There is always plenty to do on a boat. We had her hauled out in February before Nancy and I left for Mexico. You see her here in a TravelLift. Pretty common boatyard tool to move boats in and out of the water.
Katrina and Roddy got busy and removed the prop and drive shaft.
There are a few moving parts in this prop.
And they are carefully machined and balanced to work well together. Ya gotta love brass! The purpose of all this engineering is to build a prop that will rotate it’s blades to be parallel with the direction of the boat’s travel when the motor isn’t used. That way there is less drag when you are sailing. A normal prop is fine when you are motoring, but when sailing it provides as much drag as a towing a 5 gallon bucket. A prop that feathers it’s blades can gain you 1/2 a knot. And 10% more speed amounts to a day faster passage on a thousand miles.
Here’s Roddy taking the prop apart. Note the greasy bit still on the shaft.
Anyway the prop can be greased while out of the water. And prop removal was required to allow replacement of the prop shaft cutless bearing.
The cutless bearing lives in the strut. The press rig is set up to remove it.
Next was to remove the prop shaft and send it off to make sure that it was straight. Katrina is victorious! Shaft is removed. And turned out to be strait.
There is a concern. One of my crew bumped a rock in Fiji 5 months ago. Didn’t seem like too hard of a blow at the time.
But it did fail the joint between the forward end of the keel and the hull. Lets water into the joint. Not a big deal I thought at the time. Now the question is whether the keel should be removed to properly be resealed.
If you look closely you can see water seeping out of the joint. Problem is it has been out of the water for three weeks. This should have stopped long ago. Unless the fiberglass itself is saturated with water and gradually letting it go. Oh boy. That doesn’t sound good.
Anyway that answers the question of whether the keel needs to be removed or not. It does.
This was a doing. Todd from the boatyard spent a day chiseling at the joint. It’s bolted and glued. You want to weaken the glue by 80% or so. Then when you release the keelbolts the keel can be separated from the hull without too much drama.
Carl was a lean mean keel removing machine. This guy knows a lot about his work and is quite interested in sharing that knowledge. Great to work with this whole team.
After the keel separated we noted that there were 6 inch deep pockets in the top of the keel. And they were full of water. Hmmmm. So the pieces now fit. Seal failure. Seawater ingress fills pockets. Boat on the hard and joint weeps. Then it rains and fills the pockets again. And on you go. So it was the pockets weeping, not my fiberglass hull. Well that’s good news.
Team dried out the pockets and painted the top of the keel. Boat hangs overnight in the TravelLift to dry the paint.
This is an uncomfortable situation. My mast is 63′ high. Normally there is 7000 lbs of cast iron on the bottom of the boat to make it not so top heavy. Problem is the keel is no longer attached. Spill the Wine is top heavy now. I put a couple lines from high on the mast to the ground to stabilize it. And there wasn’t much wind thank you very much.
The next morning the team applied sealant then lowered the boat back on to the keel. Then the 10 keel bolts, 1 cm each, all need 450 ft lbs of torque. They brought in a 5 foot torque wrench to get that done. I worked with Dave on this project and it was a lot of torqueing. 450 is a large number.
Another bit of business was aligning the motor. There is a flanged bit of steel that bolts to the end of the propshaft. It is then bolted to the transmission. These have to be square with one another. They’re not quite right.
If you look closely you’ll get it. I’ve placed a light source beneath the joint. You can see light on the right side of the joint but not so much on the left. Not square.
So one merely loosens the motor mounts and wiggles the motor around to get right and left edges aligned. Then you adjust the tilt of the motor to align top and bottom and bolt it all back up. No problem! Four cylinder diesel engines are easy to wiggle!
I’ll have to do this again when she’s been back in the water a bit, but I wanted to get it close since it was taken apart.
Then it was time to tighten up the engine mounts. Three of them tightened up ok. One wouldn’t. Turns out the engine mounts are secured with bolts with a washer ad a nut on the inside of the beam the motor rests on. You did catch that right? On the INSIDE of the beam. Now in the case of the three that happened to tighten up anyway, there was access provided so you could get a box wrench on the nut to make prevent it from rotating with the bolt (and not tightening anything).
It turns out I have a selection of hole saws on board. Used one of them to put an access hold into the side of the beam. Sounds easy enough. Trick was there is almost no room to get this bit done either. I had to put the drill under the motor. Very little room to do that. Then mount the hole saw in the drill chuck. Then put the battery on the drill. These three pieces had to go down separately to get them under the engine. Then I went after the beam and made holes about 1.5 inches across that would let me get a wrench on the nuts. Next time it will be easier! And stop laughing at me for packing hole saws!