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Now, I'm no expert...

...but I try to take care around my boat work, partly because I don't want to learn the hard way and have to do things six times, and partly because I'm always conscious that I did not receive training in my youth that would help me in any respect in my current full-bore, hands-on operations. Humilty and paranoia are my boat repair and rehab tutors.

So yesterday, my knowlegeable friend (and an award-winning cinematographer) Capt. Matt and I had just retreated from both the cold and from hauling out a very balky prop shaft.

Apparently, the secret to motivating a dirty old shaft is "more lube". It was ever thus, or rather, thrust.

This is part of the whole "tie down the engine to the boat and the new prop to the engine" exercise, more about which will follow in a later, action-filled post. Or maybe two. It's a big topic.

And we see this through his car windscreen:

This leaning tower of cinder blocks seems sub-par to me

Now, I'm no expert in how to overwinter on the hard with vintage runabouts, and I don't know if it's just a maturing sense of competence or a basic feel for physics that made this seem a little dodgy in both conception and execution.

The hardest working square inch of pine wood ashore.  Picture the fate of the comically small fenders versus the five-ton crane.
Perhaps this is standard operating procedure for the owner. Perhaps my urge to back away on tiptoe so as not to create disrupting vibrations is related to the aforementioned refitter's paranoia. But that is one of the sketchiest things I've ever seen in a boat yard, and I've seen drunks urinating off bows in snowsqualls, boats casually dropped off cranes and trailers, and numerous drug deals.

Maybe some runabout owner will write to reassure me I'm completely off-base (like this boat very nearly is), or that it is Perfectly Safe. I wouldn't mind if the blocks were doubled up and rotated 90 degrees with each row; there's nothing inherently bad about that practice. This practice, however...


Bill K said...

I think tiptoeing away is a very good idea.

I hope somebody lets the owner know, or at least whoever is in charge of the yard.

Bill Kelleher

Rhys said...

I sent the photos to the club's manager. He will likely notify the owner...or maybe the owner's insurance company.

John NYC said...

That boat is defying gravity. Shouldn't last long, gravity always wins.

Regarding your prop and your plan to sail from Toronto to the Maritimes, I'd like to add:

I went to Quebec City last year in March to take a look at a boat, a possible replacement for my old boat. All the boats were on the hard, it was that time of year.

Every single one of them had a line cutter ahead of their prop. The most popular was a very sharp bronze disk. Local sailors mentioned that it's indispensable because of the amount of rope debris floating around the St Lawrence.

They disliked the idea of diving the waters to free the prop, the River is not the Caribbean, they said.

Are you planning on putting a line cutter on your boat?

Rhys said...

Yes, I am, John, and you'll see provisions made to install a line cutter in the very next post. Despite the (to my mind) outrageous cost, and despite my belief that the extensive deadwood and the essentially "closed" aperature in which my prop sits, it is cheap insurance compared to hiring a diver or, God forbid, having to go in myself in frosty waters, perhaps approaching a lee shore in a strong tidal current, to trying to slice off something I can't see because my eyeballs are shivering...

So, short answer, yes.