P E N T A R G O N ... SPRINGER
 

an unassuming, tatty little narrowboat ... cruising  ...   "The Longest, Friendliest Village in England" ... 

 

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Click ...  BLOG  ... to see what Pentargon has done over time

The blog has a brilliant search facility ...

Try entering erm ... "macerator" ... or "Jamie Ferguson" ... or Watling Street


Below listed are ALL the blog pages up to ... (16thMay2018) ...

The blog is a continuous work in progress but it has an excellent search facility.

Cut and paste ANY topic below into the search window and you should be instantly presented

with the actual blog entry ... all entries are in constant flux enlarging amending polishing

being submitted to various canal and boater magazines

and anything could pop up anywhere anytime .. 



Patience is a Morris Minor named Pentargon ...

Heated by Hampshire ...

Voyage down the centre of England ...

The Principle of Archimedes ...

Goodbye and thanks for the fish ...

Kingston to West Drayton ...

West Drayton ...

Uxbridge to Batchworth and onwards ...

Batchworth to Red Lion ...

Apsley to Berko ...

Berko Lie Over ...

Berko to Marsworth drop ...

Marsworth Top to LB ...

Linford After a Night at Three Locks ...

Linford through Fenny ...

Soulbury to Buzzard via Fenny ...

Buckby to Barby to Rugby ...

Hawksbury to Nuneaton ...

Nuneaton to Atherstone in the wind ...

What is a "Macerator" ...

Sat 20th Apr. Polesworth...

Atherstone lie-over ...

Polesworth lie-over ...

Birthday and Halfway at Penkridge ...

An interesting detour to Macclesfield ...

The Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal ...

Staff and Worcs Stage Two ...

Watling Street goodbye ...

Giggety Bridge ...

Staff & Worcs Stage Three ...

Severn Stourport to Worcester ...

Worcester to Gloucester at speed ...

Gloucester Docks ...

The Gloucester Sharpness Ship Canal ...

Sharpness Patience Virtue ...

Sharpness to Portishead in four hours on Tickover ...

Portishead in the overnight mud ...

Portishead Bristol on  tides ...

Through Bristol like a Dose of Salts ...

Re-entry of C&RT waters ...

Bristol Bath via Sandford ...

Sandford to Bath ...

Bath to Devizes ...

Climbing Caen without Carabiners ...

Caen to Devizes ...

The Leaving of Devizes ...

Leaving Wiltshire and the White Horse ...

The Crofton Beam Engine ...

Newbury ...

Beyond Newbury ...

Further beyond Newbury ...

Reading and County Lock ...

Henley on a Sunny Sunday ...

Cookham and Cliveden ...

Cliveden and Cookham ...

Beyond Cookham ...

Beyond Windsor ...

Shepperton Bottom ...

Kingston Brentford ...

Brentford Stay ...

Escape from Brentford ...

Brentford Solo to Bow Creek ...

Charcoal on the Lea ...

Limehouse to Brentford solo ... Tue 17th/Oct/2017 ...

Brentford to Kingston ...

Molesley Lock ...

Sunbury Wharf Lie Over ...

The Weir Hotel Lie Over ...

Shepperton Lawn Lie Over ...

SHEPPERTON CLEANUP ...

SHEPPERTON CLEANUP MAY 2018 ...

SHEPPERTON CLEANUP 3MAY 2018 ...

Crows are Black Birds ...

Black Birds Are Not Always Crows ... ... ... to 16thMay2018

SAM SPRINGER ... UNSUNG GENIUS OF THE CUT

This article contains hotlinks to give extra information  or explain phrases.

   In 1973, Sam Springer was said to have been topping his 36' boats in wood. Bit the very latest information presented to the Springer Boat Group on Facebook gives the lie. Sam Springer used mass production methodology for his hulls but each Springer was bespoke. The evidence to hand,  which had been filed in 1974 was rediscovered in 2018 and passed to the group. When examined it was was found to be an actual prospectus sent out by Sam himself to a potential customer who did not actually buy one due to changing circumstances.


We were told Pentargon was re-topped in steel possibly at some point in the 90s and that the existing windows were cut in and older windows shut up! Looks like a steel top from a longer Springer was dropped on an older hull. Hence the unique lines and the tiny forward deck. Or so the story goes.But seven years of ownership and much examination has failed to show that the boat was ever modified thus. The evidence is that the top was put on early in its life and was dropped straight onto a new hull.


During an archeological dig on 2012/3 (to remove almost a ton of unwanted concrete slabs from the bilges), we were unable to unearth any evidence that the original boat had EVER been tampered with.For the moment it looks as though Sam worked his magic and produced the ultimate Springer:

a narrowboat that can go to sea in total safety.

