Learn about life afloat the easy way

Life on a narrowboat can be as peaceful as it is idyllic BUT you need to understand the pros, cons, highs, lows, and day to day logistics in living on England's inland waterways. Let me help you find out all you need to know before you commit to what could be a very expensive mistake.

Find out more

Electricity and Water do not mix! Ha!

Electricity and water do not mix!

At least not according to most of the perceived wisdom. But, I beg to differ and so do a few adventurous souls. Who, when I get my own laptop back and can find their web pages, will get a mention.

Confused? Don’t be…at least not yet!

You see, I want a boat with a solar powered electric motor for propulsion.

Now when I first raised this issue on a couple of canal forums it caused a bit of a storm from those whose instant reaction was “It can’t be done!” and those who were or had actually done it! In point of fact it was generally accepted (even by me) that unless I had a hybred (diesel genny to charge batteries to run a motor) then it was not practical and far too costly.

Yet to me a hybred defeated the object of the excercise. Which is, in part, to be self sufficient. Minimal energy bills, especially diesel as the cost is skyrocketing.

So I left it for bit but kept finding myself returning to the idea and dug deeper and it IS practical. Perhaps not for others but for me, how I live, plan to live, use the boat, etc I think I can do it. I will explain the workings of it in another post, But this is the genesis of my idea so…”Let there be (solar powered) light!”

In fact my idea is to get my outgoings down to the barest minimum so when I reach retirement age I can afford to do so and still live on my boat.

Now Solar panels have a life span of 25 years (and at the current rate of disintegration so do I) while batteries (assuming the right type and properly looked after) have approx 10 years.

The cost of both have come down in recent years as their efficiency has gone up. Especially solar panels whose low light capacity has increased amazingly even from just a 2-3 years ago.

The point is to have sufficient panels of the right sort that even if the UK sun does not shine there is sufficient power to charge a large enough bank of the “right” batteries (not all batteries are created equal) to hold a decent amount of power. Again I will explore this in greater detail in later posts but you get the gist.

As I intend to live aboard I will not be cruising for days at a time but merely as required to be a continuous cruiser over (if it all goes to plan)  between the Lee Valley Navigation and Aylsbury on the Grand Union. So meandering along every few days rather than 14 days here then move and 14 there, etc. With longer trips as and when perhaps up the Thames Valley and definately at some point the K & A.

A lot depends on my working pattern. I am a Consultant Solicitor working for Law firms and In-House teams on a contract basis.

My oldest son will be with me for the first year until he goes to Uni. He has a job in Chesham (I have role in Ware) hence the spread of travel depending on who wants to travel to work the furthest and if I feel generous! LOL!

Next time I will talk a bit more about my ideas for the boat I just need to order the last two years research in my brain first!




Useful Information

Solicitor by profession. Grumpy old Bugger by experience. Ex-HM Forces, Ex-Firefighter, Ex-perienced in life! Am within a gnats whisker of achieving my dream of living on the cut! Sometimes it seems the Gnat has thicker whiskers than Duck Dynasty!