NB Muleless

NB Muleless
Moored at Alrewas Sept 2013

Monday, 24 December 2012

Coming along slowly

On Friday 7 December we drove up to MGM to check on progress.

The spray foaming had been completed and as the river levels had dropped Muleless has now been moved into the floating dock/paint shed that had just been vacated.

At last we can visit and see Muleless in the water as she should be!

Spray foam complete and lineout started - looking to rear of boat.

Looking to front of boat - note full height door through to lowered well deck.

Outside, you can see the non slip surface has been added to the roof, ready to be painted over.

We spent some time going round the boat with Mark from MGM discussing the colour scheme. Muleless will be burgundy, black and cream.

And at long last, we were able to get a proper look at our bespoke pigeon boxes that Nick Thorpe built for us - we hadnt been able to see the roof of the boat very well whilst she was out of the water!

We will pop up to MGM again over Christmas to see how the painting is coming along.

In the meantime, hope everyone out there has a very merry christmas and happy new year and no-one gets washed away in floods (or frozen in if the weather suddenly changes!).

See you next year!!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Nearly washed away!!

Sorry for the delay in updates - house sale/moving is playing on our minds at the moment, as we almost had a moving day - but not quite!!!

Anyway, back on Saturday 24 November, we drove up to MGM to see how Muleless was doing.

She had been booked for sprayfoaming on the 23rd, but this had to be changed to the 26th at the last minute, so there wasnt quite so much to look at as we had expected.

The engine bay has been painted - and looks huge at the moment.

Pipes have been fitted under the floor, and wires for electrical points put into place.

The wiring for the 12volt lights have been run along the ceiling.

All the ballast is in and the floor is laid.

Muleless was still on the slipway - due to the floodwaters on the River Soar at the time. The water had started to recede but you can see on the picture below how high it got!

Much higher and she might have floated off!

Here are some pictures of the river showing the level then - just imagine what it would have been like at the peak!!

The spray foaming has now been completed, Martin from MGM took some pictures for us - so when we have those I will post them.  Muleless was also able to move into the floating dock after the river level dropped, so at least the next time we see her she will be in the water as she should be!!

We are now working towards the house sale completing after Christmas, so at least we can relax a bit now, and we should manage another visit to MGM before Christmas.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

She is afloat! - but not for long!

At 10 am on Tuesday 6 November we arrived at MGB Boats in Thurmaston, to see our boat shell arrive.

The crane arrived and set up ready.
Although people had been warned of a boat being craned in there were still quite a few cars around.

At 11.30 we had the call from the driver that he was in the village, so we rushed out to the road to get the first glimpse, and of course, it had to start raining.
The entrance to MGM's yard is down a narrow lane, so the driver first has to maneuvre the vehicle so he can drive straight into it. This he does by reversing down the road to the industrial estate opposite the lane.

Then, when he has lined himself up, and waited for a gap in the traffic, off he goes!
Whilst I was behind the lorry, Gary was in front - so between us we documented this momentous occasion!

You could really tell that the driver had done this before! Not one brick was disturbed, but several branches were pushed aside - but weren't big enough to need chopping back first.

We were glad when he emerged into the open and lined himself up by the crane.
Then, after the fastest journey that Muleless will ever take, she also had to fly!!

Up ...
up ...
and away!
Then she was flown over the fence and lowered down into the water!

After a bit of maneuvering away from the mud, the straps were removed - and she was floating on her own!
As you can see, the rain had not let up - in fact it just got harder!

The next phase was to move her around to the poly tunnel, so Gary joined Rachel and Mark on board to "punt" her around. Of course this was not going to be easy as the flow from the river, although helping to begin with, would hinder later.
MGM Boatyard is on an "island", so having gone down river to start with, then a tricky turning at the end to go up river back towards the poly tunnel. Here of course the river flow really did not help!

Momentarily stuck during the turn
Struggling against the flow!
Eventually the bow was at the entrance to the poly tunnel.
Then it was just the "easy job" of getting the stern around (against the flow) to line up fully!
Then she was pulled up and out of the water into the poly tunnel.
And of course, once she was under cover and the hard work was done - it stopped raining! By now everyone was soaked!

There are a couple of jobs to do before she can be moved into the floating dock to be fitted out. There hadn't been time for a second coat of blacking before she was moved from Nick Thorpes yard, and also the prop has to be fitted, which is easier here.

In two weeks time she will be moved into the floating dock when it has been relinquished by the previous occupant! Various other jobs can be started whilst she is waiting in the tunnel such as painting the engine bay, ballasting and battening out, so she wont be idle!!!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

She is beautiful naked!!

On Friday 2 November we made our final visit to Nick Thorpes Boat Building to see Muleless naked for the last time.

The stainless steel water tank had been delivered on Monday, so the work on the bow had been completed, including the lockers.

If this picture looks a bit strange, it is because we are having a lowered well deck!

We were delighted with the semi-trad stern - including the innovation of having removable floors to the lockers to be able to access all areas of the engine bay, and our mooring pin locker integrated into the morse control pillar.

This was the first time we had been able to stand at the stern and were extremely impressed with the view along the roof including our bespoke pigeon boxes.
As you can see, us being in the way didnt stop work - the lads kept working around us.

 Stern with mooring dollies and tiller attachment.

 Rudder - incorporating Nick Thorpes trade mark.
 "Gas locker" cover keeping to traditional looks (water tank below)

The next time we see Muleless will be when she is delivered to MGB Boats in Thurmaston - and she will have been painted with primer then, so this is the last time we will see her naked!

Monday, 29 October 2012

The Garden Transformation!

In order for our plans to cruise the canals on our narrowboat Muleless to be possible, we have to sell our house.

Having been on the market for 8 months without a buyer, we decided that we had to change our garden to make it simpler for buyers to imagine it as their own.

When we bought our house in 1999, it was on a new development and we had the chance to use a big digger to help us achieve our dream garden including a big pond - and I mean a BIG pond (almost 4m square!). We did tell the estate agents that we would fill in the pond for prospective buyers if they did not want it, but as by August there was no sign of a buyer, we knew the time had come to remove our lovely fish and fill in the pond to help things along.
We had about 40 Koi, Ghost Carp and Orfe which we needed to find a new home for! Luckily we came across someone who "rescued" fish and was happy to take ours away to a new home.
All packed up and ready to go!
Bye guys!

Then the really big job began. After a few weekends of hard work and 13.5 tons of filling later we turned our garden from this -
 To this!
And as luck would have it, just as we were filling in the pond, a buyer came for a second viewing! And a week later (after a bit of haggling) a deal was struck - and the house is now Sold (subject to contract)!

We are at the end of the buying chain, and all involved wish to move before Christmas, so if all goes well (fingers crossed everyone!) we should be able to move into rented accommodation just before Christmas and the next stage of the grand plan can start!

We are hoping to pay a visit to Nick Thorpe this week to see how Muleless is progressing - so more pictures of the boat build next time.