The weather's been against us for most of the week, with often torrential rain and very strong winds. So walking has been out of the question - good for the health, but very dispiriting! We've got on, then, with hobbies and little jobs that needed to be done around the boat.
Colin came on Monday, serviced the engine, replaced the igniter in the Alde boiler, discovered and fixed a connection problem with the bowthruster, and solved the problem of the dripping stern gland. It seems that the engine was not sitting straight, so the prop shaft was out of alignment, causing wear and allowing the excessive dripping. We wonder if this happened when Kantara was dropped around 18 months ago.
The previous owner had had Kantara taken out of the water for work to be done on the hull. When they came to put her back in the canal, the brakes - on the cables being used to crane the boat - slipped, allowing the bow to fall some six feet back onto the railway sleepers from which she was being lifted. Fortunately, Trevor Whitling was on the scene, the man who later did the survey for us, and looked over Kantara for damage. Finding none, he wrote a letter for the owner, reporting in some detail what had happened, and stating his belief that no damage had occurred. This was handed to us before we bought the boat, and subsequent discussions with Trevor put our minds finally at rest over the matter.
Anyway, the dripping stern gland problem is solved now, at least for the time being. We can look forward to the engine being even quieter, probably, and more fuel-efficient, but the wear has been caused, and we might just have to get a new, automatic bilge pump to deal with any excessive dripping. We'll see when we start cruising next year.