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The Wide Side of Life
Wide Beam Narrowboating
Wednesday,17 February, 2016
2:27 am
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Monday,31 August, 2015
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Having lived aboard our own Narrowboat from 2003 to 2009 my wife Kim and I have returned as of yesterday on The Admiral Storey. The Admiral is 65ft long with a 12ft beam. Built in 2013 by Collingwood she has been fitted out as a Hanbury Emperor.

Having semi-retired we had bought a ‘park home’ in W Sussex and absolutely hated it. Kim had gone back to work basically for something to do. I have tried but after being ignored in over 50 job applications I gave up. Our marriage was going down hill so about 6 months ago we sat down to sort things out. We both asked the question “what do you want to do” and both came up with the same answer so here we are moored near Bath while we move in.

Having learnt a lot from our narrow boating days we are setting about making ‘The Admiral’ our home. Later today we are of to buy a washing machine, TV, batteries and of course comestibles.

A washing machine is a must for us, our NB had a slimline Whirlpool machine 15 inches wide. It had all the parts of a conventional machine the only difference was the drum is turned 90 degrees and it loads from the top through the side of the drum. An excellent piece of kit it was 10 years old when we got it and when we parted it was still going strong. Our new wide beam has space for a conventional machine so we are going for a Samsung Ecobubble mainly because it come with a very comprehensive, free, five year guarantee.

I will let you know how we get on.

Wednesday,17 February, 2016
7:27 am
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Southam, Warwickshire
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Welcome back to the water Neil. Life afloat certainly sounds better than living in a park home.

On the washing machine front, what does the Ecobubble draw? My inverter and battery bank would struggle to run the normal compact Zanussi or Candy narrowboat washing machines so I think one of the mainstream machines would be too much. I live in hope though.

Click here to get a FREE copy of “Living On A Narrowboat:101 Essential Narrowboat Articles”

Monday,2 May, 2016
3:25 pm
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We ended up with a Hoover Vision Tech 7Kg washing machine for two reasons.

We could not find any manufacturer or high street supplier that would honour the guarantee if we declared it as being on a boat. We eventually found that ABC web chandlers sold a Hoover and that the guarantee was actually worth the paper it was printed on.

Secondly was size, the Hoover fitted nicely in the cupboard that the builder had supplied for said purpose. It is not quite a deep as many so job done, Management was happy, all was good.

Until that is ‘she who must’ wanted to add softener via the drawer. The machine is under a work surface and the drawer did not extend out far enough. A deft bit of ‘wood butchery’ (I’m no carpenter) and she can now dose the drawer with the product of her choosing (doesn’t like the all in one tabs).

Happy Days

Monday,2 May, 2016
4:24 pm
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Our next major purchase was batteries.

Firstly the background.

When narrow boating, batteries were the bane of my life and I was determined not to make the same mistakes and wasted expenditure again. Despite what many Chandlers will tell you there is no such thing as a dual purpose battery. Over a four year period on our NB I spent £800 on Numax, Adventurer and various other chandlery supplied batteries. It turns out that in many cases these are manufactured by the one company to a low price, supplied to the trade, who stick any label they like on them. Research has apparently shown that in many cases batteries sold as ‘dual purpose’ are in fact cheap starter batteries with a fancy label. Further more the guarantee is not worth anything. They take the failed battery back, don’t provide a replacement and three weeks later tell you it was your fault for over charging/discharging it. 

Secondly, our boat whilst having excellent access to the engine via central panels in the deck has absolutely no access to anything installed on the swim and that is where our battery bank resides. So manhandling batteries out and in was going to be difficult.

Let me say at this point I only looked at open lead acid batteries, maintenance free are nothing of the sort, they are just unmaintainable. AGM and Gel, one works better in warm temperatures the other in cooler temperatures. So no happy medium if your batteries are in your engine bay. So until Lithium batteries are available/affordable to me it’s a no brainer.

I watched a lot of YouTube clips on the subject and spent hours researching. I decided the way to go was 6 Volt wired in series to produce 12 Volts. They are smaller and lighter than an equivalent 12 volt battery, so would be easier to manhandle. Via Ebay I came across the Battery Megastore and found them to be extremely helpful (and patient) before I had committed to spending anything.

I decided on Trojan T105 6 volt 225Ah batteries (Trojan have excellent tutorials on YouTube)  and the Megastore had a deal running. Six T105’s for just over £600. This would give me 3 x 12volt 225Ah batteries, so a total capacity of 675Ah coupled to 175Amp alternator and a Sterling Battery Management system the whole lot came out at just on a grand.

I know this sounds like a lot of money, BUT, the Trojan batteries are guaranteed for 5 years and according to the wise sages I spoke to, providing you don’t drain the bottom out of them every day they should last for 10 years, and if they only last for 5 years I will be no worse off.

Another point to consider with open batteries is maintenance. Trojan have a single point watering system, so you don’t have to go delving in every cell every month. As long as the header tank is full each cell takes what it needs, when it needs it. 

Tuesday,12 December, 2017
1:33 pm
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Nottingham Castle Marina – today, may be different tomorrow
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Hi, I have been considering 6v batteries next time we have to renew ours and as you have had yours for 18 months or so I wondered if you have any comments,  either good or bad. Have they come up to your expectations,  are they better than expected or not? 

I have done some research into batteries myself and come to the same conclusion as yourself. 6v batteries and Trojen appear to be the best for my requirements. 

Incidentally,  I had the same access problems as you, I solved the problem by having the panel above (the steel floor of our cruiser stern) opened up to form an access door. I did the same on the other side to make access to the Wabasto easy too

We have a mooring in a marina but choose to cruise for as long as the weather is good during the summer.  This last year the sun let us down and thus our solar panels didn’t produce anywhere near our requirements so we resorted to running the engine.  I intend having a generator before next summer too.

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