Showing posts from March, 2017

Overhauling the Radar Wing - Part 1

We've been thinking about the future with Bandit recently. We're pondering the idea of transporting Bandit back to the South coast for when I move away to university in September 2018 so we get the most out of her. Not only that but I would love nothing more than to have her at sea. I'm taking a gap year before moving to uni so we've got time to think. Along with this, we're also moving house and the white GRP radar wing that we removed from Bandit's radar arch in January 2016 when we purchased her is still sitting in the garden.

The idea is to keep this radar wing and reinstall it to the arch if we move her back down South. It's a nice feature to the Sealine 290 and it was a shame to remove it when we got her. It needed to be done, however, due to the bridge clearances on the River Great Ouse where Bandit currently lives.

So, I got the wing in this morning and had a look at what would need to be done. Firstly, I screwed the white GRP access panels back to …

More Changes to the VHF

When we purchased Bandit, we bought a new Lowrance Link-5 VHF DSC radio to mount to the dashboard. With that radio, we also purchased a new 1.5m Banten VHF antenna and mount. A couple of weeks ago (and about one year after getting Bandit), we changed the 1.5m VHF antenna for a 2.7m one which was far better suited for the boat height wise.

After spending a couple of weeks with the new 2.7m antenna, we've realised that due to its extra length, we have to fold it down further to clear bridges. The antenna now folds down far lower and makes it so we can't get out the starboard side canopy of the boat.

We decided to change the position of the VHF antenna and mount to give ourselves access through the starboard side canopy when we need the antenna down. We've purchased a new stainless steel mount (as the plastic one was struggling to hold the weight of the heavier 2.7m antenna) and moved it to the very top of the boat on her radar arch. Not only does this add further height to t…

Exploring New Places

It's strange to think that in the entire year and a bit that we've had Bandit, we've never been through the lock just a couple of miles upstream from our marina. We used to go through that lock (called Hemingford Lock) almost every weekend in our previous boat as it takes you to a really pretty and quiet part of the river which is perfect for overnight stopping.

We've just not really ventured out very far in Bandit over the year so we thought it was about time to explore some new territory. I finished work at the marina at 17:30 and we had plenty of time and light to get up to Hemingford to moor up for the night.

We travelled up with the sun setting above the river straight ahead of us. Although it was a nice thing to watch, it made concentrating on the river quite hard. We moored up and watched the sun go down. We currently wait for our dinner to cook in our new Smev oven! Happy days!

Evening Cruise up the River

This evening we decided to not just stay in the marina overnight but to head up the river a bit to a nice mooring outside a hotel in Saint Ives. It's nicer than just being tied up to the pontoon and it's nice to see more boaters out enjoying the river.

We motored up to Saint Ives as the sun was setting.

Throughout the Years...

For myself, boating started at the age of about ten years old when my family purchased our first boat - a 2005 Shetland Family 4 called Kerri Kerri powered by a Honda 25hp outboard engine. This boat had an overall length of 17 feet so we started out quite small. We used the boat some weekends and instantly fell in love with the river and boats. Kerri Kerri meant quite a bit to me as it was the boat that Dad taught me to drive independently.

After a few months of using our Family 4, we upgraded to a 2008 Shetland 2250 that was initially powered by a knackered 25hp Yamaha outboard engine. We had the engine replaced by the marina for a new 40hp Honda outboard as the Yamaha was completely tired and needed a lot of work done to it. This 2250 had a total length of 22ft 8" so this was quite an upgrade to our Family 4. We were happier with the layout and me and Dad did occasionally spend some night on her at the weekend. I slept in the V-berth below and Dad in the cockpit. Becuase of the…

Boat Crane In!

Today I came down after I had finished college to watch the marina crane back in the boats after their long four months on land. I had missed more than half the boats being craned back in but followed their progress throughout the day on the live webcam on their website.

