Instead here is a short technical paper on a little known but very important aspect of narrowboating on the canals
As we all know ballast is required to weigh a boat down and make it sit in the water correctly.
The majority of ballast is steel plates under the floor installed when we built the boat and is quite frankly, boring. So we will pass over this
But an important part is the ballast required in order to trim the boat under varying loads...
This ballast takes the form of a temporary installation and is regularly renewed and moved around the boat tin what we call “ THE LIFE CYCLE OF NARROWBOAT BALLAST “
The ballast can be obtained from various retailers. Here is just one example of a load being delivered to our boat in Stratford
The ballast is available in various brands and comes in a convenient packaging. Here is one example. Note: “lite” beer is no good as it is not as heavy!!!!
The initial location is forward in the boat under the entrance steps to help keep the bow down in the water.
The next location is in the chiller section if the fridge where it gains density and prepares it for the next stage of it life cycle.
The next stage is to transfer the ballast to a moveable receptacle in order that it can be moved easily around the boat. The most preferable location is shown here.
These come in all shapes and sizes. A larger one of course holds more ballast then a slim one. Note: women can and have been known to take part in this stage of the life cycle of ballast, but usually with smaller impact on the weight distribution!!!!
After a while when the temporary receptacle becomes full some ballast has to be ejected, sometimes quite often when undertaking an intensive ballast distribution session. A quick easy method is direct into nature. Note this option is better suited to the males on board and best carried out at night or when no non boating public are around.
In the event of the above option not being available we have to undergo 2 further stages of the life cycle as we have to store the ballast in a special bulk receptacle located amidships.
Note: Stay aboard guests are encouraged to join in the program of cycling ballast (and also to bring their own ballast when visiting), and for their convenience we provide their own bulk storage receptacle in the guest cabin en suite facility.
The final stage in the life cycle of narrowboat ballast is to eject the spent ballast (along with other solids, by discharging the bulk storage receptacle in facilities provided by British Waterways at various locations throughout the canal network. This stage is known as “bucket and chuck it”
The cycle then restarts and should be repeated as regularly as possible.