Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Bursill 1 Anode 0

Well the weekend of 3rd/4th March ended in victory but it was a close run thing.

To start with the padlock gremlins returned. I'd left the keys on board in the cockpit so Tim at the yard could get in. Having retrieved them, I just could not open the companion way padlock and became convinced that he'd removed the key for some reason and left it elsewhere. So out came the hacksaw and yet another padlock bit the dust.

Once we gained entry, Mick weighed in with his finely honed analytical mind and after 4 hours, having considered a number of issues and options that I had completely overlooked,  he concluded we should carry on chipping and drilling at the blockage!

Admiral Bursill in his slops

The engine is a Bukh C10 sporting a massive flywheel and in most respects is a great piece of marine engineering with most parts that need servicing being easy to get to. The anode however is most inconveniently located at the back of the cylinder block very close to the exhaust pipe and above the throttle linkage assembly. In the photo below, the front of the engine is on the left. The hand is Mick's holding a mirror on a stalk to see inside the anode hole which runs diagonally right to left from just below his index finger for about 3 inches at the same angle as the rocker box in the foreground with the decompression lever on top. The black tube is the water exit tube which joins the exhaust out of picture. The exhaust manifold and steel pipework is just below Mick's hand also out of picture

Where's that anode?

We spent the rest of the day chipping and drilling. With access severely restricted by the throttle linkage and exhaust pipe, progress was painfully slow and by the evening there was still more of the old anode material in the engine than out. We ceased work for the day feeling very pessimistic about our chances of success.

After a hearty breakfast Sunday continued in much the same way, drilling and filing both manually and using a drill attachment which had been added to our armoury (which also included a 'Henry' vacuum cleaner for sucking out the remnants of the old anode.)

By lunch time (but no lunch) precious little progress had been made, we just could not get a good enough angle of attack with all the gubbins in the way. After contemplating the potential and drastic solution of removing the cylinder head and not liking the idea at all, we were belatedly spurred on to remove the throttle linkage. That -  we reckoned - would allow us to drill into the obstruction at right angles to the block (using the right angle drill attachment I had bought earlier).

Preparing to attack
After an hour or so we had got the throttle linkage off and were ready to start drilling in earnest. At that point Tim arrived to brief me on progress on re-rigging the mast which had been lifted out the previous week. I took the opportunity to raise the issue of the padlock. After some head scratching he picked up the old padlock and my keys and was soon demonstrating that there was in fact no problem with it at all! Duh!

After profuse apologies from me, Tim and I set off to inspect the mast and rigging, leaving Mick to carry on attacking the anode.

Tim is clearly a first rate rigger and took time to explain everything fully including my options for addressing the various issues. The main one being whether to repair or replace the existing roller reefing mechanism which was living on borrowed time. Reassured that once repaired it should be good for another couple of years and that it could be replaced without having to get the mast down I decided on that course of action.

It was clear that all the running and standing rigging would need to be replaced and my budget was tight. A new furler could wait.

Taking on board Tim's advice to service the mast winches ebore too long I returned to Arctic Smoke to find that Mick had finally cleared the blockage and that the new anode could be fitted!

An hour or so later (about 1800) we had re-fitted the throttle linkage but discovered it didn't work. Thankfully it turned out that the cockpit end of the assembly just needed some attention and at 1900 we started the engine. All seemed fine. No leaks. We ran the engine for half an hour had 'lunch', a quick tidy up and headed home.