Vlog 188: Cruising for a Bruising

The end of August meant the resumption of my travels on the canals so I set off again from where I left off in Vlog 184 – Fradley Junction – and went up the Trent and Mersey canal towards Handsacre, in the process managing to look like an utter incompetent as I bashed into another, stationery, boat at a lock queue. Woe is me :-(

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Start location: https://goo.gl/maps/tVDGVxhh46Dsm1xq5
End location: https://goo.gl/maps/6RiwQKCA4EZnc3vBA

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  1. Love the videos, especially the semi technical ones on the boat, construction, maintenance, operation and fittings. I do have several questions:
    One, how do you check for rust due to condensation in the hull forward of the engine spaces?
    Two, do you get condensation on the outboard side of your bed where it is against the hull?
    Three, you mentioned balast, is it fixed or removable?

    Thank you

    • You can’t easily check for rust under the floorboards in the main cabin bilge, unfortunately. More modern boats tend to have more visual inspection points built in but when mine was put together, thinking ahead for maintenance later was not a top priority! There’s a tiny inspection hatch at the back in the bedroom (lowest point of the boat) so you can see if any water has collected there. I don’t get condensation on the outside of the bed because I have pulled it out by a couple of inches to ensure airflow. The ballast is practically non-removable because you’d have to take up the entire floor (and with it most of the fit-out) in order to get to it.

  2. In Holland a lot of the barges use “spud poles”. These are poles that go through the hull to anchor your boat to the bottom, no lines necessary. These enable you to stop anywhere and moor up safely without the need for bollards, mooring pins or even access to the shore. Say you don`t feel safe stopping along some tow path you could go to the opposite side of the canal, lower the poles and nobody could reach you. I wonder why they don`t seem to be used on your type of boat, they don`t come up high so wouldn`t increase your air draft.

    • What an interesting concept. The trouble with the canal is that it’s silt at the bottom and then a very thick layer of sticky clay (to hold the water in). The silt wouldn’t hold a boat and I bet you’d have the devil of a time pushing a pole in (and getting it out of) the clay, plus you might end up puncturing the clay and letting all the water drain out…!!

      • A popular and easy retrofit is welding two eyes on the front and back of the boat to hold a metal pole in a vertical position. ( a wriggle and a twist and they come out easily) That would`ve saved you a lot of grief at the small bridge where you busted your horn as you easily could have stopped the boat on the right side on the canal to operate the bridge. Since you often use mooring pins a pole fore and aft sunk a few few inches in the bottom would keep you even more secure. An age old method proven over time, no canals were ever drained in Holland because of this traditional way of mooring.

  3. Love the scenery on this trip. Boat bumps happen. No worries. Boat bow drift? Maybe bow thruster?

  4. Oh! Just love the tunnel lamp on the replica Work Boat ! I sympathise with your embarrassment of hitting the other boat, the wind can wreak havoc when you don’t have enough speed to maintain steerage. Some very nice scenes in this video ;) A quick question David, I noticed you don’t seem to have your Gangplank atop your boat in this video. Did you ditch it somewhere, deciding it was little used?

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