A close escape!

In my post “Vida: A 1977 Rival 38 Centre Cockpit Yacht” I mentioned that the gas installation had been condemned. We removed everything about that from the boat on our first weekend.

However, we have always been concerned about the hot air heating system. We were told it didn’t work and the fuel was empty. This is what it looked like initially, once we had emptied the cockpit locker:

Hot air heater behind wood guard
The fuel tank for the hot air heater, next to the battery box and with the “spout” almost directly over the alternator.

The condition of the fuel tank (which we thought was diesel) worried us a lot, given it’s position. So last visit we removed both the heater and the tank.

Heater without the wood guard
Heater and fuel tank after removal

As we cut the hoses and removed the heater fuel tank it turned out to be about 1/3 full of paraffin, not diesel, and very firmly wedged in. It was quite a struggle to get it out by pulling it over the engine. Here is a close-up of the tank after removal.

1/3 full of paraffin

So we brought it home in the luggage trailer inside a plastic bag.

Today I took the trailer to the local recycling centre to empty it. As I went to lift this tank out (inside it’s plastic bag) something failed and paraffin gushed out, turned out the bag had failed and so paraffin was all over the trailer and the ground.

What a close shave! We must have been so close to having paraffin all over the alternator, engine and into the bilge. Imagine if the engine had been running and hot at the time!! Very scary.

While we had always planned to get rid of these fossil fuels for environmental reasons this makes us so glad we did so immediately for our safety (and also for the smells).

A whole set of inter-related items are planned so that we can have heating, cooking, hot water without needing any fossil fuels. We have got some of the bits but it is going to be a while before we have them all and before they are fitted. It will be a while after that before we know if it is possible as we are trying to go further than we have seen anyone go on a boat of this size. So stay tuned 🙂

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