Like a Russian Doll…

Most of you will know the concept of the Russian doll, that when opened, reveals further incarnations of itself…

Well this is what I have found with the whole gearbox saga, and this morning one of ol’ Adolf’s engineers revealed a further piece of information that I never wanted to hear.

But hear it, I must:

“All of the engine mounts are kaput. Ja… alles.”


The engine is secured with a hoist so that the defective engine mountings can be removed.

The engine is secured with a hoist so that the defective engine mountings can be removed.

I also learned that one of the forward engine mounts had been damaged previously, before I even owned ‘Free’. Somehow this brilliant engine had managed to run for thousands of miles on three and a half mountings, an incredible feat. Let me tell you… Perkins Marine diesels are the best in the world bar none.

Damaged engine mount with broken bracket.

Damaged engine mount with broken bracket.

However, the fact that engineers have checked all the mounts in the past and missed the damage is almost unbelievable. Hurrah for German engineering in the uncovering of this particular Russian doll. One of Adolf’s guys then showed me that some genius had previously tried to repair one of the forward mounts using ‘tack’ welds i.e. a small weld that hold two pieces together in place so that the final weld can be applied. Shame he ‘forgot’ to apply the final weld… Failure was imminent; it was just a matter of time.

This bracket is supposed to be rectangular!

This bracket is supposed to be rectangular!

None of this excuses ‘Calamity Jane’ here from responsibility, but it does compound this growing nightmare of splitting dolls.

Where will it all end?

And at this point my dear friends I may have to sow the seeds of the beginning of the end… my own personal Ragnarok.

Money doesn’t last forever, and even this tight old Geordie’s emergency fund is dwindling as we speak. She doesn’t know if the sailing life can continue at this point, until the horrific price emerges and the final Russian doll is revealed…


About Viking Queen

I am a sailor and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no home but originate from Tyneside. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart.
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32 Responses to Like a Russian Doll…

  1. Michael Murphy says:

    Dear Poppy,

    it sounds like you very lucky : what would have happened if it had broken down on the run into Germany or during your Med storm? Breaking down in the Kiel Canal with excellent local marine engineering firms on hand sounds perfect (in a way).

    Your “tags” are going to pick up a very unusual group of followers!

    Perhaps “Perkins Marine Diesels” and “welding” too?

    Yours, Mike

    And below, the words of an early song by Nana Mouskouri (which goes well with “welding”…) : Poppy bringing Greeks and Germans back together!

    Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein (Quand tu chantes) (Canta canta a mi gente)

    Guten Morgen, Guten Morgen Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein Diese Nacht blieb dir verborgen Doch du darfst nicht traurig sein Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein Nein du darfst nicht traurig sein Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein Weck mich auf und komm herein

    Alles kannst du ja sehen Auf dieser Erde, auf dieser Erde Doch nun ist es geschehen Dass ich auch ohne dich glcklich werde Die allerschnsten Stunden In meinem Leben, in meinem Leben Hab ich heut Nacht gefunden Du hast geschlafen, so ist das eben

    Guten Morgen, Guten Morgen Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein Diese Nacht blieb dir verborgen Doch du darfst nicht traurig sein

    Guten Morgen, Guten Morgen Weck mich auf und komm herein Und auf deinen Sonnenstrahlen Tanzen meine Trumerein

    Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein Nein du darfst nicht traurig sein Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein Weck mich auf und komm herein

    Wenn ich sehe wie deine Strahlen So vor mir spielen, so vor mir spielen Dann versuch ich mir auszumalen Wie es heute Nacht war, kannst du es fhlen Der Tag ffnet gerade die Augen Lass ihn noch trumen, lass ihn noch trumen Er wird dir sowieso nicht glauben Was in der Nacht die Tage versumen

    Guten Morgen, Guten Morgen Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein Diese Nacht blieb dir verborgen Doch du darfst nicht traurig sein

    Guten Morgen, Guten Morgen Weck mich auf und komm herein Und auf deinen Sonnenstrahlen Tanzen meine Trumerein

    Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein Nein du darfst nicht traurig sein Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein Weck mich auf und komm herein

    Guten Morgen, Sonnenschein (11 x)

    (Martinho Da Vila / Arr.: P. Reber / Bearb.: Rolf Zuckowski)

    [Home] [German Lyrics]

    • Viking Queen says:

      Incredible synthesis, Mike! More interesting than my original post! Yes, who knows how lucky or unlucky I am? Or am I just unlucky? If I become homeless, then perhaps it will be the latter?

