Wednesday, June 12, 2019

A window to move to the K & A

We were up early (5.30am) and Del set off downstream back to Mapledurham lock.

It was such a misty morning, but so pretty.
The mist was just on the Thames and it only cleared as the sun got high and we got to the lock.
We used the water point again as we had the knack now, and got rid of our rubbish..
The locks were self service but the electric was on which made things easy. You then go into the wooded Thames section.
It was clear all the way to Reading and with bacon butties in hand what could be better.
We got to the lock at Caversham and again the electric was on so we did it easily, just before the locky turned up.
Talking of turning, we turned onto the Kennet and Avon and headed for Reading town centre.
We had a lock to contend with first and the gates had been left open so we were soon on the rise.. Going through the town is a fantastic experience, but at 8.30am things were very quiet.

We were very lucky as another boat was in front of us and set the lights, and then got the next lock ready for us as they were waiting for another boat.
These first four locks are very tricky going up as they are a bit fierce and its difficult to hold Derwent6 as the water gets behind it..
 In fact our centre rope nearly snapped and we had to replace it.
It didn't help that on one lock landing Del jumped off and left Derwent6 in reverse so had to quickly tie it to a bollard and jump on.. This taught us the lesson of more hast, less speed, and things went better after that. This canal is very pretty and we were reminded as we took the twist and turns through the meadows, even avoiding the odd fallen tree.

They have some very different locks on this canal and a bit of touching up has to take place after most days.

We soon got to the swingbridge at Theale and found a nice mooring, but no telly signal here.
We plan to sit tight for a few days now and let the bad weather pass us by.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

A surprise in Pangbourne

The plan was to move today but the weather was awful.

It was wind and rain and a risk so we were staying put here at Pangbourne. If they wanted us to move they could take a run and jump..
We went into town and grabbed a coffee in Costa and did some shopping in the Co-Op here. They also have a great butcher's, baker's and cheese shop, in fact Pangbourne has it all.
On our walk to the shops we could see a lot going on in the meadows with some dragon boat racing and loads of stalls, but the thing that attracted us the most was the music stage and a good ol' beer tent, it was the village fete..
As we walked back with the shopping the sun started to come out and we thought a beer and sitting on a straw bale listening to some good music sounded fun.


The wind was still blowing gale force and we thought they would have stopped things as there were a lot of gazebo's being tied to car's, but the weather did brighten up a bit.
The weather just got better during the evening and we got a bit tipsy singing away to all the tracks played.. It was great fun. It just goes to show that you never know what to expect on the river and days like this always turn out to be some of the best. As the evening went on they were even selling the quality beer at £2.00 a pint, dangerous!  We plan a really early start in the morning as the weather looks good and it doesn't look good for three days after that..

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Up and down for water

We woke up to a very misty warm morning and the Thames looked stunning.

It soon turned into blue skies and we pulled the pins and set off.
Its lovely cruising in these conditions as the water is like glass and the suns in your face..
Al took the helm and took us up to the lock..
It was self service and we had a boat behind us who kindly helped us through and closed the gates for us..
We carried on the next three miles to Mapledurham lock as we knew there was a water point there which isn't marked in the Nicholson guide book.
When we arrived, the water point was still there, but the end had been removed so you could only fill containers with it.. not very helpful and we didn't see the meaning in this..
It was a fast tap so Del rigged up the hose using a jubilee clip to hold it on and it did the job.
We then chatted to the lockkeeper while we filled and was shocked to hear that the Thames was probably going to be on a restriction during the summer months due to lack of water.
They must know its going to be a dry one, as they are saying the locks will be open, but only every hour, worrying for the rest of the system.
We then retraced our steps back to Pangbourne as we knew the weather was going to be bad tomorrow and we wanted to be off pins and using posts, sounds like we need it badly..

 There were loads of spots to moor here and we put Derwent6 into storm mode with all the things taken off the roof..

It turned out to be a lovely afternoon and we got the batteries topped up with solar to 100% ready for a poor day tomorrow.

Retraced steps and Now! have FREE HOT WATER!

On the Sunday we treated ourselves to a Sunday lunch.
We relaxed on the Monday morning before we headed upstream to Beale Park again.. These are 24 hour moorings, but we just go between Pangbourne and Beale as we like the area.

