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About BilgePump

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    Saggar maker's bottom knocker
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  1. Stretching a boat

    My dad had ours stretched over 20 years ago from 45 to 60 foot . It was only a couple of years old at the time so certainly a faff compared to having decided on 60ft at original build time but wasn't as horrendous as it sounds. We stripped the lining around the cut line (line to be cut was about 6' back from bow doors) and then fitted two temporary wooden full bulkheads either side of it, each about a foot from the cut line. Boat was then craned out, taken to engineering firm, put on roller bed, cut, the two halves moved 15' apart and then the steelwork in between completed. Put back in water and then we removed the temp bulkheads and fitted the new section in keeping with the rest of the boat. It's not obvious that it has been stretched and after all this time I wouldn't think the joints of the stretch any less substantial than the others from the original build. Can't really help on price as is was so long ago but if you like your current boat and just want more space then definitely worth investigating further.
  2. Why a Narrow Boat or GRP

    I've just sold and delivered a Buckingham 20 onto the canal and here are just a few reasons why it could be preferable to a 20ft steel boat 1.Took 5 minutes to launch off the trailer and can be towed by any big car 2.Young guy who bought it can get a spartan but solid boat, plus funds for insurance, bits for BSS and an old outboard for around a thousand quid. Tell me how that is possible in steel. 3.Said guy who bought it will have a more forgiving learning curve. He won't find out steel or engine needs £5k spending on urgent repairs. He''l be able to make it comfortable and enjoy his boating and not be bankrupted by it in the first months. 4.If he decides the boating life is for him and it comes time to upgrade, he will have a better idea of what he needs and whether bigger boats he looks at represent good value for money. If he decides that the boating life isn't for him, he will be able to sell on the boat for a similar amount because it isn't a wreck, it's basic but solid. So, I can see why you are drawn towards GRP over steel especially as the Buckingham is very roomy for its modest length. Like the Dawncraft / Highbridge boats they are well suited to the canals and non-tidal rivers. The longer Highbridge ones feel very narrowboaty inside, like long and narrow. Without checking behind panelling you wouldn't for sure know what the hull was made of from inside. Now a Buckingham 20 is a different boat from say a Norman 20. In my experience both are well built with solid & generous GRP layup but I'd probably take a B20 for the canals and an N20 for close coastal use. The huge tall slab sides of the Buckingham give it a great feeling of space inside whereas the lines of the Norman would give me more confidence on lumpy water. Even within the same model of boat there are variations; the Freeman 22 came in narrow and river versions. The river version was 7'6" wide, more space than its narrow sibling but with the expense of loss of access to narrow canals so even comparing different versions of the same craft can be like comparing apples and oranges. Considering what would be the ideal boat at 50' the first question would have to be its intended use. A 50' Prout cat or Nelson 48/50 will be far more capable and spacious than a 50'NB but you'll pay for that in cash and access restrictions. More expensive and salty water only. Want cheap and cheerful boating in as many places as possible (just not 'going to sea'), get a sub 19' cabin cruiser or lifting keel trailer sailer. Bags of fun, cheap as chips but as basic as it gets without going for a dinghy and boom tent. Why do I like a longish NB for a shallow muddy ditch? It's suited to its environment. You can't go wider than 6'10" here and they don't make glassfibre tubes of the size and shape. The canal is shallow and grounding common. It pains me to hear rocks grinding against gelcoat but small boats can get away with a lot because of their shallow draft compared to the 2'6" ish draft of a fair sized NB. Talking of draft, it applies up top too as already mentioned. Some bridges will take out a forgotten chimney on a NB so some quite small GRP cruisers are still simply too high to go under with screen and canopy up. When talking of canopies, think why it is that you see a lot of old GRP cruisers with a canopy but very few NBs with a pramhood. It's not the cost as considered as a % of cost of the boat it is far higher on the old cruisers. It is the sheer amount of extra space they give for a cruiser. Often on 20' boats and shorter this is the only place where it is possible to stand up. Even in a tiny tiny 20' NB you can stand up along the full length of the cabin. As someone previously and far more succinctly put it, horses for courses.
  3. Advice needed (not a narrow boat)

