Thursday, 3 May 2007


What's this?

This is Sextans, a Middle Northwich Star Class narrowboat motor, built in 1936: one of only eight of her kind. This image was posted online by a previous owner back in 2002.
We bought her late last year. We've had a few trips up the Shropshire Union canal on her, getting used to her pre-war diesel engine and the depth of her draft. As an old working boat, she's fairly deep at three foot. So with the lack of dredging on some canals, we often scrape the bottom or worse, run aground: annoying for us but it gives spectators a laugh.
Soon we'll get her repainted in her original company livery: the blue and white of the Grand Union Canal Carrying Company.
Sextans is one of eight boats commissioned by the newly formed GUCCCo in the mid 1930s. There were also Large and Small Northwich narrowboats. Each motor pulled an unmotorised butty with extra cargo...
I've been looking for online images of Sextans's siblings: Sickle, Tycho, Radiant, Zodiac, Tucoma, Theophilus and Taygeta........
So far success with the first four but no idea of the whereabouts of the three at the end. I might have to resort to phone-calls...

Tuesday, 1 May 2007



Gardner 2L2

Sextans has a Gardner 2L2 engine like this one.
It's not her original engine: that was a Russell Newbury. Later I think she may have had a Lister. Anyway she's currently propelled by one very similar to this: a Gardner 2L2 vintage engine from the 1930s, like Sextans herself. It's 18 Horsepower has two cylinders and makes a noise like a very butch sewing machine.

Next I did an online search for other vintage engines - both rotten and restored ...