Marine engine maintenance


With an immovable secondary fuel filter on my engine holding me back from a week’s cruise I sought help ashore from Thurrock Yacht Club’s very own Forum: the ‘tea club’: a group of wise, if sometimes curmudgeonly veteran sailors. Step forward Adrian Madden who owns a strap wrench – the sort of thing old ladies use to open stiff-lidded jam jars. This one can be fitted with a socket set.

Back aboard he applied the tool and sweated. It broke. ‘That must be well on,’ he said, ‘I’ve been using that tool for 30 years and that’s the first time it’s failed.’ Undaunted Adrian double wrapped the unstitched webbing and sweated again. Between us we did eventually get the filter off. I had now spent two days of my ‘cruise’, swinging round the buoy at Grays, Essex.

Now I was able to fire up the engine at last and revelled in the sound of its reliable chug. Following Adrian’s advice I checked the area around the filter. To my horror a very fine, warm, spray of diesel was playing over the engine: I had split a rubber fuel pipe in the process of removing the fuel filter.

It was now early evening. I would need to devote a third day of my ‘cruise’ to sorting the accursed engine out. More tomorrow.