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  1. Do you mean there are no longer night soil collectors in the UK? Seriously I asked about this type of toilet recently and having read this one I think I will go for a pump out primarily and a cassette if the boat was really super and that was the only thing not on my check list. I used to empty my pump out into a sanitary point. I remember being a Braunston running the pipe out then starting to pump. Thing is they always seem to start with a slight kink in the pipe but once a bit of force is used it pushes past and your away. You always get a load of rubber neckers in Braunston on a sunny Sunday and a nice helpful fella saw the pipe swelling up so got hold of the end that was dangling into the emptying receptacle to give it a shake. I shouted NOOOOOOOOOO but it was to late. Nasty stuff the output from pump out tanks especially when your covered in the stuff. Lucky for him there where showers in the marina there.
  2. Actually it's a three phase 240v ac alternator. The speed in RPM sets the frequency. I tried to explain but not much good at it so I deleted and added the following link which explains better than I, https://www.sterki.ch/de-wAssets/docs/Downloads/Manual-4-5kW_08.18_engl.pdf
  3. The clever bit is the control box. Below is a photo I have from Merchant in which you can see the Dynawatt controller and the Mastervolt inverter/charger below. New ones are much slimmer. The frequency of the AC is pure sinewave but the kw changes with speed. I think it was at about 2,500 rpm it delivered the whole 3.5kw on a BMC Calcut engine. With a hospital silencer you wold hardly know the engine was running inside and out. This is the control and battery management panel that came with the Mastervolt inverter/charger.
  4. Gosh I had a quick look at uk.rec.waterways and it' still active, well I never after all this time.
  5. Thank you that's just what I wanted.
  6. The most common back then was an Electrolux 230v alternator but very expensive. An old friend of mine said try Dynawatt. They made (and still do) 240 volt alternators for emergency vehicles like ambulances back then and far cheaper like half the price. Thing is if you couple them via relay for shore power to the Mastervolt system which automatically goes into charger mode when 240v is applied they can charge the batteries far faster than an ordinary 12v DC alternator and still give you enough power to drive a washer dryer in tumble dry mode. What I liked was once installed you never touched it and I never had a problem with it.
  7. I like cats, great fun. I spent a few years delivering and moving boats around the world. Crossed the pond three times. It is far more common to lease in Europe. You get a new boat with exactly what you want on it (mine has the full nav option and is set for single handed use) and the monthly cost includes everything except fuel which isn't much on this type of boat. She is so easy to handle I can "park" her under sail a lot of the time even on a pontoon. One thing for sure is mooring costs in France are about half the price of the UK (Barmouth no water or electricity and a 33ft Westerly) which includes water and electricity. With three cabins and just me now it is really is not practical anymore so she has to go. The only reason things are slow to sell at the moment is because of the virus but they say that anything you can live on may well sell quicker now because of being able to isolate yourself. The catch with these leases is you can't just hand the keys over and walk away.
  8. Where you on one of the old bulletin boards before the internet really took off. I can't remember the name now it was like a lifetime ago. Funny enough somebody contacted me about 5 years ago who had bought Merchant. It had been gutted inside and made totally one plan which was a real shame. I also hade somebody contacting me about cats on the cut after the article I did years ago. So many cat stories and pump out ones especially at Braunston. Laying down on the floor inside with the curtains drawn when crossing the Pontcysllte viaduct to and from Llangollen being scared of heights and more. All the fantastic characters that used to be around back then. Do you remember Songs of Praise at Braunston when the guy who had the coal boat there got married? I know it won't be the same, a lot happens in 20 odd years. Some have moved off the cut, some have died (did you know Bob from Bob's Dream) and of course many new faces with new experiences. I still have Rolt's Narrow Boat which I get out and reread sometimes.
