Saturday 5 April 2014

Trip Blog Title

I have given lots of thought to the name of our new blog to chronicle our travels on the mainland European waterways.

In the end I decided on simply WB Avalon WB standing for WideBeam. Simples! In our case WB relates to the style of boat.  Essentially Avalon is a traditional Narrowboat style and layout but double the width.  It's full know designation is WBNB (WideBeamNarrowBoat).  I know it's one of the best Oxymorons but it is what it is.

Become a follower and join us on our adventure.  This blog will be less of a technical boat blog and more a travel and lifestyle blog.  I will be co-authoring it with my wife Debbie and occasional input from our Airedale Terriers Teddy and Herbie.

Thursday 3 April 2014

Navigation Lights

We are off in under 2 weeks eek!

Final preparations now for the continent include extra navigation lights.  Since the boat was built it has always had port and starboard lights (red & green)

Mine are like these

but the continentals are a bit more picky about navigation lights.  I did however in preparation put in the roof a socket to add a masthead light.

This is how a boat of Avalons size should be lit at night or poor visibility

Because we don't expect to move much at night or in poor visibility the use of these lights will be limited, so I decided to make them easily removable.  They are attached with powerful magnetic mounts. 

 Masthead magmount

 Masthead light

 360 anchor light

Stern light (bolted down)

I have replacement LED bulbs on order for these new lights.

And the final prep is extra pins.  I could buy them but making them is far more me.  

I suggestion from my friend Graham (Contented Souls) about extra strong hold mooring pins, I have made these.

I have made a pair of these. These will act as 3 pins in one and each can have additional cross pins through the eyes. Of course in deployment they will be banged into the loop. 800mm each

Why?  Because there are some very big and fast commercial barges on the continental waterways of Europe.

Like this and bigger

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Extra Names

I have heard, but can't be sure, that boats on the continent need to display their name on the bow.  So to be sure I've added some.

That should do it.

Friday 14 March 2014

Call Me "Splicy"

Another first for me today.  I did my very first splice.  

I have an 11m heavy chain for my anchor then on to this I have spliced another 30m of rope called a Warp.  This is the recommended amount of line and chain for our length and weight.

I got my instructions from the Internet of course.

This is the splice I used.

 At the start

And the finished job

Not quite as neat as the example, but it will certainly be sound.  For a first attempt I'm happy.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Bollards & Anchor

As the locks on the continent are much larger and often shared with very large commercial barges of 1000's of tones we needed to have more than mooring bollards we need working bollards.  These need to be easy to reach and the stern ones in a position that will facilitate the end of the rope can be controlled from the helm.

So a couple of weeks ago I made 4 more sets of double bollards to match the ones we already have.

I didn't want to weld these on as there is spray foam insulation underneath.  This is supposed to be fire resistant but I'd rather not test it and besides it smells when it's burnt by welding.  So I've used captive nuts called "clinch nuts".

The serrations grip into and hold on to the metal providing a very tough thread to attach too.

With the holes drilled the bollards were attached with sealant on the mating surface.

They just need painting once the sealant is cured.

Also finished today was the anchor winch.  This has been a ongoing project for a while.  When I first got it it was a bit of a mess being probably over 70 years old. It was caked in paint and had the wrong chain gypsey for my anchor chain.    I had the paint blasted off and to my surprise the body is cast bronze.

I managed to find another gypsey compatible with my chain but the bore was too large so I had a spacing ferrule made.  This was all secured to the shaft with a 10mm roll pin.

The winch was missing its wheel.  This is not uncommon as the old wheels tend to be cast iron and are easily broken when they are being removed.  I was able to get one cast in aluminum by a chap that makes anchor winches.

This is the finished winch.

All that's needed now is another coat of paint.

Something I have to share with you.  We will be starting our continental trip Jill & Graham on NB Matilda Rose.  

Graham has had some special doggy equipment made. Click the link to see the full story.

Tuesday 11 March 2014

It's Getting Real Now

Final preparations are now underway for the European trip.  The dogs have had their rabies jabs and their pet passport is in process.  I have booked the ferry.  The transport is booked and the cranes both ends are also booked. I am talking to home insurance companies about extended periods away from home cover.  Most only allow less than 60 consecutive days away.  My current one is 45 days which is woefully short.

So dear readers, what should I call the next blog?  Currently I have Avalon Afloat and have only dabbled with it as blogging UK waterways has been brilliantly and well and truly covered by other bloggers such as my friends Sue and Vic, Jill and Graham, Leslie and Joe to name a few.  All of these friends have many more links to other UK waterways blogs.

So what would you (shall I) call the new touring blog?

Friday 7 March 2014

Preparing For The Next Chapter

In a little over 6 weeks Avalon will be lifted out of UK waters, loaded on a truck and driven to Nieuwpoort in Belgium to start the next leg of the adventure.  

This was always our dream and her purpose. She was conceived and built with the sole intention of being our cruising home on the waters of Europe.

We have loved our time on the Gt. Ouse and at Ely especially and I very much consider Ely my second home with the friends and acquaintances we have made there.  It would be easy to stay, too easy.  With this in mind we have decided to continue to keep our mooring there even though we won't be there just in case!

How could we not?

This is just an easy 10 minute walk into Ely city centre.  The Chathreal can be seen in the background.

This is a panoramic shot from the roof of the boat.

The other picture is from the railway bridge on the right of the picture.

The next few blogs will be about the preparations of Avalon to comply with  EU waters and to equip Avalon with kit to better navigate bigger waterways   On this point there is (for my non EU readers) supposed to be a level playing field for all EU members in that a UK boat should be accepted in say France or Belgium or in fact any EU member state.  But NO!  each EU state can make it difficult to do things in another EU state.  So much for harmonisation!  I guess full harmonisation would mean 1000's of paperpusher and jobsworth jobs would go and so add to the unemployment figures.  Cynical Moi?

After this I will start a new blog with the help of Deb which will chronicle our journeys in Europe.  We both hope you will join us and follow our ramblings. This will be more of a Travel Blog than a Technical Blog. But check back as there will be boaty stuff as well I feel sure ;-).

Thanks for following so far.