Friday, May 21, 2010

Almost a disaster.

We had a very pleasant day yesterday, caught up with a few chores and enjoyed the countryside around here. It is a very nice spot, where we were moored above the derelict locks.

We have to run the engine for an hour or two each day, to give us power and hot water for the evening. So I fired up the “donk” at around 6 0’clock.It was nearly 7 when I smelt smoke. My first thoughts were “I wonder who’s got a fire lit in this weather”. Then I realised it was more electrical than wood. Dashing through to the back the smell got worse and the engine room filled with an acrid haze when I opened the engine cover.

I killed the engine (temperature and oil pressure readings were OK) then had to go back to the galley to disable the smoke alarm.
Checking around the engine I found the smoke to be coming from the starter motor solonoid. The paint had gone nicely crispy, and the unit was too hot to touch.

I left it to cool down, then tried to restart the engine. Nothing, rien, nada. Not a click, whimper or wheeze.

Now, if your starter goes on your car you can push start it. Not with a boat. If anything else had died I’d have been able to work around it. We can work off one alternator, for example.

But without being able to run the engine the batteries would go flat, no lights, fridge, freezer, water pump…. Even the heating wouldn't start so no hot water, even if we could get it to the tap.

So it was a round of phone calls this morning, my boat breakdown company trying in vain to locate an engineer with a replacement unit to hand (we can get one Monday, or maybe Tuesday…), (we can take the old one away to recondition, might take a week though….).

I rang Ed Shiers from Four Counties Marine Services and he took the bit between his teeth, locating a second hand unit at Acton Bridge Marina that the guy there was prepared to part with.

So he arrived at around 3, and we were up and running by 4. I reckon he should wear a cape and his underpants on the outside. Another job well done, thanks Ed.

The breakdown has put our schedule out of kilter, so we decided to have a short evening cruise to make up a bit of the lost time. I just had to make sure that we were moored and the aerial was up by 7 o’clock, Emmerdale time!

The deep single Appley Lock was full and ready for us, and we were on our way after a few minutes.

Leaving Appley, the bottom of the derelict pair on the left.
This is the last lock till the Stanley Dock flight in Liverpool. Just the swing bridges to deal with.
We did two of them today, then passed the Rufford Branch Junction before mooring up on the other side of Burscough Bridge.

Converted windmill in Parbold
Junction Bridge, Rufford Branch
Mill on the edge of Burscough.Lots of youngsters on the water now.

Moorhen Chicks

Ducklings at attention.
And….Wot’s this then?
Locks 1, miles 6

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