Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Boat for sale - real opportunity NB Valerie 2006

I'm sad but pleased also to relay that a good friend is selling her boat - just about everything included, ready to cruise at a very good price.

Details as follows.....

NB Valerie. Built in 2006, 

Boat safety certificate good until August 2020

We have been her sole owners as live aboard continuous cruisers for 12 years. 
NB Valerie is 58 feet long, with a semi-trad stern.

 33HP Vetus engine 

180 Ltr/40 Gal. fuel tank with two 25 Ltr. metal jerry cans for emergency diesel storage, 

650 Ltr./144 Gal. stainless steel water tank with sweet, clean water, 

Pure Sine Wave 3000 watt inverter, 

Candy on board washing machine, 

Shoreline 12 Volt refrigerator/freezer, 

dinette makes out to double bed, 

430 watts OnBoard Solar panel system. 

HD TV with built in DVD player, 

Pioneer radio system with ceiling speakers--both newly installed in 2017. 

Charging stations for computers, and other electronics, 

loads of storage; 

Valar solid fuel stove with new fire bricks and new stainless steel double skinned chimney. 

Fully licensed and insured. 

For a complete list of all work done with completion dates, and all items included in this sale such as my husband's four year old Husqvarna chain saw with new splitting ax, all linens, pots, pans, dishes and glassware, etc. please email me. (via link in the ad)

Serious inquiries only. 

All reasonable offers considered. Asking £44,500.00 ONO. 

To see pictures with more details please visit Canal & River Boats 4 Sale FB page.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Ooh - Some blue in the engine room

Percy is a KISS boat - Keep It Simple Stupid. That suits me in from a reliability and maintenance angle but I do like a bit of tech and since retirement have not really invested in much apart from some automation to things at the cottage.

So as a follow on to my heaven and hell cruise - link here  I needed to replace my solar MTTP controller. Why ? - I foolishly fitted this in what I thought a safe and convenient location. That was until the engine overheated and the expansion tank spat some water out that ran across a shelf and dripped onto, yes you guessed it my MTTP controller. Did I say it was a heaven and hell  (and mildly expensive) cruise!!

Anyhow I feel the batteries on Percy get a great deal of benefit from the solar panel and controller  - especially while we are away. Lesson learnt about not running the engine - see last post, but it is still good in summer for the batteries to get a trickle charge.

So a replacement was sought after some simple research done. Since I fitted the old controller that had a method of extracting data of charge supplied over time - which needed a laptop, a serial cable and a special adapter Bluetooth has found a way into devices in the engine room. Specifically in this case Victron range of charge equipment for canal and marine boats. I would highly recommend spending some time with a coffee watching Journey with Jono's YouTube channel  - link here   Jono has developed a mutually beneficial relationship with Victon - he has a lot of their equipment and is almost a floating advertisement for them, indeed I think he now works part time for them.

Regardless of this positive endorsement their kit is well regarded so it was natural for me to look down this avenue for a MTTP replacement. All the better their controllers have options for with or without Bluetooth. I opted for this one link here  The real benefit is that Jono has a code on his YouTube channel that gives 15% discount from OnBoardSolar.

So I further improved my install with external fuses on the load and supply sides. 20 amp beakers as can be seen in the pics below. I also took the chance of upgrading the battery wire to AMG 10 gauge to ensure their was no voltage loss from the controller to the batteries.

You'll see it is a much 'safer' position now. My intention is to build a small cabinet around the install to tidy it up and give it a bit of protection. Its good to see the inputs we are getting and the stages the controller is going through to maintain the batteries. Ok I'll loose the blue but I know it's there and I can see the battery voltage the controller is reporting via the bluetooth on my app  - sitting in the saloon of an evening  !

One further aside in regard to solar the boat now sits without shade on the solar. Also the sun pretty much rises at the stern and sets at the bow, as Percy sits now but in essence it rises and sets end to end so one angle will capture all the sun. 

Sunday, 18 November 2018

I'm embarrassed to show you this....

Well I have sorted my overheating problems. Now all you engineers and armchair engineers out there cut me some slack on this. I have to diagnose my problems logically but sometimes I think my logic is influenced by the complexity of the job that the problem might generate.

So when the boat overheated I tried a few things first but eventually rounded on the water pump impeller. Not a difficult job but one that meant draining the block down. Suitable armed with the correct part I set to with a small cut down milk bottle container to catch the water as I loosened then closed the water pump cover. This was a slow but precise job that saw no water end up under the engine. About four and a half litres came out before the water stopped. It was a greeny blue tint and using my antifreeze tester it showed not a lot of protection. I took a small bottle off to ensure I filled with the correct type of antifreeze - more later.

Now prepare yourself dear reader for a shocking picture ....  This little thing has just run out of ideas on how to move water for obvious reasons. I did contemplate not showing this pic unless someone asked for it then I'd email it in a brown paper packet !!

Can you spot the old one from the new one ?

I watched a few YouTube Videos about swapping the impeller and mine was by far the best condition!!

My little workshop, cleaning up the faces and plate on the water pump before sending the next little rubber jobbie into battle 

How it should look, all snug and tight.

All put back together and running cool.... in hindsight the engine had been getting warmer over the last few cruises but not overheating.... the donk is now back to supercool again all pipes ding what they should - happy idiot again.

A few observations. 

1. The missing bits will almost certainly be a the bottom of the crud catcher area of the skin tank - a bit like the diesel tank on most boats that have the take off a few inches above the bottom to allow the crap the not be drawn off - my skin tank is designed the same. 