  2. Sanne says:

    O no, Poppy!
    Does not sound good at all, but do not give up.
    I can not believe that there is no solution.
    Maybe a good time to do it all on sail, like old times?
    Haha, no just kidding.
    Maybe find a nice ritch guy, and give him your nicest smile :).
    I wish you all the best and hope for a solution coming.
    x Sanne

  3. Viking Queen says:

    Hi Sanne. Dank u voor uw vriendelijk woorden! Bent u nu varen? Alles slecht!
    I need some luck soon, or I am ashore and the sea is a story.

  4. Simona says:

    Hi Poppy,

    May this be the innermost doll in the matryoshka nest, i.e. the last one! At least until you get to northern Sweden. Fingers crossed for you.

    Simona x

  5. Lynda and tony smith says:

    God bless you Poppy. You’ll find a way out of this I JUST know you will. Xxx

    • Viking Queen says:

      Maybe this time, I don’t want anymore ‘blessings’ from God. Just some good hard cash and some luck.

  6. christian says:

    told you free would always look after you even on three and half mounts, she gets you there – now time to give her that little bit of extra love but will cost you many pounds to get her up and running again – is it worth getting in touch with insurance people. like i have stated before there is always a reason why these things happen perhaps she know that this was needed before you went further on your journey.

  7. Christine says:

    Everything is perfect Poppy….remember this xx

  8. Viking Queen says:

    Thank you all for the messages of support. I am pretty disconnected from the world you all inhabit, so it matters a good deal to me; the feeling that I actually exist.

    Yesterday they found that the engine had previously been mounted too far aft, so in its new position the prop shaft wont join up to the engine. Another €1000 Russian Doll, I’m afraid. The only scant consolation is the fact that my accident revealed all of the total stupidity of a previous owner who thought he could weld and know something about engines! (The mounts he fixed were too small for this engine, being designed for one half as powerful). The saying ‘a little knowledge is dangerous’ has been well and truly demonstrated in this instant.

  9. lulu says:

    Chin up Pops, financially devastating but what luck it was revealed before causing a terrible situation and in a place with the finest engineers. xxxxx

  10. Words fail me Poppy!All I can say is hold on to those_ REMARKABLE guts of yours.Thank goodness this happened where it did if it had to. Sending love and strong thoughts as ever.
    Is there no redress or insurance somewhere? Ruth

    • Viking Queen says:

      I’m afraid not Ruth, not this time. Third party only, the fully comp would have meant another survey and a huge premium. In my experience they seldom pay out anyway.

  11. christian says:

    keep your chin up – sure that the boys will do all they can for free, has any more been found or once the mounts are done and the gear box in are you up and running again.keep me in the loop.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Yes, the new flange was eccentric (wobbly)so they’ll have to drag it out again tomorrow. It was made off site so it wasn’t the guys’ fault. Keep wor breath here Chris… Maybe it’ll be ready on my birthday!!!

  12. Whitt88 says:

    Oh yes, ‘Free’ was well-found to have such a good diesel. Honest mechanics are rare, and I drive mine crazy watching them like a hawk, swearing I pay for a lesson as well as getting fixed up, but it pays off, Poppy. My 4108 always starts fast ( knock on wood, Perkins), whether heeling over at sea or sleeping after a month’s rest. I hate the smell, noise and mess in a vessel, but I really can get to like the beast when it is asleep, just waiting for me. Sure is reassuring. You are lucky to have a such a reliable hunk of steel.

    • tengeru says:

      Hello Poppy. All is not lost.!! In ‘Tengeru’ I have ‘Patricia Perkins’ a 4.107. She has a low oil pressure problem. The boat yard tell me it is time to throw the engine away, hand over £6,000 for a new Beta engine, plus £ 4,000 for the extra bits and fitting it. Now, Patricia is only 44 years old, so I’m sure she has more life in her yet. I will start to rebuild her next week. I’m lucky, as I have a friend who will help me and show me the way. My engine mount brackets also broke, when the yard were lifting the engine out of the boat. Was this because they were at the end of their life, or just due to rough handling by the so called ‘engineer’.? I think I will have to get the engine mounts fabricated, as I have, yet to find a supplier of them. There is a lady, up the road from me, who likes to fabricate in steel. If they are not too expensive, I will let you know. If all you need is the mounts to fix the engine to the hull, I have seen them on eBay for around £100.
      Anyhow, with all the positive thinking from your ‘followers’, you will get through this and be able to continue your journey. My thoughts are with you………………..

