So far I have managed a weekend on board and a 3 day midweek cruise – since completing the easter cruise. I suppose there was also a day sail with my older son, Alex. All have been dogged with strong winds – and the deep reef in the mainsail has been permanently in for most of the last month. It was shaken out last thursday – when we had verry light winds – and we didn’t get over 3 knots all day.
The midweek cruise was last week – and having motored down to Angle against a strong westerly – we were ready to go out to Skomer Island (to look at the Puffins). The wind had moderated as predicted by the morning and we were off, only to find that the propellor was spinning on the shaft. So back into the haven and into Sandyhaven under sail in a light westerly – which of course was dead on the nose when we got there. We did get in safely, with some short tacks (a few of which ended aground on the beach – but it was dead calm). You can short tack by touching the keels on the bottom by the way! Some of it was done backwards, and some with the anchor just tickling the bottom ( technically called “drudging”. Using the tide to take you in – anchor slowing you so you can steer, you go backwards of course).
Anyway we anchored on the usual flat spot and waited for the tide to drop. It turned out that the nut had fractionally come loose, and the key which should have stopped the prop turning was totally MISSING. So it could spin freely. I improvised a temporary key from a bolt, and refitted everything. So that means another trip to Sandyhaven after I have made a new key. I still dont know where the key is. I can only guess that when I fitted the prop over the winter that the key fell out as I was fitting it – and I never saw it. You would have thought that it would have been there on the floor – but I never came accross it when I swept the floor after launching. How embarrasing!
I also found that the thrust bearing on the aquadrive had play in it – moving about 8 mm back and forward. This is quite serious – it could make us engineless at a critical moment. I have taken it apart today – well most of it. Just got to get the thrust block off the shaft tomorrow. Some small bolts have sheared – but I cant see what they actually do until it is completely apart.
I have also found that the sea water pump is leaking – and I have it in the workshop now. The shaft seal which stops the sea water flowing along the shaft is a standard oil seal – and the steel spring which holds the seal onto the shaft has rusted through. It is a crude way of doing it – but I suppose it has lasted over 5 years. Fixing that will be easy – just got to get a new seal.
And I thought I got away with doing the minimum of maintenance last winter!