PEN - TAAR - GON ... SPRINGER
 

unassuming little narrowboat cruises the "Longest, Friendliest Village in England" for seven years   

 

The Cut'n'Paste Blog Index.



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

The blog has an excellent search facility ...

Try entering  ... "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 always Black Birds ... ... ... 1st May 2018

Black Birds Are Not Always Crows ... ... ... 12thMay2018

Decluttering and Feminising Pentargon ... ... 16thMay2018

Afloat Again ... ... 14thMay"2018 

     

Blacked Boats are Not Crows ... ... ... 14thJul2018

Miro Pogue & Kingfisher ... ... ... 7thAug2018  (Miro's Kingfisher)

Paddington and a Blue Peruvian Bear ... 13thAug2018

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 and perhaps he was: if he actually PUT a top on. Irrefutable information presented to the Springer Boat Group on Facebook in 2018 gives the lie. Sam used mass production methodology for his hulls but each Springer was bespoke. The evidence to hand,  filed in 1974 was dug up in a house clearance and passed to the group. It was was found to consist of an original prospectus sent out by Sam himself to a potential customer who did not actually buy one due to changing circumstances at the time.


Every Springer produced by Sam was bespoke and personally supervised! His genius as a steel fabricator was to mass produce fronts, rears and "middle sections" and mix and match to each individual customers specification. Many of his hulls were bought as floating shells with no top on and finished as far away as Saul Junction.


The most confusing element in identifying a Springer is the stern. Basically there is a radiused one (which frequently comes with a trad or semi-trad rear deck) and an angled one (common with a cruiser deck such as Pentargon has). There are various lengths and configurations but basically if it has a petrol outboard it is a "Waterbug" and is almost invariably under 23' nose to tail. If it has a diesel engine and is under 30' it may also have a seriously V bottom, but from 28' up it should have about 7deg dihedral which casual observers will not even notice.

The radiused stern has a story of its own and leads back to how Sam began to build narrowboats and occasional widebeams from his Market Harborough base. It was all down to greed and stupidity and an [innocent] wood-forming business , but is a story for another day (Ware Library 14thAug18). An entrepreneur based in MH was the first to actually produce a narrowboat for leisure only and over a period of time in the very early 60s he was cutting and shutting conventional and traditional wooden and sometimes steel narrowboats. The wooden ones were sterned by using the services of an active business in MH which formed and radiused planks with steam to match the 7'- standard width. When  it came to converting steel tubs, Sam was approached to produce the ends and used tried and tested methods ... TBC ...

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.


... 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!