Boaters need to act to replace CRT
Boater Life - The Canal and River Trust (CRT) is a two faced org that was set up to enclose and moniterise the waterways. One face is soft and the other hard. Asking them for good outcomes is nieave. Forcing them by a carrot and a STICK is effective as they are also useless, weak and ineffective. In the end boaters need government to replace CRT with an org "outside the market" to treat the water ways as a common good, which they are.
I tried to bring this up at a recent Nbta London gathering when the new boaters were talking about the good ideas CRT should do. Sadly it got a blank response from the room. The idea of asking for a replacement for CRT would scare the shit out of um (stick) and help push good needed stuff (carrot). Of course in the end they need reforming/replacing as their agenda is neo-liberal and incomparable with our boater life which is based on "commons"
Problems with boat solar install
Installed a MPTT 12v set-up on my boat about 9 months ago, worked well getting 4-8 amps from 2x 120w panels mounted flat on the boat cabin roof.
A week or two ago it started to fail, one of the panels was putting out 1.4v the other full volts so disconnected one panel and the set-up worked for a few days before the other panel failed. It was putting out full voltage but only showing 0.1 amp on the MPTT controller under full sun.
Checked all the wiring, no change, so replaced all the wiring, this did not fix the issue. With all the new wiring I put in a older non MPTT charge controller and went away for the weekend, came back to find the battery’s at the same state of charge.
The “broken panel” was putting out 1.4v in the shade and 9.5v in full sun, the “working panel” 13-20v depending on the sun, but no power was going though to the battery’s.
I removed both panels and installed a old 100w flexible panel, this worked with the old charger and the MPTT charger. It seams both of the 120w panels had failed.
Talking to the the suppler to resolve the issue.
Circumnavigating Europe by inland water ways in a converted north sea oil rig lifeboat.
3-4 year trip from London to Russia and back through:
Thames - London
Seine - Paris
Rhone - Marseille
Over winter in the south before returning in the spring:
River Rhine – Germany
River Main – Germany
River Danube – Austria, Balkans
Over winter in Bulgaria:
Black sea – sea of Azov
Then the inland waterways through Russia to St Petersburg and into the Baltic sea
down the coast of the Baltic states and into the canal network in Poland/Germany
Cross channel back to London
I set off from Kew Bridge 11th and the first stop on this journey is the river Darent in Dartford, “Milda” will be here till the weekend of the 21st before setting sail for the Medway (weather and tide permitting)
Todo Europa boat trip
* Finish kitchen
- crow bar
- make wood structure (Y)
- find table top
- test fridge
- sink waste connection
- put in window
- hooks for cups and pans, drying rack
- sheet of hardboard for wall
- socket kitchen, wood stove, toilet
- look at underfloor, think about moving
- roof power, light
* wind mill email
- look at ballast and storage
* sought clothes
* look at servicing engine + buy parts.
- deal with fuel leak
* look at new ropes?
* Fire place lower (complex)
* For the trip
- Facebook page for Thames, Medway, Coast, Crossing, North France
- Paul about the convoy
* Life Raft and Flare?
* Ask to buy 2 life jacket
- clear the seats and back
Tell CRT I left their waters
Look at tides and time
Fill up with fuel
Program radio with more resets
Redundant Navigation on black laptop.
- the mud or the party
- talk to coast guard
- look for ports
- talk to coast guard
- bit of research
* French port
- what papers?
- Wallets of ships papers
- licence river
- Vat paid, VAT fuel
Wind Turbine full of water
Charge controller looks fine
A simple guide on how to use boat batteries
The only time you can get a “true’ish” reading is after they have been sitting without charge in or out for a few hours. The rest of the time it's a “ruleofthumb” reading, you need to get used to this.
Don't go lower than 12.2v if you want your battery’s to last any time and 12.4v would be sensible cut off point to extend their life.
If you have limited power generation you need to run your battery's on full rather than empty. Otherwise your paying out big time in a year or less. It's normal that everyone wrecks their first set of batteries. Learn from this for the next set, this is a first step for new boaters.
You're living on a boat not a house, you can't just turn the lights on without thinking about all the above. The sooner you get used to this the sooner you can let it drift to the back of your mind.
