Prop Pics

I was able to take some better pics of the prop shaft. I can’t be sure, but it looks like some of the cutless bearing nitrile rubber lining might have escaped out of the end.

To explain the anatomy of a sailboat stern gear, I better show some pictures.

This is my prop shaft/bearing/prop arrangement, in happier days. The prop shaft leaves the boat and goes straight into the propellor, with just a little gap, of maybe 5mm, which you can make out to the right of the brass propellor.

The hole at the back of the boat that the prop shaft sticks out of, is actually a tube called the log, and the back part of the boat that the tube is fitted in, is called the deadwood. Now the prop shaft passes through the log with a lot of clearance, but at the very end of the log, a bearing is fitted into the log, or in fact into a special bearing holder as you can see below in a very similar boat. Here the bearing holder, which probably has a name too, has the bearing fitted

Below is a typical bearing, and very similar to the one I have.

So in my case the fishing line wrapped around the prop shaft in the 5mm gap, and may have forced it’s way into the bearing, cutting the black rubber lining. Looking at the picture below you can see what looks like rubber sticking out, but I can’t be sure. 

It may be that the whole rubber lining has parted company with its brass shell, in which case that would explain why I hear a noise at low revs, the noise of the rubber rubbing against the brass as it revolves with the prop shaft. I think at the higher revs, it must be staying still. If it is spinning in its case it will burn up eventually as there is no coolant for that side of the rubber. Once this bearing starts to fail, I will get a lot of vibration, and it has done more than half a million revolutions since I cleared the line, so it had plenty of time to complain. Possibly just the end of the bearing is damaged, and there’s plenty left inside to do the job.
Today I made contact with the local, Mr Fixit, Pani, he brought 150 ltrs of fuel down to the boat for me and filled the tank. I used 180 ltrs in 31 hours of motoring, I think this is about 5.8 ltr/hour, or just over 1.5 gallon/hour, which seems a lot to me, I did have my foot on the floor for a lot of the time, and I was making between 7-8 knots most of the journey, anyway. Pani, Tel 01235-73096 can sort anything, and for about £12 a diver will appear tomorrow and have a good look at the prop for me, hopefully cut away whatever is still there, and take some better pictures. After that, I fear a haulout, and a new bearing, which requires the prop shaft to come out, which is a biggish job. I’ve gone right off fishing.

I’m meeting Kathy a week on Saturday at Kuala Lumpur Airport, to bring her back to the boat. KL Airport, is less than an hour from here by car, but I will be down at Singapore by then, so will be flying back up here. For a sailboat, I’m certainly running up my carbon footprint. Still, we have a 12 day sail to Hong Kong in May, followed by a 20 day sail to Japan May/June and finally a 30-40 day sail to the Vancouver Island / Seattle area in July/August. We wont be able to motor on those trips, not at 6ltr/hour, we only carry 2 days fuel.

Tomorrow, Im going to visit the harbour master at Port Dickson to beg forgiveness for not getting the check out paperwork from Langkawi. Then I will do some shopping in the old historic town of Melaka.

So while I prepare the boat and do little jobs I’m just going to have to continue to rough it here at Admiral Marina, Port Dickson.

Paul Collister