This my first season with an inboard engine – so this year had to do the winterisation myself. I went on the RYA Diesel Engine course at East Anglian Sea School in the spring and very good it was too, but nothing like have to do it to your own engine in the confines of a yacht.
Flushing was relatively easy using a water filled bin in the cockpit and 3m of the correct diameter hose. As I have a saildrive I thought I might be able to just but a bin full of water round the leg, just like dunking an outboard in a tank, but the intake holes are too neat the hull to make that practical.
Draining the oil took longer than I expected but have now got the hang of the Pela 6000 vacuum oil extractor, (it can’t do the whole engine in one set of pumps). Draining the sail leg was simple, but the oil was so clean I wonder why I bothered, probably won’t next year. Replacing the oil is ‘interesting’. Fill the engine was OK but awkward with a funnel with a flexible hose. I tried the same with the saildrive leg, I may have managed OK with 4 arms, but only having 2 I taped the end of the funnel to the dipstick hole (filler hole for the saildrive) and tried to gently poor form a full 4l container while hold the top end of the funnel upright enough to keep the oil in the funnel. The inevitable happed and the bottom end eventually eased out of the hole and poured oil down the side and into the bilge.
Small funnel and small jug – so off to the Range, about a 10min drive form the OYC to spend around £3 and the required Items. Two hours later I get back to Capella – getting out of Suffolk Retail Park is a real nightmare and took me over an hour to get out of the car park. Should have driven back to Felixstowe to get what I needed.
The engine now tucked up for the winter – just need to find the only key which seems to have done a disappearing trick.
After a couple of trips with a 3 aboard we decided it was time to go it alone, just me, Angela and perfect weather. Nice smooth release from the moorings gentle chug though the bridge, only a slight change of direction to put the main up. Pull out most of the Genoa – reefed again as it’s a bit big for beating up the river and we were away. First few tacks where mostly working out what Angela could do and how best to work the boat, still needs some practice to get the short tacks slick but given time to prepare we’re near enough there.
We needed the short tacks when working out way close to the Wolverstone toppers, the dinghies were ok and but a rubber boat (not an official safety boat) decided to try and put up a moving blockage in case we invaded ‘their’ section of river, reasonable concern for the kids I guess but felt a bit heavy handed. We’re used to working our old yacht Cupido through there and always keep a close eye on the dinghies; working out the course they are using and timing our tacks so as to keep as much out of the way as that narrowed section allowed. We passed Jeremy on KR on her way home through there but no time for much more than a wave before the next tack.
On we went beyond Nacton Quay and almost to Butt before deciding that tea was more important tangling with other boats so we turned to for a run home, drinking tea and avoiding crash gybes. Getting the main down was ‘interesting’ as we tried to do it on the run – we got there eventually but the skipper needs a bit more practice on that one. Funny thing about having the wind behind you, you feel like you’re not moving but actually you making reasonable progress up the river and reach the bridge in no time.
The two of us are going to work this boat fine – and every sail make me more sure she was the right boat for us