2. Why did it happen - well reading around the issue is seems if the engine is left to stand the rubber binds to the brass and when the engine is started it tears the vanes off the impeller - mine showed just that and is consistent with not starting it. I thought I was being good not running the engine as we had solar and a water heater.... I am now the wiser, the engine will get warmed up once a week from now on.

3. The impeller IS a consumable  - did you know that and when did you lat change yours? Maybe if the engine is running ok and you have a decent regime not to worry but I think now I'll be replacing mine every 2-3 years. The price was around £30 

4. I tested the coolant and it was weak so it enabled me to add in some more antifreeze. To be sure I mixed the new and old in a jar and there was not sludgy reaction (can happen if you mix two types) 

5. The engine did get hot so I am going to get the head gasket replaced. No reason to think it was damaged by the overheat as the engine is a massive slab of cast iron.  It has always had a slight weep out wards so is due and it'll get a check and decoke at the same time. I now know a regarded marine engineer who will do this for me and hopefully I can watch so next time I can do it myself. 

The boat now has a new thermostat and impeller as well as fresh antifreeze so when the head comes off it'll get new oil and maybe even the case opened up to check the inners for wear and clean out the sludge in the sump - if there is any. One of the benefits of an old engine.

So wiser, and not too much lighter in the wallet and the engine runs nice and cool and sound much better with the newer antifreeze in there. 

Once again apologies for the images, only one impeller were harmed in the posting of this update !!

Friday, 16 November 2018

The shortest mooring we have had - but not all bad news

Ok, so I'm a little less raw after the boat break in. The night following the break in when I had to leave the boat was not the best. You imagine all sorts of ne'er do well's circling the boat trying to get back in. Luckily we were due a few days on the boat as Rachel had some leave booked so were able to return on the Tuesday to find Percy sitting waiting for us - still secure.

On closer inspection - I did not check - what a fool, the entry was made via the side hatch near the kitchen after he tried the engine bay based on a chip on the door there. So that is now fully secure again - or even more secure. We gave the boat a good clean and changed the bedding and that immediately felt better.

I cannot fault Staffordshire police  - they have been in contact a couple of times and turned up today and took away the screwdriver he/she left. They also took away the pot holding the money we presume he/she tipped to take what was in it. When we hear of indifference and lack of action I can report Staffordshire police acted as quickly as I would have wanted - top marks.

So we are leaving this mooring today. Been here less than a few weeks. The good news is we are staying on the mooring(s) just moving further up, away from the bridge (not first/last boat anymore and close to where the live-a-boards are.) I have to thank my good friend Mandy from NB Don't Panic who was aware of a free mooring that had recently been vacated. She even did the communication with the mooring owner to confirm the mooring was available - thank you Mandy.

It is a beautiful canal and the moorings have a lot going for them, the icing on the cake is the new mooring has a water tap right on the mooring - so there is some silver lining to this dark cloud.

In most life events however small there are learnings. I have to try and find whatever positives there are in the break in. I hope whoever took the cash and food has benefited in a positive way from it. We have such a privileged life, we have worked for it of course bur still had a very clear run so far.

So we are staying, Percy is staying and we will look forward to what we saw when we first planned this move, new locations, new adventures (of the positive kind and now a whole set of new batteries !!)

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Advice needed - Batteries

It seems that it is the time for more wallet emptying as the batteries on Percy are Fubarr’d. Looking back on my blog they went in on November 2014 so literally 4 years to the day. They are consumables so I guess I should not be surprised they are ready to leave my boat. Question is what to replace them with.

I have 3 x 110 sealed wet type. I am drawn to AGM as they have a supposedly better discharge level tolerance and better vibration tolerance....they are more expensive no doubt for these reasons.

So advice needed from the great hive mind .....replace with three 110 agm or go for two say 150 a/h agm ?

I have long pondered the charge discharge benefits drawbacks of two batteries v’s three batteries. Three is longer to charge but longer to discharge and two shorter to charge and discharge.... is it that simple or better just to look at what a/h you are charging.... say 330 for three 110’s or 300 for two 150’s. I think less is more as there should be less risk one poor performing battery puts loads on the others in charging and discharging..... so two 150’s better ?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated around AGM batteries and battery numbers ....?

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

My boat has been broken into

I visited yesterday after overnighting the day before. I was at the boat to sort out a few problems, another blog post about that. I went to the kitchen from entering the stern and moved my bin and re set the carpet that were not in the right place.... I thought I had left it like that as one of the last jobs I did was emptying the bin. Then I noticed a full bottle of wine on the top... that I knew I had not left out. I actually said out loud to myself... I did not leave  that there . Then I got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach as I reached for the pound coin pot we keep on the shelf and yes it was empty.

I immediately went to the front doors and they had been forced as a method of entry. Only then when returning to the kitchen did I see the bent screwdriver left on the top

Crime reported to the police and to the mooring owner. To say I am gutted is an understatement. It looks like a rough sleeper has broken in. What is more alarming is another boat two up from me was also broken into a few weeks ago, nothing taken but the boat had been slept on. As I type this I have lost faith in these moorings. It is a very respectable part of the country quite rural but obviously not crime free. I’m off to the boat again today to add more security to the boat front doors if I can and maybe add some lighting. The farmer is also I hope looking to improve security.

No one is immune to this, it’s  not rife but always a risk. I never thought it would happen especially on an offside mooring there you go.

I am considering a marina now... and actually getting rid of the boat. It’s a massive cost and we are not using it as we shoud. We could get a couple of canal breaks with no responsibility for just the money we pay out in license fees and insurance and moorings. Maybe that is a knee jerk reaction but thats how I feel right now.

I have reflected I am looking at all options.

Just a bit fed up and annoyed at all the grief that has accompanied the move to this beautiful but now tainted mooring.