It Never Ends…

January 31st, 2020 by inavx

by B.J. Porter (Contributing Editor)

The little joys of boat ownership are without number.

I really DO love boats and owning them, but every now and then something happens that makes you shake your head and wonder just what we are thinking.

This time it is Swedish engineering. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the way the Swedes built my boat. Everything is tough and rugged and strong – well thought out and put together. But sometimes I wish I just had some crappy tub that fell apart when you undid three self tapping screws…easy disassembly. It doesn’t matter what it is, it generally uses more screws and more connectors and is twice as tough to get apart as it seems like it should be. That is a good thing when you are getting the snot pounded out of you off shore; it is a bad thing when you are paying $85/an hour each for two or three guys to scratch their heads trying to figure out how to get your damned prop shaft off.

Yes, the minor cutlass bearing job has taken a turn for the hellish. My original thought and discussion with the yard was that they had a magic Cutlass Bearing Press which I did not, so I could pull the prop and they could roll this thing up and pop out the old bearing and stick in a new one. Quick and painless.

Unless your prop is glassed in by the extra beefy Hallberg-Rassy prop shaft cover ‘o death.

Yes, that large mass of fiberglass negates all the benefits of the Magic Cutlass Bearing Press – it can not be used and the prop shaft must come out, and then the cutlass bearing needs to be chopped up and pulled out in pieces before it can be replaced.

Great…except the prop shaft is too long to fit by the rudder.

Yes, that’s an old picture from the survey and the bottom looks disgusting…but it clearly shows the propeller being quite close to the massive rudder assembly. Needless to say the prop goes a wee bit farther than that gap up into the boat. So the rudder must come off to get the prop shaft out.

But there is another added complication – this boat is so large that the yard can normally only get it about 6-8 inches off the ground in the travel lift. However, if they conveniently take down the massive radar tower on the stern they can hoist it up the necessary three feet or so they need to get the prop down.

That is, if they can get to the screws on the bearing. That great big thing the rudder is stuck too is where the bearing is. Apparently it is all glassed in.

Last time I was by the yard the boys were ripping chunks of fiberglass off of the rudder post to expose the bearings so they could then get the rudder disconnected in order to drop it down. Chunks of fiberglass on the ground, the radar post felled and lying prone on the deck…I just could not watch any more.

Tacking a zero onto the end of the expected cost of a job just makes me happy I am not a teetotaler. Because then it would make me grumpy.

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