Winter Work

Befur home for winter work

Befur home for winter work

Well, Befur is back in the fells for some winter work.

The pull-out and trip home was uneventful, thanks to Simon and Dean’s help, and the garage finally finding and fixing the leak in the Land Rover’s turbo pipes! Much less smoke and much more go!

Work to do

We have a tentative list of work we want to do, and the game plan is to try to get back into the water before Heggerscale freezes (the lake is a milder climate to over winter in)! However, as I write this post, and document the work, it seems questionable if we will finish the work in 2022!!!

The work falls into several groups, some just inspection/maintenance and some fixing/improving:

Maintenance Things

  • Repair anchor chocks – these need sanding and more varnish. In reality these are never used, so perhaps we could remove them, but I am wary of the resulting holes in the foredeck and risk of water ingress.
  • Varnish side decks and tiller – The rudder and post still look fine, but the tiller is suffering.
  • Fill & re-paint the various dings & dents acquired from 2-years in the water.
  • Check rudder pintles – No apparent problems, but just to be safe.
  • Recoat antifoul – having jet washed the hull to remove weed and loose antifoul.
  • Check & adjust masthead blocks (stbd side). The lazy jacks and mast-lift look like they would lie better if their block position was swapped.

On inspection, having got her on the hard, we can see that there is a line of small bubbles that have appeared in the paint at the waterline, where water seems to have gotten between the cladding and the 2-part epoxy primer paint. Strangely, this only appears exactly on the waterline, under the boot-line paint, and antifouling. So, we are planning to sand off the paint, inspect and refinish, just in case this leads to more problems in the future.

Fixing & Improving Things

Hull & Sail

Befur Sailing

Steve and Elizabeth Haines showing us how it should be done!

  • We would like to add a Tack Line and cabin rood fixing – probably in shot cord, this holds the boom down when the sail is fully set.
  • The Tack Parrel needs tidying and setting to 2 hand spans!
  • We want to fix the Windex to the masthead, as opposed to the current rudder stock location! :-/ 
  • We need to adjust ballast towards the stern, as she rides a little low at the bow.
  • Fit some kind of guard around the compass in the rear of the cockpit, as the steersperson’s backside tends to knock it out of position and it looks likely to get broken.
  • Look at some type of cleat or rachet block for the sheet, as holding this for long periods can be painful/tiring. 
  • Look at the sheetlets attachment to the battens, as in most photographs (including this one) the sheetlet at the foot of the red sail panel is fouled around the batten below.
  • Add a new hull frame forward of the engine on the starboard side. Removing the Worthington-Simpson steam circulating pump provides some room on the starboard side of the boiler to allow this. Fitting a new frame/bulkhead will aid with support for that section of the hull, provide somewhere to carry the new condenser. and perhaps fit the Windermere Kettle we both think we need!

Engine & Boiler Performance

The game plan here is to address a number of nagging problems which we have noted before (condenser  & circulating pump issues, knocking, lubrication, pump drive failures & lack of vacuum), and seek out some improved performance (the ever-present  “Need For Speed” you know)!

vac gauge calibration

Vac Gauge Calibration – the root of the problem?

  • Verify Vac gauge calibration – As the picture to the right shows, when we finally made a fitting to allow two vacuum gauges to be compared (using a large sheep-oriented syringe to crate some vacuum), the test gauge reads 20″, and the boat gauge reads only 13″ – thus suggesting why we can never get more than about 15″ of vacuum when running – duh!
  • Fit Plate Condenser – We have a large Alfa-Laval plate condenser (Thank you Mr Knapton), which we hope will perform better than the tube & drum one currently fitted, and will allow the new electric circulating pump to move enough water to keep up the vacuum at flank speed! (see commentary on water requirement for condensers).
  • Fit new cooling pump and larger feed pipes – This is part of fitting the above condenser. The pump is a low-pressure, high-volume centrifugal one, so we need to make the resistance of the cooling circuit as low as possible.
  • LP Valve timing check/reset. Having built a digital engine indicator (join the SBA and read all about it in the next Funnel), we took some indicator diagrams. These prove that we need to take a hard look at the valve events, particularly on the LP cylinder (yellow graph)!! As things seem far from ideal.


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  • Rework cross-head & bearing lubrication – The endless knocking, and repeated wear in the piston rod bearings makes me think that the lubrication of the cross-head and piston-rod bearings as designed/drawn is inadequate. So, we are going to change this arrangement, feeding oil to the piston rod bearing, rather than the crosshead.
  • Cross-head refurb/fit – As part of this we will make another attempt at getting the crosshead properly adjusted and fitted to reduce the noise!!
  • Replace piston rod bearings – I think we will (as part of this re-work) replace the bush-and-hard-pin bearing Leak put in the drawings with needle rollers. We have found some with drilled outer cages that should allow us to move the oil feed to the pin, and allow the oil to exit via the bearing cage to feed the crosshead. (Having seen that the crossheads on SS Shieldhall are lubricated with a wallpaper paste brush strapped to the crosshead, and bucket of oil into which it dips at BDC, convinced me that crosshead slideways are not too sensitive to the quality of their lubrication!).
  • Increase feed pumps capacity & slow gearing – We proved that speeding up the air pump and boiler pump drive did not improve the vacuum, just the noise. So we will return to slower (7.5:1) worm box , but will also look to increasing the size of the boiler feed pump rams, and fitting them with o-rings to reduce leaks and increase capacity.
  • Replace Scotch-crank drive – This has failed on many occasions (and is another source of “the noise”), so we are re-engineering this to better attach the crank webs to the drive shaft, and change the yoke to a single piece. Hopefully, this will improve reliability and reduce the noise!
  • Improve & tidy feed-pump piping – The mass of plumbing around the boiler feed pumps and air pump has made maintenance and inspection of the pump drives a real pain. We will try to simplify and tidy this arrangement. 
  • Replace boiler clacks – The existing boiler clacks are very noisy and a bit leaky. So we will replace these with nicer, in-line, stainless ones. At the same time we will try to improve the boiler cladding/insulation at that end of the boiler.
  • Inspect & perhaps remake the Air Pump piston – the Edwards Air Pump piston has always been a poor fit in the liner (it was one of a number of parts which arrived machined to the wrong size!). I fitted a large o-ring to it to try to overcome this. I want to inspect this arrangement and see how the o-ring is surviving, and consider if we need to  make a new, better-fitting, piston.
  • Make and fit another whistle – Sooner or later we must be able make one that sounds nice!

Electrical Systems

  • Add secondary battery and split charge relay – Following the near failure at the 50th Rally, I want to fit a back-up battery for the inverter, and some form of split-charge relay to ensure it is always charged and ready for use in emergency.
  • We need to  install some permanent wiring for the new circulating pump with fuse and switching at the driving position.
  • The new NASA depth sounder sometimes gets very confused, and this would appear to be as a result of electrical noise from the burner ignition. So, we need to add some decoupling capacitors to its electrical supply under the rear deck.

I suspect we will find a host of other work we need to do…. 😦 

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