A boat needs to be kept in good condition. This goes without saying but there are soe things that we do not examine often enough. The engine exhaust just goes out the back and disappears into the ether. Until the pipework of indeterminate age, but over 17 years, breaks and the exhaust goes into the engine bay and blackens everything in carbon!
We allowed friend to take the boat out for a few days. Of course we had an obligatory "water cruise" before the main event to familiarise the skipper to be with Sonflower and her foibles. One thing that puzzled me before that cruise was why the water tank was completely empty and the leisure battery was almost completely empty too. We decided to fill the tank, run the engine for a few hours and charge up the battery. Our friend, who has crewed for us before, could skipper the whole way. So, through the lift bridge and mooring at the water point. Taking on water, navigating down the lock, through narrows, round a bend under a bridge, winding the boat, navigating up through the lock and lift bridge to moor back on home mooring. A succesfull four hour cruise and all seemed ok. They went to Cropredy without incident. But on the return trip, three locks from home we received a phone call to say that the engine tone had changed and there was smoke coming form the engine bay. All indications were normal but the water level in the Cropredy pund was very low. I thought the boat may be labouring in the shallow water so I told her to slowly cruise back to home mooring where I met her and discovered the broken exhaust.
Last Friday I took Sonflower down to Tooley's Botyard where John could work on her and fit a new exhaust system. Unfortunately her engine bay is too cramped to upgrade to a hospital silencer so we have a new system of conventional variety.
This Friday we took her away from Tooley's and on a little trip down to Nell Bridge and back. When we got on her and turned on the battery isolator switch the water pump started running. There were no taps open so I had visions of a bilge full of water. However the bilge was dry as a bone. The engine bay bilge pup started and doischarged clean water into the canal. I opened the engine bay to check the stern gland and the greaser and found that there was no undue leakage formt eh sdern gland but there was a discharge from the clorifier releif valve which discharges into the engine bay bilge. We had found the reason for the empty water tank anmd the low batteries! Unfortunately exercising the relief valve to clear grot from the seat did not reseat it so we turned the water pump off except when we needed to fill a bowl or the kettle and filled eight litres of empty coke bottles with water for our drinking needs.
Nell Bridge and back went fine and brought the battery voltage back to 12v. Our only "problem" was very heavy showers that soaked us to the skin on the way back at Kings Sutton lock where there was a queue of three boats. It rained. We left Sonflower in town under Tom Rolt Bridge because it was tipping it down and took her back to home mooring 36 hours later to wait for more attention to the calorifier relief valve.
Since last blog post:
Water Run 2 LB, 2 Locks, 2 miles;
Cropredy and back 9m, 6 locks,
Nell Bridge and back 10m, 6 locks 2 LB 12 hours total