Happy boating, my your lights shine bright and your laptop be fully charged.
Ps. Ignore anything beyond this as it’s likely to do more harm than good. Pss. Does not apply to geeks.
Plan from the Medway to Central London
Planing a trip - On Sunday.
Forcast is - Fog clears 9-10am some mist 11 low wind
low tide at Sheerness 9.36am
- we should leave 30-60 min before low tide to clearer the Medway.
High tide at London bridge 15.19
- best to arrive before the tide turns
This gives us 7 hours which should be fine no rush.
We will have to leave between 8-9am earlier better so we ain’t rushing at the other end. So the first hour or two might be in mist or fog (not good) we can navigate fine by GPS and the radar reflector will make us visible to other boats but we are limated to AIS to see them. We can use the GPS to stay at the edge of the shipping lanes.
Talked to the harber master and the local marien police they both think we will be fine if we stick to the edge of the shiping lanes.
We are booked into Bow Lock between 3-4pm
TODO in the morning for the trip
* mount radar reflector on the roof
* Tie down solar panels
* check anchor chain rope is untangled
* shorten flue
* check tie down wood on roof
* wipe windows
* ratchet stove in place
* train crew in roles and equipment
* lifejackit and man overboard
* pump bilges (done)
We started the trip on time in heavy fog, navigating by GPS and AIS was fine. though when we got into open water we had a fog related navigation panic and found our self doing loops before we realised this.
As the day went on the fog did not clear, come 12.00 we started to worry, agreed to drop the anchor just before Canvey island and wait for it to clear. Called VTS to tell um we were anchor, they had been watching us on radar good to know the radar reflector was working.
An hour later still no sign of it clearing we had to make a decision to push on or stay anchored. The further we went in land the more chance the was that the fog would clear so in the end we tried to pulled the anchor up, It was stuck, after tiring a few times we shortened and re-tied the anchor rope so that it was near vertical then gently powered over the anchor to free it, this worked with out fouling the prop.
We gave the job of steering to a boater who hadn’t had a go yet so that he could get used to it before the channel narrowed. he lost control I had to take over after circling 5-6 time and it took me 5 minutes to bring the boat back on courses. Its hard to navigate/steer a courses with no visibility, you soon learn to steer by compass Bering.
Called VTS to tell them the situation they were helpful with radar directions, at one point they called us to tell us we were heading starate for a line of groween - that soon loomed out of the mist as we turned away from them.
We headed out more into the centre of the channel using AIS to tell us when a big ship was coming past, we would scoot as far as we could into the side. the biggest one came up behind, was a 33,000 ton bulk carrier, its fog horn BUMING lowed behind us was disconcerting - when it finally went past we were hit by 5-6 2M waves from it's wake that made the boat jump and everything crash about inside, no harm done.
It was nearing 3.00pm and the turning of the tide, we would have already missed the tide window for Bow Lock that we had booked so called CRT to cancel it. Limehouse lock was closing at 4.30 so it was looking like we could not make that one. If we continued past the tide turning we would be lucky to make 2-3 knots punching the tide so decided to drop anchor agen just past Deapford Creek. On the map the was a anchor point there.
Making sure the were no big boats on the AIS we crossed the channel to find comeing out of the fog a line of yachts anchored up there with 3 empty buoys on the end we missed the first and tied up to the second, that was us for the night.
In the morning the fog still had not cleared so we waited for the tide to turn at 12.00, past 11.00 the fog started to lift, we slipped the line for the buoy and it was easy the rest of the way to Limehouse in light mist.
Cheap/free tools for coastal cruising
DRAFT (needs links)
Many boat navigation tools for coastal cruising are available as smart phone apps and laptop programs.
OpenCPN gives you a large screen navagation map with live GPS location and heading of your boat.
BTGPS sends the smart phone GPS location to the laptop map in OpenCPN
Speedview give a live speed over water view, useful for an idea how well you are doing against tides and wind
Findship gives a live updating map of AIS a internet radar like location and heading and speed of big ships around you.
Anchor lite is an GPS alarm to tell you if your anchor is dragging.
