Cold Comfort Clyde


Cold light of dawn

Choosing the coldest night of the winter to be on board Crunluath might not seem the most sensible of decisions but at this time of year one has to make the best of the limited number of weather windows available and two days of dry if cold weather were forecast this week.
It has been three weeks since my last visit and with more gales and snow possibly on the way a general checkup seemed wise. I also needed to refit the starter motor and alternator after repairing the starter. I am particularly proud of getting it going again and saved a good £100’s worth of professional attention.
Refitting was a real pain, the heat exchanger and hoses have to be removed to get access and with the engine in the narrow part of the bilge towards the stern this is a problem, failing eyesight doesn’t help with glasses falling off or being put askew by the awkward angles and limited space. I always intended to hinge the cooking and sink sections of the galley to provide easier access but never got one of those illusive round tuits necessary for such work. The issue is that most boat engines are converted from small industrial engines used in building yards for dumper trucks or cement mixers, all easily maintained by lifting the cover on site or putting the unit at a comfortable height in a workshop. Some boat engines such as the Beta have most service points at the front of the engine for ease of service but most are just plain difficult. My Vetus is a very economical and reliable engine but I wish it were easier to work on. I managed to lose a jubilee clip fastening one of the hoses, I had no parts left over but there was no sign of the missing clip and a walk to the chandlery was necessary for a replacement. I reckon there is some kind of worm on the boat which sucks up any parts carelessly laid down and devours them; they probably breed them at the chandlery and send the out on the pontoons to drum up business!
Despite the weather I have been comfortable enough on board, sweat generated by grovelling in the engine space kept me warm by day and the faithful Eberspächer did a sterling job in the evening. These lorry and bus cab blown air heaters are equally reliable but expensive to buy and repair as I discovered a few years ago when my own botched repair attempt had to be fixed by the professionals. The boat came with the heater when I bought it otherwise I would probably not have installed one and would now be shiffering or heading back home.
I had hoped for a short sailing trip after fixing the engine but with winds set to increase steadily staying put seems prudent, especially as there is no life jacket on board. Dawn looked promising but cold when I woke but a hearty breakfast at the bistro looked attractive.
Despite this disappointment it has been good to be aboard and dream about balmy days of summer ahead, after a week of stress even the cold comfort of a winter Clyde feels good.

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