Those of you who have been following our adventure might have noticed several points in the trip where we have been landlocked due to problems with our “Perkins” diesel engine. Alas, whilst age lends a certain character to a sailing ship, the passing years also tend to make them temperamental. With our particular old girl the body is holding up strongly but the engine is definitely starting to show signs of wear and tear.
Since starting on this trip we have replaced: the starter motor (worn parts on the bit that makes the engine start), the brackets (the bits that hold the engine onto the boat broke), the air intake manifold (the bit where the air comes in fell off), the flexible coupling (the bit that spins around and stops the propeller from wobbling too much), and the injector pump (the bit that pumps fuel into the parts where it is burnt to magically move the boat from point A to point B).
Following a short journey through Eyjafjörður where the engines performance produced a rather unsettling series of groans, coughs and taps we are, once again, back on dry land performing open heart surgery to try and rejuvenate the poor old engine. This time, the friendly, competent and extremely helpful mechanics at JE Vélanverkistæði (who are also building brand new fibreglass boats, www.sigloseigur.com) have taken the boat out of the water to realign the engine and the propeller shaft. Moreover, they have delicately removed the injectors (the bits that spray fuel into the parts where it is burnt) to discover that (somewhat like the rest of the boat at the moment) they are rather dirty and not moving at all as they should. The result: another few days in harbour while new parts are delivered and the engine can be put back together.
All this is rather dispiriting in a way, though the town of Siglufjorður is a magic place to spend a week or so. However, we do try and see the bright side of things … at the rate we are presently replacing parts we should arrive in Antarctica with virtually a new engine … hmmm.