... ... ... Seven years in an unassuming narrowboat on the waters of the "longest, friendliest village in England"  

Here's one way to ensure Pentargon has emergency power to charge phones and run GPS. The device can also act as a jump start for a dicky starter battery OR even supplement or replace the leisure circuit. Keen piece of emergency kit for someone buying a typical "budget" narrow-boat where nothing works properly or can be trusted to? The fuzzy photo is intentional so that you have to ask me to produce a working copy of this.

Someone has to pay for Pentargon's wizardry!This is an OFF-GRID boat with a vengence!

While cruising, the device is clamped across the starter battery and gets charged "a priori" by the alternator. The sockets are simply wired across the crocodile clips to provide a 12v supply which can be left of the roof while cruising, if not in "charge" mode. It is independent of boat, car, marina ...  

In 2012 when Pentargon began touring, the only practical way to keep in touch with the outside world while cruising inland waters was by mobile phone ... provided you had a signal ... and a charged phone ... Believe it or not, the day after I had taken ownership, I had to climb 150' upwards to Braunston  village to phone my wife to tell her I was safe. The boat had no way to charge a phone back then. Nor indeed had ANY canal boat.  I needed to find ways of ensuring that I always had a charged phone and a signal. (story)

The device was made on the kitchen table at the 'home' late 2011 when I was driving around the  country looking at my 'list of possible boats'. The "Power Station" kept  my Garmin GPS and mobile phone peaked during those treks independently of the car.  Being totally mobile, it could be hawked onto boats or anywhere. Working on it honed my lateral thinking and many features of Pentargon have come about by thinking outside the box. It was the first canal boat in England to have a proper composting toilet. It was (and still is!) the only narrow boat to be heated by a Hampshire Heater
it has had a Dyson handheld vac. from the beginning (DC30!, the only item on board that requires mains to recharge its battery, but only because I have not yet got round to changing the leisure circuits to 24V). To answer the inevitable question "Is it cold in Winter?" read the "heat" page. 

 occurs when the propeller picks up and retains sodden and partly submerged or suspended leaves on the blades reducing the ability of the prop to move the boat forward. Generally, provided it is anticipated, by stopping the prop for a moment, the forward way owill cause the water-flow over the blades to clear the prop. Sometimes a momentary selection of reverse speeds up the clearing and when forward is re-engaged it should be possible to see the leaves been churned away from the stern. Experience teaches to avoid or minimize these hazards and makes one aware of where to look. If bank-side contractors have been chopping up rose briars and dropping them in the cut, they hang about for some time slowly either sinking as the rot or accumulating at the head-race above the top gate of locks. This is a favourite hang-out for ice too, where the water flow is least. ...f the boat


SAM SPRINGER ... UNSUNG GENIUS OF THE CUT      This article contains          hotlinks .

   In 1973, Sam Springer was said to have been topping his 36' boats in wood: well, the ones he actually topped and they were not many as most boats left Market Harborough to be completed elsewhere. It is rumoured that Pentargon was topped or re-topped at some point in the 90s and that existing windows were cut in and others  shut up! Pentargon does look 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. During a 2012/13 'archeological dig' to remove almost a ton of un-needed 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 to the most inhospitable inland waters in total safety 

She's been tested in Class D water and has behaved impeccably in sea trials.

In 2007, at Gailey Wharf, the freeboard was raised to 750mm to comply with "Class D" (as defined )  Cat.C is as far as we take her and that includes "inland" tidal rivers, estuaries and lakes and lochs where significant wave height could  'not be expected to be more than 1.2 metres at any time'.


Cat D: refers to tidal rivers and estuaries where significant wave height could be expected to be 2 metres.

Cat D is found in a very few areas.such as the Thames Estuary, the Bristol Channel and the Humber and has Summer and Winter specs. but to give an idea, Pentargon's airdraft is about 2.3m and that is the vertical distance from the water surface to the highest point of the roof! She has weathered bow waves from Thames Clippers in the Greenwich Reach and elsewhere in excess of 2m!


Pentargon is a much larger boat inside than is apparent from her 36' overall. She is constructed with a bulkhead to gunnel height separating the engine room from the galley behind which is cruiser deck: 8ft of cruiser deck. But the inside space is larger than found on most 42' boats as there is no waste in the bow. The main bunk goes right up to the fire-escape window!

 With over 6'3" head-room, her discrete fore-cabin (with en suite bathroom, Hampshire heater, wardrobes and storage) can be isolated from the aft cabin where the mess and galley co-exist with considerable storage and bunk space. Pentargon is built for two in luxury with an addition crew bunk on the sole plates under the main bunk, but she can accomodate two more with the galley bunk made up!   

On-board there are only two of anything: cutlery, ware, table space, seats, steam cookers. glasses, chairs Also,  everything of board has two uses; if it hasn't its days are numbered. A glass flower vase holds EXACTLY enough water (150ml) to make a cuppa and the mugs hold exactly that amount of tea, coffee, cocoa, soup or whatever and THEY double up to hold the right amount of weetabix for breakfast. 

During 2013, Pentargon's front cabin was extensively modified to fit a 4'6" memory foam mattress on a slatted [IKEA} base, raising the bed level up to the gunnel line thus permitting a view out the front window. An auxiliary bunk was fitted below and athwart for Pogue's personal use in exceptionally cold weather. And ... within this under bed space resides a black plastic tank which can hold enough drinking water for almost a years' cruising in keeping with the stated aim of living 'off grid'.

 The Hampshire was tweaked, modified and repositioned to provide warm air heating to the space under the bed. Pogue found that the Hampshire had originally been heating the ceiling exceptionally well and the floor not at all. Over time an ingenious heat trap was made from marble slabs cut by a monumental mason in East London. Now the cross bunk and water tank can be made warm and the the water retains heat for quite some time in operation as indeed do all the furnishings and contents.