It appears to have gone smoothly and they've coped well with the wind. They've been busy moving boats back to their own moorings in preparation for the busy weekend ahead. We're planning a trip away this weekend as we've been stuck as base for a while completing a few jobs aboard Bandit. It's time for a weekend off where we can enjoy the boat. The weather is predicted to be nice, too which means that everyone will be eager to use their boats after being relaunched.

First Day of Spring!

A huge welcome to Spring 2017! This, for us, is when the boating season really kicks off and when the weather (hopefully) begins to improve for the year.

We moved Bandit round to another mooring this afternoon as the boats in the marina are due to be relaunched for the season tomorrow. We wanted to move her ourselves to save the marina time and so we know where she is. It also means that we have a chance to find a nice mooring.

Dad fiddled with the engine again today and replaced all six spark plugs for new NGK ones. Following on from some engine issues we've experienced over the past couple of weeks, we're happy to say it looks like we've sorted them once again. We will renew the Sierra leads for some better ones as the lead doesn't seem to be clicking onto the spark plugs correctly. It's just a bad design and our mechanic at the marina agreed. We took her for a blast up the river and the revs stayed consistent and the boat would have easily got onto the plane alt…

Trying Again

Today we chose to bite the bullet and crack on with the petrol issue with the starboard engine. It was a miserable day weather wise so we took the opportunity to do something useful instead of sitting around all day.

We had spoken to an engineering company close to the boatyard the other day and they suggested a couple of things for us to test. We've already tinkered with the ignition side of the engine but this made no difference.

We started by swapping the black rubber fuel hose from the petrol pump to the carburettor for a clear braided hose so we could inspect the fuel flow as we accelerated. Thing started badly as the engine would not start and we realised that the petrol was not reaching the carburettor. This was strange as we had not had this problem before. We left things there and removed the fuel filters to find they were packed with this green sludge that we discovered in the starboard fuel tank when we purchased Bandit. We ditched the two filters (one larger filter in-…

A Busy Week Ahead

Following up on the previous post regarding our new engine issue, we've recieved some helpful information.

The problem itself is that as the starboard engine reaches about 2000rmp, the revs will suddenly drop and the engine will begin to stutter, almost as if it's not getting enough petrol. We had thought that it might have been the igniton side of the engine so we fiddled with everything yesterday, replacing some plugs and leads to find no difference whatsoever.

We phoned a local engineering company today who gave us some helpful information. Without swinging their vote, we explained the situation and they suggested it was a fuel issue. We are quite on the fence about what's causing this issue but we have checked the ignition side of things so it is likely to be a fuel problem.

This time last year, we drained the two 250l fuel tanks as we had engine problems from the day we purchased Bandit. The petrol was old and had gone off. It was also contaminated with quite a bit of…

Tinkering and Cruising

This evening we went for a cruise up the river and back to the marina as the weather was decent and the river had stopped flowing as quickly as it had been over the last few weeks. However, we had been having problems with the starboard side engine where the RPM's would drop if you put the throttles down, almost as if the engine was either over choking or was not getting enough fuel. We headed back to the marina and I tinkered with the Rochester Quadrajet carburettor by fiddling with the two idle mixture screws until the RMP's of the engine reached their highest. This is how we knew the idle mixture was set correctly as the engine was running the best that it could through this adjustment.
However, when taking her up the river a little way to test this new adjustment, we noticed that the engine is emitting a stronger exhaust smell and it did set off the carbon monoxide alarm. Not good. So, we have a physically better running engine but it smells stronger of exhaust. I'm go…

New Name Decals - Stern

Following on from a previous post about wanting to update Bandit's name decals on the bow and stern, I measured up a decal for the rear and purchased it from 'Funky Monkey Boat Names'. I only purchased one for the stern as it was smaller and cheaper so I wasn't really losing anything if we decided it didn't look right.

We ended up going for chrome lettering in the font 'Arial'. We were inspired by some decals in this exact style that we saw on the Haines 26 at London Boat Show earlier this year. It looked far more modern and smarter than the decals we currently have so we thought we'd give it a shot. If this fails, we'll simply stick with the name decals we have and decide what to do from there.

