January 2020 – what’s a year anyway?

So its been a while but I am back working on Anne Marie at last. The converted bank is now a fully functioning office and so time is much more available for the boat.

What has happened to Anne-Marie in the last year? Well not a lot actually. She has gone up and down with the tides and every now and then I went along and got the engine going and reminded her, and me, that she is not forgotten and there is still a lot to do. She is however looking dirty and green. I have scrubbed the green coach roof! It is now white-ish again.

Shore Power

We are just about finished with the installation of shore power and 240v electrics although there is one more bit of work to do to finish that off. I have decided to put in 32 amp system rather than 16 amp to cater for large items of electrical equipment that I might add in the future.

I have used a Marinco socket and plug at the boat end as I thought they looked the most robust and watertight, which I think they probably are. Little did I know that they also have build problems. The ones I got just would not fit together however much I tried. Eventually I dismantled them both (male and female connectors), analysed the problem and then rebuilt them so they worked. At about £150 I was not very impressed especially when neither Marinco or the UK supplier answered emails and queries.

Needless to say the other shore power equipment will not be Marinco.

Steering gear

I removed the wheel, pedestal and connections to the rudder way back in the early days. It required a lot of work to make it look good. I have now got round to the internal workings of the rack and pinion gear which was very stiff. I was rather worried as the rudder was damaged back in 2010 or so and it might have bent the steering pedestal shaft.

I had to make a new bearing for the top of the pedestal. When I say I, I mean Chris the marine surveyor. I had hoped that YouTube or the interweb might have helped with identification and a diagram for maintenance, but no. Too old and unidentifiable. So I went in ‘blind’ and used my ingenuity.

Luckily the main cover bolts came out easily – someone had greased them in the past. I removed the rack and pinion steering gear and then cleaned it up, freed it a little and re-greased it. This is now ready to go back into that boat. The only bit I couldn’t get at was the top bearing which unfortunately was the main problem. Stainless fixings in an aluminium casing had done its usual trick and corroded over the years to such an extent that the fixings would not budge.

Engine stop solenoid

I have been relying on a piece of string to stop the engine which really isn’t very satisfactory and I have been looking for an electronic solenoid activated by a switch on the control pane. I eventually bought it from China (where else?) on eBay with a 1m long control wire. This I could mount in the engine compartment and align the wire through the engine so that it attaches to the engine stop lever. When I press the toggle switch on the control panel the solenoid activates and pulls the wire about 40mm which is enough to stop the engine. When I release the switch the wire extends back toi its default resting position allowing the engine to start/run.

Now this should be easy but as usual there was a twist. Having ordered a “pull on activation” solenoid I was sent an “extend on activation” version. This meant that the fail safe position was ‘engine stopped’ which is no use at all. Contacting the seller got a reassuring ‘yes I will send a replacement’ which never arrived so I decided to have a go and fix it. How difficult could it be?

It turned out to be more complicated than I thought but after a lot of puzzling I turned the circuit board 180° and swapped the power leads to the motor + to – and vice versa. Hey presto I now have a ‘pull on activation’ solenoid. I have just ordered a couple of wire clamps and then that will be fully operational.

I did have to add an extra wire to the loom from the control panel as there was only one spare but that’s no big deal.

The Stop Solenoid with easy to understand instructions

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Anne Marie (aka Mike Stephens)

I am a well traveled, globe-trotting vessel with great lines. I am told I give a comfortable ride for my years. Although a little worn out I am looking forward to getting back onto the water after a full service.

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