Alternative solutions to replace a broken belt when not having a replacement

Alternative solutions to replace a broken belt when not having a replacement

As declared earlier we experienced the less nice wake up call of not having a specific belt in our spare part storage. In our case it was the belt to the sea water pump that broke and by some reason we did not ave that specific belt in our otherwise pretty comprehensive storage of spare belts.


When this specific occasion happened we was in the central Med. about one day from south Sardinia and less than two to western Sicily with little wind and pretty high old sea making live less comfortable. Ann-Sofie came up with the idea that we might be able to use thin rope to connect the pump wheel with the engine one. After checking with house Bible for Diesel Engine by Nigel Calder we found support for her idea.

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As part of the not specific spare parts on board we have 4 mm Dynema Leech line. That was to be the chosen line for our experiment as to replace the belt. We measured the minimum length and added some length to be able to connect the ends to each other. After connecting three lines we found that measuring the line was the easy part get the same length when fastened was another thing.

We tightened the pump with the lines attached and then we started to engine to check functionality. It worked perfectly!


After running for 10 minutes we stopped the engine and checked the stretch of the lines and as suspected it need additional stretch adjustment and then we started the engine again. For the first 24 hours we checked the engine every 10-15 minutes to make sure it worked and that water was coming out at the goose neck vacuum valve.

We used this solution for over 120 engine hours before we found a replacement belt. After half the number of hours we replaced the three lines with new ones, after inspection the old ones would most likely had coped with many more hours but it felt good to the change.

Conclusion of this experience is that carrying spare leech line 4 mm Dynema could be used to more than originally though. The stretch in Dynema is enough to handle the load when the engine starts and it is strong enough to survive many hours of mistreatment in a warm environment both from load as well as from heat generated by friction as well as heat from the engine.

We exercised our ideas on our Volvo TMD 22 Diesel engine but this could be a solution for the majority of engines on the market and it should work with the V-shaped wheel design also however the stretch has to be checked more often due to possible load. V-Shaped wheels are usually used for alternators which puts on a load on the belt/replacement when it starts to charge. That’s also why some stretch in the line is important so the initial load does not break the lines.

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Good news – Dolphins are back in the Med.


Sailing outside Algarve, in the Gibraltar Straights and east of Gibraltar along Costa del Sol is offering numerous opportunities to enjoy Dolphins playing around your boat. It is always a joy to see them play, you feel instantly better with their company.

The further in to the Med. the fewer you usually see. This year we had another experience, we spotted Dolphins over the total length of our sail to the Ionian sea and back which made us happy both for the company they offered but more that it meant that the amount of small fish has increased enough to provide enough food for them to be able to live in the Med.

We also got the feeling that we saw more fish when we were snorkelling both in Greece, Sicily and Sardinia. We hope that this is a trend that the fish is coming back to the Med. and that fishing will continue to be limited until a stable volume been created.

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2017 – The return sail to Greece with a lot of strange weather and other experiences


We discussed during May that a return trip to Greece from Algarve was something that was possible and could be done just for the fun of it. We have done the tour before and had some knowledge what was laying ahead of us. Downside for us was the fact that we where leaving around Midsummer (late June) which put us close to high season and the period of less wind in the Med.

The shakedown cruise was to Gibraltar where we stayed a couple of days as both of us are enjoying Gibraltar but also to choose a weather window for or next leg destined to Sicily and Licata on the south side. Its roughly a week’s sailing and we thought the weather window for the week to come was reasonably good with aft winds and speed. Leaving Gibraltar and sailing into the Med. is magic, the feeling of all the cruising ground laying ahead of you together with crystal clear water and good anchoring was shearing us up.

But the first sign that the weather was turning things upside down for us started a day out from Gibraltar when our westerly wind increased with 10 to 15 Kn (giving 30+ wind in average) more than the forecast predicted but was still manageable but the wave situation increased to 4.5 to 5.5 m high waves coming pretty close to each other and breaking – they were looking pretty mean! Well, to quote Ann-Sofie, do we have a convenient stop around so we could get rid of this very uncomfortable sailing but as we all know no bus stops at sea.

