sound ship and take to the boat

dawncraft chronicles

sound ship and take to the boat

I have just come back from Crick boat show so bouncing full of new ideas, but something struck me looking at all the boats with some superb fit outs that are better standard than our own cottage. We are not a house we are a boat and things can and do go horribly wrong and we need to be able to “sound ship” and in a hurry. What you may ask is sound ship – basically it’s a person in blind panic ripping out the interior with a torch in their mouth checking for water ingress due to an unfortunate encounter.

Mine was down to a simple fact that none of the locks on the K and A are a standard width. Ever conscious of saving water one tends to share the “bath “ with complete strangers and here is the rub – DT (Dawn treader) is 6 foot 10 inches at her widest point, and one of those locks is about 12 foot 6. This means that me and a narrow boat can’t quite fit. This unfortunately did not deter the 40-ton steel barge who well barged in despite my explanation. DT shook and flexed in a manner which I never though possible with some horrible protesting noises, cupboard doors flew open - the works. below the water line Dawncraft Cruiser Dt is basic, I suppose this comes from my sailing days, there is nothing below the water line but glass fibre- all carpet and insulation stops 18 inches from the bilge. I can even see the screws that hold the lower wooden rubbing strake on. (For the person on line who said that his was below the water line – shed some weight and quick, they are supposed to be four inches above.) I doubt after forty years those screws are anywhere near water tight. However, my basic approach meant that I could check that boat and if need be repair it from stem to stern in a matter of minutes. There are some superb goos available now that will set underwater and I suggest all boats have a few tubes handy in a panic box. Anyhow no damage done but today all I could think off wasn’t the cherry wood ply, granite work tops and fantastic interior lining,  it was how the heck do I rip this lot out in a hurry to get to the hull.

two man inflatable dinghy on a dawncraft cruiserSomething else was missing from all the boats which I have realised I cannot live with out especially single handed – the dinghy, mine is a two-man inflatable. Now before the smirks appear, why do you need a life boat on the canal – I don’t but the boat does: I use mine for operating swing bridges whose landing is on the wrong side, I use it for cleaning the hull, adding wood hardener to old rubbing strakes – or wood oil to the ones that aren’t soft. I have rowed lines across the river Avon and pulled my self back on to the mooring when the wind was too much. Set an anchor to pull my self of a silt bar. Pulled plastic bags off the prop, and my own mooring line (oops). Never underestimate even on a canal the importance of being able to have a good look along the water line. I saw a stand at the show selling them and it almost looked out of place alongside the superb boats but trust me it’s worth every penny. Remember it's just an inflatable – it doesn’t need davits; I blow mine up with a 12 volt inflator from Lidl’s and chuck it out the rear canopy. I have also found a unique and easy launch storage system akin to any sea going bulk carrier- but I wouldn’t sit in it whilst it launched.

cork decking pieces for dawncraft cruiserBack to the show, I wasn’t going at one point – it was too far, raining, Mrs W hadn’t been well, but we trundled off on Sunday and had a superb time. I have ordered some rubberised cork decking and suddenly realised we have all been doing this insulation business the wrong way round - we are doing it from the inside when the simplest way is to glue it on the outside and make DT look smarter and save hours and expense of deck painting, which because it is flat and absorbs the sun – the paint doesn’t last too long. I have just cleaned the Spar out of brown paper as we attempt to make a full deck template. It works out almost the same price as painting properly.

Mrs W spent happy hours looking at all the luxurious fittings and fixtures that have become the norm. I spent longer looking at Electric outboards; Barrus have something really interesting in the pipeline and have it water cooled into the bargain. (electric motors get hot as well) Or we could go the same way as a narrow boat owner who used a small generator to drive an electric motor and provide power for the boat, admittedly the space below their bed was one large battery bank but trust me the power the prop could push out and the efficiency of the set up was awe-inspiring and has to be the way forward – I keep saying this but submarines have been doing it for years so I cant see why it's taken us so long and before any one from the Boat safety certificate gets excited about battery gas from a battery bank etc – the average sub dealt with it and in a confined space.

Why my interest, DT is running quite well, touch wood, on a Suzuki 25 because it has something that the electric motors have in bucket loads - torque in low revs which makes tight manoeuvring in confined space AKA my own mooring bliss. Anyway enough rambling, it’s the season to get out there and remember aspirations are great - what other people have or don’t have is interesting, but don’t let any of it get in the way of just enjoying your pastime. Happy boating what ever you float in!