27 December 2008

Final touches

The Repowering Project: Day 33, last day (Sunday)

The engineer investigated the problem with the starter solenoid, and found that the modification to the electrics to make the engine "above earth" had a minor logic error. The solenoid was earthed to the engine rather than the negative pole of the battery. Since the engine is only earthed when the starter solenoid is operating, this created a Catch-22 where the solenoid was only earthed if it had already connected, which it couldn't until it was earthed. What remains unexplained is how it worked even occasionally - the engineer thinks it is some capacitance effect.

That was the good news. Later in the day when the engineer was finishing off the job of securing all the new cables and pipes to make sure they stay where they should, he noticed to his horror that there was water dripping slowly but steadily from the platform on which the new water trap is mounted. His first thought was that the hose clamps on the exhaust needed tightening, but as the mate was assisting with this operation, she pointed out that there couldn't be that much water remaining in the exhaust line hours after the engine had last run. The water had to be coming from the water trap itself. Could it be leaking at the bottom, she asked, thinking that this was a horrible prospect. However this reminded the engineer that, right where the water was appearing, the water trap has a small tap which allows it to be drained. The manual helpfully tells you that you should use the tap to drain the tank when you "lay up for the winter", assuming that you are sailing in waters that freeze over. What it fails to say is "ensure that the tap is firmly off before installing the trap, especially if it is going to be almost inaccessible after installation". The engineer had to do very clever things with socket wrench extensions to get to the tap, but he finally succeeded in turning it off hard, and to our relief, the dripping duly stopped.

By late evening we had the boat in reasonable order again, ready for our return to Melbourne for Christmas. There are of course still things to be done, but she is sufficiently ship-shape to sail.


20 December 2008

E-day at last

The Repowering Project: Day 32 (Saturday)

The observant reader will notice that there has been a gap of some days between posts. We really thought on Monday that the engine mght be started up on Tuesday. It was duly moved into place that day, bolted down and connected up to the propshaft and the throttle control, but then Keith and the engineer found that the exhaust exit on the engine couldn't quite be lined up with the entry to the new water trap. Jason took away his adapted fitting at about 1630 Tuesday afternoon and returned with it fixed early Wednesday morning. The rest of the week seemed to consist of daily trips to Brierley Hoses to get yet another bit of hose or yet another fitting as the engineer connected up the exhaust, the salt water system, the fuel lines, the freshwater cooling system, and all the electrical systems. The mate helped by driving on the trips for more bits, writing lists, tidying up, sorting things. She repacked all the storage hatches in the lazarette which had been emptied during the project, and put the Danbuoy back in its place.

Murphy gave a hand at this point: our new magazine rack chose a moment when everyone had their heads in the engine compartment to fall gently off the wall, and just as the mate was about to head off to the airport to return to Melbourne for a couple of days, the galley pump died. In her absence the engineer fixed it, as well as working away on the connecting exercise and rationalising a lot of plumbing and wiring in the process. By the time she returned late Friday evening, there were only a few connections left, and he finished these around midnight.
On Saturday morning we were just finishing off the mounting of the instrument panel when Keith rang to ask whether we would be ready for the final test later in the morning. The panel was mounted, the salt water cooling system primed and the seacock turned on. Keith arrived, did a final check of oil and water and that everything was on that should be on, and then the Moment had Arrived.

Captain and mate went on deck to turn the key. From Stop, to On, to Start and ... nothing! There seems to be a minor issue with the above-earth starter solenoid, which makes the start up a bit temperamental, but after a couple of goes we got the long anticipated rumble of a big diesel. Keith and the engineer checked everything was going according to plan, we turned her on and off a few times and tested the revs, and then it was time to shake Keith's hand and thank him for a brilliant job.

Captain and mate repaired for a celebratory coffee, then realised that it was almost dead calm and conditions were perfect for getting the boat back in the berth. So we skipped lunch, cleared the cockpit for action, slipped our lines, pushed her off the Slipping Berth and purred out in reverse. No drama.

Once out in the Derwent we headed down past the Garrow towards Taroona, then across to Ralph's Bay trying out the engine's paces. Nahani did 8kt at 2600 revs, gets to hull speed of around 8.5 kt before you get to max engine revs (3250 revs). We did wheelies in the water and found her turning circle considerably reduced. We headed back at a steady 6.5 kt, 2000 revs. She'll achieve a comfortable 5 kt cruising pace at around 1800 revs. It isn't exactly whisper-quiet at 2000 revs, but we're hoping to further reduce the noise when we complete the soundproofing (still need to do the inside of the inspection hatches, the back of the steps, and the roof above the day tank).

