On The Move, Well Eventually
18 August 2018 | Croker Bay to Dundas Harbour
Last night the clouds closed in with a light rain. The wind had been pushing pack ice in and out of our anchorage in Croker Bay all day but the bay was now almost half full of pack ice while out in the fjord it was more ice than water. That was fine, however in the corner we were in a counter current to the outflow of the river had kept several big floes in until they circled round towards us. As usual the early hours had Andy and I woken at 1 am by the sound of ice very close to our stern; we had to move the boat. Dave Benbow joined me in wet gear at the bow while we brought up the anchor in 18 knots of wind and rain. A fabulous anchor load of heavy clay came up too.
Andy moved the boat over the river outflow to prevent the ice trapping us. In the cloudy outflow waters, the first time we dropped the anchor the depth went from 10m deep to 2.2m, so not acceptable. Up it came again. Andy Wilson was gearing up too when the boat seemed to stop, as if aground but the depth was 23m! Yet we were stationary, we appeared to be aground no matter how much power we used we did not move. Andy tried lifting the keel (thinking we were aground in the silty water) but we simply pivoted on the spot. Then we realised that we were not aground but drifting towards and bumping into the pack ice. Fearing the worst , ie we'd somehow lost the propellor, Andy Wilson and Dave jumped in the dingy with the 20 hp outboard. I fed them a deck mounted shore line which they used to tow Destiny into safer waters where I dropped the anchor again. With no propulsion or sufficient wind to set it, the boys then used a stern line to pull Destiny backwards to set the anc hor. It felt for a while desperate, no longer could we use the engine, and the ice would prevent any possibility of us sailing anywhere. Disaster loomed.
Back on deck, Captain had had a second look in the engine room and, compared with his first assumption of a lost propeller, saw that the prop shaft was not its usual shiny self and the gearbox was turning but the prop shaft side was not. The Python Drive had slipped: this is a large thrust bearing that the propellor shaft fixes into by way of a friction taper sleeve, which then in turn is fixed to the gearbox by a constant velocity joint. In fact not only did we not have transmission there was nothing to stop the propellor sliding out of the hull apart from it hitting the rudder. Now safely re-anchored Andy sent Dave, Andy W and Claire back to bed (Andy W and Claire in new beds so we could access the engine compartment from their cabin as well as the workshop and aft head side. Andy and I then set about removing the Python Drive unit and cv joint so we could remove the prop shaft clamp. On inspection the inside of the taper clamp was badly galled and scored: It had eviden tly been loose and slipping for some time. Fortunately after I cleaned the prop shaft side, that remained smooth and shiny.
We cleaned it all up and managed to pull the end of the prop shaft back into the boat to re-engage it with the Python Drive and gearbox. We used fast acting locking compound on the inside face of the shaft clamp to secure it in place and balance out the scouring on the clamping face. We then reversed the whole process until we had a working gearbox and propeller shaft again. PHEW. All the bolts were finally torqued to 48 lbs. It had been difficult releasing them with Andy on one side of the engine space and me leaning into the engine space from the aft cabin. Meanwhile the rest of the crew slept and snored. By 12am it was all done 11 hours cramped work. Andy Wilson cooked bacon and egg while we let the compound set. Cautious testing brought happy smiles.
Check word of the day - TEAMWORK. Everyone contributed to a positive result from moving Destiny with the 20 hp and dingy (our planned emergency solution - so they paid for themselves), to getting almost literally in the engine bay to remove, inspect and repair the problem, to Dave Benbow making delicious Olive Bread (his first ever loaf) for lunch (and an epoxy repair to the wash board) and Claire making Anzac Biscuits, numerous cups of tea, as well as progressing her sourdough starter and feeding Hermann the Friendship Cake Mix.
As I write this we have extricated ourselves and are motoring in Lancaster Sound in 1/10ths pack ice. Rain and snow. With strong wind forecast for tomorrow & Tuesday we are heading to Dundas Harbour. A day of rest, baking and planning ready for the next foray. It has been lovely watching the polar bears and arctic hares in Croker Bay. Meanwhile the ice is starting to break up in Prince Regent Inlet our next North West Passage destination. HAPPY DAYS
PICTURE: Success! A fine olive & jalapeno loaf Thanks Mr.B