Prop250When was the last time you sent your propeller shaft to the machine shop to be checked? How old are your engine mounts? Have you replaced your cutlass bearing recently? Do I sound like your mother? Well, if she were here, she’d be giving you some important advice! Powerboats and sailboats with inboard engines generally have rubber in the engine mounts, packing material in the stuffing box and a cutlass bearing in the propeller strut.

Of course, there is always a shaft to which the propeller is attached. On recreational boats that get only weekend and occasional vacation trip use, total hours of operation are often low and inboard driveline elements are sufficiently simple and robust that they can last for years without failure…but there is always wear.

You don’t need a broken drive shaft to spoil your day. Constant vibration, heat and noise may be dampening your fun every time the boat is run. It comes down to accurate alignment in the drive train. When things are all on spec, the boat will be at its smoothest and quietest. Plus, it will be a touch more economical and a lot longer lived. You really don’t want to suffer that broken shaft.

So, give them the shaft!

Start the process by having your mechanic send it out and verify that the shaft is straight and has no visible wear spots. A good shaft can be trued up, but one that has been run bent or out of alignment for several seasons, can be ready to snap from fatigue.

Even a very small amount of damage can start a chain reaction of problems. Also, the shaft itself is a large and heavy piece that has to be checked when it is outside the boat. Dropping the shaft requires the coupler between the transmission and the stuffing box to be undone and often the rudder and stock have to be removed to slide the shaft out. It slides out of the stuffing box and through the cutlass bearing in the strut before it’s free.

This is not a simple DYI project because separating the coupler and sliding it out often requires special tools. An amateur with a pry bar can do real damage.

Start the driveline checking process with the shaft because even a minor issue with the shaft can cause noise and vibration problems and if you try to fix those by adjusting engine mounts, you will spend a fair bit of money without fixing your vibration problem.

While you are pulling the shaft, send out your props to be checked for accuracy and balance. You don’t need to hit the shoal to hurt a prop and start noise and vibration there.

How often should you do this? When you notice a problem of course, but the subtle progress of wear means that every few years, it’s worth the modest investment in checking!

Stuart Walker a legend in competitive sailing passed away on November 12, 2018 in Annapolis. Stuart was always helping; coaching and his sense of humour and wit were to say the least crippling. 
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Destinations

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An Abacos Adventure

Great Guana CayBy Mark Stevens; Photos by Sharon Matthew-Stevens

It’s a perfect Sunday morning jaunt.

We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set for a close reach out of a harbour guarded by a necklace of tiny emerald islands decorated by palms that dance in fifteen knots of wind.

Our boat, “Tropical Escape II” (perfect name for both the boat and our adventure), is a 44-foot Robertson and Caine catamaran, chartered from Sunsail’s Marsh Harbour base on Bahamas’ Great Abaco Island.

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Lifestyle

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Boat Reviews

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Hanse 388

Hanse 388By Katherine Stone

The Hanse group produced their second most popular boat of all time with the Hanse 385. The trick was to build on that winning formula when they upgraded to the Hanse 388, which they have done in spades. The German build quality is first rate and true to the Hanse tradition. Leaving the hull the same with a steep stern and straight stem for an optimal long water line, they went with a slightly stiffer, heavier displacement, new deck, interior layout and window line. Hanse’s highly experienced yacht construction team, judel/vrolijk & co., have combined ease of sailing, comfort and performance into the newly designed Hanse 388.

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DIY & How to

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Ask Andrew – How to hire a boat repair contractor

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A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out there, including: Websites showing repairs, YouTube tutorials, Instagram pages and snapchat streams – let alone books, magazines, service manuals, and years of practical experience – how does a boat owner know which method(s) are ‘right’, who to trust, and who to hire to do the job? In short: How do you find and select a contractor?

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Marine Products

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