Although I haven’t posted in a while, I thought some of you would like an update, and a current-status report.
My last sail of the year on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I was sailing alone. 5 miles out into the bay I came about for the return leg, and apparently snagged a crab pot warp with my rudder. After sailing slowly for a while, I attempted to clear the line from my rudder, but instead managed to foul the prop with a “thunk.” After that I had no drive to the prop. Later inspection revealed that I had lost the prop and shaft when the coupling/shaft key sheared. Although there are many more details to relate (things I’d be happier to forget), I got towed into my boat yard travel lift slip by TowBoatUS and I was very fortunate that my friend the manager was still there. He lifted the boat out immediately so there was no more danger of sinking through an empty shaft log (I had stuffed a rag into the hole), and there she sat for the Thanksgiving weekend. I had to have her moved on Monday to a boatyard next door (the yard I’ve been using for 12 years has changed their haul-out policy as a result of a change in ownership). There was no problem though, and the move was made smoothly.
Now I’m in the position of again replacing the prop shaft – the one I lost was only two years old. In addition, I need to find a prop that will work – easier said than done, if you don’t want to also pledge you first-born as part of the purchase price. Sailboat props are absurdly expensive if you buy them new. I’ll be looking for used. Fortunately, I still have the old shaft which I can use as a template for the machinist.
I’ve also been leaking oil – not much, but enough to make a mess. This started before I lost the prop shaft. I haven’t found the leak, but think it could be the rear main seal. It’s hard to tell because there is no leak while the engine isn’t running. On the other hand, I discovered the dip stick partially out of the hole when I was looking for the problem – oil could have easily been splashed past the place where the stick normally seals against the block. Just not sure. . . Wish I could find out, because now would be the perfect time to replace that seal, but it’s not something I want to do unless I’m reasonably sure that it’s the source of the leak.
I also need to replace both cooling pumps – raw water and circulator – I know for sure they are leaking – have been for years. Now’s the time.
So I’m looking forward to some quality time crouched in front of my engine this winter-spring. Nobody ever said owning a sailboat was cheap, and I’m here to verify that fact. More posts and photos to come.