Wednesday, 29 August 2007

A little about me

Well a wrapper website will eventually be created, to house this stuff, but a small amount here, as a response to requests!
Born 1965!! Spent my working life in the vehicle industry, primarily around vehicle leasing and fleet management, and specifically around business change and IT. In 2002 became the Director responsible for all of Leasedrive's technical and business process activities. 2006 saw Leasedrive merge with Velo, to create the largest independant vehicle management company in the UK. So that's work. Outside of work I love all outdoor activities. Sail cruising is a passion - such as this picture of us tied to the Mulberry harbour off the Normandy coast. I am RYA day skipper, and VHF qualified - the latter of some use on the tidals, the former - not a lot!!

Mountains - I love, but tend to climb and walk in the winter when the tourists aren't around, and when there is a bit more challenge - like this picture of us somewhere cold!! Actually England, in April, but none the less cold!

And of course a love of the inland waters, when I can steal my brothers boat, (Yes that is me in May 2007 with the fire on!!) hire one or jump into my canadian canoe, or kayak, to get the water fix. I love the boats, the history, the reality, and the peace and tranquility.
Divorced in 2006, it didn't take too long to install the love of the water into Claire, new confidant! however, due to the slight snag of virtigo, she's not so keen on the mountains !!
The waterways passion has been gentically passed on to my three girls, Suzi (17), Adele (15) and Cara (12)
Well, that's all about me, this blog is about K2, so we will go back to her. Boat fitter visit this Sunday (2nd September) and a trip to RW Davis on the 8th for a discussion about Kelvin K2's and 3's, and the Northwich Trader - that they can build at 58foot for me! Oh and calls to Trinity House, to see if I can find a K2 somewhere!!

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Engines and Fit Out

Well - this is hard work. The design is moving everytime I look at it. Searching "t'internet" helps you grab other peoples ideas, as you build something that will be your home. Look at this for example - a wine rack but under the floor, what a great space saving idea, and one I would love to incorporate within K2. Bottles are such a pain to store - and this seems so obvious in many ways!! Well, with luck I am visiting Andrew Hooke on the 2nd September to discuss fit out, get some prices and so on.

Also talked to Brian from Russell Newbery. I would love a DM2 - but wondering about going away from a genuine vintage and buying a new one. RN only build 7 a year, but still can build me one before I need it next year. Hmmm, A new "vintage" engine.
As good as his word - Mels' quote hit me Tuesday. I'll let you into the secret another day, when I have all the pricing worked out. Suffice it to say, at the moment the shell and engine would be around £60K to get afloat, including the stack of cash Gordon Brown will lift from me for my pleasure! Doesn't leave a lot for fit-out.
Sill not heard from Norton Canes - and this is a bank holiday weekend! Shame would like to have fitted them in this weekend.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

The Weekend Visit.

Saturday saw Claire and me, as promised, trundling the 3 hours up the M1 to Mansfield. Well, to Longwith actually. The home of Mel Davis, Boatbuilders. It is really a farm!! We spent a fantastic couple of hours there, looking over the boat in the workshop, and also a K2 look alike in their yard, just completed and getting ready for shipment to be fitted out. Just look at the detail on the finish on these boats. In my mind some of the most beautiful on the waterways. Mel describes his work, as art - and it really is.
The other good news was that Mel felt the lengths were fine (and he should know)! Prop shaft just gets bigger, designed specifically for the engine revolutions and the length of throw to the prop. Sounds great, and the slightly lengthened overall BMC to accomodate the fixed double, and the BMC area are fine too. So far, so good. If Mel is chosen - K2 would be born around December 2008, and take 10 weeks to become a sail away. Now onto the quote and the fit out people. Once again, Mel was able to suggest 3 different companies that he has and is using, I shall contact them this week, and start work on the job of fit out and engine search.

Disappointingly I have played tag with Norton Canes boatbuilders, who have their tug "Resolute" on the Wey navigation near my home. They want me to see it. I want to see it, but we can't quite hook up!! I'm sure we will in time.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

The Theory Works.

