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The travels of narrow boat Racundra

Fixing her up

Fixing her up

As a result of the survey we now had a list of items, mostly minor, which we wanted to get sorted out before we set off.

There was also one major decision to be made. Racundra did not have a 240V inverter. This is a piece of electrical equipment that provides 240V mains power from a bank of 12V batteries. She did have a number of 240V sockets but these were only usable when the boat was connected to a shore based mains supply. As we were intending to be cruising continuously, if we wanted to run mains equipment we would need an inverter.

In fact the boat can operate quite happily without it. The cooker is gas, the fridge and lighting use a 12V supply direct from the batteries, the central heating uses diesel and 12V. It is possible to operate low power devices such as chargers for cameras, phones, ipods and even television sets from a small portable inverter that plugs into a 12V cigarette lighter.

A higher power inverter would be required for operating such appliances as a vacuum cleaner, hairdrier, microwave, or slow cooker. Additionally inverters can provide other functions such as enhanced battery charging and automatic switching from shore power to inverter power. This latter function can be particularly useful. There are quite complex issues to be considered when wiring a boat – particularly when there are a mix of systems such as 12V, shore based 240V, and inverter power. If this is not done correctly then the risk of corrosion from stray currents is increased, not to mention the danger to the boat’s occupants.

Although it was quite expensive we eventually decided to have an inverter fitted. We felt that the boat then really did have all the systems we could possibly need. On the recommendation of the marina’s engineer we went for a Victron Phoenix Easy Plus 1600W inverter with a 70A battery charger built-in. This is advertised as a “fit and forget” unit with all the ancillary equipment included in a single package. We actually saved several hundred pounds by sourcing this unit ourselves and having the engineer fit it.

We also had the blacking done. The hull below the waterline is “blacked”. This is a protective coating that needs replacing every couple of years and it was due on Racundra.

This is the full list of work carried out:

  • Fit new inverter
  • Blacking
  • Service Engine
  • Prepare the boat for winter – protect it from frost damage
  • Replace domestic batteries x 3
  • Weld stern post and replace missing skin fitting
  • Replace fire extinguishers
  • Weld uxter plate damage
  • Secure and batten out ballast.
  • Clean aft deck channels
  • Tighten coupling bolt
  • Strap batteries
  • Supply and fit battery terminal covers
  • Re-cement flue collar
  • Replace chimney to top hat
  • Plate gas locker
  • Strap gas cylinder
  • Replace section of gas pipe
  • Replace gas regulator
  • Clean mushroom vent

So with all this work complete we are now ready to set off.

So, what’s the plan? We have other commitments at the moment but we intend to move inĀ at the end of March and then live aboard for six months whilst cruising continuously on the canals and waterways of England and Wales. Right now Racundra is lying at Venetian Marina, on the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. We plan to start by cruising up to Chester, then Penny and Ian join us for a week or so and we’ll head out along the Llangollen and Montgomery canals. We’d like to eventually cover as much of the canal network as possible in the six months, but until we get started it’s going to be difficult to get a real handle on how far we will get.

So watch this space and check back regularly for updates of our progress!

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