Hoga to Maumere
20 August 2015
When we left Hoga we tried to head south the Loweleba but the wind was a southeasterly and it would have required sailing hard on the wind, something that Always Saturday's owners choose not to do if possible. That is in ocean conditions. So we fell off, and headed further west to Maumere. We discovered that our in the mast furler was getting almost impossible to use so we slipped in a spare set of bearings in Hoga before we left. The new set lasted us 3 days and it became obvious that we had BIG problems with the lower bearing. Maumere is a small city so we went there hoping to diagnose and correct the problem. The sail there was pleasant with a nice 15 knot breeze most of the way until the last 20 miles when we had to motor. At this time of year there is little wind in this part of Indonesia and we had to motor the next day all the way to Maumere maybe about 40 miles.
The next day we disassembled the gooseneck and inspected our lower bearing assembly. The ball bearings had escaped out of their race and were doubled up and impinging on the rotary mechanism. This design is the original in the mast stowaway furler, the first of it's kind and over the last 30 years the aluminum groove supporting the bearings had corroded away leaving them without any real support. After contemplating the problem and gleaning advice from some other savvy sailors I came up with a repair but it would require a skilled machinist and a high quality lathe and drill press. Finding that here in the boonies would be most difficult.
The next day Nancy and I went ashore and went into town with a rented car from the resort and a Indonesian who spoke some English. He took us to a junk yard run by a mechanic. We looked around, didn't see any lathe and asked if there were any machinist in the town. We were referred to the local Catholic School where they taught automotive repair to the young students. After almost an hour of discussion and trading information we found that they probably could do the repair but had no access to stainless steel! They recommended the government run school machine shop. There we waited for class to be over to talk to teacher. He saw my mechanical drawing, understood the problem and had a very nicely maintained shop but no stainless steel. We went back to the junk yard and sure enough found a discarded 3 inch diameter ss prop shaft. I bought 10 cm of it and brought the shaft back to the shop to cut and we were in business. It took several trips to oversee the repair but they accurately overdrilled the casting and fabricated a stainless steel bushing that was strong enough to buttress against the casting and reproduce the circular groove for the bearing race. It took some doing to reuse the failed bearings and race but I was able to reassemble the fitting and reinstalled it. New bearings are ordered but the repair is functioning well and may not need to be replaced for many years! Cost for the the machinist.....70 USD including tip! I would guess maybe 10 to 15 hours of work.
During the rebuild we took a tour of the three calderas and their inactive volcanoes in land. Nancy to write about this!
Our next destination should be one of the highlights of the whole trip. We are on our way to see the Komodo Dragons and hope we won't be attacked as we hike in their habitat with a guide.
More to follow!
From the Crew of Always Saturday