Monday, April 21, 2008

Productive weekend ?

So in one way it was a really bad weekend. We were due for a trip out, probably only to the Folly, the first “leisure outing” we would have had following our “delivery trip”.

On Friday night we correctly hoisted the newly repaired Genoa (the ex owner had never correctly got that set up) and took some measurements for the new Genoa on order.

It was raining on Saturday but with promises for better weather on Sunday so we donned our oilies and started the engine, warmed it up, checked water exhaust etc and set off. With wind and tide pinning us on the pontoon, I used my ex-Mac technique of vectored thrust using the steerable outboard leg to pull the boat to lie at about 30 degrees to the pontoon before dropping a pre-slipped line at the bow.

This needed quite a lot of revs but ultimately went well and without a hitch and we were soon in the middle of the river Itchen and just turning to head downstream when an ear piercing alarm went off and an ominous red light appeared on the instrument panel.

"Well, that’s great" I thought, "I now know the engine overheating light is functioning correctly - not !"

So after first thoughts of "@!#$" I realised there was no way we could anchor or sail here so I turned at low revs to make my way back to the pontoon. My second ever attempt to get to the pontoon and I had to get it right as I needed to turn the engine off NOW !

Luckily the same wind and tide that had pinned us in when we left now allowed us to glide back without too much difficulty.

Tied up, engine off, change underpants. Nothing is actually on fire so it can't be that bad.

The next hour we spent quadruple checking the engine sea cock (we did have it open), looking for plastic bags on the intake (none), removing the water inlet sea cock and checking that the water started to sink the boat (it did), and checking the strainer (empty) and finally coming to the conclusion that we needed to check the water pump and have a look at the impeller.

When the manufacturer of my boat (Prout) and the makers of my engine (Yanmar) came up with the installation they ran loads of workshops with titles like:

"How can we make the really obvious and 'simple' maintenance as hard as possible?"
For proof see this photo - impeller tucked behind water pump belt on the left.

It was in this context that Tamsyn took both the alternator drive belt and the water pump drive belt off, reached down at an impossible angle to undo jubilee clips on inlet and outlet hoses and finally at about 3:00 PM on Saturday got the water pump out.

Then of course the heat had "welded" the cover on. But friendly boat neighbour John soon helped us lever this off. We then picked two missing blades from the impeller from the raw water pipe work but realised we were still missing one piece. We had to find this or it would clog the water flow elsewhere in the engine. So Tamsyn dismantled yet more pipe work and found the missing piece.

And we went shopping for a new impeller. Of course none appeared to be available in the whole of the Solent for our exact pump.

Throughout all of this Tamsyn has been a star, she tackled the task with gusto whilst I was busy filing a hole in the foredeck for an electric cable. I am really am lucky to have her as my wife and many boating blokes must be very jealous.

On Monday morning Tamsyn finally found the correct spare in Bursledon and refitted the new one whilst I was at work.

At 11:47 I received an elated text message "jumping up and down here. Dog thinks I have flipped!" saying the engine was fully functional and spitting out plenty of water.

So in the end it was a productive weekend. We got plenty of jobs done, debunked the first of the engine maintenance bogey men and now have a shiny new impeller in place.

But with a repaired sail, and a fixed engine I could do with a less dramatic weekend next time we try to go out.