These conditions kept on for two days and we broke our speed record without realising it, new record is 16.9 kn through water.

Almost as worse is when the wind all of a sudden quits but you still experience the state of the sea, this took less than an hour and putting on the engine to make life more comfortable was an easy decision. We started but I shut it down almost direct because there was a strange sound that did not belong there. Opening the hatch to the engine room showed the hunch was right, we were met by a cloud of black smoke that smelled like burnt rubber. After a quick look the diagnose was clear, the belt to our sea water pump on the main engine was broken and the I was unable to move the wheels at the sea water pump. Well, that is no problem we have a newly renovated pump and a big storage of belts in the boat. To change the pump showed that the crack of the belt origins from the pump being stuck. To change the sea water pump on our Volvo Penta is an easy task so after the old one was removed the new one was put in place the search for the correct belt started. We have a lot of spare belts but by some reason that particular belt was not present on board, most likely in one of the many boxes in our apartment.

Finding our self in a pretty rolling environment the motivation to get the sea water pump working was high. Ann-Sofie brought up the idea that we could use thin rope to replace the belt. After a fast check in the Nigel Calder Diesel Engines book we decided to test the idea. We took 4 mm Dynema line, cut it in the right length and put three ropes to replace the belt, tightened the solution and started the engine. It worked!! For the first 24 hours we checked it every 10-15 minutes but after a while confidence grow and at the end the solution was used for over 120 engine hours before we got a new belt. See for Ann-Sofies story and pictures.

For safety we changed our plans and decided to go to south Sardinia to anchor and then decide if we should go to Cagliari or not for a new belt. After 24 hours rest we decided to go to Sicily and Licata. Wind where very light and engine was used more or less all the way. We tried to get a new belt in Licata, but sadly we failed. After a short but lovely stop in Licata we went directly to Argostoli, Kefalonia, Greece.

Light winds and clear sky felt like descent conditions however close to the south east corner of Sicily we were stopped (totally black and +1 m waves) and two guys from Guardia Finaza come on board to check that we did not have any immigrants on board which we did’nt. After we showed our intended course for the Finzaza guys, to Greece they warned us that there were a lot of immigrant boats around and we should be very alert and if seen not stop to help for our own safety but communicated with the Italian authorities. During the nigh another two of the high speed boats checked us out which felt good and the trip to Argostoly went without any problems.

Coming back to Greece felt more than good, we missed the Greek cruising grounds a lot. For this cruise we limited our sailing area to the Ionian Sea. Being there in July and August is being exposed to more than one charter boat and a lot of other boats, crowded it was. But, it is a lovely cruising ground with short distances between anchorages and a lot to choose from.

Sailing in the Ionian Sea is using the wind that usually blows a few hours every afternoon so to some extent we sailed a little but motoring a lot. As we all know the north east part of the Med. countries had very warm weather for a month in a row which opened for the weather to actually play havoc with everyone.

For us it meant starting to plan our cruising after the Cape index instead of wind direction and speed. Lightning is not uncommon in the Ionian but this year the intensity was impressive.

Due to this and the reports we heard from Sicily, Sardinia and the Baleares of weather that had been tougher with lightning, higher wind speeds etc we decided to go back west earlier than planned. The basic plan for the return sail was to visit new places we had not been to and not to stress. Well, with history in place we sailed in two day passages between lightning storms and strange weather totally planning our sail to go where the Cape index was as low as possible. Except from our passage from Sicily to South of Sardinia we managed to avoid the lightning storms with margin. Going to Sardinia we were followed by a huge lightning front originated from the north of Africa and we missed it by less than 10 Nm. It kept us on our toes for 5 hours sailing and motoring keeping up a boat speed over 9 kn. We do not like lightning at sea!!

The rest of the trip to Gibraltar was in two day legs to avoid upcoming bad weather that will put us in a standby situation for a week or so. Sailing during this period was not very present but motor sailing was to keep the speed to at least 5 kn. After Gibraltar the Cape index all of a sudden decided to not be a problem and we sailed for half the distance to Rio Formosa in Algarve.

