As the bow-thruster elbow/gear box had comprehensively disintegrated just at the end of the 2014 voyage, Song & Dance needed to go into a dry dock so someone could replace the necessary bits. No problem, we thought – there’s a new floating one at Cropredy Marina, where we’d chosen to moor up for the winter. Except that it was so popular that when the bits became available at the beginning of February the dock was already booked up until the end of June! (As of mid-April it’s now booked up until November!)
After some friendly discussions with Andy, the man in charge, he said he could squeeze us in on March 6th and luckily the engineer tasked with the job could do it then.
Dry docks and engineers don’t come cheap, and Vetus – the bow-thruster people – were supposed to be sorting all this out under guarantee. So we were pleasurably surprised to find that they had already paid Andy in advance for the dock facilities. Fair play to them.
The fitting of the replacement elbow/drive/gearbox that had comprehensively gone West went OK, apart from some protracted sub-voce mutterings from the engineer while up to his muddy armpit trying to undo things in the (normally underwater) thrust tube. But what a shock when the dock was refilled and we returned to Song & Dance’s berth…
We’d never operated a boat with a bow-thruster before, and had been led to believe that they were noisy, so when the first use on the handover cruise produced a noise like a bag of bolts in a spin-dryer, but otherwise evinced no reaction from the Piper commissioning chaps, we just assumed that Vetus electric bow-thrusters were just – errr – very noisy. So it came as a bit of shock when pressing the button to check the repair out and manoeuvre across the marina: we had to look to see if anything was happening! Although relatively noisy when standing up the front, we could hardly hear anything down at the rear end. We reckon that thruster’s original elbow/gearbox was duff and had been noisily disintegrating from day one! Another lesson learnt!