My Princess 480 Acamas was returning to Hamble Point Marina after a very pleasant weekend in Plymouth watching the start of the Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race. I left at approximately 1700 hours on Sunday evening. It promised to be an idyllic evening with blue skies, a gentle following breeze and flat sea. Once at sea and happy with my course, I completed my usual engine checks and everything was fine.
I settled down on the flybridge for a relaxing trip home when suddenly a loud metallic crunch rang out from below. I raced down to the engine room but by the time I had the hatch up I knew the one of my Cats was dead. I tried to restart it but it was seized solid. I decided that a diversion to Torquay was in order and changed course accordingly.
The next morning a local Caterpillar engineer confirmed my worst suspicions: the port engine was seized and the boat would have to return to Plymouth or go on to my home port. I decided to travel back to Hamble Point Marina on one engine.
Acamas was lifted out of the water at Hamble Point Marina on the Friday morning and Paul Knight, the Poole manager of Finning (UK), and one of his senior engineers, Eric Hyder, arrived on board for a final check. They assured me that a replacement engine would be available within seven to ten days and arranged for a crane contractor to extract the engine.
The following Monday morning the engine had been disconnected electrically and mechanically and was ready to be lifted out. The crane driver, Martin Bailey – one of the owners of MB Crane Hire in Poole, arrived with a massive Hi-Ab which had a 90ft (27m) reach and could lift quite a few tonne at that length. He removed the engine through the patio doors and straight on to his lorry without doing any damage whatsoever and he only had inches to spare in height and width. The engine was then taken to Finning in Poole.
The new engine and associated fittings were ordered and arrived within ten days as promised. Finning arranged for Martin Bailey to return with the engine once it had been tested at the depot. Martin had decided to improve on his replacement method with the use of a remote control box for his Hi-Ab. This helped greatly in returning the engine to its compartment without any problems.