Conclusions regarding the weather was that we used the engine for approximately 500 hours and sailed in less than 120 hours during our 3500 Nm for this cruise. The warm water in the north part of the Med. supported the strange weather situation and we have got many reports of serious lightning storms both in Sardinia, Sicily and on the Baleares during this period of the summer.

The weather was stabilising the further west we come and once passed Gibraltar it was more normal. This profile has kept until now with in-stability in the eastern and central part of the Med. and more stable weather in the west. One reason to the more stable weather in the western part might be that the water temperature has been lower this year than earlier.

Sailing in the Med. is still a wonderful cruising environment. The clear water, usually not to long legs between marinas and anchorages, stable weather and availability to supermarkets in various forms makes life enjoyable. We do miss that we did not sail in the Agean sea this time.

Did we have more failures on this cruise, yes the clutch on our autopilot linear drive broke and had to be changed, and one stainless steel shackle broke but was easily changed.

Good things to have as spare parts are among other things a sea water pump for your engine, spare linear drive or at least spare clutch, an assortment of stainless steel shackles and the right belts.

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Snatch blocks

Onboard Lady Annila we have a lot of different blocks. All except three has their given place. The other three are snatch blocks

The two to the left is Lewmar size 2. Big and heavy. But we know that we can rely on them everytime we use them. The specifications as below. One in Lb/in and one in kg/cm.

We use them when we sail with the genacker to guide the sheet into the cockpit and winsch and we use them when hoisting a person up in the mast. 

The small one to the right is a Wichard soft block with very low friction. We have two of them. One is permanently in the top of the main mast replacing the standard block to the genus hailyard. Making less shafe and leave more space up there. We mounted it in dec 2013 and have made two Atlantic crossing plus a lot of other sailing with it.

The other one we have attached to a line that we use on the gennacker sheet change the angel on the sheet to get better controll over the sail when sailing downwinds. The weight of the block is only 82 grams but with a working load on 2000 kg. 

We have not been sponsored by neither Lewmar nor Wichard. This is just our own opponions on these gadgets.

Here we are sailing with gennacker and missen stay sail. With both sheets on the cockpit winsches. The thick white is the genoa sheet, not in use at the moment, and the thinn one with black stripes is the Mizzen Stay sail. And the white using the Lewmar Snatch block is the Gennacker sheet. The fourth block in the background is for the main boom preventer.

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Insights part II


Owning an Amel Super Maramu is owning the privilege of learning new things almost every day. To summarise is far to boring for the reader so I decided to cherry picking some interesting experiences.

On most SM you have a Goose neck that handles the vacuum being created on the exhaust side of the engine. Sea water is gently coming out when the engine is running and when it’s turned off you could hear the air being sucked in through the goose neck. Over the years the amount of water coming out this way is increasing and when it’s really bad it splashes out in the area where the water evacuation pipes are in the aft of the hatch to the engine room. Making it very wet even in the aft part of the cockpit.

A normal view of this is the vacuum connection/goose neck is malfunctioning in some way. Sorry to say this is not the case if you are running a Volvo Penta TMD 22 engine. The reason for the increase of seawater through the goose neck is that the thin pipes inside the exhaust pipe/exhaust elbow that is mounted on the turbo are clogged preventing cooling water to cool down the pipe.

Most of us are aware that we are not over using the Turbo on the engine which should be used regularly to prevent carbon to clog the Turbo and the exhaust pipe but are we… Well, we have been less good at running at higher revs so the exhaust pipe was clogged and the Turbo had a fair amount of carbon just outside the fan.

The operation to change the exhaust pipe is an easy dismounting excersice but be care full when cleaning the Turbo, it is very easy to damage the fan blades.

After cleaning the Turbo and changing the exhaust pipe the engine was running as new and the water through the goose neck was coming in a normal amount.

Checking the exhaust pipe is not on the normal checklist but will be in the future at least once every second year.

Is this applicable to other engine types like the Volvo Penta TAMD 22 and the 100 HP Yanmar, do not know for sure but a recommendation is to keep an eye on the amount of water coming out of the goose neck and if it increases the exhaust pipe might be the problem.