Berthing is always tricky, especially when you're getting used to an engine with very different characteristics, and the prop walk is the opposite of what you're used to. We had a moment when we were diagonally across the mouth of the berth, having a close encounter with a pile, but the captain backed her slowly, repositioned her a bit, and glided in, only needing to manage a bit of fending off of someone's dinghy as he lined her up. A couple of people assisted by passing us lines and we were securely berthed after the maiden voyage of the new engine, which has been nicknamed Roger after the character in Arthur Ransome's books.

Just as we were thinking about overdue lunch, Rolf and Deborah arrived with home-baked bagels and home-cured gravlax. We opened a bottle of bubbly and had a splendid celebratory lunch.

Now all we have to do is clean up...


16 December 2008

Pre E-day

The Repowering Project, Day 27 (Monday)

As if I didn't have enough to do eating, sleeping and washing, now they want me to blog as well. Seems they're too stuffed or something. I have to say that things improved significantly today. For a start it was a nice sunny day for me to enjoy a snooze on deck. He re-assembled and re-erected the wind generator, which got the side deck clear for the first time in weeks. That seemed to take him a long time and a lot of muttering to get it fixed in place. Meanwhile she was footling about in the guest cabin. Then they got that big box out of the cockpit and back into the lazarette, and this huge black curly hose thing stuffed down beside it. Seemed to be a lot of noise and sawdust everywhere - must have been cutting holes in things to get that hose in. And they cut another bit of board, and chopped a bit off the mattress with a knife. At the end of the day they had mattress back and the guest cabin back in shape, so I can get back in there for a snooze, and all the seaberths are finally free for a cat to sit or lie on. And they've turned the hot water back on, so I can retreat to a warm spot in the cupboard beside it. I've got pretty used to going up on deck via the engine - sometimes it seems easier than scrambling up the companionway steps. Life is definitely improving (Sake)


14 December 2008

Exhausted! Well, almost...

The Repowering Project: Day 25&26 (Weekend)

Weather miserable, raining nearly all day. Engineer spent the morning in the back of the guest cabin and leaning over the day tank re-routing the port side rear cockpit drain. Then he began work on the platform to support the water trap. Gods on our side again - he found two nice heavy stainless steel brackets almost the perfect size and shape in the bosuns scrap bin. Slight setback when he realised that the web on to which they are to be mounted is not vertical, so they need to be bent, no simple matter. Rain finally stopped in the evening, allowing us to open the lazarette to mount the skin fitting for the exhaust hose. Captain on the outside, mate on the inside tightening up the bolts when another rain squall came through, leaving the captain distinctly damp and adding wet clothes to the chaos below decks.

Early Sunday prepared to go back in the water. Fitted one end of the exhaust hose to the skin fitting, leaving the rest looped around in the lazarette. Engineer found that he could bend the brackets in the bosuns' workshop using a large spanner and a vice (well he is a vice-president). Back to platform construction.

Mate meanwhile has measured and cut a few more bits of soundproofing to be put in place once the motor is permanently in place, passed bits and pieces to the engineer as requested and tried to keep the ship in some sort of order.

Sake says:
Not trying nearly hard enough if you ask me. Can't jump on the starboard seaberth any more because it's occupied by tools, boxes, wet clothes, dirty washing. And no sensible cat would go on deck as the wind would blow your whiskers off. I did go for a walk late last night when they went for a shower - wasn't wet but very cold - had some trouble relocating Nahani as all the boats look much the same to me from underneath.

Later Nahani was relaunched without real drama, although gusty winds made pulling her out of the cradle on the slip and round the corner to the slipping berth fairly hard work for us, Danny and two helpers. Work continued without much change, except that it was very nice being able to step from boat to the jetty, instead of climbing up and down the ladder.


13 December 2008

Of flying pigs and cats on mats

The Repowering Project: Day 24 (Friday)

While the engineer was in Melbourne being re-elected as Vice President of the Royal Society of Victoria, the mate did the anti-fouling and put another coat on the newly cut surfaces. Part way through the new exhaust hose was delivered by Nick from the RYCT office - ordered on Monday it arrived on Friday. The mate had told the bosuns that we might get it on Friday, but probability was low - flying pigs were mentioned. One must have flown past (or the kindly gods are still living in Tasmania).

