28 November 2008

A lay day

The Repowering Project: Day 10 (Friday)

No engine action on the boat, though we know that somewhere Jason and Scotty are at work on their pieces of the project.

This morning we lined up our car fleet in the carpark: Maisie the amazing Mazda, Dodo the venerable Volvo, and the new green machine, the Renault, which has been nicknamed Gigi. We cleaned out the Volvo, which we will now advertise for sale, moved the soundproofing into the Mazda for temporary storage until we are ready to fit it in the engine compartment. We were then able to reinstate the back seats in the Renault, which had been made into a truck for the transport of the 1.2m long soundproofing sheets. Next we spent a happy hour or so reading the handbook and trying all the knobs and buttons, before taking Gigi for a spin up to North Hobart via Repco for starter cable, having lunch, then returning via Lower Sandy Bay shops. Weather still too wet and cold for outdoor maintenance tasks, so we are trying to straighten up the mess below decks.


Progressive problem-solving

The Repowering Project: Day 9 (Thursday)

With the new lugs fitted, Keith and Jason lifted the engine and established the correct position using blocks of wood from the hard stand area. Jason measured these temporary wedges, and will now make up wedge shaped metal frames that will bolt on top of the existing engine beds, and on which the new engine will be mounted.

The next key player to arrive was Scotty Seabrook, who makes up the "cotton reel": a piece of steel shaped like a bobbin which bolts on to the engine on one side, and the prop shaft on the other. The mate arrived back at the boat in time to meet Scotty as he completed his measuring tasks.

While in Melbourne on Tuesday the mate had picked up her newly-purchased car : a 2002 Renault Scénic. On Wednesday she collected and cut up 4 sheets of Acoustica Vybar soundproofing, and returned via the Spirit of Tasmania with it and the cat packed into the new car, driving down from Devonport on Thursday morning.


Now for the real work

The Repowering Project: Day 8 (Wednesday)

Although it is the most dramatic part and visible part of the project, getting the old engine out and the new one in the boat is only the beginning. After that come the skilled exercises of lining up engine and prop shaft, then refitting all the pipes: fuel lines, cooling system, exhaust; the electrical wiring to and from batteries and to the instruments; connection of control cables for the throttle; and so on.

The existing engine beds slope down toward the stern, as the Perkins was lined up directly with the prop shaft, attached with a scatra coupling. The new Yanmar engine has an 8 degree down angle in the gearbox, so that the engine has to be level rather than sloping backward. Keith and Jason returned today to work out how to fix the engine in place at the right angle. They discovered that they couldn't lift the back of the engine up as required using slings, so Jason went off to make up lifting lugs to go on the back of the engine.

Labels: , ,

Successful swap: one out, one in

The Repowering Project: Day 7 (Tuesday)

Tuesday was fine, not too windy, and we prepared ourselves for the interesting task of getting Nahani across to the dinghy wharf without power. The captain and mate had devised various ways of doing it with ropes, but the bosuns brought the work boat round to tow us over. This proved no easy task, and without the help of Rolf and Deborah aboard Nahani, the mate in the dinghy to take a rope ashore at the critical moment, and a kind passer-by to take it and pull her in, we would never have got there. But finally we were securely tied up, ready for Keith to come and manage the engine exchange.

Vic Belbin, the Perkins' new owner arrived with ute and trailer, ready to collect his purchase. Keith arrived at about midday, bosun Ron drove the crane on the wharf, and the Perkins was hoisted up, swung out past the backstays and the new radar antenna, and out on to Vic's trailer. We added all the spares collected first by Steve, then by the captain over the years since the engine went into Nahani, and finally Vic had the Perkins secure and ready to go.

Meanwhile, Keith had uncrated the Yanmar, which he had picked up for us and brought on his trailer. He moved his ute and trailer where Vic's had been, fitted slings around the new engine and we reversed the process with the crane, this time putting the new engine on to a plank in the cockpit, ready to move it in under the doghouse and lower it down into the boat. At this point, the mate had to leave to catch a flight to Melbourne, so the rest of this blog is based on the captain's recollections, as told to the mate on her return.

Using the same techniques that were used to get the Perkins out, the Yanmar was slid inwards on the plank, suspended from the hatch above the companionway, lowered to the cabin sole, then slid backwards on to the engine beds, temporarily in position.