Most of the Amel Super Maramus are carrying an Onan diesel generator that is supplied with a sea water pump. The sea water pump is mounted with a shaft going into the main engine body. When the lip seal starts to get worn out water might be transported to the engine body and compromise the engine oil with the consequence that it change colour to grey and it fills up the oil sump.

The quality of the sea water pump seals and bearing are good but need an update occasionally to prevent this type of action. Onan offers an upgrade kit that includes all vital parts for this upgrade.

The signs to look for is when you see small drips of water coming out from the seawater pump body, its normally identified through small traces of salt crystals in the open parts of the shaft body.

The seal is a special seal that is not easy to find on the open market so a recommendation is to have this repair kit or a spare seawater pump to handle this type of happening.

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We are on the road again or should I say we are sailing again!

We are on the road again or should I say we are sailing again!

After seven months in a Marina you are really looking forward to go sailing again. This time we left the marina with the strategy that the first leg should be an easy one and so it did. Leaving the marina is not hard to do but leaving your friends are worse.

When we left with our friends gathered to say good by, the big hugs and waving us good bye when we left our mooring, sounded our horn in response and slowly moved out from the marina. We miss you already guys!

Out side the marina the state of the sea was calm and no wind so we decided to motor the 25 Nm to our first anchorage of the year. The lack of wind was no surprise and we used the time to fill up the water tank with our water maker that has been in sleeping mood for the last seven months. Happily it worked perfect and the tank was almost filled when we reached our chosen anchorage.

The happiness to spend our first night on anchor was hard to camouflage, when properly anchored we sat in the cockpit, enjoyed the sun set and a small Dry Martini. After this session we fired up the Gas BBQ and grilled home made burgers of decent size and just relaxed. The fact that the boat rolled again after seven moths of total still experience was only positive and pretty soon we realised that the air of the sea had taken its toll, we went to an early sleep.

Early next morning I woke up after recognising an engine sound to close to the boat and went up. A fisherman was circulating our boat and tried to get our attention. He was convinced that our chain was put of´over his net so within 10 minutes we had re-anchored and the fisherman was happy because we had not anchored over his net. After a slow breakfast we lifted the anchor for what we thought will be a short 50 Nm sail. The gennacker was hoisted after an hour on motor together with the mizzen and of we took.

The conditions could not be better and we logged between 7 and 10 knots for the first hours and far earlier than expected we passed our first choice of anchorage, Mazzaro del Vallo and decided to anchor out side Marsala instead but due to increasing speed, we where doing between 9 to 11 knots, we decided that Trapani will be our final destination. After been securely anchored we found that despite a slow start we have had an average speed of 7.8 knots doing only just nothing letting the autopilot steer and enjoying the sail from the cockpit. This is what dreams are built up from!

A good start of the 2016 season has been the case and we will do our best to continue on this track!!

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Winter in a marina

What do we do during the winter, are we developing into cave personalities or social participants?

Many persons not living on a boat asks this question, how do you stand to live in such a limited environment over such a long time?

The answer is that one common denominator that cruisers experience is that their social life and diversity has broadened a lot since they went cruising. Especially during the winter/hurricane season cruisers are gathered in marinas for a period of four months or more and most of them are open people and easy to spend time with.

During a long stay like this a social program develops including music lessons, Pilates, experience sharing, joint BBQs, different types of excursions to learn more about the region you are visiting. In all it brings people together and you meet people from many different countries around the world and some times the language is a barrier but you usually find a common language to use if English is not the choice.

Also very nice is when the cruisers starts and supports the radio nets on VHF to distribute general information between the cruisers. These radio nets are very common in the Caribbean and less common in the Mediterranean. Regardless they serve as an important source of information for the cruisers.

Usually a weekly program is published for the cruisers where time and place is announced and if you are not found of or have to focus on boat maintenance you have no problems spending time together with other cruisers on this and that.

So cruising is a very social life and you meet many new persons that over time develops in to dear friends in a way that the shore life seldom do. We have developed many new relationships and more than a hand full of new friends that we will have contact with over time spread over the world. Mail, Skype and blogs are from this perspective nice tools to use.

