Tuesday, 28 May 2013


It was such a busy and eventful day that I’m almost too tired to write tonight’s post… Almost!

Being frugal Kiwi’s one of the more important tasks completed prior to departing for Crick was to ensure we had a packed lunch as we need to stretch our funds as far as possible.  The route to the boat show from our mooring was a short drive in the rental car and we arrived early enough to obtain a parking spot reasonably close to the entry gate.  Pre-purchasing out tickets also proved to be a good decision as it enabled us to walk past the long queue waiting at the ticket office.  We took a shopping list with us and I was all for getting straight in and buying everything on it as we walked around, however Jan was a calming influence and suggested told me we were going to walk around first and she would price everything on the list.  We’d then return and buy at the lowest price!  Now you understand why she has control of the family finances.

The Shopping

Purchases from left clockwise.  A pair of short and long non slip pads which will be shaped and glued onto the gunwale at the cratch and the stern cant.  18m lay flat hose which will be used as an extension should we ever be too far from the water tap. Craftmaster paint to ‘touch-up’ Waiouru’s paintwork.  Some ‘Bullet’ carnauba wax for the boat.  It was recommended by Dave on nb Leo who is currently moored ahead of us.  A Victron BMV600 battery management gauge.  Two leather boaters “Akubra” style boaters hats. 10 metres of 6mm nylon cordage to be made into replacement fender lines.  Two chrome fairleads for the centreline ropes. 

We started the purchasing at the Battery MegaStore stand where I purchased (and Jan paid) the Victron BMV600 battery management gauge.  Whilst we have the Smartgauge I’m not completely convinced it accurately reports the battery state of charge.  I think it’s close…. but not 100% accurate.  The advantage of the Smartgauge Advanced setup is it combines the output of the two alternators.  The BMV600 will also report the battery state of charge as a percentage.  However it also reported the amp/hours flowing in and out of the battery bank.  I have everything required to fit the BMV600 apart from a circular hole saw.  Hopefully the 99p Shop or Poundland will be able to supply one.  I’ll probably write a description on the fitting of the gauge in a future post.

Wandering around the show we came upon the Craftmaster paint stand.  It’s now apparentl that having five colours on Waiouru means at least five different cans of touch-up paint.  Actually we might need 10 cans as we should consider the need for undercoat.  Space is always at a premium aboard so we wanted to buy small cans but also sufficient quantities to meet our estimated needs.

The sales lady was very helpful and we managed to get all the paint on our list…. and in the right sized cans.  However their card machine had become defective and they could only take cash, which Jan didn’t have.  They were able to give us directions to the ATM machines at the show and informed Jan they would discount the paint by the cost of the ATM transaction (£2.95).  In the end they gave Jan a greater discount.

At a nearby stall cordage was being sold in various lengths, diameters and styles.  I happened to noticed a bin containing short lengths of cordage for £5.  There was one 10m length of 6mm which looked ideal for replacement fender lines so I snaffled it without further ado.

Further along an Irishman from Yorkshire was selling hats and we were each able to buy a leather hat for those days when we either need to keep the rain or sun off our heads.  Jan delighted in informing me that her hat is a smaller size than mine.  The inference being I have a big head!  Of course logic explains this as me having a larger brain!

We returned to the Midland Chandlers tent where we purchased the remaining items. 

Other Stalls

Another reason for going to the show was to seek free advice on some of the components fitted in Waiouru.  After our earlier concerns with the Hurricane heater we took the opportunity to stop at the Calcutt stand and speak to Steve (their Hurricane expert) about the heater.

Steve on the left

Not only was Steve able to explain the workings of the Hurricane, he was also able to tell us why the fault might have occurred and how to avoid it.  Steve also pointed out the fuel filter in the Hurricane.  It’s quite small, which is why I hadn’t seen it previously.  The best part of the discussion was Steve explaining in some detail how the wall thermostat worked.  We now know how to program the Hurricane so it will only produce hot water rather than heat the interior.  This will be a definite advantage during summer!