The captain thought he might have to wait until the next morning to take the boat back to the berth, but later in the afternoon Rolf and Deborah returned with a 150m length of Spectra rope that they used to tie up to the shore in Patagonia, and used the dinghy to take the rope from Nahani back to the berth. The boat was then pulled gently over and into the berth, using the anchor winch. Easy, when you have expert assistance!


25 November 2008

Captain right, mate wrong

The Repowering Project: Day 6 (Monday)

The captain was right, the mate wrong. Too wet this morning, too windy this afternoon. Hoping for better weather tomorrow.


22 November 2008

Getting ready...

The Repowering Project: Days 4&5 (Weekend)

Weather on Saturday not as wet as Friday, but still inclement, so after a shopping trip for supplies and an early lunch, we spent the afternoon below decks. The engine compartment is now clean enough to eat off, and the Aquadrive, the last piece of our old power system, has been removed. We've begun packing it and all the engine bits ready for despatch to their new owners. We measured up the now empty engine compartment and emailed an order for Vybar soundproofing material from Australian company Acoustica.

Sunday was almost rain-free, so the mate could get on with sanding the wind generator, which is being refurbished. The engineer meanwhile did more work on tidying up the old wiring and plumbing around the engine, and repainted the engine compartment floor. At the end of the day we ran out of things to do and went to the pictures.

Meanwhile we're anxiously watching the weather forecasts. The mate, who is an optimist, thinks the engine swap will happen Monday, but the captain thinks it will be too windy and we'll have to wait until Tuesday. Watch this blog to find out who's right.

Labels: , ,

21 November 2008

Success squared! (The gods still live in Tasmania)

The Repowering Project: Day 3 (Friday)

Awoke to bright sunshine, up early and ready for Keith by 8:30am. Keith tied rope slings round the engine, which were then attached to three chain blocks (really "come-alongs") rigged from the hatch over the companionway, and we slowly started to lift the Perkins from its bed. The engineer supplied most of the muscle (so he can now say he personally lifted the engine out of his boat) while Keith gave directions and adjusted the lifting tackle from time to time. First the engine came up, then forward out of the engine compartment, then up again until it was clear of the board at the top of the companionway. Keith then inserted a plank under it, sloping back into the cockpit, moved some of the lifting tackle back to the back of the doghouse roof, and gradually edged the motor back until it was over the cockpit. Remove the plank, lower slowly and hey presto! the motor is sitting comfortably on a board on the cockpit floor, ready for final removal. All by 11am. The engineer was delighted, as he has been anxious about the removal for weeks. But we shifted all 300kg out without any damage to the boat - just some minor disturbance of the non-skid stuck along the edge of the doghouse roof. We are very impressed with Keith's skill and patient work.

After a celebratory coffee at the yacht club, the engineer spent a couple of hours cleaning the engine compartment and starting preparations for the new engine. We stopped for lunch at 1:30pm, enjoyed a meal in the sun, and just as we decided to make a quick trip into town the heavens opened and from then on it poured all afternoon. We felt so relieved that the engine was already out.

Just to round off a perfect day, we had a call from Vic Belbin later in the afternoon to say that he wanted to buy the old motor and gearbox. We had a beer with Rolf and Deborah from Northern Light to celebrate.

So faithful Kieren (as Steve and Chrisy nicknamed the Perkins) is off to a new home on Monday. Weather permitting, we will tow Nahani across to the wharfside crane, lift Keiren out, put the Yanmar in, then return to the pen under tow (which will be challenging). The forecast is for showers clearing Monday morning, so we may have to defer that operation until Tuesday. Meanwhile there is plenty to do: measuring up for the sound-deadening that we are going to install, more cleaning, relocating some items while the engineer has free access to the inside of the engine compartment, all of which can be done even if the present soggy weather continues all weekend.

Labels: , ,

20 November 2008

Rain stopped play

The Repowering Project: Day 2 (Thursday)

We awoke to steady rain which continued all day. Bother! Keith contacted us to say he didn't work in the wet and to ring him if it let up, but it didn't.

The rain finally paused at about 5:30 and we managed to get the old instruments (tachometer, oil pressure and temperature gauges) disconnected and demounted before it started up again. The engineer is pleased to find that the new instrument panel will probably fit neatly over all the holes left after removal of the old instruments. We'll find out tomorrow or Saturday if he is right.

More showers forecast for tomorrow, but hopefully they'll hold off for long enough for us to make some real progress on engine removal.