On the engineer's return, we went in search of hose fittings for the relocation of the cockpit hose and started that project. As rain was forecast for Saturday, the mate put the last coats of paint on the wind generator and the repaired front of the lazarette.

And now, Sake the cat would like a word.

Meeeoww! When are they going to get this #*@! boat back in order? The only bits that are as usual are their bed and my bed, and they had better not mess with that. To get to my food dish I have to crawl past the engine, my alternate resting place in the guest cabin is unavailable because the mattress and bedding are all in the saloon, my sand tray is almost inaccessible behind the companionway steps which are in the forward cabin, I'm missing my evenings sitting at the dining table with them as the table seems to have been turned into a workbench and meals are off, except for breakfast which is not very interesting (no meat, no wine). Then he went off and she spent half the evening sitting in the engine compartment cleaning and sticking up tape - what kind of night is that? I sat on the mat on the engine to inspect her work, but you couldn't call it comfortable. I have enjoyed a couple of mornings in the sun in the cockpit, but there's a huge box out of the lazarette in the middle of that and people keep putting tools and other bits and pieces on my sheepskin rug. If I want a walk, she has to carry me down the ladder and although I can climb back up by myself, it isn't easy for a cat of my advanced years. Sometimes, when they're doing work on deck, they seem to turn off all the electricity, including my heater pad. It just isn't up to my expectations and they'd better get things back to normal Real Soon Now.


11 December 2008

Paint jobs

The Repowering Project: Day 23 (Thursday)

Removed some of our newly mounted soundproofing to squeeze in our huge new water trap. The engineer did some planning for the mounting of the trap, and cut out the platform for it before flying off to Melbourne for a meeting. The mate cleaned the engine compartment (again - Perkins oil is persistent), painted the cut edges of the cut down web in the engine compartment and the enlarged hole for the exhaust, painted the wind generator and the patched instrument panel, painted the water trap platform, and finished the day by cleaning the last bits of slime off the hull ready for patching of the anti-fouling. The prop has been anti-fouled with PropSpeed - another paint job but this one done by the Bilge Rats.


10 December 2008

Nahani puts on weight (engine mounts in place)

The Repowering Project: Day 22 (Wednesday)

Day started well - up early, Keith & Jason arrived with the engine mounts beautifully painted and ready for installation (see picture). With the mounts in place, bolted to the old mounts and with the engine sitting on top, the engine lined up well, not only the drive from the gearbox with the prop shaft, but also the exhaust outlet and water trap. Keith and Jason suitably surprised and pleased. We worked out appropriate solutions for supporting the water trap, and re-routing the cockpit drains in the guest cabin in order to make room for the exhaust. The engine came out again to give us room to work on implementing these.

Next step was to get the hole drilled in the transom for the exhaust. Jason started with a hole saw, but it wasn't coping so he had to drill all the way round the new 100mm diameter hole, which took ages. We had planned to put something below the hole to catch the metal fragments as the hole was cut, but failed to remember at the critical moment, so much of the afternoon was spent extracting teeny bits of metal from the bottom of the lazarette using magnet and vacuum cleaner. With the final lining up of the engine now checked, the prop could be fitted and the engineer had major problems getting it all lined up, snapping a spanner in the process. But it did finally get done. When not assisting with something else, the mate got some cleaning and sanding work done, ready for a whole lot of painting jobs, now scheduled for Thursday.


09 December 2008

Lows and highs

The Repowering Project: Days 20&21 (Monday/Tuesday)

Monday not a good day, so no blog. With the engine pretty much in place, we'd spent time over the weekend with the catalogs trying to work out what size and shape of water trap would fit. Final check with Keith when he came to shift the engine out again, and we were ready to order on Monday at about lunchtime. When we rang, the helpful people at Vetus queried our choice of hose size - didn't we need 90mm rather than 75mm they asked? The engineer decided to check with Yanmar, who said they actually recommended 100mm! By then we'd ordered a 75mm hull fitting, and had the 75mm hose cut. Rapid reverse - we ordered a 100mm hull fitting, hose and water trap with 100mm inlet/outlet. Rather subdued, we spent the evening doing a final check fit and trim of the soundproofing panels. At least the weather was warm and sunny, and the mate finally got the wind generator painted, primed all the newly cut wood in the lazarette and bogged up the hole left by the removal of the old engine cut-off cable.

