Friday, 18 March 2022

Propeller replacement

A nice shiny new propeller duly appeared and was paid for, and the challenge was to get it back in the boat. It didn't seem worthwhile to have her lifted out by the boatyard crane for a job which should only take a few minutes. So a couple of weeks ago I put the dinghy alongside her in the mud to try to get access. But, as we thought, the boat had settled down into the mud over the winter and the shaft log, that the propeller shaft fits into was nowhere to be seen. Digging away at the mud has little effect as it is so soft and liquid in Faversham Creek that its like shovelling soft porridge and the hole just fills up again. 

So today I had a more determined effort. I shifted all the anchor chain and much of the ballast onto the starboard side deck. When Bonita floated on the spring high tide I rigged up a rope from the mast to a post ashore, and tightened this up as hard as I could. The net effect of all of this was to give her a gentle list of a few degrees to starboard, about as much as sailing in a gentle breeze. It didn't seem like much but it was enough. When the tide went out and she sat down in the mud, the shaft log was just visible. It was relatively simple to slide in the new shaft and propeller and connect it up to the engine. 

Its important to keep a line attached to the new prop while installing it as the shaft and prop are heavy, slippery with mud and expensive! The mud is so soft that anything dropped in it is likely to never be seen again. I had been worrying about this job for a while so I was relieved to have got it done. It should be a few weeks before we take her out to her mooring on the Swale to start the new season, but all the remaining fitting out work should be (I hope) fairly straightforward.
The shiny new propeller in among a lot of mud

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