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Licata – Safe winter haven?

We arrived to Licata 1 September 2015 and have been here since, its our longest stay at one place since we started full time sailing. What did we know about Licata and what did us chose this Marina for our winter stay?

The traumatic time you experience before you have made your choice of winterUhurricane season Marina is always filled with different ideas, second hand info about conditions and our own thoughts about our own priorities.

From our own point of view we have found the following topics important to enjoy your winter months:

– Safe and surge free marina with good quality of moorings, pontoons and general safety

– Positive and friendly marina office people

– Positive and helpful harbour guys

– A good infrastructure close to the marina, Supermarket, Chandler, marketplace etc

– A geographical surrounding that offers lots of possibilities for excursions to interesting places

– Good connections to one or more airports for travels outside the region or other countries

– Communication language is English with the Marina

– A small to medium sized cruising boat presence to make the marina living during the winter months more socially enjoyable

As you could see there are no surprises in this list but each topic owns its importance and should be checked. For us the choice of Licata was done pretty early in the season, May, and we had been in Licata three years earlier and had first hand information about the harbour that was only 2 years old at that time.

So, we have been here now for seven months and how has reality checked out compared with the above list of topics?

The over all judgement of the Marina is that its a very good winter Marina where price and performance meets in a good way. The Marina office is continuously improving the area around the harbour with BBQ place with both BBQs and wooden burned oven. Next big improvement is the building of a big swimming pool available for the marina boats and the apartments close to the Marina. The cruisers have also full access to the yacht club room for its activities and for other things like sail repairs etc.

Sicily has offered a lot of attractions to enjoy like the Valley of Temples, Villa Romana and many more sites of great historical interest. Sicily also offer one of the largest Outlet factory Village with more than 200 of the most famous brands of clothes, shoes, fitness clothes and many more things. Prices are less than 50% of the standard price in ordinary shops.

Being in Licata is living with the history of many different occupants over the last 800 to 1000 years. The local Municipality is very proud of its heritage and offers historical walks through the city on regular basis.

What about practicalities like easy access to a good Super Market? Connad Super Market is situated less than 5 minutes walk from the boat and is providing a generous sortiment of goods together manual service discs for meat, poultry, charcuteries and cheese. The service is very good but do not forget that English is rarely spoken by people outside the tourist industry. The possibility to excersize your Italian is always good!

The Marina environment also offers nice bar, chandler, laundrette and shops. The distance to Licata city centre is a 10 minute walk.

The cruising society is medium sized meaning there are around 80 boats staying the winter where roughly 20-25 are staying at the boat through the winter. As in most winter marinas one or more boats has stayed for more than one winter and they are helping with building up traditions and helping new boats with day to day questions. In Licata the social life is offering a lot of things to do like music sessions, Italian language lessons, art class, BBQ come together each week and many more things. So, if you do not want to spend time on your boat the social life offered is meeting most demands.

Can we recommend Licata as a winter mooring Marina, Yes. Licata meets our demands and needs on most topics. Siciliy has offered many nice excursions and the Sicilian food is not to complain against. Licata Marina has been claimed to have very nutritious water that supports growth on the under water hull. We saw many examples of this and talked to the owners, most of them had used antifouling of local Italian sort, self polishing one year lasting. We also talked to the boat owners where no or less growth had been the case and they have all used hard antifouling and used two year lasting versions. Our selves we experienced growth between the back of the keel to the rudder plus the prop blades otherwise clean.

Would we go back to Licata for another winter season stay, yes we would.

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I have meet my favourite oven!!

Not many persons I know gets excited over an oven, especially not in the cruising environment where space is limited. But during our winter stay in Licata I have found the best oven I ever worked with, big spacey environment for the subject of cooking, excellent smooth and perfect heat distribution and easy to control temperature.

Where did I find this master piece? Well, it was installed in the BBQ area in Licata Marina and offered as added resource to the two charcoal BBQs built earlier. Its wooden heated and is to some extent conspicuous.