To our surprise and relief, the water trap and hull fitting arrived by air freight first thing Tuesday. We got started on the soundproofing early, taking breaks regularly so that we didn't get too high on contact adhesive. By tea time we had all the panels glued and screwed in place, and some of the various pipes and cables back in place on the walls. In one of the breaks from gluing, the engineer, ,using a saw kindly lent by Keith cut out part of the web which used to hold the Scatra coupling to make more room for the new water trap. Pictures of water trap and soundproofing are in the web album.


07 December 2008

Ready for a big week

The Repowering Project: Days 18 & 19 (weekend)

Saturday morning brought Jason & Keith. Mounts were inspected, engine raised, mounts removed to Jason's truck, re-sculpted, brought back up, put in place, and then Keith and Jason began the delicate business of lining up everything, with the ship's engineer below adjusting the prop. Once everything was aligned to their satisfaction and the mounts marked for the bolt holes, the engine was raised again, mounts removed, replaced on wooden blocks, and Keith & Jason left. Jason will now bore all the necessary holes and then have them painted, ready for final refit.

In the afternoon the captain and mate shared the laborious task of cleaning the prop hub, ready for a coat of PropSpeed. We've seen enough props out of the water on boats in the yard that have had this treatment and are completely pristine - no plant or animal life at all - to decide it's worth the investment.

Sunday we had the luxury of a later start. We spent most of the day emptying the lazarette ready for adaptation for the new exhaust system. We also made a cardboard cut-out version of the water trap most likely to fit, and are now sufficiently confident to order it and the exhaust hose.


06 December 2008

A few more pieces in place...

The Repowering Project: Day 17 (Friday)

Woke to steady rain, found that we'd been visited early by Jason who'd left the engine mount brackets and a fibreglass water trap at the foot of the ladder. The brackets are made of 10mm steel and look like they could hold up the Sydney Harbour bridge - seriously heavy. Keith appeared not long after, we hauled the new mounts up the ladder, lifted the engine and tried it in place on the mounts. Found that the mounts would need some minor adjustment to clear the bell housing. Left them in place under the engine so that Jason could come Saturday to measure up for the change. With the engine back in the compartment we had companionway steps again, which made the rest of the day much more comfortable and allowed us to clean up a bit.

The second hand water trap turned out to be a bit too large, so that problem remained unsolved. On our daily lunch/shopping trip we bought screws and adhesive to attach the soundproofing, and on return the mate cut the the pieces of soundproofing to fit the roof while the engineer did the cut-out in the front of the lazarette to take the instrument panel, and cut out the panel in the lazarette to provide access to cut the bigger hole for the new exhaust.

Graham, a boatie who passed by to talk to Keith, turned out to have a brand-new Vetus water trap that was surplus to his requirements, so he brought it down for us to try. This one turned out to be too small. We thought of putting two in series, but that won't work either, so we are still considering out options.

Weather cleared to a warm afternoon and an evening so balmy that the cat insisted on going for an evening stroll around the dinghy sheds. He's proved that at 18 he can still climb up the ladder to get back aboard.


04 December 2008

Shhhh! Soundproofing

The Repowering Project: Day 16 (Thursday)

Fine weather at last, but where were we? Stuck inside fitting the soundproofing. So far we've cut all the pieces to do the sides of the engine compartment. Sound simple? Wrong. For a start there are cross-braces, so each side has an upper and lower piece. Then there are all kinds of intrusions - webs coming up from the floor, the shelf for the batteries coming in from the aft end of the compartment, and one side and the floor are angled rather than straight. Much careful measuring, measuring, measuring, crouched in awkward positions in the engine compartment. Then measuring up the soundproofing material, marking, measuring again, then cutting with a Stanley knife, which is hard work - the Vybar we are using is tough stuff. We swapped crouching and cutting roles, so as not to get too much cramp or RSI.

Then you have to wrestle the cut sheet into position behind all the pipes and cables, and correctly positioning the cutouts. For the upper pieces this proved so difficult that we had to cut each one into two. Finally, we had to cut holes in the lower pieces for the access hatches on either side, retaining the cut out bit to stick on the back of the hatch cover. It took us most of the day, with a short break for lunch.

In the process of crawling around and moving pipes and cables, the engineer realised that some more bits of electrical cabling would need to be moved, and that the new exhaust will require a bit of carpentry in the floor of the lazarette to allow it to pass under the cockpit drains. His evening was spent relocating the splitter (a device which allow the alternator to charge two sets of batteries independently).

Keith came by early this morning and attached the adjusted cotton reel to the back of the engine - one more piece in place. We also ordered the through hull fitting for the exhaust pipe - another piece on its way.

