We woke up to a rainy Monday morning on the Greek island of Evia. The rain, which had been falling steadily all night, was actually quite welcome because it gave me the perfect conditions for walking over to A B Sea to check inside the forward sail locker to see where the leak was.
When I got there and climbed down into the locker the first thing I did was check for drops of water where I'd previously assumed the leak was. I was wrong. At first I thought that the leak would remain a mystery but just as I was about to climb out of the locker I noticed a glisten of water in the torch light. My fingers found the wetness and as Aannsha had suspected the leak was at a badly done deck fill job where an old fitting had been removed. Another job added to the list.
The weeping keel
Time is running out and the weeping keel was not drying out as fast as we needed it to. Time to get some heat on the job. On board A B Sea we have a small electric fan heater which takes the chill off in the winter months. Manhandling some big blocks of wood we managed to cobble together a plinth which put the heater at just the right height and position to blow constant hot air right onto the wet area.
By the time we get to prepping the hull and keel for painting on the antifoul everything should be nice and dry.
There's no such thing as an easy job on a boat. When we arrived at the boat yard at the end of October 2019 our first priority was to remove the holed exhaust mixing elbow and we naively thought it would be a simple case of removing the elbow getting it repaired or replaced and refitting it to the engine. We were wrong.
Because the oily diesel soot had been blowing around the engine compartment for quite some time a lot of it had also been sucked into the engine air intake and I wanted to make sure that area was clean before we got back into the water. This cleaning task meant that we had to remove the whole air intake and exhaust system and completely disassemble it.
I struggled for hours trying to figure out how to get the right tools into the impossibly tight spaces to detach the system. I got so frustrated and downhearted about it, there was actually a moment when I thought about just selling the boat and heading back to Australia. Thankfully I didn't carry through with that thought because as I write this blog I'm feeling as though we're now making serious headway into getting everything back together and being ready for our planned splash date of first week in April.
Feeling very frustrated I called in assistance from Juliano at the boat yard, who managed to remove the unit in a little over 45 minutes. I was very thankful.
I'm not a trained mechanic but I can take things apart and put them back together again. Once we started disassembling the air intake and exhaust system it was instantly apparent that a thorough cleaning had been a good idea. The oily diesel soot was thickly coated on all surfaces and would certainly have been restricting the airflow to the engine.
The disassembly and cleaning also revealed something we weren't told when we bought the boat and that is that the engine has a basic turbo charger. When we'd been researching boats in Australia I distinctly remember noting down that we didn't want a turbo charged engine because they require regular maintenance to keep them in tip top working order.
The turbo I was looking at had never been serviced in its entire life. It was so bad that the fan blades were actually embedded in rust. After cleaning everything up I once again turned to Juliano for help. In the boat yard workshop I watched with quiet concern as he used various tools to slowly chip away the rust to free the blades. At one point I despaired that he'd never be able to free the blades and we'd be up for forking out a huge chunk of change for a replacement part. But Juliano persevered and eventually the blades and the spindle they're attached to were freed from the death grip of the rust.
Overall it took the whole day to disassemble and clean every piece of the air intake and exhaust system and by 4pm Aannsha and I were done for the day. We retired to the apartment balcony with a cold beer and agreed that reassembly would have to wait until the following day.
Don't over tighten
The next day it felt really great to be re-assembling the now beautifully clean components of the air intake and exhaust system and it was all going surprisingly well until I over tightened the last bolt of six and the bolt snapped off in the hole. Bugger.
Asking at the boat yard workshop we were told that there was a guy in Limni town that could remove the broken bolt and supply a replacement. It was Sunday and Evangelis said that he'd take it to the repair guy on Monday. We eventually got the part back on Wednesday and during that time we hooked into some other boat jobs which I'll tell you all about in next week's blog.
To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.