Monthly Archives: Oct 2016

Windows and engine

Visit 28th October

We’ve been busy moving our current boat Lillyanne to be past upcoming stoppages and I’ve also had a few days work, which has meant that getting to Sheffield has been impossible for the past few weeks. So it has been four weeks since we were last at the yard.

Orders have been slow to arrive which has held progress up, but the advantage of not having seen her for weeks is there was lots of new shiny things to look at. There were a few questions as always about positions of speakers and how to fix the composting toilet to the floor. Our choice of worktop was of course the most expensive one in the Silestone range, we can’t help having good taste! This does mean that it is more expensive than the budget, so prices are being sought for our second choice.

The main thing to discuss was the position of the Alde boiler flue. The boiler has been installed under the electrics cupboard and the flue currently comes out onto the gunnel. Long discussions have been had over the phone, email etc over the last few weeks to find a better solution.

Ricky had been in contact with Alde over the matter. One solution had been to have a recessed panel, sinking the flue and surrounding area out of harms way, but as it is a balanced flue Alde would not be happy with this. There are minimum distances from over hangs etc to take into account. Mounting it on the roof is not possible as it would be sited inside the pram cover, be close to us whilst out on the stern and it is too close to the rear hatch, so fumes could enter the cabin.

So we are left with moving the flue up onto the cabin side. In this photo the flue currently goes through the hull just below the shelf that the cables are on, it will now be brought up through the shelf and exit the cabin side where the black dot is (half way up on the spray foam to the left). There is a minimum radius that the curves in the hose can be, so some of the space in the electrics cupboard will be taken up just by the hose.

This will have knock on effects possibly to the inverter. The Victron inverter that we were going to have is quite bulky and needs minimum air gaps around it, which now may have a flue pipe reducing them. Once the pipe is in situ dimensions will be checked to see if a smaller bodied inverter is needed. This is likely to have a cost implication, but may mean that there is an MPPT controller built in that would deal with the solar panel, therefore saving us some money there.

Drawn in the dust on the side of the boat is where the new position of the flue will be. The white plastic will be painted to match the cabin side. This is a better solution, moving the flue out of day to day potential harm. It will not be totally safe in it’s new location, as on larger waterways you can get high overhanging moorings not designed with narrowboats in mind. But at least these are not the norm.

The current hole in the hull will be patched up, the advantage of having Jonathan Wilson only yards away. The paintwork on the gunnels is still to have it’s final coats of Epifanes Multiforte Black so all will be made good.

The lower stripes on the cabin side will be repainted with the red line beneath the cream as originally intended. This is likely to happen over a weekend in the fitout shed as Oleanna is now too heavy to get back into the paintshop.

Andy Russell has been booked to do our sign writing, but as we don’t require much he will also be there to work on another boat. So a meeting will be arranged when all of us are free.

The pump and pipework are all now in place for the urine tank from the toilet. The tank sits below the toilet, all of the pipes and gulper pump are normally concealed behind a removable panel.

Should we need access to the tank in future we will need to remove the vent pipe to the roof, undo the urine pipe at the rear of the toilet and then lift the floor section. Not the easiest thing to get at, but we don’t plan on doing it every week.

Kardean tiles have been laid on the bathroom floor and what we could see of them looked good. They have been covered over with cardboard to help protect them whilst work carries on.

The shower cubicle is now fitted and very shiny indeed. The sink is waiting for it’s quartz top, the sink has been moved to look more central and a new template cut.

The Portholes in the the bathroom have been fitted and are awaiting their chrome liners, then Kim can make the bungs for them from foam and cream waterproofed fabric that I found in a remnant shop in Skipton.

The porthole liner for the bedroom will be oak so that it matches the window opposite.

The starboard side galley window is the only one that slides. This is so that you can give the ducks and fish crumbs from the breadboard before washing it up, it also means we can add more ventilation easily if we want to.

All the other windows are hopper windows. The advantage for us with these is that you can take the glass out to give the channel a good clean. You also can also clean both sides of your windows as and when you want.

The oak liners are on their way, final fitting and sanding before they have lacquer applied.

Why the extensions at top and bottom? These will have the curtain poles attached to them and it means that the curtains will extend past the opening so when they are open they will cover less of the glass.

On the galley windows we will have blue aluminium blinds as the cooker is too close to have curtains. Blind Boutique had sent some samples through and there was a perfect blue that will match the curtains at this end of the boat.

The side hatch glazed doors now have the glass in. There is a swivel catch top and bottom to hold them closed. These at the moment are brass, but as everything else is chrome we are hoping they can be swapped.

The little studs on the bottom of the doors are magnets so when the glazed doors are open they hold back to the cabin side on these.

