europe which does lack pump out facilities. A cassette system is simple, virtually nothing to go wrong and free to empty unlike a holding tank, if I could I'd replace the toilets in the barge with cassettes but unfortunately Europe does not have Elsan facilities either. A tip, do not swim in European rivers or canals I'm sure you can work out why!
  7. I would expect that the general consensus would be that spray foam is best but as with everything it does depend on how well it is done. We had a narrowboat for 14 years and it had polystyrene insulation and we had no obvious issues with rust but unless you are prepared to remove the woodwork to expose the insulation you will not be able to tell if there is an issue unless it is so bad that you see stains below the gunnels or on the floor. Your photograph seems to be of an air vent which will always show signs of rust because it is open to the atmosphere. We now have a Dutch barge which has spray foam insulation and the two vent outlets in the rear toilet and shower both have rust around the edges, these areas are not painted and bare steel rusts very quickly, easily resolved with a coat of Vactan or similar. I'm afraid that rust is just something one has to accept when you mix a steel boat and water, part of the joy of boating there is always something to repair, repaint or clean.
  8. Obviously age is always a consideration, as is the way the boat has been looked after. A newer boat could be in a worse condition than an older one simply because the owner (s) have not looked after it. That said always get a survey especially if you do not know much about boats. As for brokers there are good and bad, remember they are in business to sell boats so their first consideration is not the purchaser of the boat. Good luck and do as much research as you can before committing any money.
  9. Given the "As you like it" and builder who stuck to couples vision comment I guess that it what was requested and delivered. Not my cup of tea and given the lack of windows / portholes it must be very dark inside, unless of course the other side is all glass.
  10. Another word of caution, at the moment you can obtain a French tourist visa for stays of up to six months or a long stay visa for up to a year, this is in addition to the 90 days in every 180 which can be used in the rest of Europe. In 2022 a Europe wide visa ETIAS comes into force and at the moment no one seems to know how this will affect the French visas, DBA keeps asking questions but so far no answers.
  11. Our boat is a replica Luxemotor Dutch barge currently in the Netherlands. To operate a boat of that size in Europe you'll need to hold an ICC (International Certificate of Competence), which means a motor training course and CEVNI test, ICC is issued by RYA. As the boat is over 20 metres you'll need an ES-TRIN which is essentially a survey similar to a BSS in UK but covers a fair bit more. Mooring in France for a boat that size will not be easy, they do exist but most marinas tend to have a maximum of 15 metres or thereabouts. The boat Alan posted earlier is much more suitable for European waterways and much easier to get to Europe. Finally join the DBA loads of information about cruising in Europe.
  12. The canal ends at Eldonian village it used to be possible to moor there but how safe it is I have no idea. Its also quite a long way from the city centre. Having gone all the way to the end it would be a shame not to do the last bit through the link to Salthouse dock. If there are no spaces available on line give the CRT Wigan office a call unless the online system has improved it does not always register cancelations. You can't use the online booking system if crossing the Mersey but the Wigan office sorted us out, very helpful. Ken
  13. Except of course that CRT like BW before them do not have a right in law to set distances because the act which allows CCing was designed to allow boaters who did not need a permanent mooring to boat without the need for one. At the time no one thought that people would buy boats as houses and bring up children on them. Even when canal boats were used to carry commercial goods there were schools for boat people which did not require them to have a permanent mooring. Last year I met a man in the Netherlands who was born on a commercial boat and he was sent to a boarding school as his parents carried out their business, that is still the case today. It would make sense for CRT to talk to the government and attempt to make sensible changes to the 1995 act to deal with the liveaboard issues. Ken
  14. Unfortunately there are stupid people we meet in life. We had two problems with lockkeepers one on the Thames who was not a volunteer and one on the Llangollen who was a volunteer. The lockkeeper on the Thames deliberately tried to cause an accident he positioned our boat next to the side fill outlet despite our being the only boat in the lock, he did not tell us that it was a side fill lock and then he opened the sluices 100%, the boat was swept across the lock despite my wife and I having ropes on the bollards front and back, he judging by the expression on his face thought it was very funny. The volunteer on the Llangollen was just wasting water sending six boats up but not allowing boats down, We did report the idiot on the Thames he also refused to give us his name but an enquiry at the next lock revealed that our experience was not uncommon, it was clearly passed on as at the next side fill lock the lockkeeper was at pains to explain it was a side fill lock and how we should secure the boat, I explained to him if we went flying across this lock he would end up in it, After the most gentle fill I have ever experienced we left that lock thanking the lockie. We now boat in Europe it is rare to find lockkeepers most of the locks are automatic except for some of the French canals but they seem to be very professional and helpful except when they are on strike. Ken
  15. On line site Readly gb.readly.com is offering two months free trial of over 5000 newspapers and magazines. £7.99 per month after trial is over, you can cancel any time before the trial period and pay nothing. Works on all major devices, PC, Android and I Phone. Lots of waterways magazines and pretty much anything else you could be interested in. Subscription can be shared between five devices.
