Friday, December 11, 2015

The Mariner Project - Part 2

This is where perhaps the majority of engines in yachts around 30 feet (9metres) live - in the stern of the boat, under the cockpit and behind the companionway steps. 'Mariners' engine is no exception.

When I sailed recently in the Coastal Classic race on board 'Lion New Zealand' the skipper in his briefing remarked that " Lions marine toilets (she had 2) were made by people who hate sailors". Everyone laughed. The boat owners among us laughed a bit more wryly and would have added marine diesel engines to the list. Engines and toilets are extremely useful, but they also smell,  can leak stuff everywhere, get blocked with stuff and sometimes decide not to work just when you need them the most. Of course us boat owners also have to take some responsibility and admit that things might work a lot more reliably if we did the routine maintenance.

This is 'Mariners' 11HP Arona Diesel engine. It is made by Fiat in Italy. It is mounted horizontally on the engine beds and power is transferred through a 'V' drive gearbox. This means that the engine has the fly-wheel facing the stern. The engine was installed when I launched the boat in 1979. It is an old simple single cylinder motor. The main problem over the years has been oil leaking mainly from the sump plate seals. Despite a drip tray underneath the engine, oil inevitably gets into the bilge with the resultant smell and mess.

On first inspection there are six problems I can see that require attention - there may be more.

1 - The engine will start and run, but doesn't pump any coolant water through the system. This may be a problem with the water pump or more likely the water jacket around the cylinder head may be clogged up with 35 years of metal 'scale' and rust.

2 - Salt water ingress has rusted the angle iron that the engine mounts are bolted to.

3 -  Many parts of the engine are rusty and need attention.

4 -  The engine mounts need renewing.

5 - Oil leaks from the engine sump plate continue despite a number of attempts to tighten the nuts up.

6 - The traditional dripping stern gland continues to drip and needs to changed to one of those new fangled non-drip varieties.

Today I had a long talk to Kurt on board his 40 foot Junk rigged schooner that is fitted with an Eco Friendly Electric Motor. More of that later!


Ben said...

This is getting interesting .
This is how I imagined Methusalem in the Ngataki .
Beware of all too optimistic reports on electric drive trains. Based on my recent experience in cars, the battery performance is normally only 80 % of the official rating and the performance drops further with 10 % with every 10 degree drop in temperature. But I love electric motors. There are some interesting electric screw packages I think. You could even produce electricity with the screw while sailing. One big disadvantage … the price.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Interesting indeed... That's an engine in need of some TLC.. :-) can you take it out and do a full refurb??

Alden Smith said...

My research so far shows me that there isn't a "One Stop Shop" in NZ where I could go and order an electric engine and have it professionally installed. I would have to import the motor and components and install it myself. I am a very good boat builder but I am not much of a mechanic or electrical engineer - so it would be a real challenge for me. But I can / could learn.

Changing to an electric engine (at the present level of technological development) comes with a change in attitude in how auxiliary motive power is used. It is not a situation of changing 'like for like' as you would if you changed from a petrol car to a diesel one.

Based on what I have seen and read so far an installation suitable for my sized yacht would produce a performance in calm water of 20 nautical miles at 3 knots or 10 nautical miles at 5 knots.

Considering the fact that I usually only motor through the lifting bridge and down river a little past Kissing Point (a distance of about 4 kms) the range doesn't worry me. Of course I wouldn't be able to do a 15 hour motor back from the Bay of Islands when there is absolutely no wind - that is the compromise.

Kurt, who I talked to today said that there are limitations and there needs to be a change in attitude towards how you do your voyaging but he says the silence of the motor and the clean bilges makes up for most limitations. (His engine room was spotless, you could eat your food off the floor!).

Well known world voyaging sailors Niki Perryman and Jamie Morrison on 'Siandra' wrote a comprehensive article in the December 2008 Classic Boat magazine outlining their conversion of 'Siandra' to an electric engine and seem happy with the set up. Again, range under power is the biggest limitation, but as in my situation their boat is a sailing yacht and they SAIL IT! most of the time.

But it's early days and I need to do a lot more research (There are a lot of Utube
videos waiting for me). At this stage changing to an electric engine is not a 'done deal' - I am just weighing up the options.

Alden Smith said...

Steve, yes I can get it out through the main hatch (It has been out once before about 10 years ago). The problem is getting the boat to a jetty / pontoon where I can take it out - I don't have an engine the works ! LOL.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Could you put an outboard and bracket on temporarily?? 4 or 6hp would do?

Ben said...

Yes there are many alternatives to explore. An electric motor would be very attractive, but there will be the stress of running out of battery power. You could take a relative cheap low power outboard as a rescue !! ??.
By the way I remember a blog in which you reported about a voyage without a working motor, so you have the skills to do without it. Do not know whether marina’s like that. Good luck and a lot of wisdom !

Alden Smith said...

Steve, I will probably put an outboard on the dinghy, tie the dinghy fore and aft alongside and motor the boat that way. I don't have far to go and with some helping hands it should be safe enough.

Alden Smith said...

Ben, if the moored position of the boat was different I might think about not having a motor but I have to get to and fro past a raised bridge with lines of traffic on either side waiting for it to be lowered. It would not be very entertaining for all concern to have me becalmed under the raised bridge section of the bridge.

Silicon Solar cells and wind generators are part of an electric motor setup. So if the sun is shining and the wind is blowing the batteries are always charging.

Charlotte Hawkins said...

You have alot of work to do! Look forward to reading about it as you go through each stage... not that I understand half of it. But your my Dad and I think you are pretty cool.

Alden Smith said...

Charlotte, when it comes to repairing engines I don't understand half of it as well - that will be the challenge - but like most problems its a matter of making a start on solving it and continuing steadily one step at a time - just like you did when you studied for your Nursing Degree - one step at a time, keeping the end goal in mind (but not letting it overwhelm you :> )

Charlotte Hawkins said...

Wise words from a wise old owl! :)