Where there's muck there's engine spares


Pity the poor yachtsman whose engine needs vital spares and who is moored in a beauty spot. He will struggle ashore and search in vain for anything of use. Chandleries will be full of gaily painted sailor figurines; T shirts marked ‘Crew’; and brass plates asking users of heads to deposit only what they have eaten.

Fortunately for me, Grays is not like that. It is a place where people get their hands dirty. As such I found a brilliant chandlery in the back streets of industrial West Thurrock. Not only did this place have the right piping for my engine in stock and the correct length, but the right sized Jubliee clips to attach it with. The place was an emporium of stainless steel nuts, washers and bolts of all sizes. Not for TCS (which stands for Thurrock Car Spares!) the dainty pre-packed items of three bolts, but boxes of individual fixings so that you can buy one or 20.

With one more piece of advice from the gurus of the Thurrock Yacht Club ‘tea club’: namely to turn the engine over to get the fuel through the self bleed valve – I had been pumping the bleed button for aeons with no result – I was off at last, three days of my week’s cruise already spent, but spent in higher education.