Tide Times gives you a local high and low tide time to plan your coastal trip
BBC weather gives you a 7 day weather forecast with wind speed/rain/fog. If in doubt I use a number of sources to back this up.
Trip up the Medway
From Rochester to Allington lock
Trip down the Thames to the Medway
down the big river
THE VILLAGE BUTTY
Boaters are a vibrant minority culture living a parallel life in the heart of our cities and countryside. They are currently under threat from Insidious gentrification. The Village Hall Butty will give them a space to gather and celebrate their community. The aim is to create a floating village hall for boaters, local residents and the myriad of people who visit the towpath every year. Through social events, skill sharing workshops, regular clubs and other activities – they aim to create a vital hub for information and advice with a focus on promoting sustainable living, integrating communities and protecting and enjoying the waterways.
To make this communal space on the London waterway a reality we need to raise the Crowdfunder target of £5000 in a few days time. We have raised more than half of our target now and funds are being sought via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-village-butty
The brainchild of Alice Cade, Ian Horrocks and James Bentley, seasoned boaters who have lived on the canals and rivers for many years, the event aims to bring together the boating and land based community to enjoy and celebrate the waterways and the variety of people who use them.
Please help keep the village hall afloat for the local community to enjoy for years to come. Find us on Facebook www.facebook.com/thevillagebutty or Crowdfunder www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-village-butty
One of the regular "jam on the butty sessions" the butty providing a space for local acoustic music
The Village Butty Project
They have raised just over half the funding and the is still 11 days to go (appeal ending 15th July 2015)
Events on all week, big day https://www.facebook.com/events/1680993855468109/
Please support this project by directly donating or sharing this post with your friends and relatives.
The longest and friendliest village in the UK is actually the London Canal Network. Its a tight-knit community of eccentrics and iconoclasts, mums and kids, working people and retires, a cross section of life live in a continuously roving/changing mix.
For the last 3 years or so James (and the Butty) have been providing a floating gathering place for this community, while trying to make a living as a events space. He was becoming exorsted and the sums went adding up so he decided to sell the Butty a few months ago, the was a uproar from the community of boaters who had been relying on this resources, a couple Alice and Ian decided to take on the project and grow it into a not for profit company – the Village Butty Project was born.
For this to become sustainable and independent the Butty needs a companion boat to move it, provide catering, light and working space. The is now a fund raise going on to make this happen. The boat has been sourced, the money is need to renovate into being the companion space to make the village hall Butty a self standing project. To keep this invaluable resource working on the “cut”.
You can help, clink on the links to find out more and directly support the project:
Being a Pirate - the CC'ers life
There are two keys to being a CCer
1) Don’t take the piss
2) Be a pirate
That’s about it, now they can overlap, let's look at examples of both:
Don’t take the piss.
* Move every 14 days, not hard, and if you can't regularly keep to this then you probably aren’t cut out for life of a CCer, time to think about getting a flat or a mooring if you can afford it.
* Clean up after yourself, your mum isn’t in your boat, thank god, not taking the piss comes down to you, so clean it up.
* Noise, you're up for a rave good on you pirate, but don’t take the piss by doing it in the middle of built up suburbia near lots of moored up boats who aren’t invited.
* Help your mates, the pirate code is mates rates.
* Don’t be a boss with a machete, a can of special brew, it's not friendly it's not wise.
* Am not sure were this goes "Don't tell me how to live my life."
Be a pirate.
* Fuck the system, fuck the bureaucracy, fuck the police, though sometimes smiles and giles are the pirate way, good to keep balancing this.
* We all love pirate moorings, make good use of them and spread the word of mouth.
* Invite all your neighbours to parties, we all love parties.
* Build you boat under a bridge, it's what they are for
* Pirates are horizontal, the captain gets voted in, remember this.
There are more but that’s enough to get on with.
* Renting you boat out is a fine balance between being a pirate and taking the piss. Going away for 6 months to India, sure be a pirate and rent it out. Have a huge brodbeam or a flotilla of 3 boats permanently rented on the open tow-path/wintermooring is taking the piss. The open tow-path is a commons that belongs to us all, don’t enclose it for private gain.
