Exploding batteries!

— Alert! Click bait! —

I’ll get to the ‘exploding batteries’ bit in a mo.

Firstly I should mention, that sadly Ted the Trolley had to be put down. He lead a tough life, trolley-hauling endless amounts of dirty laundry, shit loads of beers and wine, and other manner of junk to and from the boat. His performance has been outstanding, and will be sadly missed.

RIP Ted the Trolley


On a brighter note I’d like to welcome Ted the Trolley II. He doesn’t come with reflective wheels, or a polka dot pattern. However he’s got spirit, and now lives a much richer life after being rescued from a squallid store called B&M. There are thousands more like him that need a good home by the way.


Moving on. Excalibur has a new gigantic section of wood to hold up the mattress in the forepeak. God, the shit you have to lumber around on public transport!

Here’s Trina, determined as ever to show her muscle by refusing to let me carry the bloody thing.


This bizarrely shaped bit of wood caused a stir in the train station waiting room in Winchester, whilst heading for Gosport. An old couple couldn’t help but deliberate out loud what it was. A grey wedge of cheese was suggested. A ‘Who’s line is it anyway’ magical moment arose when all four of us stared at this piece of plywood, coming up with prop ideas in a very British manner. A suggestion would be made, we would all chuckle politely, hmm and ahhh, until a silence returned akin to a village doctors surgery.

Anyhow off we went. We arrived to find the electricity wasn’t on. On it went.

Next day I tried the engine, but all I could hear was the click click noise of the starter motor. The electricity had stopped. So whilst the batteries were charging, I threw Trina into the marina to scrub the Hydrovane.  This was also a good opportunity to test out the rescue sling, and then haul her up using the main halyard. Worked a treat in the flat calm waters of the marina.


A couple of hours later I tried the engine, and it started. A quick pit stop at the fuel barge and off to Yarnmouth we go.

We filled up on the fuel pontoon. Tried the ignition, and agh! Batteries are dead. When I checked out what I thought were the starter batteries I could see they were bulging like crazy. Cue rubber gloves, protective goggles and a zipped up hoody. Trina on the phone researching what to do in an acid attack situation. Fortunately they didn’t pop. Pulling them out on a bouncy fuel pontoon on a hot summers day wasn’t particularly enjoyable.

I bought two starter batteries, came back to the boat and realised they didn’t fit. Time was running out before the chandlery closed. One of the guys kindly came down and had a look. We ascertained that I had mistaken my house batteries for starter batteries (what a noob). So I bought a new starter battery, and two new house batteries. Turns out the only way I can start my engine is to turn both my big red keys on for house and starter, and then the third which is in the middle. I believe this connects all the batteries up. We decided to call it a day and head back to the marina. I’ll now need to keep an eye on things, and learn all about electrics.


The next day the engine started, and we had a nice sail, watched some sea rescue training, and ended up in the Hamble where I did my day skipper a few years ago.


We hit the bugle for dinner, and left Excalibur to a glorious sunrise the next morning.

Author: Tim Butler

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