Big day today on Arcturus! Mia and I have been patiently (read ‘impatiently’) waiting for several things to happen that are totally out of our hands before we can earnestly get to work on anything. In a strange turn of events, however, I am actually okay with this – we’ve got the whole summer here and no real plans to ‘have’ to be anywhere. I’m taking coffee breaks (‘fika’ in Swedish) and quitting early – the work stays fresh and I’m enjoying the pace.
So in one day today, the new engine arrived, Lars from the yard came and removed the prop (and the coupling, which I was sure wasn’t going to budge), and Tommy helped us lift out the old Westerbeke and lift in the new Beta.
On Monday night we took over Mia’s older sister’s house, which is only about a 5 minute drive from the boat in Västerås. She was away with her fiance for a couple of days, and the kids were at the G-rents in Dunderbo. This morning we got the call that the engine had arrived in Dunderbo, so we drove back. Five-year-old Emil was excitedly waiting for us – for some reason he adores me – and helped (read ‘watched’) us lift the boxed up Beta onto a trailer that Mia’s dad had borrowed from the neighbor.
I need to digress now a minute to talk about socialism in Sweden. We had a birthday party for Mia’s dad on Saturday, his 60th, and her mom had invited something like 90 people to the house. She did all the cooking – as she did for our wedding – and I mean ALL, including baking the bread and making the cake (from scratch, not a box). We set up a couple of tents, one of which was on loan from the neighbor, and borrowed wooden tables and chairs from Frösthult’s ‘bygdegård’, a sort of community center connected to the church (same one we got married in actually).
All small towns have these, and they’re owned by town associations that rent them out to pay for maintenance. We drove there and picked up like 60-some chairs and 8 tables, returning them again after the party. And it confirmed again a thought I’ve had about politics here in Sweden – socialism works as a political system because it’s ingrained in the culture. There’s just a helpful attitude among everyone, at least in my experience out in the countryside. It would never work in the USA because it’d be top-down – here, it’s bottom-up. The people live in a socialist (in a good way) society whatever the political system. It’s very interesting to see it on this level in action.
(And in other fun Swedish cultural observations: I saw my first wild hedgehog(!) today in Frida’s backyard while we ate dinner, and Mia cut the grass with an old-timey lawn mower!).
Anyway. We drove back to the boat, and Emil stayed to help me rig the old engine for removal while Mia and her dad went to IKEA to buy her brother a new bed (yes, they in fact do have IKEA in Sweden, and they are EVERYWHERE, and EVERYONE shops there). Emil and I rigged up dyneema harnesses on both engines, and Mia and her dad returned just in time to help when Tommy arrived with the forklift.
Normally we’d be able to swap out the motors – they’re about 210 pounds each – on our own, using the boom and a tackle as a sort of crane. But with the boat out of the water and de-rigged, that’s impossible, so we’ve been at the mercy of the boatyard to help us.
Tommy attached a chainfall to the end of the forklift and positioned it over the companionway, whereby I connected it to the old motor and hoisted it up and out, and Tommy lowered it to the ground. Then up came the new one – we left it bolted on the wooden frame it came shipped on – and we lowered it on the chain fall into the companionway and onto the floor in front of the sink.
It’s going to be a while before the new Beta actually gets mounted on the engine beds. We’re going to first remove EVERYTHING from the cockpit lockers and lazarette and re-paint the bilges so the shiny new engine looks right in a shiny new engine room (the engine is painted blue, by the way, not the standard Beta red – I spec’ed this on purpose – ‘Kubota Blue’ – because I have bad experiences with red engines. Plus, my favorite color is blue). And in the mother-of-all ‘while we’re at it’ projects, I’ve decided to re-locate the electrical panels, re-plumb the manual bilge pumps, re-design and install a new fuel tank, install a new dripless shaft seal and order a new prop (coming in my next update – the amazing experience I had on the phone with the folks at West by North, who are building us a new Campbell ‘Sailer’ prop). Not to mention the cleanup that old engine room is going to need before we can even think about painting. So it’s going to be a while.
But we’ve got time.
This article was syndicated from sailing blog - 59 North, Ltd.