Sunday, 15 April 2012

Engine servicing and other stuff

A couple of weeks ago I changed the oil in the engine and the gearbox oil. First time I've changed the gearbox oil. I'll probably start changing it every time I change the engine oil. For some time the throttle control has been extremely stiff when putting the boat into gear. An investigation foulnd that the gear chnage cable was as near to being totally siezed as possible without snapping. Put a new cable on and now it's just as it should be.
The cats are increasingly proficient at bringing little gifts onto the boats - mice, vowels, shrews, even a robin once. What is slightly worrying is that sometimes the gifts are still alive...
Yesterday(Friday)I slipped our mooring and sailed down to Stanstead Abbotts on the River Lee Navigation single handed. First time I've sailed totally single handed (ie with no one else on the boat). A few minor hiccups (wet rope anyone?), but generally things went OK and the old tub is still afloat. I'll be going back tomorrow - oops today now - accompanying a plastic thing which is mooring at the marina over the summer. In theory we should both be able to fit in the lock (the plastic thing is only 23feet, and the locks on the Stort are about 85 feet). Of course a nervous plastic boat owner may want to avoid sharing with a 16 tonne lump of metal.
Today (oops yesterday now - Saturday) I took a walk up to Stanstead Lock. The lock is unusual in a couple of ways; first is that it has a bridge over the actual lock chamber.
Stanstead Lock. Lee Navigation
The bridge can be swung clear when going through the lock. As the bridge is at one end of the lock, there is the temptation if on a shorter boat (ie 60ish feet or less) not to swing the bridge open. This is not a good idea, especially when going up. The top gates have gate paddles (which is the second thing which makes it unusual - there are only 2 locks on the Lee with gate paddles) which allow water into the chamber at an alarming rate. Having the pointy bit of your boat too near to the top gates is something definitely to be avoided! Always open the bridge and stay towards the back of the lock!

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