The annual haul-out, bottom clean and antifoul should be a fairly routine exercise, but it’s usually quite stressful. Seeing your beloved boat manhandled by strangers, being lifted out of the water in the travel lift and subsequently propped up with stands. However, it’s something that is necessary – like going to the dentist I suppose.
The Akuna Bay boatyard has a policy of no DIY, so all the grungy work of pressure washing, scraping off growth and barnacles, followed by the slapping on of toxic paint is left up to professionals clad in the appropriate white suits. I suppose it is a lot cheaper to do it yourself, but that means finding a boatyard that will be accommodating. There aren’t too many in my neck of the woods, and the convenience of motoring your boat a whole 100 yards is too hard to ignore. By the time of the next blog posting, La Mouette will have new antifoul and a clean bottom and propeller. Ready for some winter daysails and the coming spring.
Whilst paying people to scrape the bottom is inescapable, not so with an engine service. For La Mouette, DIY is the preferred method. Last weekend, the trusty iron genoa got the treatment. It is actually quite easy but you do need to be methodical with this sort of thing. The motor is fairly simple, so not too much fiddling about with settings and adjustments is necessary. A bit like a modern computerised engine I suppose. First cab of the rank is to warm the engine up. Then pump out the crank case oil, and clean the rotating filter thingy. The Yanmar YS series engines are so primitive that they don’t actually have an oil filter. No screwing a canister off and on with this beast. No sir-ree. Every time you start the engine, you have to turn the T-shaped handle 10 times and similarly after you switch it off for the day. Behind the handle is a mesh that somehow filters the particles out of the oil. Three bolts hold it in place and after these are removed, you simply wash out the strainer in kero and then replace it. Simple and when I think about it, quite good ecologically. However, I still have a couple of litres of oil to dispose of. At the moment it’s still sitting in the back of the car and not sure of how to get rid of it.
Next up is the gear box. Same deal, stick the tube into the filler hole and pump the oil out into a bottle. Pour in new oil and that’s basically it. The oil that came out looked pretty new, a good indication that everything is ok. I had last year’s service done by Minards, and I learnt a lot just by sitting and watching. The impellor should be replaced every year, whether it needs it or not. Only two bolts hold the water pump so it was easy to remove. A backing plate was removed to reveal the impellor which was replaced quite easily. The old one was in good condition and will do as a spare. It all went back together nicely with no dramas. The belt was tightened to the correct tension and the alternator belt nipped up also. The engine started and a quick look over the stern revealed that the water was pumping out in the correct fashion. Even more satisfying was that there weren’t any leaks.
Fuel can be the downfall of any diesel engine. Dirt in the fuel can stop the engine and end up with the boat drifting onto the rocks. Again the YS series engines don’t have the usual diesel filters. Instead there is a strainer mesh in the fuel tank cap and a paper element inside the tank. It’s primitive as all get out and I try and make the whole setup more reliable by being extra careful with the fuel. As the fuel tank only holds five litres, I keep most of the diesel stored in 5 litre jugs in a starboard locker. This way, they get used on a regular basis and the dreaded diesel bugs don’t get time to grow. I removed the fuel tank from the top of the engine and drained it out. The inside wasn’t too bad but I cleaned it out anyway. The paper filter was replaced and I also put on a new sight glass. The tank was bolted back on the engine and everything connected up. I filled up the tank with fuel and then bled the engine from the governer. Bleeding diesels on boats is a necessary skill – it was my first go and it seemed to be pretty easy – especially as the engine started first go and then just kept going. The only thing left was to replace the anode. Another easy job.
The service done, I just had to clean everything up. Rags, tools, spots of spilt oil (I had tried to clean any spills as I went). All that done and I could relax with a beer. That’s that job done for another 12 months, or 100 hours, whichever comes first. With the engine service done, the haul-out awaits and I should have something to report on by the time the next blog is due, but more on that next time.