Wednesday, 23 December 2009

An Angel arrives

It came as a shock when we first bought the boat (having never been on a trip in one) we sailed down the river Nene from the boat yard .
On our first mile we encountered a flight of 17 locks. I had never even done one before and after our first four we got a bit tired and stopped for a cup of tea. It seemed strange that people were going up and scowling at us. OK our boat is old and dingy, but that didn't seem the reason. We were shortly to find out what the problem was: I heard the kettle whistling on the stove and went inside to find the boat at a 30 degree angle. 'Alex what are you doing!' I yelled. 'Why?' he replied. At that point the boat lurched even more at an angle. Then we realised that the water had drained from the area just by the lock where we were moored. We were grounded at a peculiar angle. The reason why people were giving us the evil eye was because it is against the waterway regulations to stop on a flight of locks. They must be hardy people these boaters! So we waited until the lock let more water down and continued.
Three locks later, I went into the boat to finish making the tea. There was a strange buzzing sound vibrating through the boat. Alex diagnosed the problem. The water had jammed on when I used the loo and had filled up the toilet tank to capacity. Now we had a problem. It was miles to the next sewerage pump out facility , perhaps a week away. We had only just past one at the top of the locks. So with exhausted groans we decided we had to go back up the lock. Only there was no where to turn around. Our only choice was to reverse back up the locks. This is something that no one ever does as narrow boats are not good at reversing, they don't have a keel, so are hard to maneuver. But Alex did an admirable job. I was exhausted already. Two locks back up the flight I hid behind a wall and sat on a rock and cried! It was all too much. Thankfully an angel arrived in the form of an old lady, a seasoned boater, who had been in difficult situations herself. She saw the look on my face and asked me if I was OK. Kindly, she joined with us and guided us up the locks. She went out of her way to stay with us, guiding our boat with a rope, opening locks and closing them again, pushing the gates open. It was all I could do to walk up the path I had become so exhausted. What an angel.
Once back up the top again we got a pump out and resumed our journey. Then the engine failed at the top of the set of locks and we were stranded for the next 2 weeks until the boat yard could come out and fix the engine.
Had we bought a crock of shit?
The boat yard must have seen us coming. But that aside we fell in love with the old girl. She was large enough to live aboard and had potential.
For those who like such things, (I don't) here are the boat specs.
Boat Specification:
plating spec 10/6/4mm ( though the boat yard now deny this was ever the case)
Fitted out by Clubline in about 1985 - so very dated interior.
Berths: A double and two singles
One bathroom with toilet and mini bath with shower over the top and hand basin. Excellent shower.
An extra toilet and hand basin.
Pump out toilets.

Engine Spec
Lister 3 cylinders (bilges smoke all the time)
PRM delta gear box
40 gallon diesel tank (with no dip stick so you don't know when you are running low)

Hot Water and Heating
Ellis boiler - serviced 2 years ago and works great. That was after it was serviced.
Radiator heating... totally excellent! Kept really snug in the coldest winter in 20 years.

Electrical System
12 volt lighting ie very dull
240 volt landline
Inverter - the boat yard included this in their specs then didn't include it... til we pointed it out.
2 domestic and 1 starter battery. See above comments.

2 year old washer... works great
zanussi fridge freezer
gas cooker - totally illegal in it's style for the boat. No safety mechinism on the taps.

Fit out materials
insulation used polystyrene
Wood used: ply
window types: louvre - fantastic draughts!
materials used stainless steel
side hatches - no
front and back covers - no, we have put up some structure for them to be fitted on.

Boat cert - July 2007
Last Hull blacking July 2007
Anodes - checked july 2007
Recent survey - hull surveyed June 2007

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