Fixing the hydraulics

Phil May and Andrea Twigg
Sat 29 Oct 2011 22:55
I spent this morning in the engine room working on the hydraulic system that drives the power winches.  The drive unit was removed, repaired and replaced in Canet en Roussillon before we set off, but it turns out that the engineer who replaced it forgot to put nuts onto the four bolts that hold the unit in place.  We hit some fairly violent waves on the way down to Lanzarote and one of them threw the entire hydraulic drive out of its housing.  The drive then dropped back down at an angle, narrowly missing the steering gear.  We were lucky.  The hydraulics we can easily live without, but that would not have been a very good time to lose our steering.
It took a couple of crowbars to shift the heavy unit back into place and then I bolted it down and added some retaining straps for good measure.  Remarkably, once the unit was back in place it just started working again.  I can only guess there is some sensor (hydraulic oil level?) that detected the unit was tilted at a 20% angle and prevented it from running.
This afternoon we waved goodbye to Ian and Denise.  Ian returns in two weeks to cross the Atlantic with us and Denise is meeting up with us in St Lucia (assuming we arrive before or during the week she has booked to be there!).