Fluid and Condition Monitoring Services helped Ellen MacArthur in her successful bid to break the world record for a solo, non-stop trip around the world.
On board the fantastically hi-tech tri-maran there is a small, single cylinder diesel engine, used to charge batteries that run all of the electrical equipment on board. This type of engine has been used successfully in many other long distance events and had proved itself to be utterly reliable. However, on this occasion, the engine installed on Ellen’s yacht developed a problem – excessive oil consumption.
The support team had calculated how much oil the engine should have used, based on all of the data from previous trips. Ellen's yacht carried just enough oil for topping-up based on these calculations and no more. Because the engine was using more than it should have been, Ellen very rapidly ran out of oil. A situation that could have ended the dream - the Fluids and Condition Monitoring team stepped in to help.
A marine surveyor who was already a customer decided to take samples from an engine that was under test on dry land – running on olive and rape seed oil. These oils were in plentiful supply on board, used as a dietary supplement, and the thought was, can the engine survive the trip running on this alternative engine oil?
A couple of samples were taken and the results reported to the marine surveyor who passed the reports on to the support team. Advice was given to the team, that it was thought that the engine should survive – but only just! The rest of the story is history but it just goes to show, you never know where fluid analysis can prove useful!