  9. Well there is some stuff to consider that's for sure and I have made some basic decisions already. I will go for 57ft probably semi trad. I don't want a cross bed, to much effort involved making it up. If I find one with a bow thruster I will take it but if I find a nice boat without I will think on it. I will go for a pump out rather than cassette. I will have a table because I like sitting at a table to drink coffee in the morning while reading the newspaper. I have been through the WiFi stuff and will go for a router with external aerial. I don't want all potholes because I like to sit and watch the world plus I like the light. Electrical supply will be a Mastervolt inverter charger with an engine driven 220 alternator. I have this on my current boat and it works very well. Got an insurance quote fully comp including contents for £300 which seams reasonable. Thing with boats they are like caravans, the minute you say 12V (48V seems even worse) it means they can double the price at least. Using 220 fridge freezers, televisions etc are a lot cheaper. Done a bit of research on the PLB's and think they are brilliant. Perhaps the reason I didn't know they existed for land use was because they are relatively new. Great idea even for hiking on your own which I like to do. I mean for an average cost of £50 a year for peace of mind (batteries last for 5+ years after which you send it back to the factory for new batteries) working on paying a one off £250 and no other costs. One thing I did notice is that for these devices they have to be bought for the specific country in which you would normally use them i.e. the UK and the country code 0044 is burnt into them. They will work internationally of course but seeing as you pick up the bill for the rescue in some counties they need to know where to send it I guess. I would still like an answer on the fuel percentage at a cheaper rate please, roughly speaking of course and on the wet diesel central heating. Mentioning TV, digital was not around when I left the cut. I wondered if it is any better than the old analogue system for boating. Some boats I see have built in satellite dishes that automatically find the satellite. I have a UK Freesat box and thought of using that. Here are a couple of photos, one of Merchant and the other of my current boat.
  10. Slim - I need a new hip and knee. I have an appointment next week strange enough with the doctor so I hope that the hip will be done in three to six weeks and the knee after that. A friend of mine had a hip done. He used to row and ride a bike. He said if he went to fast he could feel the hip warm up. All the more reason to slow down. What you said about boat length is right which is why I was thinking bow thruster just to pull the front in. I was tempted to go wide beam but you need a lot more strength to pull it. You might think my fibreglass boat at 48ft would be easy but it's not hence they fit it with a bow thruster as standard. Locks I don't think will be a problem because the technique of opening and closing them is different like no rope to pull. Still earning - My boat is at Gruisan and currently for sale. Hopefully I can buy a half decent narrow boat and pocket the difference. I am glad I have been here during the pandemic because from what I see France on the healthcare front is far superior (and quicker) than the UK. It also has better people running the country. Explain to a French person about wards and ten to twelve people to a "bedroom" and they think you are a liar. That said I never really wanted to move here and would have been happy staying on the cut but marriage is a two way thing so I gave it up to make my wife more happy. Now I can return and visit all those places I never managed. I also found the cut a very sociable place more so than being an immigrant in another county.
  11. Right I have one but I thought you couldn't use it on land/inland?
  12. Thanks for the replies. I had coal fired central heating via a Morso and back boiler on Merchant. It was difficult to get the water circulation going. I don't know if this was normal or not. If the fire got to hot steam would start to come out of the header tank. I thought a wet diesel system on a 57ft boat would be better in areas away from the lounge area. Think I will go for 57ft and trim my wardrobe a bit. If I go down the route of having a 3kva alternator attached to the engine mainly for a washer dryer, diesel central heating, engine water heating, electric oven and a two burner induction hob what percentage of the diesel cost could I reasonably claim at the lower rate? On Merchant which was 70ft I didn't have a bow thruster and I got to moor it quit well into some tight spaces. That was 20 years ago. I have a Beneteau Oceanis 48ft which came with bow thruster and I have to say it is magic and so much easier to parallel park with no effort. Having that makes me a bit over qualified having an Ocean Masters and Yacht Master certificates which of course are totally irrelevant on inland waterways ecept of course they also include the ICC inland Helmsman certificate as well. So what does the average insurance cost for a 57ft boat and does having a Helmsman certificate (or any other competence certificate) give you a reduction. What othr things do they like to keep the cists down like burglar alarms etc. Toilets were always a much discussed and divided subject. There were some who thought we should all have buckets (WW2 Elsan's), the Daily Mail for toilet paper and candles to read by. Having fridge would have made them rage and if you said you had a freezer as well they would go apoplectic. I see some boats now have dishwashers, that would probably kill them by heart attack. I want to enjoy the waterways. I don't want to spend my time (what's left of it) worrying about stopping and getting tonight's dinner, emptying toilet cassettes etc. I want to cruise gently, take it all in and when I hang up keys at the end of the day to sit in comfort, read a book (with a cold beer in summer) listen to some smooth jazz and relax. Nicholsons guides, that's the one but I couldn't remember the name. Back in the day CanalPlan used to be a stand alone DOS program and was quit good even if the graphics were, well, rubbish, but it did plan your route well with estimated times. I think I will do the same as Jen In Wellies and others. I did find opencanalmap which I might investigate as it seems to be free.
