Showing posts from January, 2017

Bandit's Lofrans Windlass - Up and Running

I've been to the boat after college today to reassemble the windlass clutch, chain gipsy and drum after removing it from the spindle as it was very badly corroded and could not be removed or released manually. There was no sign of any grease at all when I was able to free everything up and remove it using a large puller which explains the bad corrosion.

I spent a good hour last night removing all the thick corrosion from the warp drum which had held it solid to the spindle for many years. We then soaked the oxidised brass chain gipsy in a vinegar and salt solution to try and clean it up a bit. This worked a treat but the gipsy is not a red-ish colour. Not a problem but it didn't really achieve much. So this afternoon I reassembled everything using plenty of water-resistant marine grease to ensure no corrosion would take place again anytime soon.

I'm happy to report that everything works perfectly and we are now able to easily let out the anchor rode manually should we ever…

Bandit's Lofrans Windlass - Removal

Since purchasing Bandit, we've had a problem with the electric 500w Lofrans Airon windlass. The warp drum has always been corroded badly to the main drive shaft and would never loosen up and remove like it should. This is a problem as the windlass needs operated manually if ever needed. Becuase this warp drum was so badly corroded down, it was putting pressure on the chain gipsy and therefore it would never turn to let the chain out. The only way we could ever operate the windlass is electrically. So what if we ran into battery issues at sea and needed to drop the anchor? Well, we'd be stuffed.

I borrowed a puller from the marina today and after a good hour and a half, I was able to finally remove the corroded warp drum from the main shaft. The puller itself simply would not lift the drum off so I boiled the kettle a couple of times and poured boiling hot water over it which allowed it to expand slightly and pull off. Don't get me wrong, it didn't just simply slip off …

Not a Bad Evening

Today's bee quite a nice, relaxing day. It makes a change from all the weekends we've recently spent working hard on the boat while she's been out of the water. We got up early this morning and headed straight up to town at Saint Ives and moored at the quayside. We had breakfast onboard and sat around feeding the swans and enjoying what sunshine we had. We then headed back to base to take care of a few jobs that we decided to do last minute.

When we removed Bandit's GRP 'wing' that sat on top of the radar arch when we purchased her, we were left with four large bolt holes and one huge central hole where the wires for the nav equipment entered the radar arch from the wing. Over the last year, we've had a bit of duck tape stuck over the holes to prevent water entering the arch. I took some 4mm white perspex plastic from college and measured it all out and cut it in preparation to fit to the radar arch last week. It would act as a plate to cover the holes and …

Hoping for an Adventure

I've done some research and found a couple of nice places that we could plan to visit this year if we get Bandit out to The Wash like we plan. For our first outing, we're hoping to head out with some more experienced people as sea boating is not something I've done before and it's been a while since Dad has done it. There's a first time for anything and I want to learn more about the ocean so we can get Bandit out there whenever we feel like it without having to rely on others for help. Not that there's a problem with that but I'd love to get out there more.

The three places that look popular among boaters from our part of the river seem to be Brancaster Bay, Holkham Bay and the ever talked about Wells-Next-the-Sea. All three places look like a great spot for anchoring - another thing I am really looking forward to. The dream of anchoring up in your own little bay somewhere at sea is just something I would absolutely love to do. I've seen many others wh…

Back to Business

It's so nice to finally have Bandit back in the water where we can come down during the week and enjoy her. I can down straight after college today to come and sit aboard and relax for a bit. I ended up doing a couple of jobs instead but it's always nice being aboard, no matter what you're doing.

I got to the boat and ran the engines for a good 10-15 minutes. I let them warm up and left them running at 2000rmp to let the engines move for a bit. They both started fantastically but there was a bit of smoke from the port engine. It soon disappeared so I imagine it was just where she's not been running for a good month and a half. We'll keep an eye on it and hope that it doesn't remain to smoke. It's not a real problem but it's nicer to have a nice running engine.

I have done a couple of jobs today between relaxing. It's been a fantastic winters day. Not too chilly with clear blue skies and sun.

Not that it's an important feature in winter but I'…

First Voyage for 2017

Today has been the first day we've used Bandit for 2017. She was relaunched yesterday and we got up this morning nice and early to begin the cleaning process after a month and a half of maintenance on land. The Tek-Dek teak flooring was in an appalling state and everything was oily and dirty. After leaving all the water to defrost in the marina, we started the power washing. We used the jet wash to blast away all the horrid mud and dirt on the teak flooring on the bathing platform and in the cockpit. The jet wash worked perfectly and we simply let all the water drain away and then wiped down the rest of the cockpit with a towel. It came up okay, but not as well as we had expected. No matter, it looks a lot better than it had done.

Somebody from the marina was out at 0900 this morning breaking up the ice in the marina. They soon cleared the majority of the ice and we were then able to start the engines and head out for our first trip of 2017. The starboard engine started beautifull…

The Bow Thruster Project - Part 21: Relaunching our Sealine

I sit aboard Bandit now on her mooring, where she belongs!

I got to the boat early this morning to find a completely iced over marina. The temperate had dropped to -4ÂșC last night so little wonder the water had frozen. I came down to get the propellers back on, grease both the drives through the grease nipples and rebleed the new hydraulics. Installing the duo propellers was easy and I borrowed a grease gun from the mechanic at the boatyard. It was a hard job but I eventually got enough grease in the drive so that it was oozing out the steering parts. The hydraulics were easy to do as it just meant lifting the drive up and then back down again about 4-5 times. I then topped up the reservoir and raised then lowered it another couple of times to ensure all was okay and that all the air had escaped the pipes. Then it was time for Bandit's relaunch.

