Friday, 28 February 2020

My newest challenge

Last time we cruised the boat the starter let me down. It is five years old and was for a bit of time a leisure battery - don't ask !

I have the benefit of a Smartbank system that will (with the press of a button) join the leisure batteries to the starter via a vey chunky fit for purpose relay. This spins the old donk over very ably but not something I want to keep exposing my AGM house batteries to.

So I received my new starter yesterday and took it to the boat. I always intended making good the electrics on Percy - they are not unsafe, in fact I have overcabled some runs but the only downside is  the extra cost of the copper.

I have limited space to make a Aqualine type job of it  - some of the best electrics I have seen (sad) so I have to think laterally or vertically in my case. I intend fixing a sheet of ply above the battery bank and adding a + busbar to go along with the - busbar I already have that services the shunt for the Victron battery monitor. Some of the Smartgauge cables need to go direct to the battery but much of the rest can go to the + busbar some with the negative stuff. The challenge is to ensure there is minimum overrunning of cables  - so I drew up this !!

Sure does look like something my grandson might have drawn at preschool ! But it does give ME an idea of how to mount what I need to mount to make the whole set up a lot tidier.

When its done I'll put a painted cover over it to match the step cover that covers the batteries. 

I just need a good couple of warmish days to set to working in the engine room and maybe staying onboard depending on how the install goes ! 

I need to get it done in time for the mid March cruise ....... I hope I'm not tempting fate ! 

Tuesday, 25 February 2020

A cracker of a boat for sale

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Click me for all the details.....

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Storm Ciara arrives so where do I head to...

The plan was to go to Percy on Saturday morning to see out the storm but a need to do some diy on the cottage plus two Rugby matches and a football match saw that plan fail.

However I was a bit uneasy over the solar panel on the roof of Percy and the wheelbarrow wedged into the newly made compost bin at the mooring. The solar is fixed with 4 ‘taxi sign magnets - well thats as they were described with a guarantee of holding to 70mph. So a lights out at 10.30 pm and an alarm set for 6.20 am saw me sleep through the storms arrival in the moorlands. A chilli in the slow cooked and two spuds in the Rayburn with the timer set on that saw me head off  across  Staffordshire’s deserted roads to Percy.

As I had suspected looking at the storms trajectory the winds were coming across the canal at Shebdon. The canal runs nearly east/west where we moor so the winds and rain despite swirling around were hitting the high hedge on the opposite side giving a fair degree of shelter to the Moorers here. We are a little luckier as the hedge across from us for some reason has been left to grow giving even more protection. That’s not to say Percy isn’t rocking and the wind is whistling around us, its quite a nice place to be  - but then I do like weather extremes.

Not a wave to be seen thankfully - we also have the same protection back at the cottage with our south westerly aspect protected by a row of cottages that take the wind for us. Anything Northerly then the cottage takes it on the nose.

Not a long stop over so no fire but the much used hotties in use with a blanket so with a coffee and a book to read like I said a nice place to be.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Fubarr'd starter battery and the Junction Inn passes its test

A lazy start out in the sticks last Thursday. It took me four attempts at extricating myself from the bank, a combination of a less than favourable wind and a shallow mooring reminded me of my need to refresh my simple boating skills such as they are.

We then met the only other boat on the move of the day just as we approached the couple of Bridges before High Onn moorings plus wharf winding hole. Another near perfect wind (so not all skills lost) saw us on the furthest extent of our cruise. I then took Leia for a muddy walk along the tow path as Rachel expertly steered Percy to a lunchtime stop off at Brewood for an amble and a few supplies.

Brewood does not have a centre as such but does have some fine mixed properties, this unusual gate caught our attention

Suitably ambled and supplied we set off again, this time with Rachel walking Leia to our planned overnight stop at Norbury Junction. 

All quiet now, give it another eight weeks and there will be no moorings available after 3pm....

Percy was quite a way down, when we get the chance we moor away from other boats if we have Lilly the cat on board with us.

On both am startups the starter battery failed me. For a starter it's not great, just over 5 years as my blog tells me it was replaced in November 2014. However it was a 'duel purpose' battery, the same as the three leisures I brought all together so another hint at not really being the right thing for the job.

I have a Smartbank on Percy that with a touch of a button on the control panel it connects the starter to the leisures via a very beefy relay which got us going. So I called into  Norbury to check their prices....

As for starter batteries  - Norbury were selling starters for £77 each - 643 and 644 I worked out were different based on the location of positive and negative terminals. My only question is the CCA (Cold Cranking amps) which I understand to basically be the 'torque' of the battery. Now Percy is a big three litre 2 cylinder engine  - think 2 BMC 1.5's side by side and for each of my cylinders they have four - so that some heavy internals needing spinning up from within a lot of cold sticky oil. It needs some beef so my research is what is a good CCA for such an engine?

Finally we tried the Junction Inn for food. Last time ( a long time ago) it was not a great experience. This time we got a warm personal welcome as well as a warm room welcome. 

The food was good, on recommendation I had the steak pie that was just lovely. We'll do it again.

On the Friday morning we got the donk started and had a lovely cruise back up through Grub Street cutting and back to our mooring.