Here we are at last, the long awaited Blog about my project boat.
I first started planning this particular boat in mid March 2010, and I have allowed evolution to take its course. As ever, its not so much a case of knowing what I want, but more of knowing what I dont want.
Add to that a steep learning curve, and 'Artimis' has slowly taken shape in my mind.
I did start out by making sketches and drawing plans but after many revisions, it seemed futile to try and capture the vision on paper. I have a 3D mind and have had no problems envisioning it from every angle in detail.
Since inception, I have had a lot of decisions to make concerning overall dimensions, interior layout, engine, electrical systems, heating and ventilation, plumbing etc, but ive whittled down the options and arrived at my prefered optimum design.
I had initially intended fabricating the steel hull and decking myself, but once I had got several steel prices, I decided to also get prices from a few boat builders and found that due to the bulk purchase power of a boat yard, it was cheaper to outsource fabrication.
I have chosen M&D Boatbuilders in Stourport. A father and son team who employ a small team of welders and specialise in steelwork fabrication. Their informal and down to earth, easy going method works well for my common sense view on life. No bull, no smooth talking salesmen, an open house welcome and an invitation to muck in whenever I can, whether it be welding or painting.
That makes me and other customers, feel close to the project and very much a part of the growing boat.
Since booking my build slot, the price of steel has started to rise. I guess its a good sign the recession is over and demand is growing for raw materials. A bad sign for the final consumer.
During the wait, Ive kept busy sourcing materials and parts, the hardest of which to find has been the things that keep the water out and let the light in.
Some call them windows, other say hatches or ports. Chose your title, I prefer windows in this case as thats exactly what they are.
The boat design is my personal adaptation, a cross between a widebeam canal boat and a replica Dutch style barge. The usual type of windows typically used in canal and river boats are single glazed in aluminium chanel frames. Experience has showed me that they are insecure from a security point of view and have no thermal break or insulating properties. Condensation readily forms on the frame and glass resulting in damp curtians, water marks on the hull interior and loss of heat in winter.
UPVC is the way to go. These windows have excellent thermal qualities, are highly secure and maintenence free. Unfortunatly, I found that domestic frames are 70mm deep and far too thick for my 50mm hull. I looked at making wooden frames that would accept 25mm glazing units but they would be prohibitivly expensive and cumbersome.
Then by chance I came across a company who make caravan windows with the right depth frame and at the right price. Thats one major hurdle crossed. They are now on order and delivery will coincide with the hull completion.
The next major hurdle was the engine, heart and power plant of the whole boat. It not only provides propulsion but hot water and electricity too, so Its the most important single item on board.
Several factors to contemplate when selecting an engine include cost, reliability, availability of parts, longevity, running efficiency and simple to work on. Something that does exactly what it says on the tin is hard to find but Ive found it.
The Peugeot XUD9 engine has been used for over 20 years in millions of cars ranging from the 206 Peugeot, through all Citroen diesels to Fiats and Fords.
Ive had two cars with the 1900cc non turbo diesel and have been impressed with the reliability and fuel economy. They take a beating and still come back for more. They have been well trialed and have an excellent track record.
I have chosen a 1900cc Turbo version out of a '95 Citroen Xantia.
I bought it off Colin, who bought it to marinise for use in his boat but then decided to stay with his BMC. I also bought a Newage PRM gearbox to fit to it. Im not going to use the turbo because I have more than enough power from the 70HP naturally aspirated version and there are no complications to running this engine without the turbo, but it will make it more fuel efficient and produce less heat in the engine room.
It also has the Bosch fuel pump, as opposed to the Lucas Cav versions.
The beauty of the Bosch pump is it will run on a variety of different fuels including veg oil and bio diesel. I forsee global fuel problems one day soon, so aside from being environmentally aware, its good to have duel fuel capability and redundancy options.
So far, ive stripped the engine, cleaned it, had the head skimmed, ground in the valves, replaced the big ends, piston rings and completely rebuilt it.