      • Viking Queen says:

        Thanks for all your feedback. This post is over a year old Nigel! All is done if you read on to the next few posts you will see the outcome. It’s all water under the bridge thankfully! Good luck with yours and incidentally, I too was quoted for a new Beta back in 2011… same price! As you can see a few thousand sea miles have passed since then!

      • tengeru says:

        Oh dear. I’m in a time warp!!! I responded to that post, as I received an e-mail this morning about the post. Ha, ha, Hotmail at it’s best!!! I’m so glad that it is now ancient history and it hasn’t held you back. My apologies for reminding you of it…….

      • Viking Queen says:

        No problem! I think you, Whitt and I have stepped into a nautical time vortex! I value your feedback and at the time, the support would have been invaluable!!!

    • Viking Queen says:

      True… Now i am considering fitting two new sediment traps in the fuel line so i can keep a beady eye on diesel quality! The tanks are in great shape, but the sudden invasion of water or dirt is like a stroke waiting to happen. I’d rather get to it before it gets to me!!!

      • tengeru says:

        Ahh yes, what horrors lurk, awaiting to show themselves. I’ve always had a worry about ‘diesel bug’. Do these things have legs like spiders,? because if they do, I’m selling the boat and taking up sky diving.!!
        To be serious (just for a short while), I think that is wise Poppy. You can never be over cautious, methinks. Since my engine is out, I will be digging into a couple of decade’s worth of grime (what my father used to call ‘Cack’), cleaning and painting the bilges. I may find ancient tools there, as well. I will take the opportunity to add 4 filters (2 for each tank), fit a ‘tray’, under the engine to collect the spanners and stuff, I drop down there and check all those in-accessible places you cannot, otherwise, reach. Oh, what fun I shall have, mucking about in the ‘muck.!!

      • Viking Queen says:

        Nice ideas, Nigel! Have you considered purchasing a magnet for tools? A Swedish friend of mine suggested it to me. Somewhere down there lies the remnants of an old but valuable stilson wrench, a victim from a storm in the Med years ago!. One of the good things about Scandinavia is the cold tends to invalidate Diesel bug, and the fuel pumps declare whether they contain that additive that causes the sludge. If you buy your fuel from road pumps in garages they have the additive for sure. Beware on the European mainland!!!

      • tengeru says:

        I have a magnet ‘on a stick’. It’s a bit like a ‘Jalapeno on a stick’, but doesn’t taste as nice.!!
        When I originally considered my possible destination for my ‘Great Escape’, I was thinking ‘The Med, it has to be the Med’. However, since coming across your blog, I’m now more interested in sailing North. Your pics show beautiful scenery (I’d love to paint some of it, in water colour), and you allude to a life style that is more in keeping with the old values of friendship and honesty. I was thinking, just yesterday, that I may have been born into the wrong ‘age’. I feel unsettled in this modern era in which I am thrown. The need to find a life better than this, is what drives me on towards, eventually, freeing my lines and sailing away. I just hope my impatience will not cause me to plan incompetently. All I know is that you made the right decision and it inspires me to do the same. Thank you

      • Viking Queen says:

        Very honest… I hear you. Your comment mirrors many that i have received; this desire to find something more genuine, more true. The Med can be ok, don’t let me put you off. I was very inexperienced when sailing/living there. Scandinavia certainly has different attractions and keeping a boat in the far north is very cheap compared to the rest of Europe. The lack of tides enable you to sail whenever the weather permits and once you get used to the rocks and tight navigation, there are thousands of islands and little villages to explore. The only downside is the short sailing season but if you are more adventurous (guilty!) you can, ability allowing, last much longer. This is when the real magic kicks in… just you and the sea and the islands! Good luck and fair winds!

      • Whitt88 says:

        Right on, absolutely. Like the fresh air and water we humans need, the Perkins wants your TLC so it can perform its magic for you Poppy.

  13. Whitt88 says:

    Hey hi Tengeru, fun reading your comments and good advice for Poppy.

    • tengeru says:

      HI Whitt, Pleased to meet you. I’m a long way from being where Poppy is in cruising terms, but one day Tengeru will be in the water and taking me where I want to go. In the meantime, I live my dream through reading about Poppy and her adventures.. I’ll visit your blog and follow you too

      • Whitt88 says:

        Hi Nigel. Put her in the water asap, then the fun begins. Poppy has the ability to recreate a voyage in a fascinating way, you are right.

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