Sunday, August 29, 2010

What I stole at the IWA festival

A pleasant enough day strolling round the IWA National Festival, but I wasn't overly impressed. There were lots and lots and lots of visiting boats (and presumably boaters) there, but important sections of the trade seemed to have failed to take advantage. Sure, you could buy a barbecue or a mop. You could buy new windows for your boat from four or five stalls. You could buy a new engine from four or five places. But where was all the chandlery, the every day bits and pieces that every boater needs to buy? Not there. At least not in any appreciable quantity. Strange.

I did buy a couple of items. One of those chains with rings at either end that you can use to secure your boat to steel pilings, and a gubbins for mounting an umbrella on the tiller bar, and a little magnetic card that clings to your gas bottle and shows you the level of the gas by reading the temperature difference between the liquid gas and the gas gas above it. Not too exciting but suspect they may all be handy.

We met up with Simon Tortoise and Robin and Laura (ex of our moorings) for a rather good lunchtime pint and a chat. We had hoped we might meet Halfie but as you can see if you follow this link he was otherwise engaged in losing his propeller somewhere up the Thames!!

Later we looked over two of the display boats, at either end almost of the price range.

1. A Calcutt Clipper (£44k) to see how they had installed a single dinette down one side of the galley.

2. First Dawn (£115k), a lovely lovely boat built by the Nantwich based Navigation Narrowboat Company on a Tyler Wilson shell. This is for a shared ownership group. We will never own a boat like this (unless we sell our house) but it is worth looking over just to see the workmanship. And as for the paint job, it is so good it makes you want to weep. The adjacent boat had been spray painted whereas First Dawn had been brush painted. A good demonstration of how a good brush job can give a better finish and a deeper shine if its done well.

So what did I steal from the festival? An idea, that's what.

Instead of securing solar panels by bolts or studs coming up through the frame, have studs or bolts sticking out from the ends of the frame to engage at right angles with the vertical roof mounted fixing, which in my case will be mounted on a magnet. This gives you a lot more chance to have some sort of swivelling arrangement to tilt the frame towards the sun. Simple, but it hadn't occurred to me. I shall now spend many happy hours perusing ironmongery sites to identify suitable bits and pieces. That's my idea of a good time.

Rick tells me he has failed to sink Herbie and that she is still miraculously afloat somewhere on the Regents canal.


VallyP said...

I'd love to come to one of these festivals. I'm still not sure about how you're going to mount this solar panel, but I will confess to the fact that I'm going to be watching closely how you do it...i might steal an idea or three myself :)

Anonymous said...

I meant to set up a system like this - ohh, must be 4 years ago now! In the summer, I never bother beacuse the sun is higher and days longer and there's always plenty of solar power, but in winter, a good tilting system really starts to matter. I'll watch what you come up with thanks! As to security, I bought an alarm cable that threads through holes on the sides of the panels and goes off (incredibly loudly) if the cable is cut or the lock opened.

Neil Corbett said...

Oooh, the alarm system is a great idea - worth stealing


Simon said...

I don't know if there's any pictures on their blog (and if there are, they're a long way back), but Alison & Richard's panels are mounted in pairs on the roof, hinged at the side nearest the center, so the appropriate side can be put at the right angle. The non-angled one still usefully contributes - there's a graph smewhere on the net, I think a horisontal panel is only 10% or so down from one orthogonal to the sun...

Good to see you Sat;