It is great for Tooty and also has a bit of everything we like. Train, on our own, shopping, peace and quiet, but what will make us move out of the area is water..
We did some washing as we had enough water at the minute, and can you believe it we did it without running the engine.  It soon got nice and dry in this warm weather..
We got a great low level view of the Dakota as it flew low over us.

Del did some other jobs and one of those was to look at how we hot up the water.. Derwent6 is now very self sufficient and we now only have to use diesel to heat the hot water..  Del wanted to try and see if the lithium's batteries could heat the hot water using the immersion heater, and first fitted a 1Kw element. Del then had to change some wiring around the immersion as it all use to run only off shoreline, and when the travel power generator was on.
It was switched over to the invertor side and then tried. It coped very well and did take 10% out of the batteries, but only had to be on for 15 minutes to make the water piping hot.. This is amazing!
You can also see that the element only took 884watts and 26.9A

It means that now we don't have to run the engine for anything except cruising. The saving on diesel will be incredible and we are saving the environment. We said the lithium batteries would change our lives and its proving to be the case. The solar panels helped to recover the batteries very quickly, as the batteries charge much quicker than lead acid batteries.. Del now wants to work on the tumble drier as that takes a lot greater load. They are getting better and use different drying techniques which is bringing down the Kilowatts they use.. Ours uses 2800Kw which is a bit close to the limit of the 3000Kw invertor, because if anything else comes on (like the fridge) it could overload the invertor, which will be expensive.. The good thing about this BMS system is that we can look at every load added, and if it gets close just turn it off..   

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Friends in Reading

Saturday was such a warm day and it was even too hot to do anything..
Lovely! We had the day out in the cratch soaking up the rays..
In the evening we made our way to Pangbourne train station and got the train to Reading..
Here we met up with friends at a cocktail bar right in the centre of town, next to the Kennet and Avon canal, for drinks before we went to Cote's for dinner.. Yes! that is real sand in Reading!
We had a great time and the guys even got to see the Champions League football at the table. It was great fun! It was lovely to catch up with everyone and thanks for organising it Joy!

We got the late train back and then walked back to Derwent6 ready for bed at 12.30am

Onto Pangbourne for a surprise visit! (and an update on the Beta crankshaft pulley)

We set off from our mooring at Beale Park at 9.00am in the hope we might get a mooring on the popular moorings at Pangbourne meadows. It was a cloudy day but the weather guys were saying it was going to be a warm one..
We got to the lock here and the lock keeper saw us coming and soon had things ready for us as we slotted in..

As we came out we had our fingers crossed and we spotted a wide beam pulling out "Wow that's lucky" Del said to Al.
As we got closer it turned out to be our friends Sue and Vic on w.b. No Problem XL and we waved at each other frantically.
We fitted nicely into their spot and soon set ourselves up.
 Del polished the side and was about to do a bit more when a dog run up to Derwent6, closely followed by Sue with a huge smile on her face.. It was so lovely to see her and the kettle was soon on. Sue's dogs are so well trained and just sat at the bow as Sue sat in the cratch, as Tooty looked on thinking where did they come from.. Nice socks Del!

We had a good catch up on what had been happening over the last few years, some bad, but some good. Sue is a legend in boating blogging, as we followed their adventures till we made it on the cut.. She looked so well, and we hope to catch up with them again sometime..

We know some of you are following the progress we are having with Beta. Well they have now offered to give us a warranty on the second crankshaft nut clamp. Just the CLAMP mine you! That's not the nut, the oil seal, the belts, the pulley's, or the crankshaft, and definitely not a short motor (the block). This warranty is for one year, and now 1200 hours (and you will see why below).
Why would we want another new clamp when it didn't fix our problem in the first place?.. Apparently we are the only ones that this Crankshaft nut clamp has ever come loose on?
We have now been advised that the tightening procedure has changed..

It used to be:
Tighten at 10 hours, then at 40 hours and if its ok you should be alright

Now it's:
Tighten again at 10 hours, then at 40 hours, and then every 600 hours (like a service item) so two checks will be done before the warranty runs out.

With the lithium batteries and solar we are now running the engine and travel power a lot less, so suspect the one year will be the first to come up, so a check at either 600 hours or 11 months will be done.
We know Beta have three modified crankshaft nut clamps
1/ The REV01 which is a splined version
2/ The REV02 which is our second clamp, which has no splines
3/ The REV03 clamp which has an extension on the end.

We have now just reached the 40 hours and checking it, it all seems tight, but we must admit we have lost all confidence in this Beta engine..