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Fish, Fruit and Heavy Metal

Caribbean fruit is a wonder to behold and most people visiting a local market for the first time are taken aback by the strange yet wonderful goodies on display. What are they? What do you do with them? Are they good for you? We challenged our senior writer Carol Bareuther, a registered dietitian who knows a lot about food, to come up with her top eight favorite tropical fruits. Carol accepted the challenge and not only named her favorites, she gave us information about calories and vitamin content too (see page 42).


 

Nothing gives you confidence like a decent engine, one that springs to life and purrs at the turn of a key. When I bought G-String, her engine failed to do that and, although I was told it was nothing more than a fuel problem, it turned out that the 10hp Yanmar was shot and required a top to bottom rebuild.

I have sailed on boats with some interesting engines. My 1932 cutter Driac II had a 20hp hand-start Albin diesel that only I could bring to life. Stronger men than I had tried to start the beast but none had the knack of dropping the decompression lever at the right time and woe betide those who got it wrong. The engine would take offence and backfire flinging the cranking-handle backwards at high speed seeking to smash a wrist in retaliation at such shoddy work.

My favorite engine was a 1916 Kelvin Hughes petrol/paraffin engine, a monster four cylinder that you kick-started … well, sort of.  The engine was set at an angle and drove a wing shaft and propeller which exited on the starboard side next to the deadwood, aft. Its job was to push an 80ft Dutch sailing barge and it did this with power to spare … once you got it started.

Here’s the procedure:

One: Open the oil reservoir drip feed from the header tank and time the oil through the sight-glass until you achieve one drip per second.

Two: Wind back the four decompression posts, one on each cylinder head. (They resembled bolts and you backed them off with a wrench.)

Three: And this is where it got interesting. Remove the forward decompression post altogether and pour neat gasoline down the hole into the cylinder. Replace the decompression post and tighten down. Open the overhead fuel tank marked ‘Petrol/Gasoline’.

Four: Take the massive starting handle and insert in the center of the external flywheel at the front of the engine. (This was difficult to miss as it was about four-feet in diameter.) Turn the cranking handle by hand until you feel resistance. This always occurred on the downward stroke at around two o’clock. Reach up and grab the bronze rail attached to the beam overhead with both hands and haul yourself up as if you are about to do pull-ups. Bend your knees and position your feet on the starting handle … and stamp down. Hard! If you got it right, the engine would start, the handle fly off and you were ready to rock.

Five: No you’re not finished yet. Tighten down the remaining decompression bolts to bring the other three cylinders online. Give the engine about ten minutes to warm up and then turn off the petrol/gasoline cock and open the gravity fed paraffin tank.

That lovely old engine might kill you on starting, but once it was running it sounded like a sewing machine.

 


 

This month, I am delighted to include a report from the Ernest Hemingway International Billfish Tournament in Cuba, one of the oldest sport fishing events in the world. The continuing embargo by the US on the communist state has meant this tournament has struggled in the past. However, thanks to hard work and delicate negotiations by those who put politics aside; this year’s event broke new ground and saw a limited number of American anglers taking part. This is the second time this year that I have seen a Caribbean event bring together, in friendship, sportsmen from countries whose governments continue to spit and snarl at each other. Strike up one more for the camaraderie of the sea.

 

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