The bubble stove now has a hearth and the backing is made from a large cream tile surrounded with oak. As the gas pipe runs under the gunnel here some steel will be added as a shield to protect this.

The chrome flue has been fitted and where it meets the ceiling there will be a chrome collar.

The flue is double skinned to meet with the regulations. But luckily we will have space for a cooking pot on both sides of it.

A radiator has gone into the bedroom, under where the pullout for the cross bed sits, we’ll have warm toes.

Then a second larger radiator has been installed by the dinette. Beyond this is where we’ll store the dinette table when the bed is in use.

The table is in on two chrome desmo legs, glazing is in the cupboard at the end of the dinette and all the sockets and cat 5 are finished.

Speaker positions were discussed. If they were to be positioned symmetrically one would be just at head height at the end of the galley, so it will be moved towards the stern to be out of the way.

The radio and CD player is now in. The panel of wood it is fixed to hides the power sockets for the TV.

The PVR and TV will soon be ordered.

The flexible solar panel was in position for us to see. The only space big enough for it was above the bathroom, but this has meant that it can’t be central on the roof because of the shower mushroom vent.

The position will of course affect the power it generates, but we are hoping that when we can afford a smaller second panel we can position that to compensate for it.

Now that we have given the okay for the position it can now be stuck down.

Iroko locker lids have been made for the stern lockers. These can withstand the weather better than oak.

A small scallop will need to be taken out of them so that the cabin back doors can hook back open.

Positions of aerials was discussed. The internet one will sit as high as possible so as to be outside the faraday cage effect that the hull gives.

Just inside the engine bay is the stern gland greaser. This is positioned here for ease of access, so you don’t have to open the engine right up to give it a twist.

Fuel filters and the prop shaft have been installed waiting to be connected to the engine.

An engineer had been booked to start fitting the engine yesterday, but unfortunately the engine arrived at the end of the day. A folk lift had popped it up high out of the way until the engineer can come next.

Ricky opened the box up for us to have a look. All very green and shiny (sorry for the girl comment there!).

Instead of fitting the engine the engineer set to fitting the bow thruster which is now all in along with it’s batteries. At first it was thought that the batteries would have to go in one of the bow lockers, but they have managed to fit them in with the bow thruster.

A chat with Kim regarding how we can cover the front door windows came up with a good solution. Living with a cat, dangly things on blinds are not such a good idea, especially when on doors in your bedroom. I’d got a couple of quotes for roman blinds, but really did not want to spend £100 on each blind. The solution was to have a lined covering for each window that will be poppered onto the surround of each window. During the day they can be rolled up and held in position with a tab. Much neater than blinds and taking up less space than bungs.

One of the lithium batteries has arrived the second one is being shipped over from the States. Luckily the quote Finesse had got for them had a price guarantee of 30 days, so the pound plummeting has not affected the price we will pay for them.

Several prices had been sought for the pram and cratch covers, but as we had put quite a bit of work into this when at Crick we will take over on arranging them. We can get them measured up at the yard and then we will most probably have them finally fitted when Oleanna has been launched. It may mean that we have to cope for some of the winter without covers.

Once her engine has been fitted Oleanna will put her toe in the water in Sheffield to check on ballast and other things close to home. Ricky has suggested that we take her out along the cut to try things out. This will mean that any snagging can be done at the yard before she is transported to the Macclesfield Canal for launch.

Despite Oleanna having had her bottom wet we are going to class the launch near Marple as The Launch, where I suspect there will be some bubbly wine to celebrate. Still a while to wait, so no need to chill the fizz just yet.

Two visits in one week

27th September

Our cruising has brought us to Sheffield. The hope some weeks ago was that Oleanna would be ready for us to move on board in Sheffield, do the few jobs to Lillyanne that were needed for her to go on the market and head off into the sunset on our shiny new boat. But her build can’t be rushed and at the moment she doesn’t have an engine to be able to sail off anywhere.

Instead we made use of the time to do some of the jobs on Lillyanne and visit Oleanna.

Ken was about and with a bit more info regarding an MPPT controller from Victron,which has six settings the sixth being for Lithium. This is cheaper than the one Mick had found. Ricky had figures for us but the battery price needs checking as it may now be out of date. Once we have this we can finally make our minds up.

It was decided that having the PV panel on site along with speakers, radio etc would now be useful. These would all be extras so we will order them for delivery to the yard.

Kris was on hand as always with questions for us. Today was mostly about shelves inside the bedroom cupboards. I’d asked for a couple of drawers to be put in my bedside cupboard, I’d intended that these should be low down, making access to the very bottom of the cupboard easier, but they had gone in the top. Kris will move them down. Most other cupboards require a couple of shelves.

