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Saturday Ahoy!!

Community Veteran
Posts: 7,154
Thanks: 54
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Saturday Ahoy!!

About half a mile south of here where I live in west Hertfordshire, lay the storm tossed, wild waters of the Grand Union canal. Where, I found myself strolling the towpath a couple of days ago. Parked (this post will no doubt be littered with this and other useful nautical terms) alongside the bank was an incredibly scruffy, ancient narrow-boat, named I think “Princess of the Waves” or something equally inappropriate. Seated at the blunt end (see what I mean about nautical terms) inside a cavity in the deck, was the original ancient mariner, who was hard at work heating the cylinder head of the huge mass of engine therein with a paraffin blow-lamp and, with the other hand laying about the said engine with the business end of a very large ball-pein hammer.
Intrigued by this curious behaviour, I hove-to alongside, and commented “that looks like hard work” The sea-dog paused, looked up and favoured me with a stare that he probably saves for village idiots and the like, and rejoined; “won’t start” that’s not exactly what he said, but the moderators would probably delete the whole remark if left as he said it.
It seems the motor was a 17 litre (that’s what he said) single-cylinder two-stroke, in which a sleeve valve was prone to sticking, the last time I encountered a two-stroke engine, it was fitted to a Lambretta Tv 175 motor scooter in the mid 1960’s (that’s the one with the headlight over the handlebars, for those who remember these things) I enquired if the engine had been serviced recently? “Ah yes” he said “in 1908” So not wishing to show my mechanical ignorance in these matters, I offered; “I suppose it’s got some fuel in it?” Well, the reaction of the sailor to this piece of considered advice was, to say the least er! ungrateful. Thinking that if this was all the thanks I was going to get, I, as he suggested decided to leave, and left him muttering into his beard.
But, I later began to wonder if in these forums there was someone of a seafaring leaning, with an interest in mechanics (possibly marine engines) who would have been able to assist this gentleman?
I, of course gleaned my extensive marine knowledge from that essential nautical tome “The Art of Coarse Sailing” by Michael Green (quite the funniest author I know) My copy of which got lost during a house move, so if anybody out there has a redundant copy, in any condition, please let me know.     
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
35 REPLIES
pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

dont expect shutter to answer, he only knows about a posh hotel callled HMS Maldives  Grin Grin Grin
PS whats a Deck, is that the floorboards you were talking about Wink Shocked Roll eyes
N/A

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Quote from: pierre_pierre
PS whats a Deck, is that the floorboards you were talking about

Thats right, but on a boat if they have 52 of them, they call it a deck.
Crazy
Bob_Milton
Grafter
Posts: 688
Registered: 31-07-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Quote from: James_H
Quote from: pierre_pierre
PS whats a Deck, is that the floorboards you were talking about

Thats right, but on a boat if they have 52 of them, they call it a deck.
Crazy


Ooh, James; you are a card.
I expect jokers are Wild,
sorry Ian.
jmd
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

I don't have any nautical knowledge so your descriptions sound quite logical and clear to me Petlew..................... just sorry I can't help Cry
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,154
Thanks: 54
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Thank you jmd, I only aim to please.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,855
Thanks: 1,140
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Sorry to disappoint you Pierre,   Cry    The luxury island of Mauritius,   not Maldives , is the place I sojourned for two years and one month..... It was the best time of my navy life.... but someone had to be there, so why not me ? Smiley Grin
As for Narrowboats, the Grand Union, and two stroke diesels.....     Roll eyes  I have experience of them all....     Roll eyesFirst off,   lived on,   and owned a 72ft narrowboat for 3 years, and cruised the Grand Union Canal, along with many others during that time....   Cool   The boat was much admired as it was an unusual build     Cool Roll eyes Cool   (see photos) and also it was powered by a 4 cylinder 2 stroke coventry climax diesel engine, which was used to power the Royal Navy Fast patrol boats during the war. In fact my engine was in a 16 foot wooden fpb in 1943/44, and I had the original R.N. Coventry Climax workshop Manual too....; When it started up, it shrouded the whole area with white smoke for about 3 or 4 minutes, and then as it got warmed up, it cleared to nothing, and sounded like a sewing machine when running.... Unfortunately, the prop on the Narrowboat, had to be configured so that on full power, it would only shove the boat forward or back at a max 6 knots. although the legal limit on the canal system is 4knots ,to cut down on erosion of the banks by the wash created..... Cry   6 knots were allowed only for emergency (stops/manouevering)  (don`t forget you need to think well in advance, when you have sixteen tons moving at 5 mph, to think about where you want to stop with no brakes.... Crazy Roll eyes.
So Petlew`s ancient mariner, was probably hoping to "unseize" the valve by heat, and getting it to re-seat by hitting the engine with a hammer, so that it would then gain compression for starting..... Cheesy
No, I am not a mechanical engineer, but you do get to use all of your brain when living on a narrowboat, and have only yourself to get out of trouble.... Embarrassed Roll eyes Embarrassed
EDIT...... getting to be an ancient mariner ..... forgot to add the photos.....
see next post....
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,855
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Heres the pics of my narrowboat  

