for a gentle motor through to
Dokkum. Leaving the marina was interesting as at high tide the lock from the
sea into the canal is opened for a few hours causing quite a current through
the marina. The manager and another man came to help us and were very pleased
when we managed to get out easily. Actually when reversing the skeg and rudder
got stuck in the mud allowing the current to turn the boat in what appeared to
be perfect control. PHEW!!! if only the watchers could have taken my pulse!! Harlingen
We motored up the canal for just a few kilometres when the engine slowed and shortly after that started making a horrible loud rattle. I dived below and started examining the motor. It was quickly evident that something had gone wrong with the drive between the engine and gearbox as there was an enormous amount of what looked like sand coming out at the bottom of the housing.
We were approaching a bridge which opened and on the other side was a yacht waiting quay which we gratefully tied to.
Up on the bridge there were workers cleaning it and Mo went up to them and they called the bridge controller who said that someone would come and see us. After a short while a launch with police type people aboard came and discussed things with us. They preferred us not to stay on that quay and arranged for us to go to a commercial dock where we could stay for a while. As it was difficult for us to move they tied us alongside the launch and took us back through the bridge to the Shipdock Draaisma, which is actually a covered dry dock with two boats in being worked on.
There is a supplier of the R&D drive plate in The Netherlands and the boss of the yard called them and after a couple of days a new drive plate arrived. The supplied plate is an R&D one but different to the original which did worry me but another call to R&D in the
reassured me and the cost was reasonable for an essentially British part
supplied abroad working out at £208 rather than the £168 it would have cost in
Thank goodness I can fix it myself as labour would have been expensive. UK
Why it happened.
This is actually the second time in 15 years that this plate has failed so I called R&D and had a long conversation with their excellent technician.
The problem is marine engines. In a car when you let in the clutch there is a constant increase in the transfer of power through the gearbox. The car accelerates and there is constant pressure on the system. In a boat this does not happen. We put the gear into forward and often just move slowly on or close to tick over. This allows the drive to chatter which can be very damaging to the drive train. To help stop this on dedicated marine engines there will be a very heavy flywheel to help smooth out the chatter. There will also be a drive plate with some form of springs to help absorb the chatter.
Now many marine engines are actually vehicle engines which have been 'marinised'. Many, including Ti Gitu's have not had a heavier flywheel fitted. This puts extra stress on the springs in the drive plate and the technician said that in the early days some hire boats were going through two drive plates a season. This has led to better types of shock absorbing springs being developed which in our drive plate are actually plastic. However, they do have a limited life and when we return to the UK we will obtain and keep a spare and also make an entry in the maintenance log of when it is expected to need replacing.
The broken drive plate. There should be plastic all the way round.
By Friday morning all was fixed and as the ships in the dry dock needed us out of the way we left in a bit of a rush with only time to pay for the part and thank Reink, the manager, profusely.
We took the short trip to the centre of Franeker to spend the rest of the day and overnight where the charge is 13 euro's a day. Only slightly different to