On 10th August 2018 that assumption was put to the ultimate test when Pentargon dropped out of Sharpness Dock into the Bristol Channel and having overnighted outside Portishead marina took the morning tide up the Avon Gorge and into Bristol. Over the recent past Pentargon has been subjected to heel and roll tests and has had the freeboard raised, by Jamie Ferguson at Gailey by Watling Street, to comply with Class C inland waters.


electric

Waiting for the "cheque to be cleared" late Jan2012 gave me a chance to get some work done surreptitiously, on board and in the marina, to plan future itineraries and be inventive. Pentargon is exceptionally basic and that is something you come to love about her. Her design, layout and use intentionally tap into "off-grid" and she could exist in an isolated spot without outside intervention for weeks if necessary.  The engine, when running, whirls a basic 12V alternator from a 70's Peugeot, which then charges the starter battery and the 'leisures'  together. A dedicated relay (Lucas 630) isolates the starter battery when the engine is not running by sensing the fact that the alternator has stopped. This ensures there is always punch in the starter battery to start the motor. In six years, the starter battery has never ever failed to start the engine in seconds ...

    ...   unless the stop cable has NOT been pushed home after stopping the engine ...

 As of 2017 a double track of robust electric cable (rated at 200+amps) goes down the length of the boat directly from the leisure battery bank, supplying LED cabin lights fitted in 2013 as it goes. The cable routes along the spine of the boat and under the sole plates to the front of the boat. The fridge is supplied by a spur from the heavy cables, but may eventually be wired directly to the charging splitter, (to which it should have been attached originally).

Enroute a spur goes to the Utility Room to supply the pumps for hot and coal water and shower evacuation. At the end of the double cable under the floor in the "bedroom" a final spur goes to a control box mounted on the front bulkhead to power navigation lights, tunnel floodlight and the Ship's Whistle. which NOT a whistle at all but a powerful airhorn.



(This edit is ongoing May 2018)

 

... regarding Pentargon 60906 ...

I though Pentargon was acquired 12thDec2012 but as of 24th Jan 2012, it was not yet mine. It eventually came into my hands on 27th January, 2012. The new owner (me?) should be [at least] the 4th since the boat was 'launched'. Pentargon shows clear evidence of having been built by Sam Springer in 1972/3 but may have been not registered until 1976. That would fit with a theory that she may have been bought unfinished (as a sailaway hull!) and the first owner took time in  fitting the cabin and only registered it when ready to sail. Most of this is speculation and only time and a lot of rooting will discover the facts? The fact that she has sole plates suggests work done by an experienced shipwright and evidence points to the floor being laid at the time the hull was fabricated. The boat lacks a keel as such but uses an ingenious bending of metal sheet to provide a slightly "V" bottom. (For rocket scientists ... the dihedral angle is 173┬║, and this sort of advanced solid geometry would not be expected in a simple steel tank shaped like a narrowboat! ...

The designer and builder of Pentargon knew EXACTLY what he was doing.

 

GOOD NEWS IS NO NEWS

12Jan2012 ... cheque gone for clearing. Next week maybe I get a dotted line to sign on. Survey clearly showed up that Pentargon had welding and patching mis-done more than once in past years culminating in the totally botched 2002 job. I have engineering know-how regarding proper re-plating. It's accurate marine engineering but I have made tea for marine engineers.  I wanted the bottom re-plated in 6mm all over, to give her 25 years extra life.  6mm mild steel sheet weighs 48kg per sq metre. and about 18sq metres weighing 844kg. That weight would, in theory, take Pentargon down 2", lowering her CofG AND her centre of buoyancy. AND that might make her more steerable and less giddy. All this and I have yet to actually sail her?  

FINDING A FIX

 13th Jan 2012
To avoid any more botching of bottoms, it was necessary to find a Springer repair specialist.
He should have built the boat originally or at least drank in the same pub as the welders.
This happened during the 'cheque-wait' and plans were hatched to get the boat into dry dock for 06Feb2012.
The delivery was fun. Out of the marina onto the Leicester arm and on to Norton Junction by the A5.
Yes! THAT A5. Watling Street! Which was to play such a pivotal part in the future history of Pentargon.
A couple of miles along to  Braunston tunnel: 1┬╝miles of sheer terror for many narrowboat skippers.

Down the set of locks passing the Admiral Nelson into Braunston and a Gongoozlers Rest Breakfast.

Then an 8ml hike via Barby to Hillmorton ...

to the dry dock at Galbraith's Bridge and PAUL DEMELLSWEEK.

In hindsight:- ...............    if only it had been that simple.

However, in early May, Pentargon emerged with a full new bottom,

beautifully fitted by one of the best arc-welders in the country.

It emerged on budget because we ignored time schedules.

and we had no spare money squirrelled away for fukk-ups!