March 22nd 1982

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 0

Today was the day we shifted the engine.  It wasn’t quite aligned with the prop-shaft, so had to be shifted along an inch or two.  Not an easy matter as you can imagine – the thing is considerably bigger + heavier than a car engine.  For the most part, I acted as fitter’s mate, passing tools more or less efficiently to Dave, who was lying with his face down in the engine, undoing bolts.  A couple of times I helped out when 2 things needed doing at once – putting some leverage up on a bolt, unscrewing something.  This is where I made fuck-up no.1.  reaching down into the engine with a socket on the end of a long extension, I knocked it against something.  Off plopped the socket, + dropped into the bilge, never to be seen again.  Dave was pretty good really.

Next job was putting a heavy wooden beam thro’ both portholes, + throwing a chain round it to winch up the engine, + then more bolt-loosening, + putting in of wedges before letting it down again.  Then came fuck-up no. 2 – when taking the beam back out again, I let one end drop, smashing down onto the chart table, taking down a small wall-mounted tray, + breaking a parallel ruler.  Dave was less understanding this time, tho’ he still didn’t really blow his top.  However, the engine was nicely aligned now, Dave thought, so all there was to do was to test it.  Unfortunately, it wouldn’t start, so after messing about with it for a while, Dave went to find his mate to help him out.  That more or less released me from duty, since there isn’t enough room for 3 people to stand around the engine – I just had a couple of errands to perform, such as beer-fetching + general tool clearance.  Finally, just as it was about getting dark, it was all put together again, tested… + it worked, just fine.

Edson, the mechanic, stayed for dinner, a splendid feast.  Monika really is an excellent cook.  That night, Dave also let us have the cabin, with its double bed, which was nice of him.  I think he rather enjoys seeing Val strip, but it’s right what he says – privacy is a luxury there is just no room for on a small boat.

Not exactly covering myself in engineering glory, never having had much of a mechanical side, so I haven’t already established myself as a complete nincompoop.  I shall just have to try harder to make myself useful.

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