    The best way. Not being afraid of water but having no reckless disregard for it either, just being aware of the fact that things like boats, solid structures, heights and water can always be dangerous. A few quick but sensible precautions, as you're routinely taking, give greater reason for confidence in the safety of yourself, your crew and other boats. Some of the hardest guests to have aboard a boat can be those who have never been on one before, think they're invincible and water harmless. We shouldn't be petrified of it, of course. That can just result in different bad decisions and a limiting approach to life around H2O. You already seem to be having fun and a few issues during your first week with this boat but I'm sure when these initial problems are overcome you'll already have a good working knowledge of the design, its handling and some quirks unique to your individual craft. Happy boating!
  4. Advice needed (not a narrow boat)

    so said the White Star Line!
  5. Advice needed (not a narrow boat)

    Any boat can be damaged given a certain combination of circumstances. Not sure why you think my comments about being reasonably cautious, whatever material the boat's made of, seem so ridiculous or prejudiced against GRP. Quite the opposite, it's a long lived, strong and fixable material with which to construct a boat.
  6. Advice needed (not a narrow boat)

    Just shuddered there, the vision of getting into a moving NB/pole/NB sandwich is quite horrific. Even if off to one side the stresses must be capable of snapping it with huge force in a person's vicinity. An inappropriately deployed heavy duty pole could also pierce a light GRP craft, before it breaks. Handy at times, for pushing gently off the bank without engaging gear and things like that but only when the single thing that can apply or release force on the pole is a human and not 15 tons of steel.
  7. Advice needed (not a narrow boat)

    Bringing a bowhauled NB to a stop makes you realise just how much momentum it has and the damage it would do even at slow speed. GRP craft at safe speeds can usually handle glancing bumps off other boats but the danger is where a GRP boat would be sandwiched between a stone wall / copings / lock gate / piling etc by a NB. It shouldn't be the GRP boat's helm's duty to get out of the way of steel craft, a decent NB helm will be looking at what risks may be there and steering at a suitable speed. It's that person in charge of the craft capable of doing most damage. Canoeists pay their dues to CRT too and that is the kind of craft anyone at the helm should be anticipating meeting around the next corner, or a sunken branch, collapsed bank, steel spike etc. If we all followed sensible conventions and took appropriate care it should all be fine. Some bozos though will always insist on being Captain Speedy when it puts others at a small but real risk. Sad to say but in a GRP boat you may have to be doubly careful about mooring up just in case one comes around said corner. Having said all that the OP will get through this all fine I'm sure. A positive outlook and being able to adapt to whatever situation may arise is part of enjoying boating imho. Something will go wrong if it can and you must be prepared to deal with it as best as. I do like old BMC in cars so I wouldn't be in any hurry to get one out of a boat if it were mine. It's easy enough to be confounded by any system like an engine until a symptom has been replicated a few times and other things have been eliminated before a relatively simple problem can be diagnosed and fixed. Worst case scenario with a boat like this is the point where all is beyond redemption on the propulsion front which is very unlikely. The boat itself is still a good comfortable hull and could be fitted with anything from a DIY outboard transom conversion up to new/rebuilt diesel inboard and drive. Armchair scaremongering is pretty rubbish when someone else is on a steep learning curve and obviously enjoying it. I applaud Peter for the help he has been able to give the OP and hope that next month the OP will be enjoying fond and funny memories of his first long cruise.
  8. dawncraft 25 advice needed

    ^^^ This is so true. Ours sank on the slipway, overnight, after a relaunch, after 'professional' work. New rubbing strakes, lowest not fully sealed = boat going down. Dawncraft 25s are great boats, you get loads of room for your buck, but do treat the first days after putting back in water like a concerned parent
  9. dawncraft 25 advice needed

