Swings and roundabouts
The joys of boat ownership.
Setting a course for happiness and freedom whilst navigating the shores of financial ruin. Or words to that effect.
We’ve been having a mixed time. Some progress and some setbacks. Let me explain.
The new sails have been delivered and they do look a treat. I have high hopes for them as the old ones were well and truly past their sell by date. I’m keeping the old jib as a spare but the old mainsail will be heading for the great sail loft in the sky. Or the nearest skip. Whichever is easier. The lazybag and tiller cover should be ready in a week or so.
And that will almost be it for this year. Only outstanding item on my to-do list is fitting and wiring the new solar panel. I have not entirely given up hope that Child Two might be able to make his way here in the not too distant future.
As soon as the weather allowed I wanted to take the boat out to see if the new sails lived up to expectations. Alas, it was not to be.
Just before slipping my mooring I went down below to grab my sunglasses and I noticed a ‘burning’ smell. Had I left the kettle on? No – that wasn’t it. Odd, it smelt ‘electrical’… Checked the batteries… No, they were fine… Checked the battery monitor… No charge going into the batteries… Must be the alternator… I opened up the engine compartment and I was greeted by a HUGE cloud of grey/white smoke and the most godawful smell.
I clambered on deck as fast as my legs could carry me and I managed to switch the engine off. Headed back down below (fire extinguisher in hand) to see what’s what. Opened every hatch to help the smoke evacuate. Concerned neighbours stopped by to see what was happening and if I needed any help.
As soon as the smoke had cleared, it became obvious that there hadn’t been a fire as such but that it had been a close call.
Contacted the local marine workshop and ‘my’ mechanic joined me in due course. Culprit was either the alternator or the starter engine – possibly both. I didn’t like the sound of that at all – it sounded ‘expensive’.
Both were taken off for closer examination. This confirmed that the starter engine was well and truly FUBAR. The alternator was sent to a workshop in Quimper for closer examination and overhaul. So, no sailing just yet as I wait for parts.
Still, things could have been worse – a lot worse. In a way, I was lucky that all of this happed whilst I still was on my mooring. Ten/fifteen minutes later I would have found myself adrift on a busy river trying to control a fire.