Since Sunday last ‘Futurest’ and I, in close company with Janis on ‘Roots and Wings’, have been moored near Shobnall Bridge at Burton upon Trent. It has proved to be a very quiet and respectable residential area and we have enjoyed being close to the shops in town, managing to walk in on most days.
However it is an unscheduled stop, since both Janis and I prefer to moor in rural areas where there is plenty of wildlife and enjoyable country walks available. And this was our continued plan until ‘Futurest’ developed more trouble in the Engine Room, which encouraged us to stop for emergency repairs.
As you will remember six months ago the Russell Newbery was fitted aboard on the Shropshire Union Canal at Stretton Wharf together with a brand new alternator to charge the batteries. However the pulley that was already on the second hand engine, though it was not really large enough, was used for the alternator fan belt. This meant that at engine tick over speed, only slightly less than that which the RN runs at during normal passage, it was hardly sufficient to turn the alternator at a fast enough speed to turn the red ignition light off let alone charge the batteries fully. But with a little initial revving the light did finally extinguish and it then stayed unlit for the rest of the day’s journey, apparently charging as it should do.
This seemed to be acceptable and fearing that further delays at Stretton Wharf might trap us for the rest of the winter I decided to leave things as they were temporarily and later, next winter perhaps, have the alternator re-sited with the belt straddling the engine flywheel itself. This would create a much greater and effective speed on the alternator for charging purposes.
But on Saturday last the red light went out during the day and stayed out no matter how much revving of the engine I performed making my temporary measure even shorter than I had anticipated. I had to have it all repaired fairly immediately, though I wasn’t seriously in trouble at that moment since the Sun was shining valiantly at the time and keeping the batteries well charged up with the aid of the solar panel.
But for how long could I expect this fine weather to last?
We were approaching Burton upon Trent and Nicholson’s Guide told me that close by, at Shobnall Marina, they had an engineering facility called the Burton Boat Company and after we had moored up Gareth very quickly and willingly came aboard and having taken the alternator ashore for testing, returned on Tuesday and refitted it in its new position just above the engine flywheel. By the time he left the ship on that same day the alternator was revving at its perfect speed, powered by a flat fan belt rigged around the large RN flywheel. It was such a pleasure the see the red light go out even before the engine had fired into life.
Meanwhile Janis, moored just astern of us on ‘Roots and Wings’ has been investigating her new solar Panel, which she had had fitted just prior to her departure from Newark. Comparing it with the performance of mine, it didn’t appear to be performing as efficiently as it should have done, though this was difficult to ascertain since having to use continuously 240 volts for her fridge she had to run an inverter, which I don’t. So naturally ‘Roots and Wings’ power demand is much greater than ‘Futurest’s simply for this. Also with the new panel was fitted a very complicated battery monitor system and it is difficult to see from this just how much the panel is creating. But I think now that Janis has satisfied herself that everything is working satisfactorily.
Now all is complete again and after this pleasant but busy few days sojourn, we are all ready and shall be glad to be back on our way tomorrow chugging along the very busy Trent and Mersey Canal.