Work on the new engine has been slow, actually it has probably been fast by Caribean standards but slow by ours. However, the good news is that the old engine is out and the new engine is in.
We wanted to replace the engine because the old one was 24 years old and, although it did usually start first or second time it had a few problems. The mounts were worn so sometimes once the engine was started, it would shake and shake out the electrical connections that tell it to stop - so Adam would have to go and fiddle with the solonoid before it would stop. Parts would get harder to find, the rev counter, and all the warning lights no longer work, but the main problem was oil - not burning it but leaking it out of every place possible. People have told us that this isn't a problem and 'all Perkin's engines leak' - but it is really, the sump under the engine in the boat isn't sealed as they didn't seal them in the 80's - so oil gets out of the engine, into the tray, then it makes its way through various tiny gaps out into the main bilge of the boat, and once you have some water in there too the oil gets carried everywhere.
We tried catching the oil - but unless we drilled a hole in the bottom of the engine so it all falls out in one place, there isn't much hope of sorting it out. We tried renewing the seals and that only made things worse. Then you spend a day every week mopping it up and you have a load of very smelly, oily rags to dispose of in countries which struggle to dispose of even normal household waste. We worked out you can spend money and time patching and fixing. . . or you can accept that the engine is over 20, has done thousands of hours, if we want to get home we still have 6000 miles to go. . . if we decided to continue west, then we have many more. We're on a sailing boat and the vast majority of our time is spent sailing (we never like putting the engine on) - but if you have a problem near a reef then you need to be able to rely on your engine to get you out of trouble, hence our decision
So here's the 'before' picture - a fine example sitting under the kitchen sink
Taking the old engine out was pretty terrifying, it was craned out with a tele-handler - but only held on by the two 'strong points' - the strong points being as old as the engine and maybe not as strong as they were. . . . all was rather tense on Stargazer as the old engine was craned out. Luckily for us we can dismantle the whole sink unit around the engine and remove that, then there is a rather handy sliding hatch directly above the engine which just allowed an engine to be lifted straight up. Still - we both had visions of something giving way and the engine crashing down and putting a nice hole right through the bottom of the boat. A sigh of relief was heard as soon as the old lump was over the quay and not over the boat. . . .
New Engine on its way being guided by Egbert and Adam . . .
and the new engine in place (sink unit etc are all out of the way - we're not planning on leaving it looking like a side table!)
We're now waiting for 'the Chinaman' (apparently what everyone calls him) to machine a part to connect our existing shaft to the gearbox. . . and a bloke called Tony to do the alignment. . .then it's just connecting up the new control panel, morse cables and putting in a new exhaust and (fingers crossed) that will be it. That's what we hope anyway. So perhaps by the end of this week we will be firing her up.
Adam and I haven't been relaxing too much, apart from being eaten alive by the various biting insects of Rodney Bay lagoon and helping with every bit so far, we have been redoing all the sound insultation and lining for the engine bay which is more involved than it sounds. The old lining had lost its outer coating so now consisted of oily ancient foam - so that really had to go too.
On new pills for the ear so hoping that will start to clear up soon, I won't go into the gory details !