Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Dribs and drabs and everything has come to a halt...

From a position of 'some progress', everything comes to a screaching  halt with the recent pandemic news..

UK is no different to many other countries round the world but with the announcements by the Prime Minister yesteray evening (23rd), the UK went into a lock down.

With no unnecessary travel or movement encouraged, and people told to stay at home wherever possible, it really was no surprise that the lift in was postponed indefinitely, but it still kind of makes it all a bit 'real'...  there's some frightening stuff going on...

Good news is that (unlike some club members.. 😔) I hadn't yet put brush to boat to do the anti foul - the plan was to go down and do it this Friday, so kudos to the club for cancelling as quickly as they did - that's an average saving of fifty to sixty quid a boat...

So what next??  Nothing....  I can't go to the boat, I can't travel, just need to wait for this period to be over, and then we'll revisit... I have some bits of bodging I can get on with ready for the day when we're back on the water, but right now it's beer and book time, and hoping this is all over in time for the Jolly Boys cruise...

Shove it COVID...


Tuesday, 17 March 2020

Dribs and drabs and moving backwards...

For reasons you would have to have been living down a tunnel to have missed - things they are a changing.. and not all for the good....

Let's start with the good news..

The life jackets remained inflated for 24 hours so they are signed off as good, deflated, and repacked..

Now the not so good, or 'maybe', news...  with the announcements yesterday by the UK government of increased and more drastic measures to limit the spread and impact of Covid a whole slew of opportunities have suddenly started closing down and disappearing...  the sailing club is as affected as everyone else, and over the last week have been beavering away coming up with a lift-in plan that limits as much human interaction as possible while still remaining safe..

Fewer boats per day over a longer period of days, the lift-in on board crews have been slashed so that boats will largely make their own way to the moorings..  the sum and the total of this is that I've lost a week as "Sparrow" is scheduled for the first weekend on Sunday 5th...

That focusses the mind..  anti-foul needs to be on a week before launch to allow time for it to harden off, I have a day off already booked for the 27th so it looks like I know what I'll be doing, or maybe not ..

Why not? Grandson lives at home with us - he was sent home from school this morning as he has a cough..  theoretically the whole household now needs to self isolate for two weeks... can't say it's looking good for me to be ready to go in but we shall see nearer the time - if I'm not ready, then it's not the end of the world and there are plenty of people with bigger problems.. 

Stay safe folks, and keep washing those hands..  😬

Monday, 9 March 2020

Dribs and drabs but moving forward..

Progress is slow, but it is progress none the less..

Three named storms in as many weekends has put paid to any start of work on Sparrow up to now - the winds have howled and the rain has clattered..  very dis'incentivising...

Which isn't to say that work isn't going on and visits made..  I went down to the club to step aboard Sparrow this weekend just gone (sunny, but blowing a hooley and cold with it) and have been visiting once or twice a week to make sure she's OK...

Bilges were dry (which I find amazing) also the keel voids, everything looking OK, 14.7V in the battery (so it may be grey but the trickle charger continues to work it's magic) - bought home the cockpit tidy and the mini washboard I mount the GPS on for a bit of love and attention..  this is them just after they first got added to the inventory seven (!) years ago ... GPS mount is now the other side (handier for feeding the DSC radio a signal), but both are in good condition... 

I had an idea last summer to build a seat into the arrangement as one of the best places to sit when under auto pilot is right there, facing forward, out of any weather, but central and able to get to anything in the cabin or cockpit...  thoughts at the moment are to fit a 6" bench type seat on top of the mini washboard, and then test it to see if it is up to the job..

I had an idea to combine both by then bolting the box to the washboard/seat arrangement but I'm leaning towards the idea of keeping it simple and leaving the arrangement as is - I'll give the box another coat of jollop whatever I decide to do


Separately, I have replaced the tender launching trolley with a new (to me) one courtesy eBay - the old one came to me about 7 or 8 years ago for the princely sum of £20 and was well past it's best even then...   made of soft steel, it basically has rusted itself to death despite my coating it with paint every 6 months. Last season one of the support struts for the bar that the tender sits on gave way, so the tender had an alarming tendency to throw itself sideways when pulling it up the shoreline... enough already, so we now have an aluminium folding one for a reasonable price..



That'll do, pig... 

