Alone Like a Rolling Stone

Caribbean Paradise

Anyone who goes to the Caribbean, or sails and wants to work here, is either not in his right mind or completely stoned. Who then thinks to let work for him, has a very simplified opinion of life in the Caribbean. We have a little bit of everything. What started out as a paint job turned into a complete repaint. The repair of the coppercoat blisters has turned into a huge construction site, and due to the replacement of the shaft seals I have nightmares in which I murder the designer and builder of the hydraulic shaft drive in a bestial way.

Rum is everywhere in the Caribbean

Actually, I use in my language extremely rarely, but in this case it is quite appropriate. So actually we wanted to visit the turquoise bays in the Caribbean, anchor, jump into the water in the morning and snorkel in the afternoon at the edge of the reef. Briefly enjoy the Caribbean feeling. Instead, we find ourselves in a shipyard, with work described above. The painter tells me all day how many ships he has painted in the last 12 years and that he is the best painter on the whole island. This is even true, because he is the only one. However, he didn't invent working and is all too happy to get distracted and involved in a conversation. It also seems difficult to get suitable help here on Carriacou. The one who is scratching around on our boat is definitely not usable from noon on, because then he is completely stoned, listening to the reggea sounds from his cell phone, and is more sitting in a corner than working on the boat. They all want to see money, and preferably in advance. During the work on the underwater hull, the port keel has been milled down to the laminate and various areas have been sanded. Yes, and then there is the hydraulic drive, one of which is installed in each keel. The drive is connected to a two meter long shaft on which, at the other end, sits the propeller. To prevent water from entering the transmission, three oil seals are installed in the laminated shaft tube flange. 

Katinka out of the water

The first bullet, in my nightmares, hit the previous owner, right between the eyes. When he fell over, the blood and parts of the brain matter splashed onto the shaft tube flange, the screws of which are quite easy to loosen with an Allen key he shortened. That might be the case on a workbench, but not when you're kneeling in front of the bilge, there's only ten centimeters of space, and you have to use a mirror to find the hexagon socket to put the wrench on the screw. The second bullet hit him in the chest because he claimed that once the flange is loosened, the shaft is quite easy to pull. What he forgot to mention is that the shaft is held in place by a cone, which according to the drawing is held in place by eight bolts tightened to 17Nm. For the technically unversed, 17Nm is hand tightened, so quite lightly. In this case, the screws should be easy to loosen. However, the designer has provided just 30mm, that's three centimeters, of space for the assembly and disassembly of the cone. After all, the cone is supposed to hold 48 KN. The company has long since ceased to exist and so the designer, in my nightmares, was also killed by a bullet to the head. When I reached into the bilge my hands were full of this man's blood, women don't construct such nonsense. Startled, I woke up from my daydream and wiped the red hydraulic oil that had run into the bilge off my hands with a rag. It took me a week to loosen seven Allen screws. Who has counted now will ask himself the question, what happened to the remaining nine screws. After all methods failed and I got the advice of an experienced mechanic, who in the end also reached the limits of feasibility with his wisdom, we drilled a hole in the screw head and, with hammer and chisel, knocked the screws open. This takes us another four days. The cone is now free and the shaft should now come off. Again, two bullets, in my nightmares, hit their target. Whereby this is not quite true, I had actually aimed at the genital area, but hit the designer and the previous owner, in the stomach. The shaft is held in place by the cone and doesn't move an inch. Using the mirror again, I discover four press-off threads cut into the cone, but missing from the drawing. Finally, the shaft is pulled. 

Own seal construction

Unfortunately, the story is not over yet. Instead of the three oil seals, a proprietary seal design comes to light, which made greasing the drive, as prescribed, extremely ineffective. Basically, I greased the seat of the rubber seal instead of the shaft. Accordingly, the shaft now looks the same. Let's hope that the oil seals on these shafts still work, otherwise another person will die in my nightmares. I think I need a rest day or I ask the painter if he has a joint for me. You all as always fair winds and keep a stiff upper lip.


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