Monday 2 June 2014


Lift in was booked for 1330. I spent the first part of the morning tidying up and stowing tools. Unfortunately I still need the ever growing collection of them which now includes Chris's new Dremel that Alan and I bought for him for his birthday. I did manage to transfer some stuff to the Car but the boat is still more like a floating workshop than a sailing boat.

I then washed down the deck and topsides. With everything ready I then relaxed for the first time over the weekend. After an hour or so I suddenly remembered that I ought to check that everything was ready to start the engine. That was the point when the day took a downhill trend.

The previous weekend I took all the things off the hooks by the companion way steps (keys, small torches etc) and put them on the chart table to avoid knocking them off into the bilges whilst laying the new instrument cables. One of those things was the key for the battery isolator switch. Off course the bloody thing had vanished. I turned the reasonably tidy boat upside down looking for it to no avail. Howard had volunteered to come over and so I rang him on the off-chance he might have a spare. He did as it happens but I rang too late - he was just pulling up at the marina! However, he did have jump leads in the car and was confident that he could rig up a hot wire start.

Once lifted in and we'd had a cup of tea with Tony who had also turned up we tried the engine. Nothing completely dead. Howard eventually found that the end of the wire from the starter switch was not connected and try as he did over the next hour or so he could not work out where the dam thing was supposed to be connected. He then checked the solenoid which worked but did not operate the starter motor and therefore bypassing the switch did not appear to be an option either. He had already stayed out too long and so eventually we had to accept defeat and I had to accept the need for some serious electrical analysis to work out what was going on. Howard returned to work and I arranged for the boat to be towed to her berth the next day.

I starting tidying up and Tony got ready to leave too when the phone rang. It was Howard. "Check the back of the starter motor solenoid he said, there  must be a connector there that I missed and if so that's where the wire should go." Fortunately I had a small mirror for just this purpose and there indeed was the connector hiding away right at the back and impossible to see without a mirror. Once connected the starter motor sprang into life and after a short while the engine started and was running smoothly. [I had previously tried to start it by hand but just did not have the muscle. I must get some easy start.]

I fitted the emergency tiller and off we chugged. I was a bit concerned about being able to manoeuvre with the emergency tiller because it provided very little leverage but it was fine. After a few trial manoeuvres we were moored up in Arctic Smoke's berth.

I tided up a bit, re-fitted the isolator switch (but could only fit one of the two bolts properly because there was just not enough room behind the panel to hold a nut between my fingers and get it into position. Looks like significant dismantling will be required. Howard had early given me very poor marks for the state of the electrical connections so those will need seeing to too!

Next weekend with Chris's help again, we'll try and finish off the tiller fitting which still requires a lot of work. Hopefully the new tiller will arrive shortly after!

Maybe one day I'll be able to go sailing!

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