The drawing I’d done for the herb rack had one bit of information on it that had led to a misunderstanding over depths. So today I’d brought along my smallest and widest pots to try. Two of the racks were fine, but the third was just a bit too narrow. Kris will alter this for us.

Sockets in the bedroom will be swapped for those with USB charger sockets as well as 240v.

They are still waiting for the windows to arrive, this means that the internal linings can’t be fitted as yet. But Kris had started on one which was in position in the saloon.

The corner Bubble Stove had arrived and was sat on top of a small cupboard. Our current stove sits on something similar, which means that you can store all the fire lighting paraphernalia inside out of sight.

The surround and flue are still to be sorted all to meet with the Boat Safety Scheme. These stoves normally come with a fiddle rail which stands above the top surface. We have gone for one without this so that we can stand a kettle and cooking pot on top.

We will need a narrower coal scuttle if we want it to live next to the stove.

A hole has been cut in the ceiling above the extractor in the galley. This will have a mushroom on the roof.

We chatted about a bathroom cupboard and mirror above the bathroom sink. It was decided that it would be nice if it mirrored the shelf unit above the toilet and had one opening door that could be mirrored.

Sighting of a longer mirror was chosen on the side of a bedroom cupboard and dimensions were taken for the mirror to be ordered.

Things are starting to happen in the engine bay. The calorifier was in position with pipes coming from it for heating and hot water. On the wood below are pipes for deisel, leading both to and from the engine.

In the starboard rear cupboard the Alde Boiler had been installed under what will be the electrics cupboard. This leaves a small area below it for something.

The Alde Boiler came with a roof flue to fix through the roof, but this would come out inside our pram cover, so a skin fitting had been bought and fitted. However the fitting is fixed between the two rubbing strakes on the gunnel at the stern, which is where the greatest impact is on a boat. The fitting is plastic and protrudes further than the rubbing strakes. A couple of solutions were talked about, one of a metal strap over the flue to protect it. But this would be even more proud and have the possibility for catching in a lock. Bolts could be used to hold the strap in place that would shear off should the need arise.
 More thought on the matter is needed as we are not convinced the flue would last long in it’s current position.

The blind that we had been thinking might be a possibility for the bedroom doors can’t be used. There is little space for it and also the front door handle is quite deep, so any window covering needs to be fixed to the doors. We have three options, narrow blinds, separate curtains for each window or bungs. Something for us to mull over.

30th September

A second visit before we left Sheffield to take some measurements for possible narrow blinds and to see if any more samples had arrived to look at.


Kris was busy fixing the navigation lights onto the cabin sides.

He had also made the bathroom cupboard which was fixed in place to look at. This will give us somewhere to store drugs etc and have a decent sized mirror on the door.

New sockets were waiting to be swapped. Some samples had arrived for the cratch and pram covers. There was a good blue that would compliment Oleanna’s exterior blue, but none of the samples had a pale backing to them. We are quite keen on a pale backing as on our current covers as it keeps the well deck and stern quite light. So more samples are to be sought.

Dimensions of the front door windows were taken. A hunt for some narrow blinds will be made. So far the narrowest I’ve found are 30 cm wide, these need to be at most 20 cm! Separate curtains would be a bit Grannyish and bungs we would have to store somewhere.

The prices of the Lithium Batteries hasn’t changed so we have given the go ahead.
The boat is going to be a 24 volt boat so we are going to have 2 x 24 volt 50 amphour batteries wired in parallel. This will give us 100 ah at 24 volts. As it is 24 volts this is equivalent to 200 ah at 12v. With lead acid batteries you can only discharge them to 50% capacity but lithium batteries can be discharged to about 90% without damage and they turn themselves off before you can damage them anyway. So in theory we will have the equivalent of a 400 ah 12 v battery bank. The time to charge to full capacity is much reduced compared to lead acid batteries and with a 250 watt solar panel connected we are hoping that engine running just to charge the batteries will be much reduced compared our current boat.  Hopefully with our first few months on board being in the winter we should soon find out if an extra battery is needed. Space is being provided for one. We are hoping that the longevity of the batteries (hopefully 10 years) will meet expectations and that we won’t need to buy new batteries until 2027. Watch this space!

An extra 240 v power socket will be put in a rear cupboard so that we can charge our handheld vac. This will be on the back of one of the galley sockets.

We raised the subject of the Alde flue again as it is concerning us. No matter how careful we could be mooring, the flue in it’s current position will not last long. Even with a protective strap across it it will get damaged. Our preference would be for it to be recessed and have a strap guarding it too.

Other fabric samples still haven’t arrived and Julia hadn’t heard back from Tucky’s about where would be a good place to launch Oleanna near Manchester.

Winter stoppages mean that we need to start moving Lillyanne across the Pennines, so we will be getting further away as things are completed.