The box containing the new decal was delivered to the house and it looks great. Very excited to get them on and see what it looks like!

Applying the decals was very easy. We knew where we wanted the decal as in the correct light, you can see the name 'Vi…

Refurbishing the Teak Cockpit Table

The table that we have in Bandit's cockpit is not the original one that came with the boat. Someone along the line had removed that and replaced it with a new teak folding table which actually works far better. The cable is a lot smaller than the original but can be unfolded into a larger square table for eating on. 
When we purchased the boat, we did rub the table down but didn't do anything to it because we didn't know what to use. Over the weekend, Dad rubbed it down and put a couple of coats of teak oil onto it. I quite liked the colour it was without any oil and it's gone a lot darker since applying the teak oil. I was quite surprised to see how nice it turned out. I'm really happy with the outcome and it looks a lot neater and smarter.
The oil does look a bit patchy so we'll see how it fares over the season and might do it again to get a better outcome. In the meantime, though, it's another little job completed that makes a huge difference to the appe…

A New Aerial

We purchased a new Lowrance Link-5 radio shortly after getting Bandit last year and along with that was a 1.5m VHF aerial which we mounted to the starboard side of the radar arch. Over the year that we've had Bandit, we've realised that this 1.5-meter aerial looked a bit small aesthetically and only stuck up above the boat by half a meter. I've done some research and we've found that it's a little on the small side (practically) anyway. Today I purchased a new Banten 2.7m aerial from the marina's chandlery and fitted it.
While fitting the new aerial I found a very old, corroded connector a little further down the wiring of the VHF Coax cable which must have been the one Sealine fitted from factory in 1991. This was so badly corroded that we couldn't undo it but had to cut it off and must have been having a dramatic effect on the signal we were transmitting and receiving through the aerial. It goes without saying that we cut it off and put a nice new connect…

YouTube - Side Power SE40/125S Bow Thruster

A YouTube video I threw together showing the steps taken to fit the Side Power SE40/125S bow thruster to our Sealine 290 Ambassador, Bandit. A little demo of the thruster in action while tied up to our berth in the marina.

Watch the video here:

Bandit's Big Refit - Part 11: Fixing Rough Edges

Last November, we purchased and fitted a brand new Waeco CRX50 12v fridge to Bandit. We also changed the location of the fridge so we could get a slight better one in one of the cupboard spaces. We simply swapped over the locations of where the fridge used to be and the cupboard.

Because of this change, we had to cut the hole bigger so the fridge would fit. This left some rough edges of wood that weren't too straight and that was beginning to bother us. We've finally found an ideal way to finish the fridge in a way that suits the silver colour of the Waeco fridges. We've got some 90ยบ aluminium from a DIY store in town and have polished it up to a nice shiny finish and glued it onto the wood that was cut a bit wonky.

This shiny aluminium suits the fridge really well and looks great. It fixes the wonky wood issue and gives a clean, straight finish where the aluminium pieces fit together perfectly. It almost looks identical to the flush-mount kit that you can purchase from Wa…

Finishing the Job

We've recently just refurbished the entire Lofrans Airon 500W windlass that is mounted to Bandit. With this refurbishment was a new solenoid for the motor. To wrap up this 'chapter', I ordered an 8mm power distribution post from 12voltplanet to mount in the anchor locker where I'll connect all the negative connections together safely away from the solenoid and motor. Everything is wired up and working but I've bolted the three negative cables together and cable tied them to the side of the anchor locker as a non-permanent solution.

Today this 8mm power distribution post arrived at home so I can fit it tomorrow by screwing it to the top of the anchor locker and securely attach all the negative connections so they're not floating around the anchor locker. Firstly, it's not safe as it could easily touch the constantly-live positive cables somewhere on the windlass. It's also just untidy and feels like an unfinished job so it's good to put it right.

A j…