* Bridge hopping in a popular spot, if you need to for a while no problem, be a pirate. If you do this all year you are taking the piss and endangering all our lifestyles by pushing the enforcement agenda.
*Yarr! Be a pirate-recycle wood for fuel. Don't take the piss by burning it in front of people's homes.
* and a few more to come....
Basic boat 12v electrics
Basic boat 12v electrics
I see so many people with battery issues thought I would do a basic post.
Battery state is a bit of witchcraft, you can get an idea of charge by using a volt meter after leaving the battery’s for more than 3 hours with out use.
State of Charge (v)
While the battery’s are on charge or after use you will not get a valid idea.
Try not to take your battery’s lower than 12.00v If your battery’s are low recharge them as soon as possible, the longer you leave them flat the more long term life you lose.
Solar panels will help for long term battery health, give the battery’s a rest for a day to come to full charge every few weeks to care for them.
How to use a volt meter
Every boater needs a volt meter to hand. You don’t need an expensive one though spending a bit more will likely get you more robustness. http://www.ebay.co.uk/bhp/digital-voltmeter
Read the instructions of your volt meter.
To use turn the dial to 20v DC then put the red probe (pin/stick) onto the plus and the black probe onto the negative terminals of the battery. You can scrape the terminals if they are dirty to get a good connection. This should give you a volt reading in the range of 10-15v see my last post for what this tells you.
*** Be careful of placing any metal objects that could connect the + and – on the battery or wires as this could course a fire and will spark alarmingly ***
To get to know your battery’s you should do this often at different times of day for a while, if you care for your battery’s they will care for you.
A view and strategy for sustaining the boater lifestyle and community.
Food for thought (DRAFT)
A view and strategy for sustaining the boater lifestyle and community.
NVDA (direct action) with a good PR team works - Sorted office occupations in conjunction with a competent media team, could knock CRT onto the defensive in a week and refocus their agenda within a month. However this is a dangerous strategy because if they are defeated to effectively and to hard then there will be pressure to replace them with something “better”. And better won't be better for the boaters.
What is needed before this strategy is attempted is the building of grassroots self-management among the boater community so that the space opened up by the knocking back of CRT can be filled with what we want. This would considerably increase the likelihood of "better" being better for boaters.
At the moment there is strong resistance to the building of self-management, the libertarian nature of many boaters, feeds fear and divisions amongst the community. This disempowering is pushed by many people for many different agendas on our own side and their side. Some thought needs to be put into any strategy to mediate this.
What would a medium-term sustainable boater lifestyle look like?
The tragedy of the Commons would have to be addressed, and market solution clearly rejected. How would this be manifested would be a working progress.
A number of roles that CRT are currently pushing as their responsibility would have to be clearly/largely taken over by cooperatively run boater responsibility groups. Primary amongst these will be the enforcement of the 14 day rule, moving towards this would be one of the key ways of building boater self-management. Areas like recycling, community cleanups, carer and repair of the basic infrastructure could be taken over by a mixture of small-scale boater businesses, cooperatives and voluntary groups. To facilitate this becoming a national coordinated response we would have to creatively use open digital structures to federate these solutions.
Above is just the start of a proposed list, the process of public brainstorming could expand and filling the gaps as needed.
In conclusion, life on the cut has a strong community that is weakly bound by bureaucratic structures, there is a good opportunity to build a movement towards a more utopian/practical alternative to mainstream ratrace society. Currently boating is small and marginal, it is outside of the view of traditional power politics with the transition from British Waterways to CRT we are part of a small Conservative experiment in self-management, this experiment like many coming out of traditional politics is a fantasy and will fail, left as it is boating will fall back into the old bureaucracy and thus be devoured by market relationships, our community though strong is fragile and is unlikely survive this transition.
The challenge for us is can we use the opening of this failing experiment to build something more interesting, to sustain our lifestyles and traditions to strengthen our communities and freedoms. And to raise our eyes a little bit can we be a small change in the larger world.
UPDATE: the has been a long comment thread on #failbook which will add as another post
Puting up the wind mill
My test wind mill, works, made from PVC piping a a small electric motor and a quadcopter blade for the rotor. Puts out 2-3v in a small wind.
