Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Opening Up After The Winter Lay-Up.

Well! Who would have believed it? We decided to visit the boat for the week, just to make sure everything was sound after all that rain, and what did we get? Day after day of fine sunny weather!

We arrived at our home mooring last Saturday morning, and while Margaret unpacked all the necessities such as food, fresh bedding, and towels, I busied myself on the other necessities such as cleansing and re-filling the fresh water tank, re-instating the batteries and gas supply, lighting the stove, and most important of all, for the coming dark evening, the TV aerial. I fired up the Webasto heating to air the boat in the meantime.

A check of the outside condition has surprised me somewhat. She is positively gleaming! During our Autumn cruise last year, Tom, (nb Waiouru), introduced me to carnauba wax. I spent literally hours polishing each side of the boat cabin with this stuff, but it has certainly paid dividends. The paintwork has usually reverted to a matt finish by the time Spring comes, but this time you can still see your face in it. Very pleased.

There had been minor water ingress from the external air vent in the bathroom, but nothing serious. I took the interior trim off and re-sealed it with non-setting mastic. I will get around to re-sealing the externals when we have warmer weather. I suppose it isn't surprising that this has happened after all the driving rain, and we are lucky to have been limited to this small area. The very small patch of darkened wood around the vent has started to dry out and revert to normal already.

Then there were the odd minor electrical issues. The radio volume control was not working, the fridge thermostat control was not allowing the compressor to cycle properly, and the piezo spark igniter switch on the cooker was not working - all fixed quickly with a blast of aerosol switch cleaner.

Then it was time to start the engine for the first time since last October. After the usual fluid checks had been made, it fired up immediately. However, after around 5 minutes running the warning buzzer started to sound. Oh no - not another alternator problem? No - it transpired that the coolant temperature gauge had flipped right across to its end stop, with the corresponding warning light and buzzer. This was before the engine had warmed, so must have been a fault in the monitoring circuit, which it was - a short circuit sender.

Enquiries were made with the local Barrus agent about a genuine replacement. £120 + VAT! I don't think so!

Further enquiries were then made with ASAP Supplies where a 'Faria' replacement was found for £24 + VAT. Now that's more like it. Checks were made with the helpful staff that the resistance scales would match my existing instrument before ordering, and that is now on its way. The connector wires have been left off temporarily so the engine could be run up as I first intended. Everything else was fine, although I replaced the alternator belt as a matter of course ready for the new season.

Finally. It is hull blacking time again this year. We have decided once again, (for ease) to take K-L to a local marina close to our home mooring, where they can do the hard work. (I'm not lazy - just not up to that scale of manual labour any more). I have left instructions that all waterline corrosion be treated with Fertan rust converter after first removing all loose material, and prior to painting this time. K-L has been blacked with a standard bitumen based product every 2 years, but she will be 10 years old in September, and I decided it was time the waterline was treated. The stern tube gland packing will also be replaced while she is out of the water. This will all happen in the Spring, just before the cruising season starts proper. She has been booked in for a week's stay at the marina.

The rest of the week was spent walking and relaxing in the unexpected fine weather.

Site of the 'airman's grave', 1st lieutenant Arthur Brown, USAF, who managed to crash his stricken Thunderbolt aircraft away from the town centre on January 14th 1944.

The River Weaver in Nantwich


  1. Seeing the paintwork on K-L looks so good you can come and do Waiouru's post winter polish! :-)


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