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Showing posts from October, 2016

Bandit's Off to Ely Again - Day 3: Lazing Around

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Saturday 29th October 2016 - Day 3 of our third holiday to Ely.

Time - 1330hrs:
This morning we woke up beside the Swan on the River at Littleport. It was a calm, quiet evening last night and remained like that until morning. We had a delicious fry up which we cooked onboard and then moved to the other side of the river to fill the water tank at one of the Environment Agency's provided water points. We then set off for Ely again.

The long straight part of the river was clear again so we gave Bandit some throttle to ensure all was okay after having to remove the two duo-props last night after the incident with someone's red ensign flag... All was well but the starboard engine has developed some sort of problem. We noticed it going down to Littleport yesterday so it's nothing as a result of the propeller issues. Both engines will rev to 2500rmp and get Bandit smoothly on the plane, running at about 24 knots. The starboard engine then drops in revs to about 1500rmp, almost lik…

Bandit's Off to Ely Again - Day 2: Disaster Strikes

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Friday 28th October 2016 - Day 2 of our third holiday to Ely.

Today our endless bad luck strikes again...

We woke up later than normal today and found that our little geese friends had camped the night just outside the boat window. As soon as we unlocked the cockpit door and sat down, they rushed over making their funny little noise, almost as if they were asking us for their breakfast. We fed them and they then waddled over to the fountain to get a drink. They're so incredibly cute and they seemed to take a liking for us.

After sitting about for a bit watching the river go by, we walked into town to get lunch and pudding for later. Ely is a fantastic place to do some sight-seeing. We walked over to Ely Cathedral and admired the old church. After, we went to Sainsbury's to get our provisions and then made our way back to the boat. We sat about in Ely again for a couple of hours and then dived into the engine bay to ensure all was still good after our good run to Ely yesterday. Ev…

Bandit's Off to Ely Again - Day 1

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Thursday 27th October 2016 - Day 1 of our third holiday to Ely.

I sit here aboard Bandit now at Ely quayside with the Eberspacher diesel heating tick away.

Today we began at our home marina, Jones Boatyard, in Saint Ives and arrival at Ely Quayside a good 5-6 hours later (full trip details follow). Overall, it's been a fantastic run. We left the marina at about 9:30 and had an enjoyable cruise to Hermatage Lock, where the River Great Ouse meets the Old West River which is notorious for being incredibly weedy and shallow - not ideal for a twin outdrive duo-prop driven Sealine, if we're honest...

I'm happy to say that the 3-4 hour run down the Old West, running at a speed of 4mph all the way, went very well. The weather was pleasant, albeit a little chilly at times when we hit The Fens and we were no longer sheltered from the wind. We had never had much luck down this river. Last time we had a rather serious blockage in the starboard outdrive. We pulled over to let a passing…

Bandit's Off to Ely Again - Planning Our Adventure

It's currently the October half term so to us, that means it's out last big trip out for the year. For the last couple of years, we've almost made it a tradition to head to Ely, from our berth in Saint Ives, to spend a good four days away on the boat.

This year is no exception. We so thrilled to be doing this journey in Bandit with working engines. And this time, we mean that... The last time we made it to Ely, we were upset by the fact that we were unable to solve our mechanical problems and had to go with one good engine and one less-reliable, lumpy starboard engine. It was a shame as we wanted to open Bandit up somewhere along the journey but we were simply unable to. We will be doing this last trip solo, which isn't a bad thing. We can move at our own pace and not worry about holding anyone else up. Don't get me wrong, I prefer to head out on these type of adventures with friends in a flotilla but we're looking forward to messing about solo this time.
So, p…

A Day to Remember...

Today was, by far, a day to remember. I'm happy to say that all of the problems we've had with Bandit's engines over the last 8-9 months have come to an end and today, we've put her to the test...

There are very few places to open your boat up on the River Great Ouse but there's one bit after the Pike & Eel marina that the boatyard themselves use to test boats after having work done to their engines. There's plenty of depth and the river is fairly wide. We used this stretch today to give Bandit all she's got. Throttle to the dashboard, quite literally.

We went down there specifically to test her performance and our friends were down at the marina in their diesel 290. They hitched a ride with us as we unleashed all of Bandit's 410 horse powers. They wanted to see how different it was with twin 4.3l petrol and duo-prop drives compared to their diesel and single-prop drives. We had no idea what to expect. It's fair to say we had little faith as we&…

Shorter Days + Colder Nights

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The days are now getting noticeably shorter. What used to be a 9:30 sunset is now 17:52 (to be exact). The boating season is coming to and end for most but we will continue to use Bandit each weekend throughout the winter. She will be coming out in about four weeks time so we can fit the thruster, re-antifoul the hull, buff her up and check the condition of the drives (which we've not yet done since the purchase). Quite looking forward to it, if I'm honest... Apart from drilling huge holes in either side of the hull for the bow thruster.

In March of this year, we fitted our 2002 model Eberspacher D2 unit which came with the boat. It worked perfectly for the short time we had to use it and we've begun using it again now the evenings and nights are getting quite chilly. It still runs perfectly and provides a lovely heat which is fab. We really did expect to have to service it for this winter but it looks as if it will continue to do us well again this year. Not long now befo…

Things Are Improving!

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This month marks quite an important moment since our purchase of Bandit. I'm so incredibly happy to inform you, the reader, we've finally cracked our engine problems! After throwing wads of cash at the engine and replacing every single part, she's finally decided to behave herself. The last thing we had to do was replace two plugs and two leads and she's now performing perfectly.

Today, I've done some final adjustments to the carburettor. It seems that nowhere on the internet is there a definite answer to this simple question: "do you turn the idle mixture adjustment screws clockwise or anticlockwise to lean the petrol burn on a Rochester Quadrajet Carburettor?". After experimenting with the screws for a couple of hours, I've decided that turning the idle adjustment screws clockwise leans the petrol burn.
I also changed the way the fenders are placed on Bandit today. We used to have four large fenders per side on ropes attached to the pulpit so we cou…

Problem Solvers (??)

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Today we might have solved some problems regarding Bandit's problematic starboard engine.

Firstly, we've been trying to solve problems with this engine since January. It's currently nearing the end of October so that's nine and a half months. We've been through lots of new parts, rebuild kits and money. We've thrown thousands at this engine to get it running as it should but every time we replaced something that we suspected was causing us some problems, nothing positive seemed to happen as a result.
Recently, we've had the distributor sent off and refurbished. Like everything else, the company said it was in bad shape and renewed everything. After bolting it back to the engine, absolutely nothing happened as a result. 200 quid down the drain, it seemed. We've also replaced the mechanical petrol pump which was clearly original. We had problems with one on the other engine so we gathered that this one might be causing us some problems too. £200 and a new…

Out and About - Some Photos

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As well as this blog being an interesting read for you as the viewer, it's also a way for us to keep an online diary of things that's happened and things we've done to Bandit. I thought I'd add some nice photos from over the last seven days for you to enjoy but for us to look back on too. A little reminder that although we're bogged down in the engine bay 9/10 times tinkering, we do have some truly brilliant days on Bandit.