Insurance is paid (no increase in price despite the engine being stolen last summer), club membership and mooring/storage fees have been paid, Chichester Harbour dues paid and the plaques (to attach to the boats) arrived this morning..  oh, and the life-jackets are being serviced (top)..  that'll do for now..

..the countdown clock has appeared - that always focuses the mind.. 

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Mariner fettling...

....spot of time in the garage this morning, learning stuff...

I am not a mechanic...   repeat, I am not a mechanic...  I know little to nothing about engines, I never owned cars as a younger Steve the Wargamer, that I would strip and rebuild at weekends, I never owned a motorbike or a moped..  so I repeat, this is new and exciting stuff for me, and if you have done all the previous stuff you'll be bored rigid with the following and I would suggest moving on to the next blog..   

So as previously posted, the little Mariner was not behaving best at the end of last season, starting was poor, it would go and then gently die out... repeated starting until it got warm would 'resolve' the issue, and then it would run as usual... but clearly not optimal...

Add to this that it is now 3 months since the end of the last season and therefore the fuel in the tank is older, and I have a pathological fear of stale fuel feeding through the engine and causing more problems, so today was the first step in remedying the two "issues"..

Drain the fuel...   now I had envisioned just siphoning it out, but didn't have any suitable tube , so decided to be more adventurous...

Whip the cowl off and you have the following view..

Mariner 3.3HP - single cylinder - 2 stroke
Fuel tank is held in place by two bolts - one at the front (ringed) and one at the back (arrow'ed)  - simple bolt/washer/spring washer...  mild steel by the look so I cleaned these up as I had them out..

Before..

Once these are out the tank is free, and you can get more easily at the only other connector to the main body of the engine - the fuel feed...

Fuel feed...
Better picture of it following..  spigot, clamped to the cutoff valve, which in turn connects to the fuel feed pipe to the engine..  fuel feed pipe has a little spring clip to hold it in place... just slip the spring up and disconnect the fuel feed pipe to remove the tank completely..

I've just partially disconnected the pipe at this stage, hose spring clip slid up..
After that the tank was just up ended over a bucket with the last drops of fuel drained via the cutoff valve..   quick clean up of the bolts and washers and I reassembled...  job done..

After..
Change the spark plug...

I have had success in the past [clicky] from just changing the plug so as a first step this is as good as any..  and my thinking is starting is ok, and becomes OK after warming up - now that doesn't seem to me to be a carburettor problem....  "warming up" might be a spark issue, either way, going the path of least resistance, I changed the plug...  old one following...


.. really neat little access area for the plug on the Mariner...

Spark plug removed..
...it's at the back of the engine (opposite end to the pull cord) has a little drop down hatch ...  secured by two lugs (ringed) just lever it down gently giving access to the spark plug and lead - pull the lead  off to give access to the  plug which is in the hole arrow'ed (before you take it out, clearly.. )

New plug installed - lead reattached - and we're good for a trip down to the water tank at the club for a test run at some point..

Carburettor bowl drain hole/screw
Stupid I know but I was most gratified by that mornings work..  not only that I can see where the carb is, and I have also found the carburettor bowl drain hole/screw which is a cinch to get at should I need to...

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Here we go...

... Christmas vouchers have jump started the new season prep... 

First off...   stunning value, but more especially comes with the flexible drive shaft included also cutting disks..  this will be used all over, but specifically, will come in  handy for that little job on the outboard lifting lugs [clicky]...


Had one of these before and it was a bit of a ba*ls ache locking and unlocking it because of the fact that the engine sits in a well and with the lock on the underneath of the bolt you have to slip the key (and hand) in between bottom of well and bottom of lock - I'm not quite so precious about it now, and if necessary I'll cut an access hole in the bottom of the well.. 


...next - the last one was stolen with the old motor but but it was good enough quality that I have ordered a replacement... I'll be taking the engine cowling home with me after each sail, so I am hoping that this (along with the lock) is an added disincentive to nicking the new engine..

 ..last of all - time to stock the spares box..  spare spark plug for the new engine..

....first job - change the pug on the little Mariner - she was being a bit of a b*tch to get going at the end of last season, once she'd warmed up though she was good (LOL...  just re-read that...)..  I'm thinking that implies the plug is knackered..  I have a spare so will change it and see if it makes a difference. Once I get it going I then need to drain the old fuel from the tank ready for next season, or handing back to Julian - whichever comes first...