Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Boat maintenance chores.

After our recent Easter trip, I spent a few days catching up on some much needed maintenance chores. The first job was to remove all the batteries off Rosie and to test them with a battery hydrometer. This was a much harder job than I had imagined. The confines of the engine bay makes handling the batteries a job for someone with super human powers. It was a real struggle to remove them from the battery box and onto the mooring. I found that one of the four leisure batteries has a bad cell. In fact it has an internal short circuit on cell number three. I have disconnected the faulty battery from the bank and at the moment it is acting as an extra piece of engine room ballast. The engine starter battery was also in good fettle when tested. I am hoping to finish this season on three batteries in the domestic bank before purchasing a full set of replacements in the spring.

Job number two was to do an oil and filter change. Little Steve (there are three Steve's) who shares our moorings put me in touch with a nearby parts supplier for large road transport trucks. I saved £17.00 on the price of the replacement oil and filter when compared to the same materials from Halfords. The people were very obliging and I am sure that they are more used to supplying materials in much larger quantities to their customers.   I shall be enquiring about the price and supply of leisure batteries through the same source in the near future.

A few weeks ago I was engaged in conversation with another boater who passed a remark that struck a chord. He said "Wet cell batteries can be supplied in a dry state if you ask the suppliers. The battery comes with the acid solution supplied in a separate plastic bottle." Why would you want to do that I innocently asked? My boating friend said "Because any wet cell battery that has been filled up with the acid solution. Could then be stored on the suppliers shelf in a discharged condition for months before you purchase them if the suppliers turnover in batteries is slow. This may have started the battery to deteriorate if it has lost some or all of its charge. Not many suppliers have constant top-up charging facilities. The shelf life of a dry stored battery is years and years. If you get a dry stored wet cell battery, you will know that it is in pristine condition." I recently needed to fit a new battery to one of my motorcycles. I asked the supplier if they could let me have the battery in its dry stored state. I was surprised to get one provided straight off the shelf complete with a separate bottle of battery acid.

The third job was when I started to polish the brass window frames and mushroom vents. I have not done this for a while. I was surprised by the level of tarnish that had built up since last autumn. But then thinking back to last winter, I suppose I should not be surprised by their condition after all.

I checked out the Beta 38 engine mountings and I found that they are showing signs of wear and tear. So another little job will be replacing the flexible engine mounts.


I would imagine that most boaters are familiar with the Canal Plan website. I enjoy using canal plan and being able to pre-plan our boating journeys. The site is configurable so that you can choose the amount of daily cruising time you want to do.  Choose starting, via  and finishing points and the site will display a list of major points along the route like locks and bridges. Suggested mooring places to suit your daily cruising times.


I read the following excerpt on the CanalPlanAC website. Somethings change very little over time.

The Old Curiosity Shop

The boat came close to the bank again, and before she had had any more time for consideration, she and her grandfather were on board, and gliding smoothly down the canal. The sun shone pleasantly on the bright water, which was sometimes shaded by trees, and sometimes open to a wide extent of country, intersected by running streams, and rich with wooded hills, cultivated land, and sheltered farms. Now and then, a village with its modest spire, thatched roofs, and gable-ends, would peep out from among the trees; and, more than once, a distant town, with great church towers looming through its smoke, and high factories or workshops rising above the mass of houses, would come in view, and, by the length of time it lingered in the distance, show them how slowly they travelled. Their way lay, for the most part, through the low grounds, and open plains; and except these distant places, and occasionally some men working in the fields, or lounging on the bridges under which they passed, to see them creep along, nothing encroached on their monotonous and secluded track.

Charles Dickens 1841

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