"PENTARGON" is Kerowek for 'vantage point' and alludes to the view above Pentargon Cove in Cornwall... The word does NOT rhyme with a military establishment in Washington. "DAYbyDAY" is a blog of Pentargon's epic 2017 voyage around southern England which started in October 2016 from Dartford in Kent alongside "Watling Street".
Pentargon is a 36' Springer narrowboat, built and fitted out at Market Harborough in 1973 but apparently registered in 1976. Investigations on-going. She's driven by an air-cooled Lister SR2 engine, believed to be the original and believed to have been new when fitted, and sweet as a nut. The SR2 drives a manual Lister box. The engine can be hand-cranked (if the starter battery ever lets us down!).
Pentargon has been lovingly maintained by previous owners and Pogue Muhone proudly acknowledges that here and now. It was their care which 'sold' the boat the first day and one feels privileged to be given the means to carry on their tradition. Now it has come to new ownership one hopes to maintain and develop Pentargon as we think they might have done. The last owners were forced off the water by 'circumstances' but Pogue was honoured to be in a position to inherit their boat and restore her to her original condition by bottoming her properly. The only major change envisaged is that she would be converted to all weather and all year use. However most of that work though considerable will not be seen as it involves the insulation of the plumbing system.
When we first came across Pentargon, in the Autumn of 2010, she was advertised for £16,000 as a 1976, 40' Springer. She was way above our 'size' and 'price' factors. Knowing there would be expenses (and lots of them) after the purchase, we passed. Pogue suspected on looking at her picture that she was nowhere near the 40' claimed.On first sight floating in the marina, Pentargon definitely didn't look 40'. A tape measure confirmed slightly under 36' stem to stern, not allowing for fenders because in real life boats are measured without removable appendages.
Pentargon was the exact length Pogue wanted, the longest narrowboat that can do a handbrake turn on t'cut. But she was outside the price range. Early in 2011 she re-appeared at £13000. One now had room to manoeuvre on 'price' and a margin to lean against. Let it be said right now that the game plan had ONE absolute: a budget of ?17000 (£13,500?) to buy a boat, fix the glitches, add the 'extras', purchase a year's mooring, fund the annual licence and get the safety certification. There was no more money. Pogue being is a simple lad when it comes to doing a deal bid by the foot. 36/40ths of 'asking price' gave some more 'elbow room' and we were still talking ... Well! ... The broker was talking ... The seller was kept right out of the picture ... that's how they all work in brokerage!
Buy in a hurry and you buy at the seller's price; bide a wee and you buy at the your price.
A verbal bid was launched to see if it might fly. Buyer's market late in 2011: recession deepening. In a previous life in car dealing one always reckoned it a good idea to allow for surprises when buying a banger. Pogue allowed for plenty surprises with Pentargon. on the basis that if they could not get the age of the boat or the length of the boat right, there were likely to be other delicious surprises in the sunset.
Little did Pogue know at the time how true that would turn out to be!
The brokers came back to know if I'd like to put my offer in writing? This apparently was on foot of their phoning the sellers to see whether they would proceed at the [rather miserly] offer. I rummaged for a fag packet and a pencil.
FIRST WE HAVE TO PURCHASE PENTARGON
so YOU can know what YOU are letting yourself in for if YOU want or need to buy a boat the 'proper' way, these are the exact words on an innocuous piece of paper which you will have to deal with. ...
" template for an agreement for the sale and purchase of a second-hand vessel subject to survey and sea-trial ("the conditional agreement") [June 2007] sponsored by the British Marine Federation in consultation with the Royal Yachting Association. This document is intended to create a legally binding contract; if you are unsure as to the effect of any of the provisions you are advised to take appropriate professional advice" ...
Get yourself a copy of this document before you even think of looking at boats in brokers' marinas. I'm sure the document is somewhere on the web but nobody told me there was such a thing until I wanted to 'put it in writing' and reached for a fag packet.
To continue with Pentargon's story, for it is her story we want to tell ...
...the document intended to create a legally binding contract ...
was duly signed on 25th Nov. 2011 and as you will see when you get and read your own copy, I got nailed into my coffin that day.
As of that date I became subject to the rigours of civil law until I might ...
1... Buy the boat ... or ... 2... invoke clause 5.1 of said binding contract because the boat failed its survey.
The FIRST thing to note is that the signed document must be accompanied by 10% of the [agreed] "purchase price". The 'offer' has legally morphed into a 'purchase price'. the purchaser, (who did not fall out of the last Christmas tree) asked for and received a 'spare' copy of the document and you should too, so that at all times you have in your hot sticky paw a copy of the small print ... Let's say the agreed purchase price was the advertised figure of £13.000 and let's go into the second person singular, which from now on is YOU. YOU have to write a cheque for £1,300 right now made out to the broker. Don't try to offer cash, credit card, IOU or debit card. They don't DO cash, cards, quantitative easing, IOUs or anything else except a CHEQUE. There will be a wait of many days while they clear that cheque. They will tell YOU they have to be in 'contact the seller'. In reality that £1300 is making interest for someone while the purchaser and the seller twiddle their thumbs ...
"The broker" (who will be a member of the British Marine Federation and the Boat Retailers and Brokers Association) now becomes a legal entity known as "the broker" and you become "the purchaser" ... Section 5 of your contract should become the focus of all your attention.
5.1 is to be watched very carefully. Hidden deep in the clause is a sting. You can't just pull out of a 'defective' boat and get your money back if the defects can be fixed for x% of the purchase price. In my case I would not agree to x being other than 5%. 5% of £13,000 is £650 AND! if you had not noticed this, it could be £650 on top of the £13,000 just because you failed to study the small print with a large magnifier..
... NOT the back of a fag packet as I innocently expected when I decided to make a pitch for? ... far from it ...
(Buyer Beware ... Never give a sucker an even break ... Don't buy a pig in a poke. etc.)
THE WRITING ON THE WALL ... Geographically,
Welton Hythe is an excellently suitable home port with certain
reservations which I tested to the limit! (Details of these testings are
to be found in the blogs!). Welton Hythe is close to Norton Junction,
(a canal hub) near the A5 and the M1 with an adjacent bus service to
Daventry and Long Buckby where a rail station gives further access to
London and Birmingham. Its pound is bounded by the Buckby flight a mile
east, the Watford stairs two miles North, Braunston flight three miles
west at the other end of the formidable - but for a novice, exciting -
Braunston tunnel. Welton Hythe is private and secluded and if the arcane
ground rules can be mastered and understood, it could be a relaxed
base. The working staff are lovely personalities. I really could work
with Chris and Phil and Steve and Mark and especially Kevin who became
quite a close pal very early on. The 'tenants' were a hugely mixed bunch
of rather nice people from all walks of life with vessels from a couple
of Tupperwares to floating corridors touching the limits of dimensional
credulity and financial largesse. There are some who seemed never to
leave port; some who seem to almost never come home if the empty spaces
represent boats 'away' ; some seemed to 'live' there almost permanently;
some seemed to call by rarely if ever. If Pogue bought Pentargon,
which had already been moored there for at least two years by all
accounts, (and the purchase would be subject to holding that berth) it
would suit his purposes nicely. Once again he was going to get some
surprises but they may be detailed in the blogs.
First view ... Welton Hythe ... Autumn 2011
This whole site is WIP at the moment with extensive going on almost daily (Feb. 2018).