Fine weather not entirely wasted - another coat of paint on the Danbuoy.


03 December 2008

Of couplings and "cotton reels"

The Repowering Project: Day 15 (Wednesday)

No blogs for the last two days because the mate has been attending a radio operators course, so spent the time usually allocated to blogging studying, attending lectures or sitting the exam. Hopefully she has succeeded in obtaining her Marine Radio Operator Certificate of Proficiency.

Weather continues wet, windy and freezing. However the project inched forward. Keith and Jason arrived at around 0830 this morning. Keith had the "cotton reel" made up by Scotty, which goes between the prop shaft and the engine. Keith, Jason and Peter shifted the engine around so that they could check that all the bits would fit together as planned, and so that Jason could get precise measurements for the wedge-shaped struts that will sit on the old engine beds. In the process they discovered that the flexible coupling they were planning to use couldn't be placed where they wanted it, and so it will be exchanged for a different one which will fit between cotton reel and shaft, instead of between engine and cotton reel. At the end of these proceedings the engine was left in the cabin at the bottom of the companionway, so that we can start lining the engine compartment with soundproofing material.

Meanwhile, in the area of general maintenance the mate managed to get one coat of paint on the Danbuoy in a break between rain squalls. Mate and captain went out for some lunch, and to look for the key parts of the exhaust system: a water trap (aka muffler or pongbox), exhaust hose and a stainless steel through hull fitting for the hose to go through to the open air. We have just about decided what to use and where to get it, but flinching at the costs. (We are reminded that BOAT stands for Bring Out Another Thousand.)

Earlier this week, on Monday, Keith provided a "puller" to get the prop off the shaft, and we packed it and sent it Express Post to Autostream in Melbourne. They received it Tuesday, swapped the blades for bigger ones, and it came back via Express Post this morning. We've fitted it back on to the shaft and to our relief our calculations were all OK - the blades clear the skeg comfortably in all positions. This upgrades the prop size from 18" to 20".

In the last couple of days we've also cleared out one side of the lazarette where the exhaust pipe goes from engine compartment through the lazarette and out through a hole in the transom. The engineer pulled out the old exhaust pipe, and with considerable effort removed a large John valve which allowed the exhaust to be shut off, but which we've been advised is unnecessary. This is all part of clearing the way for installation of a larger diameter exhaust hose and the cutting of an appropriately larger hole in the transom.

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01 December 2008

Circumnavigation without power

The Repowering Project: Days 11&12 (weekend)

We were only circumnavigating the marina, not the world, but it was still a challenge, made much easier because we had three real circumnavigators assisting: Rolf and Deborah from Northern Light, Horacio and Lisa from Nada and Dave Cerutty, a local who made his round trip some years back. The decision to swap the engines over with the boat in the water meant that we had to get it out of the pen, right round the marina and into the cradle for the slip without power. Typically, everyone came to help. Danny the bosun, Danny's dad Ridley and a couple of others were in the workboat. Rolf and Horacio (whom Rolf and Deborah already knew from sailing in South America) were in a big inflatable with 40hp. Deborah, Horacio's wife Lisa, friend Brian and son Didi were aboard Nahani with the captain and mate, and Dave, Bill and John were at the wharf by the slip to help us pull in to the wharf, and then manoevre her round the corner and into the slip cradle.

Getting her out of the pen was tricky as the wind was blowing her in and Danny had to wait for a lull to get the workboat into the appropriate position. Another helpful couple of passers-by thoughtfully unhooked the bridle from the anchor as we came out. The hardest part was getting her turned around and out past the rocks, and we had one anxious moment when she drifted sideways back toward the stern of an elegant little fibreglass number called Wombat, but Deborah was there with a big ball fender to hold us off while Rolf pushed in the inflatable and the workboat slowly pulled us round. The captain did a first class job of steering, the mate had almost nothing to do but to throw lines to tow boats and helpers on the wharf at critical moments. What was particularly notable was that despite the fact that we had over a dozen helpers, all of them were so experienced that there was hardly any problem with who was giving orders to whom - everyone just did what needed doing.

So by midday Sunday Nahani was safely up on the hard stand in her cradle. On Saturday the engineer had found someone to make up starter cables, and on Sunday afternoon our priority was to get the prop off the shaft ready to send back to Melbourne to have larger blades fitted. We got all but the base off, which meant we could work on getting the old blades nice and clean. We'll borrow a "puller" from Keith to get the base off the prop and can then send it all on Monday.