Tuesday, November 29, 2011


The Cruisers and the folks at Clarkes Court Bay Marina organised a splendid Thanks giving dinner last Thursday. The marina did the turkey and stuffing and cruisers bought a dish to share.

Well we were totally stuffed to the gills when we made our way back out to Elephants Child. From guacamole dip to pumpkin pie we had the lot. Not to mention Judy's brownies to finish with.

But next day it was clean up the boat and get ready to head north as the forecast was good over the weekend then showed very light winds for a week or so. We anchored off St Georges did our last minute big shop at the supermarket and prepared to go into to pick up water. St Georges being the last good supermarket and cheap good water for some islands.

Well we tried but the starter just went click, no whirr. After checking all the connections and encouraging it with a tap or two I bit the bullet and removed it so I could check the brushes.

When I took the end cap off my heart sank. It was a mass of rust inside and it was clear that the rotor had spun some of the solder joints.

Now I have a Japanese Perkins 4.154 fitted in 1978 and not made in great numbers and not at all since the mid 80s. A trawl on the internet showed the starter to be long out of production.

The local cruisers VHF net threw up a guy by the name of Al Bernadine in Gouave as being the best starter repair man on the island.

I took it up to him more in hope than expectation as a quick diagnostic check with a resistance meter showed that the rotor was toast and at least one of the field coils had a short.

Well Al confirmed my worst fears, the rotor was beyond repair, the field winding was shorted out and the solenoid although producing a healthy click also needed attention and possible replacement.

At this point I though that my options lay in the USA maybe fiding a used one and getting it air freighted down but Al " You know I think I have a rotor for this in stock. " Now Al's workshop will not win any awards for the world's tidiest work space but he went right to a shelf, ran his finger down a pile of boxes and pulled one out. On opening it up and comparing it with the rusty burnt out original it was clear that we did have a new rotor, wonder of wonders!

Al had said that he would have to rewind and repot the field winding so it would be a day or two before I could get it back.

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