Year of the Engine
An old boat needs updating sometime. Eilidh's turn was about to come.
In 1999, after the Irish trip, a lot of money was spent on the old Bukh, far too much. After the voltage regulator packed in, the engineer fitted the engine with an auto regulator and solenoid. Whilst this allowed the engine to be started, the charge from the old dynostart was only a trickle of what it was before. Despite the engineers assurances, the old Bukh still leaked oil, embarrassingly spotted by the lock keeper in Tawe Lock. His comments that I was leaking fuel was the final blow. A new engine it was to be.
I rung several engine manufacturers and dealers, in May. Betamarine gave me a deal that was hard to refuse, and subsequent;y, the engine, a 13.5hp twin cylinder was ordered.
Delivery was arranged, and Eilidh was hauled from the water on June 28th. I had a day to get the old Bukh out, as delivery of the new engine was arranged for the next day. Lifts, pulleys were hired, and the old engine was eventually hoisted up, and despatched from Eilidh. The new Betamarine, all shiny and red was delivered, unpacked, and placed in the boats cabin.
Now the wait for engineers to come and sort the engine beds began. To cut a long story short, Eilidh was relaunched on September 24th, just short of three months.
Being a novice at marine engineering, I had not realised the work involved in realigning the engine bearers. The Halcyon has steel bearers buried in the fibre glass, which made the job more difficult. The cabin was full of fibre glass dust, the boat being a depressing sight to see. The actual alignment of the engine, coupling up of the propshaft did not take very long at all. The existing prop seemed to suit the new engine, a sea trial would confirm that.
On launching, on a blustery day, the engine was started by the engineer, and we took Eilidh for a short run in the Tawe River. At half revs, she was pushing 5 knots. The prop was just fine. To my delight, the batteries where charging well. Eilidh was tied up to her berth, the first time in nearly three months.
On the bright side, her fibre glass hull had time to dry out, but the summer season had been lost.
A full sea trial was soon underway. The engineer told me to use the engine hard, and vary the revs. As said, at half revs Eilidh was now creaming along at 5 knots. At full revs, her stern tucked deeply into the sea, and some 6.5 knots was achieved in calm waters. But was what was most noticeable, was the effect on Eilidh's sailing performance.
She sailed much better, and faster. The lighter engine had freed up her stern. and Eilidh now sailed noticeably faster. With a rain cloud gust behind her (cowardice) she sailed consistently at 7.5 knots according to the knot meter. With spinnaker up, in light winds, speeds up to 6.1 knots were clocked. This was a by-product really appreciated.
The new twin cylinder uses about the same fuel as the old Bukh, approximately 1.5 litre per hour.