Testing the aluminium scaffolding pole tower with rope, 3m in hight, with the boat hight thats just less than 5m.
Cutting notches in the fencing post holder to anchor it in place.
Happy volunteer helper.
The windmill is up with some more help, still using a rope as a break till am happy it will stay up for the night.
Using cheap ratchet straps to hold it in place, I dont think these will survive the sun come spring so will have to be replaced with wire.
Testing on Walthamstow Marshes.
Lister Petter LPW3 Marine Diesel service
This is the same model as my engine, have to service it:
* Change oil in engine and gear box
* Drain and flush though the coolant and replace.
* Replace oil and fuel filters
* Check fuel tank for water
* Tighten alternator belt
Have the oil and fuel filters ready.
Humm need some help with this as have little idea of engines.
Importing goods from China
Am thinking about seting up an import and installation business for small wind turbines from China to put onto boats and power protest camps. At the moment the majority of small scale power generation is from fossil fuels, this is both unpleasant and needless. Solar power in the summer being very viable, this leaves 3-4 month of the year with limited power - thus diversifying into solar/wind set-ups.
To buy small wind turbines in the UK the expense is to high so am trying importing them directly from China - the minimum order when shipping is taken into account is 3 so have sent over $1K to a pretty random paypal account to buy them.
For some background on how to go about importing http://importcrashcourse.com/pay-importing-china/
To get an idea if a company is relabel its good to do as much searching as possible - from the pretty random paypal gmail account they sent me I found out this information https://whoisology.com/archive_6/chinaalps.com that they actually own 4 company’s and are the registry email of the Domain of the company I am buying the goods from. This is a good start.
Then the is the issue of VAT/duty to be paid http://www.dutycalculator.com/
Update: the goods arrived and seem to be of good quality, the issue of installing a tower is the subject of my next post.
Boat battery bank
Am working out how to put in an upgraded battery bank for my boat in the space left by removing the air cylinders. (I also need the weight for ballast)
Am looking at installing 2 or 3 of these in the space opened up under my floor (need to be low hight)
Then running 5m of this cable black and red through the centre section of the boat (it is 7.2 long over all)
Connecting it to the battery’s with these
Then putting junction boxes at both ends and feeder lines off to plugs, lighting ect.
Then running the solar charging cable to the battery’s.
(Can use existing one, but need new charge controller soon)
Adding a second alternator in place of the water pump to bulk charge this battery bank.
(need alternator and mounting bracket)
Bought 2x 250amh banner battery’s doing installation under the floor (making the battery box now)
This is the first part of the order I put in:
Thank you for placing an order with us for the following items:
|1|| Product code: P01038 |
Part Number: MFB1-1
"Mega & Midi Fuse Power Distribution Box"
|1|| Product code: P01023 |
Part Number: CM35R
"Extra Flexible Tinned Copper PVC Battery Cable - 35mm² 240A"
Colour: Red, Length: By the metre
|1|| Product code: P01024 |
Part Number: CM35B
"Extra Flexible Tinned Copper PVC Battery Cable - 35mm² 240A"
Colour: Black, Length: By the metre
|6|| Product code: P00125 |
Part Number: CTT35/08
"Copper Tube Terminals - 35mm² Max. Cable"
Stud Hole Dia: 8mm
|1|| Product code: P01067 |
Part Number: HRN1002
"Universal 12V Low Tone Disc Horn - 105dB"
|1|| Product code: P00616 |
Part Number: BIS1014
"Marine Battery Isolator Switch - 2 Positions"
|2|| Product code: P00513 |
Part Number: MD30
"Midi Link Fuses"
Current Rating: 30A
|1|| Product code: P00527 |
Part Number: MF200
"Mega Link Fuses"
Current Rating: 200A
|2|| Product code: P00609 |
Part Number: BT461P
"Positive Battery Terminal Clamp - Vertical M8 Stud & Nut"
|2|| Product code: P00610 |
Part Number: BT461N
"Negative Battery Terminal Clamp - Vertical M8 Stud & Nut"