  16. We travelled on the ship canal in 2017, we had to have a "survey" done by a surveyor recognised by Peel Holdings, which was a joke. He made no mention of requiring navigation lights and our boat did not have them. As we were transiting the Mersey we used a pilot and he also made no mention of navigation lights. I suppose the rules may have changed in the years since we travelled on the MSC but as you can't (couldn't) travelled after dark why the need for navigation lights.
  17. You will find more information about European boating on the Dutch Barge Association web site https://barges.org
  18. Unless your insurance company insists on a pilot you do not really need one. CRT will not let you onto the River Ribble unless the conditions are safe and you will be doing the transit with normally five other boats. It is a straightforward run to the Asland lamp, go past the lamp and turn left into the River Douglas, follow the river until you reach the lock at Tarleton. The worst part of the crossing is from the Lancaster down the link to the Ribble, shallow, narrow and overgrown.
  19. I used an ALDI fan on our Reflex, similar to the Ecofan mentioned above but at a sensible price, it did the job very well. They are currently available in their special buys Workzone Stove Fan £15.99.
  20. I painted the entire interior of our narrow boat from the gunnels up. Two coats of Zinser BIN takes about 45 mins between coats, then I used a Dulux emulsion finish, again two coats. When finished you could still see the grain of the wood through the paint. Still looked great when we sold the boat four years later. I just used cheap small emulsion rollers and a brush for the fiddly bits. Use Frog tape for masking off if you want the ceiling in white as I did.
  21. Probably the worst job on a narrowboat. I scraped the tank back to bare metal then used two coats of Vactan similar to Fertan. Then two coats of bitumen allowing each coat to dry over a couple of days. This took place over a hot week in summer and I still needed to use a heater in the tank to dry the various coats. I have never used Sikgard 62 but if the instructions call for 20 C for drying I suspect you will have problems at this time of the year.
  22. Our Luxemotor is currently in the Netherlands, the various waterways in Europe are certainly not all the same and change is happening all the time. Remotely driven vessels are already being trialled on the Dutch canal river system. Amsterdam has a pollution free system for its city canal network. The European network is very different from the UK and I can see that much of what the article proposes coming to pass.
  23. Rick, You need to understand what the isolator actually does, given that you only have one it should remove all battery power from the domestic bank to the boat, clearly if the lights are staying on it is not working correctly. It should removing the positive pole of the battery not the negative (0V) because as has already been said it is possible to achieve a return via the hull of the boat. The external mains cable 230 V AC needs to be capable of carrying more current than is available from the shore supply, generally a maximum of 16 amps although it could be less, so 2.5 mm per core and ideally flexible cable. Voltage drop of an AC mains supply will be virtually nothing over a short distance, it is the current capacity of the cable which is important. In addition do not coil any excess mains cable that can create an inductance and generate heat. Voltage drop can be an issue with the 12 V DC supply from the batteries, again the size of the cables is important too small and they could overheat.
  24. The Rippon canal only has three locks and it was only the last one which caused the problem, a lady who worked in the local marina told us that when CRT rebuilt the cill they built it straight rather than with a curve which shortened the lock, no problem going up but we could not get the bottom gates open for love or money when going down. We'd still be there but for a very large and strong man who helped us heave the gate the wrong way so we could slide the bow clear and open it. Just took the fenders off for that lock no problem with the others. Same problem on the Five Rise just could not get the gates past the front fenders on either boat despite being hard against the cill. If you do go to Leeds try and moor outside the Royal Armouries in the basin off the river before the first river lock, there is an electricity supply and a free boat taxi to take you back to the end of the canal. Much quieter than mooring next to the railway.
  25. Our narrowboat was 60 ft and we had great fun trying to exit the third lock down on the Bingley five when sharing with another 60 foot boat, so much so that the lock keeper refused to let us share in the three rise. I suspect it will be possible if you remove the fenders as we had to when we did the Rippon canal which is supposed to be 57 foot maximum.
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