Monday, 16 January 2017

A Job Well Done

Saturday's job of refitting the refurbished heater unit and replacing all of the warm air ducting was anything but easy. In fact it was a pain in the proverbial to say the very least. We had to dismantle most of the bedroom to gain access to the ducting and then rerouting the new ducting which was now larger diameter due to the lagging was just down right annoying.

However with all of this said it has made such a big difference to the amount of heat that we get in the cabin that it was a job well done and certainly a job well worth doing.

The old ducting had gone very brittle and we found that it was split in several places which explains some of the loss of heat from the ducting to the bilges and engine bay which always got super hot. It was also not routed very well in places and was squashed out of shape which certainly would not have helped with the air flow to the cabin.

We have tried our best to reroute it where possible and have moved some pipes out of the way so that we can achieve nice flowing changes in direction of the ducting and also avoid squeezing it out of shape.

The combination of the serviced heater, new ducting and lagging have all resulted in a super warm and toasty boat. We left the heating on whilst we went to the pub yesterday and when we got back it was like the Sahara in the cabin!

Sunday, 15 January 2017

We Have Heat

We have heat again. We refitted the diesel heater yesterday and it is working a treat.

We also replaced all of the ducting, the old stuff had gone very brittle and was split in a few places.

As well as replacing the ducting we have also lagged it which has made a huge difference to the amount of heat getting to the cabin outlet.

It wasn't an easy job but one well worth doing.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

It's Cold

It was very cold when we arrived at the marina last night.  Despite their best efforts the electric heaters couldn't warm the boat through.

So we had an early night.  After a bite to eat we hit the sack and resorted to leaving the electric blanket on low all night.

This did the trick and we have been toasty warm all night. Hopefully today we will have the diesel heater back in so we can warm this boat through!

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Beginnings of a Plan

This weekend we are meeting up with friends to discuss plans for our summer trip to Scotland. They are also bringing their boat Nitty Gritty along for the ride. Regular readers of the blog will recognise the boat name as they often accompany us on our trips and were with us in Norfolk and Suffolk lat summer.

Martyn and Gill are popping across to Burton Waters on Sunday lunchtime so that we can talk through a few plans and ideas as to where we will visit over a few pints and lunch in the pub at the marina, Woodcocks. 

We already know that we are both being delivered to Inverness Marina and that the first day will be a rest day to clean the boats, refuel and restock. But after that we are yet to decide. The only plan so far is that we will head the short distance from Inverness Marina to Clachnaharry Lock and the start of the Caledonian Canal.

Clachnaharry Sea Lock.

Entry to the sea lock is available four hours either side of high water so is a fairly large tidal window, much larger then we are usually used to on the East coast. High water on the day we plan to enter the canal is at 12.45pm so we have a wide ranging time window to enter the canal from 8.45am right through to 4.45pm. We will plan to make the most of the tide for the short run upstream so will aim to be at the lock prior to high water at lunchtime.

Where we head from there is anybodies guess. Much will depend on how long it takes to buy our visitor licences and how long it takes to work our way up the next lock and swing bridge, but the first logical place to stop is Seaport Marina still in Inverness.

Seaport Marina with Clachnaharry Sea Lock to the top right and Muirtown swing bridge and lock flight to the bottom left.

Seaport Marina will be our last chance to stock up on any essential items prior to Fort Augustus and we have recommendations of a good pub in the area so this will be a good stopping point prior to tackling our first lock flight of the trip, the four locks of the Muirtown flight and the accompanying swing bridge. Thankfully all of the locks and bridges are manned so less work for us!

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Booking In

It is important that we don't lose sight of what all of this winter's hard work on the boat is for. While we are busy grafting on the boat we do also need to keep the momentum with the planning for our big summer trip.

The dates are in the diary for the company who will be trailing Naughty-Cal up to Inverness and back for us. And just before the Christmas break I booked us in at Inverness Marina for the all important lift off the trailer and into the water, unfortunately they don't have a slipway at this modern marina which is a shame.

The plan is to have a days rest in Inverness Marina. The boat will be filthy after it's long haul on the road, so having a day off will give us a chance to clean her up, refuel her (the tank will have to be pretty empty for the road trip) and more importantly allow us to get a home delivery from one of the supermarkets to stock up on the essentials we might struggle to find on the canal itself.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Another Little Job

You may or may not remember but back at the beginning of 2015 we fitted some rather fetching blue LED lights to the boat. Well they have not really been used much due to a series of cheap Chinese remote controls which have had a rather annoying habit of draining their batteries in a matter of days,meaning that we usually had a couple of days tops of using them before having to go and find a new battery for the remote. Or just not using them as the case has usually been.

Well we did last winter buy a new more expensive and robust remote for them, but managed to forget about it and it was stuck in a cupboard unloved. Until yesterday that is, when we quite by accident stumbled across it. 

Well if the cockpit area is having a make over this winter we may as well make sure that we can use the blue lights again. I think Naughty-Cal will look rather nice anchored on a Scottish Loch this summer with her blue lights glimmering away.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Some Success

It is safe to say that work on the boat the weekend just gone didn't all go exactly to plan. We had several failed attempts at installing things including most frustratingly the cockpit speakers, one of which has proven to be faulty. This has been boxed back up and is ready to send back to the supplier for a replacement part. 

We did have a couple of minor successes though. The cabin speakers are installed and look and sound far better then the old Blaupunkt ones. We did also manage to drain the drive oil and find the source of the oil leak we had for a few months. No great surprise it was fishing line once again. 

The list of jobs for this coming weekend is now coming along quite nicely. First up and most importantly is fitting the refurbished heater and the new ducting and lagging. We must remember the tools this weekend as it is due to drop much colder in temperature and relying on electric heaters at this time of year is far from ideal.

We will also have the bottom end of the drive built back up with new seals so that we can refit this and refill with oil to flush out the rest of the water contamination in the drive. We will then at a later date closer to relaunch time, drop the oil again and refill with fresh clean oil for the coming season. The rest of the drive is pretty much ready to go. The bellows fitted last year as still in excellent condition so will not be changed. Liam has the anodes at work to give them a quick clean up. Again these are still in good condition so will go for another year.

We will change the bellows on the trim tab rams as these don't look to be in such good condition despite only being changed a couple of years ago. For what they cost they don't seem to last for very long!