Re: Trust, but verify...



I have not seen a photo of this installation, but I have reviewed photos of about 6 repowered Amels in the past 12 months and none made this mistake. 

However, 3 out of  6 had been repowered with the starting battery negative wire connected to the engine block. In other words, a non-isolated engine, putting the C-Drive at risk. I also saw about 4 new generators installed with all but 1 having an isolation kit installed. 


CW Bill Rouse 
Amel Owners Yacht School
+1 832-380-4970 | brouse@...
720 Winnie, Galveston Island, Texas 77550 
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On Sun, Oct 24, 2021, 5:43 PM Bill Kinney <cruisingconsulting@...> wrote:
One of the things that Bill Rouse has repeatedly brought to the front and center for all of us has been the need to monitor and watch what workman on your boat are doing.  Just making sure that the work is being done as advertised, with reasonable dispatch, and that you are getting what you paying for. I suspect all of us have at one time or another gotten less than perfect work from a marine tradesman.  I know I have.  Unfortunately it is not always possible for us to really be 100% sure of what is being done.  None of us are experts in EVERYTHING about a boat.  This is such a warning story...

I was recently driving with an Amel owner to their boat to work on some of their systems.  They had recently had completed a repower, and there were some complaints about the work that had been done.  One comment set off alarm bells for me.  There was some frustration expressed that the routing of the exhaust hose had been changed, and no longer looped up high, as Amel did, "to keep it out of the way." 

As soon as I was aboard, I checked the engine room, and found this:

If you have any familiarity with marine engine exhaust systems, this picture should horrify you.  An almost FLAT path for water from the exhaust thru-hull fitting to the engine. The low point of the exhaust hose is less than 10" above the static waterline. What little rise there is off to the starboard side, and when heeled over hard on port tack, it would likely be underwater, or VERY close to it.  Granted, there are two flapper valves in this system.  One at the exhaust thruhull, and one built into the waterlock muffler, but those are really designed to knock back a surge of water from a wave impact, not supply a watertight seal for hours at a time.

This use of a "gooseneck" routing for the exhaust hose is NOT an Amel special thing. It is part of ANY proper, standard marine engine install.  The installation manual for this particular engine listed a requirement of at least 40cm of elevation above the waterline at all angles of heel.  Other resources on exhaust systems suggest a minimum requirement of 45cm. In any event, the installation manual specific to the engine was ignored, and standard industry practice was either ignored or not known.

So this is a hot mess, but luckily was caught before real damage could occur, and is easily fixed, albeit with the addition of a lot of expensive exhaust hose that should have been included in the engine install. Another repower that I recently helped put right had even bigger issues. But with the understanding that not everybody can be knowledgable in all things... what's the alternative?  

I really haven't thought about this before, but since a very large percentage of the repowers I have seen have gone pear-shaped in sometimes major ways, I have a suggestion...

For projects as large and expensive as a repower it seems a good idea to have a contract clause that the work is subject to an independent survey before final sign off and payment. This means you have to find a surveyor skilled in the evaluation of the systems involved, and you have no absolute guarantee that they will know any better, but at least you get a second pair of (hopefully) knowledgable eyes. Most of us wouldn't spend US$30K or US$40K on a used car without getting an independent mechanic to evaluate it.  It seems like the same level of care should be extended to major boat modifications.

I'd very much like to hear how other people manage the technical end of major projects.

Bill Kinney
SM160, Harmonie
Annapolis, MD, USA

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