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About stort_mark

  • Birthday March 22

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Fareham, Stranraer and Awassa (Ethiopia)
  • Interests
    Photography, the BCN, cartography, industrial archaeology, south-west Scotland, Wolves, history, travel by rail.

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  • Occupation
    HSEC Director, geothermal energy
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  1. I finally decided that there were enough unusual and improbable home locations that I decided to press ahead with painting 'Stranraer' below the name 'Cypress' as a tribute to my late father's hometown. Given the move of the ferries to Cairnryan in 2011, I think NB Cypress is now the third-biggest vessel registered in Stranraer after two 110,000GRT Stena LNG tankers. Mine is the only one that can get round Sutton Stop in one swing.
  2. NB Cypress has been restored to life. Thank you to all for your extremely valuable help. I decided to call RCR who were extremely helpful and after co-ordinating no less than five parties (me, RCR centre, RCR engineer, person with key to the boat, person with key to the wharf), all the planets lined up Friday morning: a new Numax XV31MF with freshly baked cranking power ("You could restart Chernobyl with that"), carefully timed button pushing and a swing of the lever and she started up. So it was goodbye to the friendly folk at Swan Lane Wharf and we then floated off to Hinckley, stopping after three minutes to retrieve a builder's rubble bag that wound itself around the prop. The very last bridge (#17) removed the 'splitter' on the exhaust (sure there's a technical term) but a lovely days' cruise. If I hadn't been a bit pressed for time, I'd have gone down to the basin, one of my favourite places on the network. As always when entering a strange marina for the first time, there was a huge socially-distanced audience and the still air turned into a gale force northerly, and I successfully demonstrated my party trick of manoeuvring a boat backwards and forwards to no effect. The only negative part of the day was the "That's some tickover" comment from the sour-faced canal guru at Bridge 5, who was barely tied up at the visitor mooring. The 3VRH has quite a fast note, and because Cypress swims so quickly (with no wake, no wash), I usually give her a burst of reverse and then take it out of gear when going past moored boats but that does - for a short time - increase the engine speed. I was so stunned by his sarcasm, all I could do was turn to look at my zero wash and wake, and ripple of a bow wave and shake my head. But at least I had a further hour to think up witty and cutting retorts. But again, thank you all for your helpful advice and commentary. We don't know the exact cause of the problem, but plan to do a bit more diagnostics.
  3. Hi Mike, I was going to get an email put together for you and Jim, mainly to show the fabulous paint job Chris has done. But this has rather taken over this week! The engine was started fine on Saturday and ran for a couple of hours, but failed to start on Sunday morning. The whole job (from picking up at Cowroast to getting up to Stretton Stop, painting and this) happened while I was in Ethiopia so everything had to be explained from a distance and I know they had a good chat with Darren before leaving. I think they've started the engine many times with no problem so it's been a surprise for all of us a bit. I'm going to put a new battery in Friday and see whether it's as simple as that (I suspect not). There's been some good suggestions here, but I'm having to work from memory and photographs. Thanks, Mark
  4. It hadn't been run for more than a month I think. (I can't be sure - I work overseas) We will check the alternator.
  5. I am trying to get more information but I appreciate the input so far. I am 80 miles away stuck in a hotel and relying on third parties. There's a sense that this might be as simple as the battery expending so much effort yesterday that two hours running wasn't enough to put much charge back in the battery. The this morning, the first few failed cranks used up the last of the power. I was told the engine was turning over but not firing, with a feeling that the engine wasn't turning quite fast enough to fire. Then with the jump batteries, the long jump leads were too long and not thick enough and so there was heat build up. I'm going to get an engineer to have a look in the next few days and probably get a new battery in. I see that the Numax gets quite good reviews from boaters here. I will follow the fault-finding stuff on your website, Tony, thanks. No, we don't think so. I admit we are a bit puzzled by why there was so little juice in the battery this morning. And as I wasn't there (I'm holed up in a maximum-security quarantine hotel so I'm having to go by what others tell me ?). Maybe it's a combination of things, cold start, low battery. My other half has suggested hitting it with a spanner while swearing at it. "That's what you do with everything else".
