Take It not so Easy

9G5A4626We are still at the Batemans Bay Marina and will be for a few more days. However we are making progress. The brand new length of chain has arrived and our new Manson Supreme anchor is on its way from Sydney.

The rudder shaft has been straightened, a good thing, but it is not absolutely perfect, not such a good thing! And so to attend to final adjustments, Take It Easy needs to be hauled out of the water. It is frustrating; we could rename our cat to ‘Take It Not So Easy’!

Rudder Straightening

It is actually an interesting process that shipwright Sam Aspinall went through to attend to the bent rudder post. Three other outfits had been approached but could not see how they could tackle the job. But Sam had a plan. So let us explain.


One straightened rudder!

The rudder is made of laminated wood and the rudder post is a hollow stainless steel shaft, encassed inside the timber. It was bent down and sideways at the base of the rudder, out by 54mm! What Sam decided to do was cut out the bottom of the rudder to get to the shaft and insert a pipe inside it.  At the bent end of the shaft, he inserted another pipe. By doing so he now had leverage and could realign the whole post with presses. Once straightened it was a matter of reinserting and epoxying the piece of wood to plug up the hole and antifouling it.

Rudder Repair-2The next challenge was reinserting the rudder at the back of the boat! Sam lent some muscles, so while Wade was in the water, pushing the post back up into place, Sam was pulling the whole thing up by the green rope in the picture. We used the suggestion from one of our yachty followers, John Newell, to make the process easier. For those interested, see John’s comment in the previous post. It worked well, although the last inch was pretty hard to push up – not a good sign.


Sam waiting for Wade to get into the water to hand him the rudder!

Still not quite right

Unfortunately when we reconnected the tillers and wheel, the steering was impossibly stiff, pointing to the post being still a tiny fraction out. We could either accept it would be heavy to steer with the tillers and unworkable with the wheel, or do something about it. We had four options:

  1. Get a brand new rudder made
  2. Rim out a little bit of the bottom bearing
  3. Drop the rudder down a fraction, as we did to get here, and live with it
  4. Cut the post at the base and reweld a straight section.

Options 3 and 4 were quickly discarded as unacceptable. We are opting for option 2, which we accept is a compromise for now and we hope will work. If in the future the rudder fails, we will have no choice but to get a new one made.

Take It Easy is coming out of the water on Tuesday next week, and the guys will have a go at adjusting the bottom bearing inside the shaft. We will see how that goes. While the boat is on the hard stand, we are getting some painting on the hulls touched up.

Meanwhile, life goes on

All this is a bit stressful, but if there is one place to be stuck in, Batemans Bay Marina is a pretty good spot. The guys here are extremely helpful, and have bent over backwards to be of assistance. We have met a few local yachties, the weather is pleasant, we are plugged in to shore power, so have the blow heater on at night and in the morning when it is very chilly.  We are getting plenty of exercise walking everywhere around town. Bengie is enjoying wandering the marina, checking out other people’s boats!


Furry visitor

We are doing a few odd maintenance jobs at a leisurely pace. Wade has replaced the anchor rollers which were looking a bit mangy, and has tagged the anchor chain with cable ties every 5 and 10 meters, so we know how much we put out. Chris has replaced sections of the cockpit clears which had perished and had been annoying us for a while. We have actually run out of jobs!  Amazing!

We wished our first month in retirement was a little easier – and cheaper – but at least we have no time pressure. So things aren’t too bad.



26 thoughts on “Take It not so Easy

  1. It’s great that you have access to dry dock for the repairs! How did the rudder get bent? By a submerged rock?

    • Hi John – yes lucky the facilities are available. The bent rudder post occurred when we were pushed against a sandbank by the shore waves, as described in the last post.

      • That’s a tough break, glad your steering will be repaired soon. Having grown up on an inland lake and cruising the Great Lakes of Michigan, I’ve had some incursions with rocks, sandbars and tree stumps. Hazards to navigation!

  2. Very soon you’ll be showing off a perfectly refurbished boat. It will make you feel better for sure. In no time wasted you’ll continue you planned journey. I’m glad that all your problems with your boat have been practically solved and you are well. Take care guys! 🙂

  3. Here’s hoping this next round of repairs turns out well and your adventures continue without too many more problems. As always, it was great to see a shot of Bengie. 🙂

  4. Hi Chris, Having just got into reliable internet range (we lost access yesterday soon after wishes were sent to Bengie) we have just gone through your initial live-aboard posts. There have been smiles and cringes at this end and we are just glad that all three of you are alright. We have not been into Batemans Bay but if you see a Simpson catamaran called Free Spirit do say hello…the owners are terrific. We hope all goes well and you are on your way soon, although your final destination for this year may have to be flexible. We are currently at Catamaran Bay, Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm. Broome (and fresh food!) is about three days away. love Trish (and Andrew (and Cilla and Tiger)).

    • Hello Trish and Andrew! Nice to hear you are st the top end! Will be very interested in your posts.

      Yes we are no expecting to get to the reef this spring. We’ll just play it by ear and don’t intend to put ourselves under pressure as it does nothing for safety or good health for me. Once this current saga is over, we will take it slowly and resume our trip north. Batemans Bay has been very comfortable and quite enjoyable at least.

      • Hoping the current saga doesn’t go on for too long. Sometime early in the new year we will be heading across The Bight. It is possible we might stay a while in SA (apparently many do) otherwise we might just see you in Tassie. xxx

      • We are hoping to be on our way by Friday, weather and rudder allowing! Not coming out of the water anymore.

        Tassie together would be great! We’ll be heading out there in February sometime. Quite interested in SA but that will have to be wait!

  5. One of things that I really enjoy about seeing the photos now is that I’m not confused about where everything is, I know, thank you for letting me see it.

    • Hi Leanne – yes it does make it easier to visualise once you have been on board. I wish we could have taken you sailing but there will be opportunities when we come back to Victoria.

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