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...


  1. It's a whispering start, then? Good that things are fixable.

    Happy Easter!


  2. Woooooohhooooooooo Bombs Away! The HH will always have the last laugh! Yey, so happy! was the photo taken today?

  3. Well whilst Koos is messing about with your steering problems, maybe he could come and sort out ours too! I really am cheesed off waiting for the guy who has said he will be over!! Mind you... so long as we head in a straight line and in big, wide, open spaces, with no other boats in sight, I guess we are ok.

  4. Well, my main concern was not to bump into that brand new mega euro newcomer to the marina, or even suggest I might get near its super duper glassy mirror type paintwork.

    Help needed in Venice? Gee, who am I not to come to assistance in a place like that, where friends of my special friend BilgeRat reside!

    Look here!

  5. ooh, no steering....that's scary, good job Koos for your skills in driving.

    Happy Easter. xo

  6. oops... I know the feeling. The next bad thing to happen would be suddenly loosing the reverse. Happended to me...
    I hope not. As long as things are easily fixable there is no need to worry and there is always Loctite in the hardware shop :)

  7. Know that feeling all too well, especially with shiny plastic yachts around! We once lost our steering in a marina and although we are a yacht, Carpe Diem's hull is ferro cement and she weighs about 13 tonne. Guaranteed we would fare better in a crunch!!! Amazing how many people rushed forward to help.

  8. Good news it all turned out okay! I bet you can't wait to be out and and about!

  9. It can be very disconcerting when the steering fails & the wheel spins. It a happened once on the Shannon in a storm. When I crewed for a friend who panicked; so I quickly did a jury rig to the rudder stock to make a tiller arm. Boaters need to be cool & practical like Koos!

  10. Wow, she's quite a lady!
    Happy you find your way back savely into the harbor!

  11. So Hennie H finally has a last name...

    Happy Easter, Val and Koos!


  12. Thanks all! Great to hear of all the other adventures some of you have had. It was a relief to get it going again, that I can say. I wouldn't have liked to swim ashore from where we were tied up ;-)

    Yes, Heron, Koos is pretty good at keeping his cool. Me..I would probably have panicked too on my own!

    Hans, losing your reverse is just as brakes! I've had that with my own barge, the Vereeniging.

    Fran, yes, we were surrounded by 'tupperwares' too, not to mention a brand new built luxe motor with the very proud owner standing on board watching...

    Janys, Koos will be right over ;-)

    Anne Marie.We won't shout too loud at this stage, no!

    Mo, no, the photo is an old one. In the excitement, I forgot to take pics!

    Grace, thanks, and you too Simone. She's a pretty one isn't she?

    String, yes, I'm looking forward to it!

    Dale, lol, Hennie Ha is really just Hennie H, but I put the a to show how it's pronounced here. Hope your Easter was happy too xx

  13. oh my... so you've been there? Losing the reverse I mean?
    That is for sure frightening. I have lost stearing as well but losing the reverse was worse because it happened the very moment I was approaching the dock and crashed into it, kind of bounced off and run ashore.
    My engine back then was provided with a planet gear and the brake lining broke suddenly when I pulled the lever.

    I hope you have solved your technical problems on the Hennie Ha and won't encounter new ones!

    See you soon!

  14. It's good to hear you got back in one peace and that it can be fixed. I'm sure Koos will have her working soon.

  15. All sorted now? A move planned? Take care Vally and Happy Sailing... maybe that should read Happy Barging.
    J xx

  16. Sorry Koos... missed seeing your comment there. BilgeRat is my walking boat maintenance resource, but a bit far for any practical, manual assistance unless I manage to fit our breakdowns in with his annual visit to Venice! The only other guy I found who deals with engines says he gets seasick... so that leaves you!


Apologies for switching on comment moderation, but this is to make sure everyone can comment without jumping through captcha hoops! However, anonymous comments will not be published, so please would you sign your name.