The stabilising chocks were removed, the fenders and ropes were prepared and Bandit was then slowly winched back down the slipway on the …

The Bow Thruster Project - Part 20: Bandit's Last Day on Land

We've been on the phone to the boatyard today and we're happy to say that Bandit is finally all put back together and is ready to be relaunched! I plan to head to the yard early tomorrow morning to do a couple of last jobs. I have to install the propellers on the starboard outdrive and the mechanic will show me how to bleed & prime the hydraulics for the drive where we've had the hoses replaced. Luckily the pump is self-bleeding & self-priming so it's all very easy.

The mechanics at Jones Boatyard has been very busy over the last few days with Bandit and we're so grateful for their hard work. I went down yesterday to find that an incorrect hose kit had been delivered to the yard and did not fit our type of rams. Unfortunate but the yard did their absolute best and managed to steal the last hose kit from KeyParts and had it delivered under 24 hours which was absolutely fantastic. So he refitted that today, reconnected the new gear shift cable and reattached …

The Bow Thruster Project - Part 19: Getting Close

The time is fast approaching where Bandit is finally relaunched back into the water. It's a very exciting thought to think we're so nearly there.

I've been at the boat most of the day just doing a few bits and pieces in preparation for Bandit's relaunch. I've generally tidied up a bit so there are not bits everywhere when she finally gets back in. I've hoovered down below, in the mid cabin, in the heads and in the cockpit. I didn't clean anything properly in the cockpit as it's horrendously dirty and we plan to jet wash the Tek-Dek flooring at the weekend so the cleaning can be done then.

I also cleaned and greased the propeller shafts on the port outdrive and installed the two freshly painted, refurbished propellers. They look good in gloss black against the light grey drive. Very happy.

I spoke to the mechanic today and he said that our hydraulic hoses are due for delivery tomorrow so he can fit them and reinstall the starboard drive. We'll then c…

The Bow Thruster Project - Part 18: Painting the Propellers

We've been to the boat today and ran the new 9 meter Teleflex gear shift cable. It was an awful job as it meant removing everything we had stored in the mid cabin and putting it into the saloon and then disassembling most of the panels in the mid cabin to access the cable from the throttle controls at the helm. We then found that the six bolts holding the throttle levers to the helm were completely rusted and we ended up snapping each one off. They clearly had not been touched for a huge amount of years. We then taped the new cable to the end of the old and pulled it through to the engine bay. We will leave the mechanic to fit the rest of the cable through the transom shield as we were told that the tube that the cable goes through the transom shield in is very delicate and tearing a hole in it could potentially cause water to come in, eventually filling the engine bays with water. So we will leave it to the yard when they refit that drive.

We also gave the hull another one coat o…


I woke up this morning and looked out the window to a partially snow-covered drive. This is the first snowfall we've had this year. This time last year we had Bandit and there was no snow at all that year. In fact, one year ago today marks the day Bandit was transported form Chichester to Cambridge after we purchased her. It was a chilly day but we had no rain and no snow. A good thing, too as Bandit had to be completely 'naked' for her travel back, meaning all the canopies, fenders, flags and aerials had to be removed so she fit under bridges and wasn't damaged on her way home. 
The walk to the bus stop about 20 minutes away from our home was horrible. The wind is quite strong this morning so it made for an unpleasant walk. The bus driver doesn't seem bothered about the snow on the road, however. She's happily bombing along as per usual. A little nerve-racking to say the least...
I logged onto the marina webcam this morning to find a slightly wet boatyard. The…

13th January 2016

Today marks one year after Bandit was transported from Chichester Marina to her new home in Cambridgeshire on the River Great Ouse.

It was a truly fantastic day but also quite a sad one just knowing that we were removing Bandit from a place she had been for years. It almost didn't feel right to move her from the sea where she belongs to a river limited to 7 knots.

The transport itself was both exciting and nerve-racking. Exciting because we were finally getting our newly purchased Sealine back home but nerve-racking to see our huge investment on the back of a lorry doing 50mph on the motorways. We had planned to follow Bandit and the lorry back to St Ives but soon overtook and made our way back as we needed to get things ready for her arrival. We needed a new set of magnesium anodes to replace the salt water zincs and we also needed to ensure there was still a space on the pontoon alongside our previous boat to park her when she got there.

After 120 miles and about 3-4 hours of tr…

The Bow Thruster Project - Part 17: Outdrive Removal

I got to the boat this afternoon to find that the boatyard had removed Bandit's starboard Volvo 290DP drive. I was able to have a look around and everything looks in good order, apart from the hydraulic hoses that are being replaced and the gear shift seals. Furthermore, the yard said that the gear shift seals were leaking because they were not fitted properly the last time they were replaced.
So, good news is that the bellows look in good order so we will replace them in the summer instead when Bandit is out for a couple of weeks again. The mechanic came over and I went with him to the workshop to have a look at the drive. It was good to see the drive apart to see how it works. It was really interesting to have a little lesson about how it all as I know very little about the drive mechanics.
And the bad news... Our gear shift cable is knackered. It's split badly and will only corrode and seize up. So, we will need to replace it while the drive is off now. Another unexpected £…