We are still resting at Stretton Wharf and though with an engine room in complete turmoil, with floor boards up, wiring all over the place and an incomplete exhaust pipe sticking out dangerously at about head level, we have a Russell Newbery engine nearly fitted.
It has the luxury of an electric start, which is really spoiling me and by rigging up a jury exhaust pipe through the side hatch, we were able to jump start the engine and test it fully last Saturday.
So sweet was the sound of an engine aboard after three months of silence and in particular this eighteen horsepower ‘RN’.
After running for a while to make certain that the liquid cooling system was working satisfactorily, temptation overcame me and just as things were, I decided to take ‘Futurest’ out to test how she handled with the new propulsion. I decided to travel down to the turning point at Brewood and back again; to put her through her paces with manoeuvring and everything.
The weather, though overcast in typical November fashion, was fine and there was no breeze making cruising conditions ideal. It was a wonderful trip and such a pleasure to feel an engine throbbing again through the deck beneath my feet. However the sensation was so different from the old days with ‘JP2’.
The handling was so completely different that it was like being at the helm of another ship altogether. Though the Russell Newbery is three ‘horses’ less than the ‘JP2’, I was thrilled to feel how much more responsive and perky she was, with so much more ‘poke’. It made me realise just how worn out the old Lister had become without me realising.
We managed an estimated three miles per hour on only a quarter revs and she manoeuvred ahead and astern through the PRM gearbox effortlessly without having to add any further revs. It was wonderful. I am quite confident that she will handle all waterway conditions, tidal or otherwise with ease.
Just over an hour later we arrived back at Stretton Wharf feeling very pleased with ourselves. It had been a lovely outing on our own after such a long time.
There is still plenty to be done and lots of time consuming tidying up to be accomplished before we shall be ready to leave, but at least the end is in view I think.