Friday, May 21, 2010

Calcutt Boats. plus what is 50% battery charge

Waterways world this month has a feature on Calcutt Clippers, probably the cheapest new 50ft narrowboats you can buy. The basic model is £48k which these days is amazing value for a new proper boat of that size.

Herbie is closely related to these boats in that it was fitted out by Calcutt and has many of the Clipper features, especially the rear galley inside layout. The main obvious difference is that Herbie has a totally different shell with a semi trad stern as opposed to the cruiser stern of the standard Clipper. Herbie's shell was built by Andicraft whereas normal Clipper shells are built by Pat Buckle on the river Nene.

Looking at the Clipper spec on the Calcutt website I see that most of the things listed as optional extras are things that Herbie already has. Things like central heating (which we rarely use) steel doors, TV ariel points, 240v electrics etc all come as extras, even the centre T stud on the roof! I recall phoning up Calcutt once over paint colours and the Lady said "Oh I remember Herbie, the chap who bought it wanted lots of changes over our normal spec, so its a one off really." Then she said "I also remember Herbie because I fell off it when I was painting it!"

So I guess a Clipper could end up costing you rather more than the basic £48k, but it's still value for money. Certainly their fit out is very professional and has been remarked on as such by surveyors and BSC inspectors on Herbie.

It was to Calcutt that we sent this week for the replacement for the injector pump bleed screw that I broke the other day. Apparently it has now arrived at our boatyard so I have again to face up to trying to bleed the fuel system. This time I have printed off the page from a copy of the BMC 1.8 workshop manual that can be found at the website of - you guessed it, Calcutt Boats.

Just a quick reply to a question by Halfie - I never know whether to reply on the comment space, but I suspect many people don't go back to look. Anyway Halfie, if you measure the battery voltage at no load, and after the surface charge has dissipated, then 50% is about 12.2 volts, 60% is 12.3v, 70% is 12.4v etc. This is not entirely reliable but a fair guide. On the other hand, if you install a Smartguage, you just press a button and it tells you the percentage, whether on load or not.


Halfie said...

Yes, Neil, but as you say, it is not entirely reliable. I suppose someone once discharged a fully charged new battery, taking readings along the way. Perhaps the rule-of-thumb should be never to let the off-load voltage drop below 12.2V.

Vallypee said...

That's interesting information about Calcutts. I've been looking at narrowboats a lot lately. Dreaming as usual! But I always thought new ones were unbelievably expensive. That doesn't sound so bad!