Saturday, April 03, 2010
Hic hic hiccup with the Hennie Ha
With adrenalin running like a flood in spate, we started the Hennie Ha's engine today ready for the big 'test run'. Giving ourselves and the old motor time to settle down, we cleaned the little ship and waited patiently for the oil to flow warmly through its old veins. Then at last we were away - to test the dreaded steering that has given Koos his full quota of grey hairs this past year and a half. 'Maak lossen!' he called, and I threw off the line that held us safely to the shore. Now there was nothing between us and the 'big deep' except a couple of crossed fingers.
Backing out, all looked and sounded good. Pirouetting round, the HH turned as if on a coin and Koos gave me the thumbs up. We headed calmly up to the end of the harbour, to the junction where it meets the mighty "Ghent naar Terneuzen Zeekanaal". And then it went....oooh nooo!
There we were with the wind blowing us briskly towards the bank and no steering. Gone again. But being the master of manoeuvring, Koos knows a few tricks and after a few more graceful pirouettes, a confused looking yacht owner watched us moor up to some poles that define the end of the berths in our harbour.
Koos's head disappeared into the steering hatch, and a few minutes later, he looked out smiling. "I can fix it" said the smile. Koos just went to fetch his tools. Ten minutes after that, the steering was working again, so we untied and not wishing to tempt fate any further, made our way back to our own berth.
The long and the short of it is that there are still a couple of adjustments to be made to the steering mechanism before it can be pronounced fully fit again. The comforting part about today's exercise was that firstly, the engine ran like a dream for the first time in ages, and secondly, Koos was able to tighten up whatever bolts had come loose to make us mobile again.
All in all, not quite the raging success we'd been hoping for, but hey, we're on the way! And yes, it was really good to be out on the water again. That long summer trip to France is beginning to look quite promising after all...