Saturday, October 04, 2008

Getting ready to head south

We're in the process of getting the boat, and ourselves, ready to head back to Marathon for the winter. Part of the process of getting the boat ready was to install a new rudder.
Last year, when we met with Phil Bolger I discovered that I had made an error in building the rudder. I left of the "bottom plate," a sort of shoe or wing that helps the rudder focus the flow of water and improve efficiency. Instead of rebuilding the old rudder, I decided to have a whole new one fabricated out of steel. Now we have a welded steel rudder that weighs about twice what the old one.
Today, while the divers were here to clean the bottom, we had them help us put the new rudder in. One of the neat things about Bolger's design is that the rudder sits completely outside the watertight envelope of the boat so there was no need to haul out to change the rudder. We simply pulled out the set screws in the old bearings, dropped the old rudder to the bottom. Then we floated the new rudder into place with the help of a life jacket. It was a bit of work to hold it in place while the bearings were set, but we did it. Somehow, during the process, the rudder blade got reversed, so we had to spin it around. When we finally got it straight, it turned out that it rubs against the boat's bottom. So...tomorrow, we get to pull the bearings out and shave them down by 1/8 inch to make for proper clearance. I think the welder didn't get the rudder blade perfectly straight because the clearance is correct at the post, but the rudder rubs at the tip.
So...we are now delayed one more day in our departure for the Keys, but better safe than sorry.
This will likely be be our last post before Marathon. As it looks now we will be leaving here on Tuesday. Once we leave, we will be sending updates by "SPOT." When you read the SPOT update, be sure to click the link for the Google Maps showing our exact location.
Before we head out, we want to give a great big THANKS to Julie and Tim for letting us park the boat (and ourselves) at their place. True friends are hard to find. Julie and Tim and Angel - you will always have a place to stay if you make it down to the Keys. Thank you for everything!

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