I've had a number of conversations about K2, mainly about the accomodation. Can you really get all I want into the space available at 58foot, especially with a cabin of only 39 foot. I know, the Tug Deck really is a waste of room, but if you don't need the extra 12 foot of cabin then the outside space it offers is fantastic!
So much doubt lurks that I sat down with the back of a fag packet, well, actually MS Visio!, to see what sort of sizes can be achieved.
This is the plan! It's almost to scale!!
Of course no-one knows how many times this will change as it goes past the boatbuilders the fitouts, and my aspirations.
The book is open, gentlemen (and ladies) place your bets!
Now I will start looking at each section. Keep watching this space!!
There is a snag - a longer BMC, means a longer prop shaft, and that can produce a "wobble" at speed. It is possible to put in 2 shafts, I've seen that somewhere, or it's a hydraulic gearbox. Not sure about that with a vintage engine. Any thoughts anyone!?

Monday, 13 August 2007

Talking Toilets continued!!

I know - you don't really want to read about this!! but I asked the question on the JustCanals forum - a great place for information. Seems like info is bubbling!!

That's all today. Saturday is going to be busy - I am hoping to go from Mel Davis down to Norton Canes as well - their Josher boats are renowned so we shall see. May also be meeting up with David Ritson who is a possible for the fit out for me.

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Talking Toilets!

We'll start at the top! Actually this is quite important. Normally toilets on Narrow Boats are either cassette or pump out. So here's the problem:

Permanent cruising means that you can be caught out! Mainly in winter (but also the summer of 2007 in all the floods) you get to a cut or lock that has been closed for repair or damage, it could hold up your movement (so to speak) for a while. And that's the snag.

Pump out toilets generally mean a holding tank - normally under the bed, and that tank can last you 2-3 weeks, if you use it sparingly! before needing a pump out. Also as the tank fills, so your boat often takes on a list, advertising to all that you are sleeping on 80 gallons of poo!

Cassette toilets are worse!! (in my opinion) When the cassette is full, you replace it with the spare, and then a third and fourth! - at least you can carry on replacing, BUT you need to carry all those smelly casettes. Either empty or full, they take up the same space.

Enter the compost toilet! (Pictured here in a Narrow Boat bathroom)

I think K2 will be fitted with a compost toilet - a system that only needs emptying every 6 months to a year!(apparantly) Fluids are evaporated off, and what is left over, err, well decomposes, until it becomes earth, that you riddle out, and put in a flower pot!!

Follow the link to Envirolet. This could be the answer.
Three problems :
1. The toilet is almost 3 foot wide, so could only really be installed in a new build. Well that's the plan for K2!!
2. Cost - at £1300 it's an expensive loo! But as an average pump out for a year is around £500 it won't take very long for a return on the investment. and you never get caught short!!
3. What happens when you are not onboard and the power is off? Anyone got any experiences of that?

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The dream

Well, this is it. This could be the start of a new and exciting thing, or in a few posts time come to a grinding stop!
The plan is to commission a tug style narrow boat, have it built as a live aboard, and at some point cruise as an early retiree for a while. The "while" will be as long as money and health allow. The "early" could be my late 40's. (for those of you with black and white! that's a few years away yet!!)
The inspiration came from years on the inland waterways as a child, graduating as a deep water sailor and RYA day skipper before more recently returning to the love of ditch bashing with 2 influences.
One - the beautiful lines of the Mel Davis tug, (pictured) found in Crick Marina "by chance".
Two - the live aboard life style of my Andy on Khayamanzi, and the freedom he has within the inland waterways community.
But first things first! The boat. After researching the real "go anywhere" size, my tug cannot exceed 59 foot, total length overall - so will be built at 58 foot. I want to cruise all connected waterways, so the Huddersfield is a requirement!! I met someone in Banbury this year who went through in a 60 footer, but only just! So I reckon 58 foot plus fenders will do it! She has to have traditional lines, a vintage engine with traditional speedwheel controls, and as "proper" a bathroom as possible. Boatmans cabin (BMC) will be modern, rather than traditional, incorporating a fixed double bed, as well as the traditional stove. This boat will be the meeting of traditional and modern. Will she ever get built? I hope so.