It’s considered bad luck to change the name of your boat!

I’m absolutely a sceptic when it comes to superstition, but I do like tradition and I would never have changed the name of the boat. The previous owner but one owned the boat for twenty odd years. It’s a ship’s lifeboat conversion and she bought it from the guy who did the conversion in the nineties.

A motorboat called Nora motoring along a peaceful river

She was always single handed and she said the name of her boat “Saucy Jack” was well known. So when she sold the boat and bought a new one, fifteen years or so ago , she wanted to keep the boat name so that people will know it was still her, and give her a hand with mooring. Her new Saucy Jack is still moored at Tiptree marina. An Aquacraft 40’ or something similar.

She sold it to a guy who moored it at Cathedral Marina, Ely and lived on it there. A condition of the sale was that he had to change the name, and he chose “Nora”.

We both hated the name when we bought the boat, but it has grown on us.

An old motor boat that looks a little like a fishing boat moored outside a pub

In the first few years of owning the boat I asked a boating friend a lot for advice. He used to answer the phone “Noraid”, which was amusing if in bad taste.

In hindsight it was a bad decision to buy that boat as our first boat. Because it’s a lifeboat conversion nothing is standard, and some parts of the conversion were done with poor materials and even less skill. It’s been a steep learning curve.

For example I would have struggled to point out where a boat engine’s gearbox was when we bought the boat. Since then I’ve changed both gearboxes twice. First time with a friend’s help, then three times on my own.The gearboxes are too small and only just rated for the output of the two large Perkins diesels (4.5l – 60hp). They overheat which causes the plates to slip. They lose shardds of metal which then ruins the plates and then need to be rebuilt. A bad design. The port box was a Hurth HBW150r and rated for engines of 10-60HP. The port engine had a ZF Gearbox with even lower output a ZF10M. I replaced this with a ZF15m (ZF bought Hurth sometime ago) which had the exact same alignment for the prop and engine. I then replaced the starboard gearbox with a ZF15m (the newer version of the Hurth HBW150r). Then I’ve had both boxes rebuilt.

A clean gearbox sat on a wooden desk.

There are some threaded holes on the side of the box. Here you can attach a box and pump water through it to cool the gearbox. Apparently this keeps it cool and makes them last a lot longer. However, they are next to impossible to find. I saw one once at a boat jumble. The guy wanted £200!

A pair of dirty gearboxes on a bench.