One of our friends, from Argentina, said when I asked that that type of oven usually offered very good performance and you could cook bigger pieces than usually on the boat. We decided to test with him as the Master Chef and what a result! After firing up the oven we cooked back end of Lamb and a piece of pork. We where five persons feasting on the food and we decided that this oven will be used more. Next try was doing pizzas and the result was as good!!

During Christmas we decided to join the joint Christmas lunch on the 25th and I promised to cook a Turkey, 4-5 Kg. I did, it took around 4 hours where one hour was to heat up the oven to + 200 degrees and then slowly let he temperature down. The end result when served was appreciated.

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During Easter we did half a Lamb plus an additional leg of Lamb as main. For starters we where introduced to Argentinian Empanadas, and they have now moved into our cooking book. They where so good and the Lamb turned out as good as ever could be wanted.

Some days before we where planned to leave our Argentinian friends said that they will arrange a dinner at the BBQ place where roast shoulder of Pig would be served together with Empanadas as starters. Was it good, it was the BEST roast of Pig ever eaten and the Empanadas where flying on a new level. The food was accompanied with the first warm afternoon and evening this year with a lovely sun.

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This type of oven will be something we will try to find when we move ashore at some point.

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Seasons, At Last!

The cruisers life is a long wait for the glorious moments everybody else thinks is the daily life

We have lived on our boat for seven years and been out sailing for five. Before that we used our previous boats for coastal cruising from March to late October most years. Keeping after your boat when you are sailing a limited number of days in a row is one thing keeping after a boat used every day is something different.

Complaining is not on the table however the insight knowledge is good to have if you are not in the control of a very large pocket. The boat is the black hole that never stops consuming your efforts and has no respect what so ever of your size of pocket regardless of size of boat. Is not this life style democratic so say?

We have sailed, more or less, constantly for two and a half years and in nautical miles(Nm) that represent +15 000 Nm. It is not a great distance but it is enough to start thinking about the wear and tear on a boat. So far our strategy of investing in very good quality of sails paid off, securing current leverage through DCDC converters has been another big issue that minimised electronic and electrical failures, proactive service and not fixing after things has broken and so on. Yes, to some extent we have been lucky, no doubt about that.

The one thing we did not think about when we did our preparations, first in Sweden and then in the Med, was that the warm and very warm climates does affects your ability and motivation to engage in maintenance and proactive service. It is hard to forget the nightmare of doing any outside work during the Hurricane season in the SE of the Caribbean, in this case specific in Trinidad. You are limited to enjoy working conditions during a few hours a day when it is day light.

The seasonal changes was one of the reasons that we decided to engage in a cruise back to the Med. We are Scandinavians brought up in a climate with four weather seasons and an average temperature far below 28 degrees Celsius. Cruising in warmer climates are in general terms a preferable decision but it should be done with the knowledge that you do not accomplish as much work that you used to due to the warmer climate. For me it was a hard experience and even harder to accept. I still have Luther sitting on one of the shoulders ventilating his message, work, work work,…

Well, now we are back in the Med. We are in a three season climate, the temperature has dropt to around 20 C in the day and around 10-12 during late nights. That latter is serious cold temperature and have to admit we have fired up our diesel heater the last couple of nights to get a decent temperature in the mornings. But this said, this change in temperature makes it possible to engage in a type of maintenance projects that was not even on the table for the last 2 years.

What about the privilege of cleaning and polishing your cockpit, for me this has been a nightmare in front of my yes for the last year but all of a sudden it become possible and now four days later we have a nice, clean and shiny cockpit. Other examples of temperature limited actions are painting projects, oiling your teak parts (heat does decrease the woods ability to soak in the oil. It dries to fast), doing engine room work without creating short circuit because you are sweating like a waterfall and so on.

So, yes we do have a long list of privileges to handle but being ashore you work all day and then on your free time you keep after your boat. Being a live aboard is refocusing to that your work is keeping after your boat. The amount of time you spend is depending of the size of your pocket and/or on your ambition of wanting to be self-sufficient.

I want to take the opportunity to thank everybody that has responded to the different blogs during the last year and respond that it is an honour to get your responses. That means that you think reading what I have been written might be worth the time.

I wish everybody and Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year regardless of your position as a land lubber or full time cruiser.

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