We 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’!
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.
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.
The 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.
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:
- Get a brand new rudder made
- Rim out a little bit of the bottom bearing
- Drop the rudder down a fraction, as we did to get here, and live with it
- 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!
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.