Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Pipe Dreams

Cambridge - Upware

So, on Saturday, we arrived in Cambridge. It really feels great to be home, although in some ways, this is just the beginning of a new saga - that of finding a way to live comfortably and earn money in Cambridge, as well as fix all the problems that reared their heads while we were cruising.

On Sunday I again donned wetsuit and jumped (well, clambered inelagantly) into the River Cam. Luckily it was another sunny day. The reason for this second immersion was to check on the tights wrapped round the intake baffle plate, since we'd still found the engine to be overheating. They were still in place but I replaced them with some plastic netting that a nice chap gave me for free in Homebase when I explained how little I needed and what for. Using cable-ties I fixed it securely over the baffle plate, ensuring that nothing could get in that was smaller than about 3mm diameter. It was quite a surreal moment when one of our friends arrived for tea and cake, and I was still in the water up to my neck!

This seemed to help but it would require a cruise to test it out. So we took our friend for a short excursion to the Penny Ferry (about a mile away) and back. On the way back the engine was still overheating, so James also had another look at the intake hose. He took it out fully this time, and surmised that it was in a poor condition, and would need replacing/reinforcing.

Moored at the waterpoint, with bikes affixed ready for the off.

So, yesterday after going into town and scattering CVs to various agencies and shops, he fixed jubilee clips onto the pipe, to try and prevent it kinking and sucking itself flat, which we reckoned was preventing enough water from getting to the heat exchanger. At about 5 we set off, hoping that the cooling system might work better this time a,d that we'd makie it to Upware. Alas, the temperature needle was still climbing and a look at the pipe told us that it wasn't worth continuing to reinforce it, so we made a hasty landing at The Plough Inn, which has some visitor moorings, and rushed back along the river to B&Q before it closed, in order to find some better pipe. As luck would have it, after fruitless searching in the garden hose section, we found some plumbing pipe that was absolutely perfect for the job: it was a 'flexbile overflow pipe' made of ribbed, reinforced plastic, and was the right length and diameter as well as having rubber ends that fitted exactly onto the fittings in the boat... all for £2.50. Amazing. However, when fitted, there still wasn't enough water coming though, so we decided to call it a night and try again in the morning.

The day dawned miserable but we managed to get the water flowing well, somehow, by taping up any possible airleaks in the pipe connection and flushing it again just in case. Miraculously, the netting in combination with the marvelous new pipe seemed to do the job and we made it to Upware with the bypass (which lets out spare water, showing that the intake has sucked in enough) opening up at tickover. It normally doesn't open until the engine's running at 1800rpm! And the temperature stayed at 60 degrees! We may have found a temporary solution - if only we'd worked it out somewhere on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, not here...

The new pipe!

Anyway, so now, here we are at Upware. We had a little difficulty mooring, since the pontoon's not quite long enough, but were soon welcomed by our neighbour, and shown where to connect our shore line and other useful things.

We have set up our placemarker that came with the boat - a duck sitting atop the end of an old lock gate beam - and put our postbox up. So if anyone fancied writing, our address is quite obviously:

Amy and James,
nb Lucky Duck,
Upware Marina,

The lovely brass plate was made by James' uncle Phil!

1 comment:

  1. Great to see that you are finally "home", after the highs and lows of your journey. Uncle Phil will think that his nameplate looks perfect on your post box. Now all it needs is some post!!!-hopefully job offers in the not too distant future.
    Speak soon.
    Love Mum