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!

To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that Editor, Andy Adams reviewed this winter.
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Destinations

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Mediterranean Shakedown: A Summer Cruise in Spain

Mediterranean ShakedownBy Sheryl and Paul Shard

This summer my husband, Paul, and I bought our fourth offshore cruising boat, a new Southerly 480 built by Discovery Yachts in the UK. It’s a unique boat with a retractable variable-draft swing keel giving you the option of sailing with a deep draft of 3.1 metres when the keel is down or just less than a metre with the keel fully retracted. Southerly Yachts are great for bluewater sailing and also for gunkholing in shallow creeks and inland waterways. You can even dry them out at low tide so they are is the perfect boat for the type of exploring we like to do. Our new boat, Distant Shores III, is the third Southerly Yacht that we’ve owned over 29 years of international cruising to destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Middle East, UK, Scandinavia and South America. This boat we plan to sail to the South Pacific.

Read more about the Shards' cruise in Spain...

 

Lifestyle

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This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...
Readers give us a bit of feedback on the 60th anniversary of the Shark 24
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Stuart Walker a legend in competitive sailing passed away on November 12, 2018 in Annapolis. Stuart ...
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Austin Edwards told students and parents at the Saanich School’s “Parents as Informed Partners” ...
As the sole arbiter of the Photo of the Week I, your editor, get to make the choice. This week, ...
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Boat Reviews

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Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
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Beneteau Antares 27

Beneteau Antares 27By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

You have to love it when something exceeds your expectations on so many levels; the new Antares 27 from Beneteau looks to me like that sort of all-around overachiever.

This is a brand new express cruiser design. With twin Mercury 200 V6 outboards, it delivers impressive performance, a reassuring and comfortable ride, and a level of versatility that will enable this boat to be your vacation partner for all sorts of adventures.

Read more about the Antares 27...

 

 

 

 

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.

Read More about the Hanse 388...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

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In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 

Ask Andrew: Electrical Installations – Part 1: Electrical Connections - basics and how-to’s

Electrical InstallationsBy Andrew McDonald

Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is aboard, areas of improvement and ways to upgrade.

One of the most common jobs that I’m asked to look at are electrical installations and upgrades. Surprisingly, the majority of these types of jobs are to ‘clean up’ the wiring of years past – when electrical standards were more fluid, and jury-rigged upgrades have been added and adapted over multiple owners and contractors.

Read More about Electrical Installations Basics...

 

  

Marine Products

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While the basics of boat hull design hasn’t changed that much over the years, the same cannot be ...
Yamaha targets the Canadian big-water market with its high-torque 425 horsepower V8 XTO outboard, ...
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Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System