Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Alternator alternatives

I'd heard nothing from Simon, but never mind. I had a look at RCR's handbook, to see if alternators were covered in our Bronze membership - and they are! So I rang them, and an engineer was lined up to visit. However, the roadways in the marina are in the process of being resurfaced, and there's no vehicular access at the moment. So I arranged for the RCR guy to meet us at Yelvertoft Wharf instead. It's only a matter of a fifteenish-minute trip by boat. So off we went, the engine hunting pitifully as we went.

Yelvertoft Wharf is no longer much of a wharf, but it's a rather good spot for mooring.

Yelvertoft is apparently well-known by RCR for being an area of very poor phone signal, so communications between us were dire. But a young man arrived around 2:00pm and poked, prodded, tugged and tested, and concluded that, yes, the problem was with our 16 year-old domestic alternator. That is, the one of a pair of alternators that charges our domestic batteries; the other one is exclusive to the starter battery. The problem was that, having diagnosed the problem, there was nothing he could do about it. RCR's service is focussed on dealing with issues that stop boats from travelling. And this problem wouldn't actually stop us from cruising, it'd simply make it more difficult for us! 
So I'd have to get someone else to supply and fit a new alternator. (The two alternators co-exist in a very small space with little access. There was no way I was going to even attempt the job myself!) RCR have a list of trusted engineers, and they could get one of those to do the work for me, so I asked RCR to email me their best quote. I still haven't received that. I texted Simon, too, and haven't had a reply from him, either. Meanwhile, Grace looked on Ebay for the replacement alternator, and found a really good-looking fitting service from a man who specialises in Barrus engines like ours. Ed Shiers of Four Counties Marine Services in Leek. Ed's travelling down to us today, to fit a bit of kit for less than we can buy it for elsewhere. I'll report on the result in my next post.

When Tom, the RCR engineer had gone, we now had to turn around in order to return to the marina. But the nearest winding hole is beyond bridge 28. That's a total of an 8½ mile journey, simply to get us to back the marina just half a mile behind us! But the weather was good, and it's always a pleasure to be cruising. Smiling, we set off. With a hunting engine.

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