Saturday 7 August 2021


Tonight I regressed three decades and cooked a Saturday night "Daddy Special" – sausage, bacon, eggs, baked beans and chips. The dullness of the day made it highly appropriate, but also meant that the side-hatch was closed. So I knew what was going to happen. Sure enough, towards the end of the cooking process, the concentration of alien particles in the air reached a certain limit and the smoke alarm went off. It's even more of an affront to the ears in a boat than it is in a house – I really should have opened the hatch or the door before I started.

A little earlier, I'd been running Erin Mae's engine to charge the batteries and for hot water, and was annoyed to see a warning light come up on the control panel.

Appalling picture, I'm afraid, with the gloom under the rear cover, but you may just be able to make out the red light within the small dial on the right. It's a warning that the engine battery is not charging properly. This, of course, could be serious. You don't want to be left without the wherewithal for starting the engine. And if it's due to a broken fan belt, you could also suffer from overheating.

However – 8 years ago I installed a battery charging gizmo which changed the way things work, so that the light in question is not directly connected to the battery charging circuitry (as I recall). And then 3 or 4 years ago I changed the rev counter (the bright dial in the picture), which also entailed fiddling with the wiring around the alternator that, in a traditional system, would charge the battery and also send a signal to the rev counter.

I remember the re-wiring being a bit awkward, and during the last few weeks the rev counter and engine hours counter have been misbehaving. So I shall have to get down in the engine 'ole again and see whether there's a loose wire to be fixed. Maplin's having ceased to trade means it won't be nearly as straightforward to obtain the types of bits and pieces typically needed for this sort of job. But from what I recollect of how it's all set up, I don't think we're failing to charge the engine battery, in spite of the warning light. If we're still here next week, you'll know I got that wrong.

But, in the meantime, the Daddy Special was just what was needed!


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