We stopped at the Hempel stand to ask whether it was possible to purchase their epoxy two pack blacking in smaller quantities.  Alas, a five litre can is the smallest quantity sold.  I explained we didn’t have much room on Waiouru and that their five litre can contained sufficient paint to cover Waiouru twice.  All the rep could suggest was we buy the five litre can and then decant it into smaller tins.  On a more positive note he advised the two pack blacking has a life of 10-15 years.  Apparently it’s the same product that goes onto supertankers and aircraft carriers and they don’t go into dry dock every two years!  As most of our ‘collision damage’ is above the waterline I asked if there would be any problem if I rubbed back the affected area to bare steel and repainted it with a primer and ordinary black paint.  He though that would be OK.

At the Vetus stand I wanted to know how to do the six monthly lubrication of the water lubricated dripless seal.  The rep kindly showed me how it was done on the setup they had on display.  He then informed me we could use any silicone grease, before suggesting Wickes as a possible source.  I came away much happier!

Both of us wanted to go to the Braidbar stand to meet and thank Bruce and Sheila of nb Sanity Again.  It was Bruce who so kindly sent us an email when we were still in Australia alerting us to a possible problem with Ben Harp Narrow Boat Builders.  He also gave us information which enabled us to get in contact with Chris and Allison who were also having problems getting their boat (nb Doo Lalli Alli) built by Ben Harp.  That eventually led us to David and Karen of db Trudy Ann.  They were ahead of us in the queue of disgruntled owners.  Eventually we identified the fourth victim who probably received the worst deal from Ben and Kelly Harp.  Unfortunately Sheila was away helping out at another part of the show so we didn’t get to meet her this time.  However it was great to meet Bruce and offer our thanks for his early advice.

Just around from the Braidbar stand Tyler-Wilson had a sail-away shell on display.  We wandered around so Jan could meet Tim.  I’d previously met Tim when he very kindly agreed to assist us identify our shell at Ben Harp’s compound in Hixon.  Ben Harp had informed our solicitors and the High Court he had already sold our boat and the shell on his compound was for another client.  Tim quite willingly gave his time to come and inspect the shell confirming to the police it was the shell that Wilson-Tyler had built for us. 

Tim on the left with their show ‘sail-away’ in the background

Our experience might have been worse if he hadn’t so freely given his time to assist us.  Ben Harp’s 4th victim had paid Ben of his Tyler-Wilson shell but Ben Harp kept the money and then went bust!  We were very pleased to hear Tim explain that Tyler-Wilson had been able to assist Ben Harp’s 4th victim achieve his dream of having a boat.  Tim is a lovely, genuine and honest fellow.  As long as this blog exists the Wilson-Tyler logo and link will appear on the front page.

We couldn’t leave the show without visiting Paul and Christine Balmer of Waterways Routes.  they produce those lovely canal cruising maps on CD or DVD.  I had a couple of questions for Paul regarding their maps. 

Actually our conversation led me to other areas of mapping I hadn’t previously considered.  But it’s too much to fit in this post so I’ll have to write about it in a future post.

Fellow Boaters

We were standing at the top of the small ridge overlooking the marina when I had a tap on the shoulder and a female voice said “Excuse me!”  On turning around I immediately realised I’d be gazumped!  Marian from nb Duxallandyn had previously contacted us to say she would be at the show and we should both wear a silly hat so we’d recognise each other.  I’d agreed….. and then grown poultry feathers. Smile  However as you can see in the photo…… Marian is made of sterner stuff!

Jan and Marian

Marian and Mike (her husband) have only recently returned from a six week holiday in Australia, hence the suntan!  Part of their time was spent in Perth, Western Australia with their son.  My mother and sibblings also live in Perth.  What a small world!  After a quick conversation we all then retired to the vicinity of the beer tent where we joined Barry and Sandra (nb AreandAre) for one of those all encompassing boaters chats.

Sandra and Barry…… Damned Kiwi’s… they’re everywhere these days!

Marian (who obviously dislikes having her photo taken), Mike and Jan

One of the last actions for the day was to visit the Waterways World stand and enter the competition where you had to guess the weight of the Vetus engine.  My apologies to anyone else who entered the competition.  After passing the “Life in the UK” test I’m on a roll and it wouldn’t surprise me if I’d correctly guessed assessed the actual weight to the nearest kilogram.

More can be written about the day but that will have to wait until another post.  Tomorrow we have an old army colleague of my arriving to spend the day with us and the plan is to commence cruising towards Braunston and on to the GU Leicester branch.

No comments :