    Many moons ago we had a Dawncraft 25. These 'fins' were fitted as standard when built and I'll bet that yours aren't the first to fail. For those readers who are imagining some kind of bilge keels a la sailing boats, they're not, these are much narrower but longer, kind of like large chine runners but lower down the hull. If they've already been removed and glassed over then I would go with the suggestion of launching and seeing. If you are going to wait to fabricate and fit new ones before putting the boat back in the water you will probably lose a good chunk of what's left of this season. I remember us once being unable to move our Dawncraft for three days tied up on the towpath in Cheshire due to very strong winds. In that instance the wooden fins still couldn't counteract the force of the wind and any attempts at steering were pretty futile. Fins being present does not make these craft perfect in bad weather and conversely I imagine that not having them will not make the boat wholly unsteerable, maybe a bit more skittish, more susceptible to sideways blows but still manageable in most conditions you will encounter on the canal. If you find the steering too vague then at least you have the satisfaction of knowing what you can do in the future to improve the situation.
  10. Burning of candles on boats

    I normally carry a few candles on a boat. On the NB I only really use them in the event of power failure / low batteries. We have paraffin lamps and I often leave the two smallest gimballed ones on through the night. Candles are primarily there as an emergency solution but I have in the past had to resort to them when stranded for two weeks at the end of the year without a working alternator. When it comes to smaller boats, little Shetland / 20' ish trailer sailer, I use them all the time. I don't have the means of properly recharging the battery; the outboard output and small solar can only do so much to replenish it. Seems wiser to conserve 12v supply for bilge pump, VHF and nav lights. Along with occasional use of a bog standard hurricane lamp (which can stink a small cabin out quite easily) I'll normally have three tea lights going after dark. Each of them sits in its own little greenhouse kind of thing hanging from the roof. And yes, I have sent them flying in the past. Its a pain to clean out the wax that goes all inside when it takes a tumble but far better than a curtain wafting into a naked flame or similar nightmare. In my experience a few tea lights don't trip the CO detector even in a tiny cabin, lighting the hurricane lamp and it still keeps quiet unless there is zero ventilation. Add a paraffin stove for cooking though and the levels will reach dangerous and the alarm start wailing. In short, small candles are great if housed in a safe enclosure, with decent ventilation and a working warning device (the last two I would hope would be second nature to anyone on a boat with gas and/or a solid fuel stove. Part necessity, part ambience, I like them.
  11. Windows 10

    It was older peripherals that were the issue.
  12. Windows 10

    If Vista was baaaaaaaaaaad, Windows Me was a rushed out piece of crud, cynically released for the millenium. So many new comuter users at the time thought it was the same as Win 2000 (which was a decent OS with the NT kernel on which XP was subsequently built, again a decent OS). Using 8.1 these days on lappy, only real experience with 10 was to roll back to 8.1 an auto update on a family member's PC.
  13. Diesel Be Done For?

    Like dor I also thought diesel experimented with various fuels including coal dust, envisaging his design running on peanut oil. The heavy oil derived fuel we mainly use in them today is the problem not the engine itself. Of course biofuel production is controversial when land is already under ptessure to grow enough food. It was a good programme, that 18500l, 75000hp marine diesel was colossal, two and a half thousand times the power of our Lister Petter lump!
  14. What distances from your boat?

    Hour south, hour north, hour north east. But i can get the canoe in the canal in 5 mins. Shame i don:t
  15. Railings for Marple aqueduct - whats next?

    A mate of mine and myself were partial to disused viaducts 20 yrs ago and I don't expect today's youth to be any less stupid. Railings are just too tempting as anchor points. At present the aqueduct has zero anchor points unless you used say a 60ft steel tube in the water. Putting up sturdy railings may make one type of infrequent accident less likely but a number of others just waiting to happen. If this is the shape of things to come, every lock, weir etc will need to be fenced off. Water dangerous, height dangerous, not rocket science. The daredvil, suicidal or reckless person may block that out. The rest of us exercise a healthy respect when around either.