Edit........... sorry about the quality, but they were scans of the originals taken back in the 1990`s and stuck to the glass in the picture frame....
the top and bottom one are the same pic.... moored on the River Thames at Goring.
the second one is when I was doing a lot of re-working on it at Thrupp on the Oxford canal, and repainting..... I made the square windows on board, and fitted them, I also re-painted her, Blue, and did the signwriting on the stern (back end).... None of those are skills I had before having the boat... ! !
The third pic is at Aldermaston wharf, for my 50th birthday  (1994) on the Kennet & Avon canal...
pierre_pierre
Grafter
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

I thought narrow boats had a butty and orse
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,855
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Not all narrowboats had a butty.... for the un-initiated, a "butty" is a narrowboat with no engine, and is/was usually either "breasted" up on wide canals, with a "motor" or as pierre infers towed by a long rope pulled by a horse on the bank or tow path....
Personally, I consumed an unmentionable amount of butties, during my time on the boat, as I worked like a horse to get it habitable ! !.  Grin
C2
Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Always rather fancied the narrow boat life, but disabled wife now rules that out. Shutter, the section of the GUC in the (genuine) opening post, was the section that runs alongside the old Ovaltine factory at Kings Langley, that has now been converted into a housing estate. Never the prettiest part of the canal, and not improved by the re-development.
Doh!  Embarrassed D3
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,855
Thanks: 1,140
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Well, what a coincidence.... I know that stretch of the GU very well, and used to see the Ovaltine boats running up to the smoke and back.... I used to live in the Married Quarters at Abotts Langley, while stationed at R.A.F.Northwood aka H.M.S. WARRIOR when I was on the staff of CINC NATO and CINC HOME FLEET.
Used to go for pleasant walks along there quite often.....At one time, my sister came to stay, and she was a barmaid at the Compasses in  Abbots Langley.  Cry de f3
Community Veteran
Posts: 7,154
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Well, well, we've eaten Sunday lunch in the Compasses...have to say, not one of the better pug meals we've ever had.
Where exactly were/are the married quarters in AL. Only lived here 8 years, still finding my way round.
Huh b5
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
Community Veteran
Posts: 16,855
Thanks: 1,140
Fixes: 13
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Talking about 1970 time.... Married quarters were .... from the compasses, turn right then right again, into a "council estate" (well it looked like one)  and there was a triangle of flats, or maisonettes at the far end, which were the MQ`s    Can`t remember the name of the road or the block now..... Grin e7
jmd
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Re: Saturday Ahoy!!

Smiley  Going back to barges/canals [shutter is going into golden oldies mode again Wink]  I used to live near Manchester Ship Canal and as a child it was a delight to go to watch the swing bridge for the Bridgewater Canal turn so that barges could continue along the Bridgewater, and then watch the Barton Swing Bridge turn for the ships that went to Manchester Docks [now gone for good]
Nowadays, the Barton Swing bridge over the Ship Canal does not need to swing so often but if it has to do it on a hot summers day there is always the problem of getting it back as the metal expands!  I could never work out why they never allowed for that when it was constructed but they must never have had such hot summers [and now I am breaking into another thread!] in the 19th Century!