  13. Hi let me just tell you a bit about myself. I lived on the cut for four years on a 70ft narrowboat with the wife, dog and two cats twenty years ago (late 90's). My wife would say she lived on the cut with a dog, two cats and finally me. The wife died of cancer this year here in France where I currently live. I have always had a yearning to return to the cut even though I had a sailing yacht down here it's just not the same. So I am starting to set about making plans yet many things have changed since I left so I have lots of questions and am seeking advice. Below are some basic questions. 1) Seeing as I am 65 on my own and have no family I wanted to know if there is some form of check in system for single boaters like we have on yachts. Something like you need to call a phone number at frequent intervals say once a week and if you don't they can locate you through say your mobile phone. It's just the thought of dying in some remote spot and my dog not being able to open a tin of food worries me. 2) Fuel, how much does it cost. Last time I filled up on the cut it was pink and cost about 35p a litre if memory serves. Using "pink" for boats has long gone but I am led to believe that there is some type of "fiddle" you can do with regards to the type of heating you use. You pay the normal supermarket price for x amount of diesel and then more at a lower price for diesel heating and also if you have a fitted 220v generator. I have no idea if this however is true. Somebody said that paying more was to do with the EU and once we have fully left the price would drop again. I think that's rollocks but who knows? 3) Sort of to do with number 2 and with the question after this. Looking at the licencing bands I thought either 57ft or 60ft (narrow boat) they being the top end of each band. Thing is I will need a bow thruster having had heart surgery, being diabetic and having asthma and of course being single handed. It seems more likely to get a bow thruster on a 60ft boat. Seeing as I intend to be continuously cruising and liveaboard can I get round the whole system with a 60ft narrow beam boat? 4) So what form of heating is best and most economical for a boat up to 60ft long, coal, gas or diesel. I appreciate insulation is an issue and was led to belief the best form is spray foam which restricts condensation and rust. Didn't have diesel heating back in my day and they said then that gas central heating system were very expensive to run so are diesel ones cheaper? How does it compare with coal and is coal still easy to find? 5) Is there any good route planning software for Android tablets with gps out there with like bridge numbers, lock numbers, distance and location. Bit like naval charts but for inland waterways. I use to have a load of (A5) books back in the day that had maps for different canals plus information about services, shopping, moorings, things to see and do, places of interest to visit etc. 6) Last one for the moment, toilets. Was a big thing back in the day. We used to have a pump out with a macerator and pump so we could run out a pipe to a sanitary point and empty the tank quickly. Meant we could travel without always looking for pump out facilities which were about 15 quid an empty (Braunston) back then. I have seen some boats having composting toilets and wondered if they were any good. I am a regular two dumps a day fella (sorry for being crude) and wondered if it would be smelly or whatever so any info on that with regards to narrow boats would be helpful. I have loads more questions but that's enough for now I guess. Thanks in advance to any and all who can help me out with answers. By the way my old boat was called Merchant (from London), I don't know where it is now or if it still exists even.
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