Labels: , , ,

19 November 2008

The Repowering Project begins...

Day 1 (Wednesday)

We sat in the RYCT for 3 weeks waiting patiently for someone to come and look at the Perkins (see the previous post), but it wasn't until we returned to Melbourne that we received a call from someone who was interested enough to want to do so. After a very hectic week in Melbourne and a late flight to Hobart, we were still in our PJs this morning when first Keith Smith, who is going to do the changeover, then Vic Belbin, hopefully a prospective buyer, came knocking at Nahani.

Keith and colleague Jason spent some time looking over the engine compartment and discussing how best to manage the changeover while the captain talked to Vic about Perkins engines. Vic has one of his own, and is principally interested because he would like to swap our gearbox for his current one, as it rotates the drive shaft the other way. He may also consider taking the engine as well, as it gives him a complete collection of spare parts, or even a complete spare engine, should his fail or need a major rework. We're hopeful.

Vic and Peter then talked about Perkins engines and boats in general over coffee until it was close to lunchtime. The cook went ashore for provisions, the engineer started on the interesting, and at times challenging, task of disconnecting everything attached to the engine. On a marine engine, this is no simple task. Not only are there obvious things like exhaust systems and cooling systems, but there are heat exchangers to heat the hot water, connections to and from the battery banks that provide the boat with power when not on 240v, etc. The cooling system itself is more complex than a non-marine engine as the salt water used to cool the engine doesn't actually circulate through it, but cools a sealed freshwater system via a heat exchanger. So there are many, many pipes, wires, pumps and fittings to be unscrewed and unbolted and cleared out of the way. The mate had the less glamorous jobs of cleaning up the residual oil in the drip tray, emptying buckets of water drained from the cooling systems, etc.

By 7pm the companionway steps which sit in front of the engine compartment were back in place, and the cook was able to get the dinner. Somehow the engineer has found some more things to undo since then, and is back in the shed with spanners and screwdrivers. But we've already contacted Keith to tell him all is going well with the first phase, and so tomorrow morning the delicate exercise of hoisting the Perkins out will begin. Watch this blog to find out how it goes!

Labels: , ,

06 November 2008

Messing about in boats

We've been back on board Nahani for 2 weeks, and it's been bliss. Hobart weather is mild, mostly lovely sunny days with just the occasional grey and showery one. We've been doing long overdue boat maintenance, and installing some of our most recently purchased toys.

The new Seiwa radar antenna is now adorning the jungle gym, and after hours of fiddling with the wiring, the engineer has finally got the radar operating properly with our Seiwa Explorer3 chartplotter - we can now overlay the radar picture on the chart, which makes it much easier to interpret the radar plot. The more we use the Seiwa gear, the happier we are with it.

As part of that process, we have taken the jungle gym and back rails down so that the maintenance chief could deal with some minor rust spots where the stainless steel rails are bolted to the mild steel plates in the scuppers. He is using plastic grommets in the holes the bolts fit into to stop the problem recurring.

When not holding up bits of the jungle gym in the dismantling or re-erection process, the mate has been sanding some more of the teak, as we are progressively changing from treating the teak with a oil/stain combination, to using straight oil.

When the weather has been murky, we've spent time emptying lockers, re-organising the contents, removing things which don't get used, and generally cleaning and tidying.

Since our arrival in Hobart we've been actively advertising the Perkins engine and the Aquadrive. The latter is sold, and we've had 3 enquiries about the engine. It appears in the paper version of the Trading Post today, so we may get more enquiries over the weekend.

The only thing that we're not so happy about down here is that our aged Volvo, having served us as a boat car all the way to Queensland and back, and then taken us from Melbourne to Hobart via the Spirit of Tasmania and a leisurely drive, is finally suffering from what we fear is a terminal illness. Peter is planning to get a second opinion from a mechanic today, but unless it turns out to be something simple and cheap, we may have to take her to a final resting place somewhere. In the meantime, we've borrowed the old faithful Maisie Mazda from cousing Claire.

Back on the upside, we watched the US elections with great interest and are much relieved by the result. We celebrated with Rolf Bjelke and Deborah Shapiro on their famous boat Northern Light (see http://www.amazon.ca/Time-Ice-Winter-Voyage-Antarctica/dp/product-description/0071353224), which is currently berthed just across the jetty from us.