  6. I have got a problem with my Ruston & Hornsby 3VRH engine. It won't start. It's been repainted and was to be taken to a mooring today. I'm not there ands can't be there because I'm in a quarantine hotel in London. They ran the engine for a couple of hours yesterday and it ran fine: started fine, ran smoothly. Oil level is fine, coolant is fine. However, today, it just wouldn't start and after trying a few times, the battery was flat (measuring 12.02V) They got a forklift battery and hooked that up to the starter motor. The engine still didn't start.Tried a new car battery; same. It seems the cables heated up massively. I'm told it felt like the cables weren't large enough for the power being delivered. This engine has had a few starting issues in the past, requiring a blowtorch but I've never had a problem (although I've not owned it long). I suspect that it's more to do with the battery and cables. But my knowledge of boat electrics and batteries you could write on the back of a postage stamp and still have room for a Jamie Oliver recipe. The battery is a Numax XV31MF 12v 105 Ah 925 MCA. I don't know how old it is but at least 2 years. Any thoughts among the wise old heads here?
  7. Thanks. I'm up in Scotland so wasn't aware of just how low the temps were going to fall by Monday. I see temps will drop to -2 through most of that. Would that freeze the canal in that first day? EDITED: Closure now expected until Thu 11/02/2021 16:30 after which hopefully the ice will have gone too. Then there's another stoppage at Leighton Buzzard starting 15/02/2021. Thanks. Wonder why they didn't update the information sheet that was sent out last night at 01.30am with this new date of 11th Feb?
  8. Just wondering if anyone knows whether this will indeed reopen today? Or Monday? Perhaps from someone who is physically there?
  9. Absolutely brilliant talk. What a really fantastic adventure. And I liked that it was done in a boat that wasn't bombproof: there were things that went wrong, engine arguably not big enough for the big rivers, all a bit amateur. I've always wanted to do the route from Rotterdam to Kiev including the Pripyat River but I believe theres a blockage at Brest that prevents it now. T~hen on up the Desna river to Smolensk where there's a dam because of the nuclear power station. Just a dream.
  10. Although it's about sailing, rather than the canals or narrowboats, the "Sailing Uma" Vlog is extremely watchable. The Canadian/Haitian couple are engaging and the production is (now) very good. The YouTube channel is here. While sharing most of the views here about "influencers" doing shit videos and wanting others to pay for their lifestyles, Sailing Uma, is one of the better ones out there.
  11. I think this is a good policy. The list that BEngo suggested - split into onboard and at home - seems good too. I have been thinking about getting a spare engine but I don't think there are many 3VRH's floating around these days. I've emailed Ray Hooley and hope to build a list of all the parts I need to source. Still wondering how many other narrowboats have a 3VRH or 3VRHM.
  12. Thanks for that. I hadn't seen that page. I *do* want to depower it somehow as I hardly seem to be able to get it off idle before I'm jet-skiing down the cut. I feel faster than Ben Ainslie's AC75. But then, who isn't?
  13. I bought Cypress a year and a half ago with a 3VRH engine which sounds great. Only trouble is I am not mechanically-minded. Everyone oohs and aahs over it but I admit I am nervous. Firstly, it feels overpowered for the 45' boat and as the boat swims very easily, it's a struggle keeping the boat slow. (There's a SCG gearbox) Does anyone else have a 3VRH on a narrowboat? Secondly, what spare parts do other R&H owners keep on the boat (or at home)? I'm aware that getting parts could well be tricky so I'd like to get a stock of some parts in. I'm aware of Ray Hooley's website (and the R&H Facebook page) but just wondering what other owners do. Thirdly, what tips and tricks with a 3VRH or with this type of R&H engine? Finally, are there engineers on the network who specialise in R&H engines?
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