In 1973, Sam Springer was said to have been topping his 36' boats in wood. We were told Pentargon was re-topped in steel 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 boat (and it must have been a Springer) was dropped on an older hull. Hence the unique lines and the tiny forward deck or so the story goes.
However, during an archeological dig 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. She's been tested in Class C waters (waves over a meter) and has behaved perfectly and in mid 2007 the freeboard is being raised to 750mm to comply with class D inland waters (as defined by the MCA)
Category C: tidal rivers, estuaries and large, deep lakes and lochs where the significant wave height couldn’t be expected to be more than 1.2 metres at any time.
Category D: tidal rivers and estuaries where the significant wave height couldn’t be expected to be more than 2 metres at any time..
Pentargon is appropriately a much larger boat inside than apparent from the shore. With over 6'3" head-room, her discrete front-cabin (with ensuite bathroom, Hampshire heater, wardrobes and storage) can be isolated from the aft cabin (12'long) where the mess and galley reside along with a spare bunk and considerable storage space. Pentargon is built for two in erm luxury but can comfortably accommodate four, when the diner fold down bunk is called on.
She also has some 7' of cruiser stern with a waterproof canvas cover. With air-beds and sleeping bags out on deck and under canvas it might be fun for up to four young hardies? The bad news is that on-board there are only two of anything: cutlery, ware, table space, seats, even steam cookers.
During 2013, Pentargon's front cabin was extensively modified to fit a 4'6" memory foam on a slatted [IKEA} base, raising the [double] up close to the gunnel line, permitting a view out the front window. An auxilary bunk was fitted below and athwart for Pogue Muhone's personal use in exceptionally cold weather. The Hampshire was tweaked, modified and repositioned to provide warm air heating to the space under the bed. Pogue found that the Hampshire was heating the ceiling exceptionally well and the soles plates not very much and over time came up with an ingenious heat trap made of marble slabs cut by a monumental mason in East London.
Waiting around for the cheque to be cleared in late January 2012 gave Pogue a chance to get some work done, surreptitiously, on board in the marina, plan future itineraries and be inventive. Pentargon is exceptionally basic and that is something you come to love about her.
The engine, when running, whirls a basic 12V alternator from a 70's Peugeot, which then charges the starter battery and the leisure set together. A dedicated relay (Lucas 630) is employed to isolate the starter battery when the engine is not running. This ensures there is always punch to start the motor. In four years it has never ever failed to start in seconds unless the stop cable has NOT been pushed home after stopping the engine.
A single spur of robust electric cable goes down the length of the boat supplying cabin lights as it goes and as of Spring 2016 this cable (rated at 100+amps) is being routed down the keel under the sole plates.
The fridge is supplied by a spur from the heavy cables, and may eventually be wired directly to the charging splitter, to which it should have been attached originally. (This work is still ongoing March2017!)
I though Pentargon was acquired 12thDec2011 but as of 11th Jan 2012, it was not yet mine. The new owner (me?) should be the 3rd since the boat was 'launched'. It 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 and that the first owner took time about finishing 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 suggest work done by a good shipwright and evidence points to the floor having been laid at the time the hull was fabricated.
12thJan2012 cheque gone in for clearing. Next week maybe I get a dotted line to sign on. The survey clearly showed up that Pentargon had bottom work mis-done more than once in past years culminating in the totally botched 2002 job. I got some numbers and engineering know-how regarding proper re-plating. It's accurate marine engineering but I have previous. I want the bottom replated in 6mm all over, because that will give her 25 years of life, 6mm mild steel sheet weighs 48kg per sq metre. I reckon it'll take about 18sq metres weighing 844kg. That weight would takePentargon down 2" in the water, lower her CofG AND make her more steerable and less giddy. All this and I have yet to actually sail her.
13th Jan 2011 To avoid any more botching of bottoms, it was necessary to find a specialist in Springer repairs. He should have built the boat originally or at least drank in the same pub as the welders. This has happened. Initial plans hatched to get the boat there for Feb6. How long will it take to clear a cheque. The delivery will be fun. Out of the marina onto the Leicester arm and on to Norton Junction by the A5. Yes! THAT A5. A couple of miles along enter Braunston tunnel, a mile and a quarter of sheer terror for many narrowboat skippers, then down 6 locks into Braunston. An 8 mile hike along a single pound via Barby straight to the top lock at Hillmorton. Down the Hillmorton locks, well two of them .. 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. And it emerged on budget because we did not have a time schedule to worry us. Nor had we any more money!