Sunday, February 03, 2008


We've been up to Huntingdon to help son Richard to get his boat ready for its forthcoming safety inspection. I always like working on his boat because the low cruiser stern makes it really easy to do stuff in the engine compartment. The safety book says battery terminals must have an insulating cover so that conducting objects like spanners couldn't fall on them and start a fire. Although Richards batteries are safely tucked beneath the side of the deck, a fussy inspector might still expect a proper cover for them. I had planned to make a plywood lid, but there wasn't room to secure one properly. Thinking caps on, what could we dream up?

To allow our minds to subconsciously work on the problem, we turned to another job. The hose from the gas bottle to the boat showed a date of 1999 and would surely be failed by the inspector, so we bought a replacement and fitted it. Getting it gas tight is always a problem and a splash of soapy water showed bubbles of gas escaping even when the joints were spannered up tight. Eventually we made a better job of it by using some rubber washers which we had to trim to size with scissors. It looks gas tight now but we won't know for sure until the inspector puts his manometer on the system to see if the pressure holds steady.

Back to the battery cover. Well, rubber solved the gas problem, and it solved the battery problem. "What about a rubber car mat?" I suggested. Kath went off in search of one at the shops. Well she couldn't find a suitable cheap one, but she returned triumphantly with an alternative - a rubber bath mat. It can lay over all three batteries taped down at the ends, with the sides left open to let hydrogen gasses to escape when the battery is charged. Lets hope the inspector accepts it.

Everything else on the boat looks as though it conforms to requirements, but time will tell.

The fuse box on the boat has ten fuses but no labels and as all the wires were the same colour, we thought it would be fun to remove each fuse one by one and note which electrical item switched off. This we did and now Richard has a little chart on the cupboard wall to guide him in an emergency.

All in all a useful days work, capped by a nice evening when we all went over to Cambridge to meet up with our other son Peter and shared a Chinese meal.

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