Goodbye 4108 Hello Vetus 4.65

November 2012

Well will I won't I. I have agonised over this decision for 2 years. The Perkins 4.108 in Sephina is a fine engine and has not given me any trouble. But it is old and I have changed just about everything else. As we are to go off for three years and the best estimates are we will do about 3000 hours under engine the 4.108 is likely to require some work at some point. To put in a new one now while we are in the Uk and surrounded by contractors we know and trust seems like an option. Ron from ABC Power Marine has been an absolute star and has given me confidence in his judgement and work. So it seems sensible to fit a new engine now with someone I know and trust and have the added benefit of better fuel economy, slightly more grunt and worldwide parts that will still be available for years to come. The actual choice of engine could occupy a complete blog on its own but Vetus was ultimately the best value, spec and to be honest were the most helpful at the boat show when I was looking. Coupled with the discount on the full set of spare parts I will need to take with me and the fact the ABC Power Marine were a Vetus dealer I am happy with my choice. It has been ordered and I will move Sephina over to Beaumaris later this month. I will write more as the job progresses.

Forward looking sonar

Forward looking sonar seems such a good idea for working your way through poorly charted channels and to enter secluded anchorages. The price has tumbled recently and having reviewed the options the new EchoPilot FLS 2D with proffesional transducer seems the best value for money.

Fitting the transducer to make sure it is level in a complex shaped hull was going to be interesting. As I had removed the water intake for the forward head the space vacated gave an ideal location just forward of the keel. The existing hole was too small but enabled me to make a mould to attach to the hull and poor epoxy from the inside to make a wedge. The best mould that came to hand was an empty marvel milk tin! This is hard to describe but can be seen from the photographs by clicking on the image on the right. TLC recommended making a fairing to reduce drag so this was achieved with multiple layers of epoxy. The fairing has been sanded into shape and the transducer fitted. A piece of the alignment bar on the back of the transducer had to be cut to make it easier to quickly remove it.

The hole in the bulkhead was cut out using the multi-cutter and sealed with Arbomast. The wiring now needs to be completed.

July 2011. The wiring is now installed. It took some thinking to find a route as the transducer has a preinstalled connector on the end of the cable that was quite large and was not easy to push through existing holes. Discretion as the better part of valour I asked Carl from TLC to run the cables as he has significant experience of routing cables in boats. It did not take him long. All that is required now is to test and calibrate when in the water. Job finished.

Seacock Thru Hull

One seacock was in need of replacement. The valve arm was corroded and there was clearly evidence of leaking joints. Although the only definite thing identified on the survey was the leaking ad corroded valve I decided to replace the thru hull fitting. It took me a while to realise that a seacock is often made up of two parts. A thru hull fitting and a ball valve. Removing the ball valve was easy. The thru hull fitting was not. More photos on PBO forum reader to reader resulted in the suggestion that I made a step wrench from an old socket and use it to extract the fitting from the outside by unscrewing it. Armed with a huge torque wrench and the modified socked I set about unscrewing it. One quarter turn was all that was required to strip the lugs that the modified socket was keyed into. Plan B. This was identified as using a saw to collapse the fitting from the inside. This again was not as easy as I thought. It turned out there was a secret nut bonded into the hull that the fitting was threaded through. This required gouging out using a dremmel. Once extracted there was a hole that needed filling with epoxy. The new fitting was greased and put in place and then viscous epoxy was poured in to make a close fitting. I also took the opportunity to fabricate a big GRP washer to distribute the load. So far this all seems to be going to plan. More later.... Click on the photo on the right to see more.

Anchor etc

The survey revealed a bent anchor stock. The recommendation was to replace it. As usual this started a chain of events (unintended pun sorry) including new chain, anchor, windlass and restoration of the anchor locker. First the old anchor and chain was removed. The chain initially looked all right but towards the end a number of links were rusty. Too rusty to re-galvanise. As the chain was about 45 meters and the intended cruising involves a circumnavigation including hopefully many nights in quiet bays, I reasoned that a longer chain would not go amiss. I settled on 90 meters but have yet to try and load it into the locker. It might have to be reduced. The anchor itself had a bent stock and the surveyor recommended replacement. It would be nice to finish off the new deck and fittings with a bold stainless steel anchor. It was going to be my one luxury item but the list of luxuries seems to have grown! The anchor chain duly arrived but on a palate that even three men could not lift. Hand balling in and out of the car was the only way to transport it to the boat. The windlass was removed and a new Lewmar H3 was purchased along with the manual recovery kit. It is a thing of beauty. The anchor locker was in need of a repaint but Barry from TLC advised "Gel Washing" it. I had no idea what this meant but soon discovered it was polyurethane, gel coat, wax oil, colour and hardener. This makes a very hard wearing and easily washable surface much like the topsides. Tricky to apply as time is not always on your side as the "paint" is hardening almost from the moment you start. The fumes also require a good mask. However it was well worth it as the finish is superb.

19/03/2011 To mount the new windlass was not straight forward. Firstly the position of the chain gypsy was on the opposite side to the original, it was significantly larger and power hungry and finally it needed to be raised to make the near 90 degree chain angle. Modifications to the anchor shelf were just time consuming but the switching of the anchor line to the opposite bow roller would mean significantly modifying the anchor locker lid. The raised tunnel for the anchor stock was on the wrong side. The was achieved by cutting out the tunnel and swapping it for the other side. A cut and shut job! The finished product is in development as can be seen from the photographs by clicking on the photo on this page. More updates to come as the project nears completion.


04/05/2011. The anchor locker and lid are now complete. The wiring of the Lewmar H3 windlass is going to be done by Carl of TLC Boat Repairs. In addition I decided to add an anchor wash. This is achieved by using a curly hose with a separate pressure pump. This will hopefully keep the anchor and chain clean. The pump required a mounting to be fabricated in the bilge of the forward cabin. The bow rollers were also tired so I had new ones fabricated by a local shop for £20.00 each. More info when I have it all wired up and load the anchor and chain.


Bilge refurbishment

A thankless task unless you like cleaning. I am blessed that my wife does. As both bilge pumps were not working and water seemed to be constantly filling the bilge an early start was made on the main bilge. Initial de-greasing was carried out using motor factors de-greaser. This was followed up by constant flushing and washing. As the boat is in a shed it was not possible to remove the cleaning water with the manual bilge pump as it poured out over the floor so a vacuum pump was used. Over the months the work has progressed and it is remarkable how many nocks and crannies have to be cleaned. Gradually each compartment was cleaned degreased and finally painted with grey bilge paint. This work has taken 6 months of weekends and has been much harder than we originally thought. Not helped by discovering a secret bilge late in the day under the battery compartment. This had access from the galley area about the size of a letter box. There has also been the need to create some additional limber holes to drain some lockers.

The electric bilge pumps were not working and both had to be investigated. The submerged bilge pump seen in the top right photo was discovered to have two faults. One the fuse in the fuse holder was too short and would some times make a connection and sometimes not. Intermittent faults are always hard to diagnose. The second fault was the airmatic auto bilge switch system. This works by water pressure on a small tube setting off a relay to stat the bilge pump. Who ever fitted it very neatly used cable ties to route the tube to the unit. Unfortunately they were so tight it closed off the tube. The second bilge pump did not work because the rubber diaphragm and valves were rotten. A service kit was used and the parts replaced. This now leaves Sephina with two good high capacity electric pumps. For serious off shore there is a requirement for a second manual bilge. As the forward heads are being converted into a laundry and store room the heads pump has been converted to a bilge pump with the addition of a new above the water line skin fitting.

Click photo on right to see more.