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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

An expensive oversight

News has reached me of a shared ownership narrowboat that got stuck behind one of the scheduled stoppages and was unable to return to base for the next owners.

The boat had to be craned out on to a low loader, transported back to the base and then another crane was needed to get her back in the water.

Because the owners had not checked the stoppages before they set out, they were liable for these costs - so it proved to be a very expensive trip indeed.

To avoid such a problem, please make sure you check the stoppages before you leave your home mooring.

A section of one of the Canal & River Trust's
scheduled stoppage maps.  The stoppages
are colour coded according to their dates
The Waterscape page that provides a search for stoppages is still in being.  This includes both scheduled and unexpected stoppages and should, therefore, be checked immediately before you leave.

If you are planning well ahead - perhaps to get your boat to one of the boat shows next year - then the Canal & River Trust provides links to its PDF format maps and the complete stoppage schedule as an Excel file here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Leaves on the line

It used to be almost a tradition at the old Ownerships annual meetings that the topic of leaves on the prop was raised.  It always caused a laugh.

Leaves round the prop - thrust is sideways
and much reduced, with a lot of turbulence
We don't normally go out in November, but we're on Sundowner this week.  We started with two glorious days followed by two nights of frost followed by some wind.  The effect has been to bring the leaves fluttering down into the canal - and they certainly do get round the prop.

If you do what you usually would when you think there's something round the prop - moor up, open the weed hatch and check the prop - you find nothing. The only resolution is to put the boat into neutral before giving a quick burst of reverse.  This will normally disperse the leaves and you can can carry on cruising - until some more of the pesky things form a ball on the end of the prop shaft.

After a quick burst of reverse -
the leaves are dispersed, the thrust is
now directly backwards and the
turbulence is minimal
We've encountered plenty of them this week, so I took some pictures of what the water looks like at the stern.  In the before shot, you can see the main thrust of the water is sideways with a great deal of turbulence.  In the shot after the burst of reverse, the water is being pushed straight back and the turbulence is much reduced.  

Both shots were taken with the engine running at about 1,100 rpm.

The difference in thrust between the two shots was dramatic.  When the before shot was taken, the boat had almost stopped moving.

We've seen plenty of other shared ownership narrowboats on our cruise from Aston south towards Fradley - Compton, Invincible, Farndon, Ramsden, Hawksmoor, Padworth, Goosemoor, Orchid and Yelvertoft to name just a few.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Carbon monoxide monitors

The introduction of legislation in Northern Ireland to make CO monitors compulsory in all new homes and with every purchase of a new gas, oil or solid fuel stove is a reminder of their value on board a narrowboat.

A typical carbon monoxide alarm
This one costs around £16
This is especially true where there is a solid fuel stove, as on most shared ownership narrowboats.

BCBM tells me that the topic has been raised at many of the AGMs of syndicates whose boats they manage, and they have confirmed the advice that every boat should have one - with a battery fitted!

They have drawn owners' attention to an informative article in the Lancashire Telegraph following the tragic death from carbon monoxide poisoning of the owner of a boat moored at Salterforth Wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Obviously it is important, when using a solid fuel stove on a narrowboat, that all ventilators on the boat are clear and the flue is not restricted.  Flues should be swept at least once a year.  The stove's door seals should also be sound and making good contact with the stove when the doors are closed.