S/V Earendil

21 May 2016 | Snead Island Boat Works, Manatee River
11 April 2016 | Regatta Pointe Marina, Palmetto, FL
17 March 2016 | Regatta Pointe Marina, Palmetto, FL
02 March 2016 | Regatta Pointe Marina, Palmetto, FL
02 March 2016 | Crow's Nest Marina, Venice, FL
21 February 2016 | Ft. Meyers Beach Mooring Field
17 February 2016 | Gulf Harbor Marina, Fort Myers, FL
16 February 2016 | Gulf Harbor Marina, Fort Myers, FL
15 February 2016 | Gulf Harbor Marina, Fort Myers, FL
13 February 2016 | Ft. Meyers Beach Mooring Field
31 January 2016 | Ft. Meyers Beach Mooring Field
25 January 2016 | Burnt Store Marina, FL
21 January 2016 | Platinum Point Yacht Club, Burnt Store Marina, Charlotte Harbor Florida
20 January 2016 | Sarasota Mooring Field
28 December 2015 | Regatta Pointe Marina, Palmetto, FL
16 December 2015 | Regatta Pointe Marina, Palmetto, FL
06 December 2015 | Gulfport Municipal Marina, Gulfport, FL
02 December 2015 | Gulfport Municipal Marina, Gulfport, FL
30 November 2015 | Clearwater Harbor Marina, Clearwater, FL
28 November 2015 | Moorings Marina, Carrabelle, FL

Rudderpost Tamed

01 March 2012 | Thompson Bay, Long Island
One thing I've noticed about cruisers who've been at this for a while is that they don't get too excited about having to fix things. It is, it seems, all part of the experience and the more you do it the more confidence you have when the next problem presents itself. I say that knowing full well that a) the next thing that presents itself will be something we've never dealt with before and have no idea how to fix, at least until we start to dig into it and b) some things can be so bad that they end your cruise, or even your boat.

But to get back to our experience, I was pretty nervous when we discovered the leaking rudderpost while crossing Nurse Channel in the Ragged Islands. Salt water was coming into the boat! The bilge pump was coming on every 15 minutes or so and we were 80 miles from any parts and 100 miles from the only place around to pull the boat out of the water. When we got back here to Thompson Bay I was no longer afraid, but I was worried that we wouldn't be able to fix it without hauling the boat. Especially after Bud adjusted the stuffing box twice and the leak persisted.

Today, however, we tackled the problem and learned a few more things about our boat. The stuffing box consisted of two halves. There is a lower flange on top of a cylinder with a lip that turns in towards the shaft. There is an upper flange with a thick cylinder that also fits loosely around the shaft, but the upper cylinder drops partway into the lower cylinder. Then you put packing material (flax impregnated with wax or Teflon) into the lower cylinder, the bottom lip keeps it from falling out. You push the upper cylinder down so it compresses the packing material and you bolt them together. Tightening the bolts compresses the packing material and squeezes it more tightly against the shaft, sealing the water out but allowing the shaft to turn.

The instructions in the owner's manual say to use a small drift or similar pointy item to dig the old packing material out. What they don't say is that after 28 years the top layer of the packing material is so compressed that it's rock-hard, and falls into almost dust as you try to dig it out. They also don't tell you that almost no tool will actually fit in the space you have to work in. We ended up taking turns at the digging, using a small screwdriver, a piece of wire hanger, and a large upholstery needle as our tools. It took about four hours to finally get all the old material out. The good new was that the top of the rudderpost was above the waterline, just. The bad news was that the autopilot, that has a steering arm attached to the rudderpost just above the stuffing box and below the regular steering quadrant, was obviously installed some time after the stuffing box had been in use for a while and adjusted. With the new packing Bud couldn't get the stuffing box compressed enough so the autopilot arm would clear the stuffing box bolt. He ended up having to grind a bit of the bolt off! There's room on the shaft above the installation point, so the arm could have been installed higher, but it wasn't.

But, the job is done, the rudderpost no longer leaks. Although we still have to test it at sea under load, the condition of the old packing was so bad that we have little doubt that the new packing will have solved the problem. Probably the most amazing thing about this repair is that is cost us $6.50 for a second package of packing material. So I was feeling pretty happy as the sun set on this day!

Late-breaking News! Bud told me the Internet had a good signal late at night, so it's 1 AM and I just finished uploading the photos from the Jumentoes & Raggeds. They are in their own album.
Vessel Name: Earendil
Vessel Make/Model: Norseman 447
Hailing Port: Wilson, New York USA
Crew: Bud Campbell & Jill Bebee
About: We are a newly retired couple about to embark for points south. Our crew includes our 14 year old toy poodle, Knaidel, better known as Fuzzy. He is a somewhat reluctant crew member, but would rather sail than stay without us.
Earendil's Photos - Main
12 Photos
Created 11 November 2015
21 Photos
Created 28 October 2015
4 Photos
Created 27 January 2015
74 Photos
Created 19 March 2014
21 Photos
Created 10 November 2013
18 Photos
Created 12 May 2013
37 Photos
Created 11 May 2013
4 Photos
Created 22 April 2013
85 Photos
Created 6 January 2013
51 Photos
Created 23 June 2012
13 Photos
Created 28 April 2012
120 Photos
Created 3 March 2012
75 Photos
Created 1 March 2012
91 Photos
Created 31 December 2011
31 Photos
Created 1 December 2011
19 Photos
Created 12 June 2011
59 Photos
Created 24 April 2011
138 Photos
Created 23 January 2011
21 Photos
Created 8 January 2011
19 Photos
Created 3 November 2010
21 Photos
Created 14 October 2010
2 Photos
Created 1 October 2010