As some of you know from past blog posts, I have been doing a lot of baling of the bilge in the engine hold over the last year. Lately it was not uncommon to bale five liters every morning with the Peela Pump on top of the amount removed by the bilge pump throughout the day. I knew NBV needed a new stern gland but on inspection out of the water there turned out to be a hell of a lot more in need of immediate repair. In fact all of the following had to be undertaken:
- Cutting out stern tube boss and cutlass bearing as it was found in a bad state of repair. The cutlass bearing was extremely worn.
- Removal of prop shaft. This had been previously cut down quite crudely probably to try and offer a new section of the shaft to the seal and get a few more year out of the stern gear. Because the prop shaft had been shortened, it was rubbing on the back side of the cutlass bearing.
- Renewing of the water lubricated seal.
- Re- aligning the engine.
- Fitting of new split half coupling. This had previously worked loose and had no doubt damaged the prop shaft.
- Fitting of a bigger prop. (I had been warned by two ME's previously that the NB Val was under-propped i.e. the prop was too small for the Vetus 33 HP engine and consequently I should not take her on any rivers.) Now she was a properly sized and fitted prop and this is no longer an issue.
- Straightening of rudder blade.
- Repairing the uxter plate where the rudder blade catches.
- Renewing the lower skeg bearing. Previously the wrong size bearing had been fitted. We have machined one specially to fit the stock.
|NB Valerie being steered towards the trailer waiting under water which is attached to the large tractor.
|Watching the crew at Aqueduct marina move boats is like watching a water ballet. They back them up, spin them around and bring them into turns as smooth as butter.
|A close up of the trailer on which NB Valerie is rising up out of the water and being towed to a workshop.
|Away she goes!
|Part of the damaged bit.
|Worn stern gland tube.
|The weld to the uxter plate.
|New larger prop.
|Newly machined rudder cup. The previous rudder cup was 2.5 inches in diameter but the rudder stem was only 1.5 inches in diameter.
|Inside the engine bay: new cutlass bearing, crankshaft and stern gland.
"Oh Chris, nothing is wrong. I feel like I just stepped onto a new boat. For the first time ever the boat goes where I point her and I am not struggling to steer. Thank you so much!" Chris put his arm around me and gave me a big hug. The folks at Aqueduct Marina have been the soul of kindness to me over the two days the boat was worked on and the ten days I was flat on my back ill with flu and unable to do more than nearly crawl to the stove or the bow deck for coal and keep the stove going. Many thanks to Chris and his crew; Julie, Maggs, Philip.Alex, and Robert and everyone involved in helping to get NB Valerie sorted. Once out on the cut again, the boat traveled faster with less RPM's with the result the engine was not working as hard as previously. She really does steer like a brand new boat and I have the piece of mind of knowing she's watertight and a good investment was made in our baby as Les called the boat.
Moored now at Nantwich, looking for work, and applying for jobs online, I was walking back from Aldi's with a carrier bag of groceries when I passed by the small McColl's shop in a local housing estate. This was parked out front:
On a final note, I would like to say thank you to Anne Marie of Four Counties Fuels, Renaissance Canal Carrying Company and Bollington Wharf. Everyone else was busy today delivering to customers on boats Halsall and Alton. due to unforeseen issues the fuel boat had to cruise on through Nantwich without stopping and so Anne Marie drove over from Macclesfield in the company van by herself, loaded three 20 K bags of coal and a 13 K bottle full of Calor into a wheel barrel and delivered it all to NB Valerie which is moored up an 1/8th of a mile from where she parked! Never underestimate the power of womanhood! And many thanks to you Anne Marie for service above and beyond. (I Have no pictures as we were both too busy hoiking coal onto the roof and working to disconnect the gas bottle!)
It is raining now as a grey dusk falls over this string of boats rocking gently as the wind blows. I've been down to the little neighborhood shop for a Saturday paper and up to the Nantwich Canal Centre chandlers for a five litre bottle of anti-freeze. That is another story which will wait for next week to be told. Cheers!