The summer seems to have slipped away in a haze of holidays and lawn mowing, but without much progress on Flamingo, and now, as we sink slowly into what Keats may have called the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, but in our dark little valley is a time of mould and mildewed futility, I am slightly regretting the lost time. Still, the weekend saw me tackle a job that has been on my mind for a while, namely the engine. It is an almost new Beta Marine 14 that has spent the last two years languishing in the shed and before that a year or so in Peter Gregson’s (www.woodenships.co.uk) cellar. I was concerned that the damp and cold of yet another winter without starting would be having a detrimental effect. A quick query to ybw Forum and an email to Beta Marine reinforced this fear and I quickly knocked up a frame for it to stand on. Apparently turning it over by hand once or twice a month will be enough to keep it lubricated and moving freely.
Then, realising that no matter how much gym time I put in, lifting 90kg of engine on my own was not going to happen I made a sturdy goal post out of the timber salvaged from the doomed boat shelter and using an ebay purchased chain hoist, hauled the beast into the air.
Obviously I carefully measured the distance, calculated the stretch in the rope, the height of the cross beam, the access for the frame and got it dead right. OK I guessed it all and luckily it worked… just.
With the engine safely stored the right way up I tried turning it over by pulling the fan belt, no joy, using a spanner, still no joy. Back to email and ybw Forum for more advice (I really am a novice when it comes to engines) and the consensus is good compression is stopping me. “Simply” remove or loosen the injectors…. so next weekend if I get a chance I’ll see if I can discover the whereabouts of the injectors…
After a week resting the right way up the issue has solved itself! I can now, with only a modicum of difficulty, turn the engine over. Back to working with something I understand, wood.
Having bought some more timber from Wealden Oak a great timber yard where there are mountains of off cuts that languish, valueless until someone like me turns up, whereupon, after a quick look up and down to assess the cut of my jib/size of my wallet and the barest hint of measuring, the proprietor declared; “£40”. I ‘d like to say I haggled him down mercilessly like a Berber in a Moroccan Carpet shop, but I probably just looked confused and a little resigned. He looked me up and down again and, perhaps noticing my frayed collar and dire need of a hair cut, randomly tapped his calculator again and said, “my mistake, £30”.
Back at the workshop I cut out the remaining sections of frames, then it was back to the boat to remove more screws from the old frames. They look in reasonable condition and though I might feel happier replacing them with new ones, the cost of bronze screws might be prohibitive!
Meanwhile the Oxalic Acid I bought to remove some stains from the cabin trunk has been put to a different use; lighting this kitchen table. It will always be a knotty pine table but after scraping off the accumulated stains of colouring pens, curry, red wine and oil, and a couple of treatments of acid it lost its ‘orange’ hue.
So not a very boat busy summer really, time seems to have compressed it into the blink of an eye, the mornings are dark now on my way to work and the evenings dark on my way back. Looking on the bright side the sky was alight with a sliver of moon and millions of stars this morning, lack of light pollution yet another advantage of living out here in the sticks. Hopefully now the garden is making less demands on my time I’ll get more done. Of course, though there is always something higher up the list of priorities, not all of it is unwelcome…like some actual sailing!