I've hinted at it a few times in recent posts, but never quite knuckled down to writing a proper explanation of our recent issues with our Hennie H, so I thought I'd better do it before my readers here think I'm being deliberately obtuse.
I think I've mentioned already that following our lift out and inspection we had trouble starting the boat's engine. Koos noticed it didn't start quite as readily as usual when we first went to the yard, but this total refusal was a disturbing surprise. Nevertheless, he soldiered on, 'bled' the motor (for those who don't know, this releases any air trapped in the lines) and managed to get it going, following which we made our way back to Sas van Gent without incident.
|Home again with a nice black hull, but only sanded sides|
The following days proved the problem was real, not imagined, and for the next three weeks, we had a depressing series of failures in the attempts to resolve the issue. Having checked everything from the tank, to the fuel lines and filters, the culprit was eventually narrowed down to what is called the opvoerpomp
in Dutch. I still don't really know what it is in English, but possibly the lift pump. Maybe some of my readers here will know, but its purpose is to pump the diesel from the tank into the fuel pump (by way of another filter) that feeds the injection system. It seems this vital mechanical device had got stuck, and poor Koos had to remove and replace it several times before it finally decided to keep running.
The testing became depressingly predictable. He'd dismantle it, clean it, make sure it was working, put it back and start the engine, which would obligingly run for about ten minutes and then stop again. I'm sure you can understand his frustration, as each time this happened the process had to be repeated, not to mention all the bleeding that ensued from such an operation. After nearly four weeks of stoic and tenacious work on Koos's part, the pump appears to be working properly again, but of course, we no longer fully trust it.
The down-heartening side of the whole sorry episode is that it's undermined all our expectations of trouble-free faring. Our new engine, the (somewhat expensive) answer to our dreams, has already let us down and we hadn't even done 20 hours' faring. Hopefully, our confidence will be restored and it will continue to behave itself, but it will take a while before we build up faith in the motor again.
One of the problems here is that there is nowhere quiet within easy reach to test it on the go. Our mooring is on the major shipping canal to Gent, so test runs will be confined to the harbour until we're at ease again. I won't deny it's been a difficult and stressful time. Koos has been incredibly courageous and kept working at it, but it's taken its toll. Altogether, May was a hard month, so let's keep everything crossed for a much more relaxing and forgiving June.
As for me, when the going gets tough, Val gets painting...
|Working my way around the sides and windows, |
which have suffered during the winter
Have a good week allemaal, and I'll introduce you to our new 'spuddle' rowing boat next time. It's a sweetie, but it's going to have to work hard for its living :)