Welcome to the Maunie of Ardwall blog

This is the blog of Maunie of Ardwall. After a six-year adventure sailing from Dartmouth to Australia, we are now back in Britain.

Thursday, 5 March 2020

Removing the mast and other fiddly jobs

It's sometimes said that the complexity of a boat increases roughly in proportion to the square of the waterline length and we have certainly discovered this to be true with Maunie. With our first 21-ft keel boat, the process of raising and lowering the mast was something we could easily do ourselves, using a hinge-pin at the base of the mast and the trailer winch to control the movement. On Maunie, by contrast, the mast is nearly 16m long, it's heavy and it has no fewer than 14 wires supporting it, so removing it requires the use of a big crane and specialists.

Over the weekend, we dodged the sleet showers to take off the sails, boom and rigging ready for the yard crew to come and remove the mast on Monday. We filmed a short time-lapse video of the process and you can see it on YouTube by clicking the link HERE

Whenever the rain rolled in, we moved onto a few below-deck jobs, one of which was to check the engine cooling water pump. The pump has a nitrile-rubber impeller which pumps sea water into a heat-exchanger to cool the fresh water / antifreeze solution that circulates around the engine (as an alternative to the radiator you'd find on a car). We replace the impeller annually but we'd noticed a slight seawater drip from the shaft seal so this seemed like a good opportunity to replace the seal as well.

The pump with its end-plate and impeller removed. The rust on the bolts below shows where the seawater had dripped 
However the 'complexity and waterline length' rule applied to this job, too; the pump was mounted in such a way that it was impossible to access two of its four retaining nuts because the bracket connected to the rubber engine mount was in the way.

The black and rusty bracket with the engine mount's adjusting screw in the foreground
Graham scratched his head for a while and came up with an idea which he ran past Steve, the on-site engine specialist, who agreed that it should work. He wound-down the nuts on the engine mount until the engine was just supported on the other three mounts and then unbolted the black bracket which allowed him to unbolt and remove the pump. Most of this was done by feel rather than by sight, but it was a successful mission and the pump is now in the workshop to be disassembled, checked and fitted with new seals. Once refitted, and with a new impeller in place, it should be good for another few years. 

Maunie is now in the paint shop having her scratched hull sanded and repainted so we should be ok to re-launch in a couple of weeks' time when the next spring tides give us enough water at the launching ramp. Meanwhile, there will, of course, be more jobs to do....

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