Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Volvo Penta 130S saildrive overhaul – Lower oil seals and boot covers

The next job onboard Lucey Blue was to service the Volvo Penta 130S sail drives. With the boat out of the water we took the opportunity to replace the lower oil seals, check the drive assembly and inspect the propellers. We also replaced all the saildrive “boot covers” - half of the port boot cover had “gone missing” a while back and it was unclear how long the other would last.

Dismantling the lower element of the sail drive leg was straight forward – remove the propeller, anode and unscrew two bolts.

After checking the drive mechanism for wear and tear we replaced the lower oil seals, o-rings and put everything back together – carefully ensuring the cup side of the seals were back to back to stop water ingress and/or oil leaks. The only real trick is to ensure you don’t loose the two internal washers and sleeve….

All was looking good, but we then found that the fixed three bladed propellers had a little movement on the shaft so we sent them away to be rebushed by a guy in Wollongong. I debated replacing the propellers with either folding or feathering units to improve our sailing performance, but after much discussion and number crunching we decided to stick with what we have for now.

While we opted for a “no change solution” we found some fantastic low drag propellers on the market – including a number made in Australia. The all stainless steel Austral slipstream folding and autostream feathering propellers have a good reputation, are well made and are backed by excellent customer support. But we really liked the Gori folding propellers with their unique overdrive feature, which improves fuel efficiency when motor sailing. We also had a look at Hydralign propellers made in Sydney and the composite Kiwi propellers made in New Zealand.

Replacing the "boot covers" was actually more fiddly than the rest of the saildrive overhaul. After we had removed the old “chop strand" fiberglass covers we laminated up a sheet of fiberglass using “woven matt” to a thickness of about 2-3mm. We then used an old cover as a template and cut out four new covers, which we latter stuck to the hull with sikaflex and a few small counter sunk screws. The new boot covers are much stronger than the old ones and should stay attached to Lucey Blue for years to come....

With our Vovlo Penta 130S saildrives back in one piece we bolted on the new zinc anodes, three bladed fixed propellers and filled the system up with synthetic gear oil. Another job ticked off the list, but plenty more still to come......

The Deckhouse - Woolwich, Sydney

While we were at the Woolwich Dockyard in Sydney for repairs and anti-fouling we discovered that they had recently opened a beautiful new cafe/function centre right on the waterfront nearby. It is called the Deckhouse, and is open for breakfast and lunch (and functions).

The views from the restaurant up the harbour to the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the city skyline are spectacular:

There are lots of beautiful, exposed wood beams in the cafe, which apparently were salvaged from the original Woolwich Dock area.

We had a delicious breakfast one day, and enjoyed it so much we invited some family members back the next weekend, and had a scrumptious lunch (I really loved my Salt and Pepper squid).

Our waitress at lunch was lovely and the kids were smitten. She even gave them some of their special 'opening ceremony' truffles in a box as we left (the restaurant had only officially opened earlier in the week we were there)...so we felt very special indeed!

We tried to go back for breakfast the day we left (a Sunday morning), but we hadn't booked...and they were full...so we missed out. Moral to the story...make a booking on busy weekends!

The Woolwich/Hunters Hill area has a couple of nice places to eat, and one rainy night we visited nearby Jaspers. It was a beautiful little restaurant, that looked all dark, cosy and romantic through the windows. As we approached with two small children in tow we thought they'd send us packing pronto, but we couldn't have been more wrong! They showed us to a lovely comfortable table...which was a little apart from the other diners, as I had asked to sit in an unobtrusive spot!

Our waitress here was also lovely, she even took the kids in to the kitchen and introduced them to the staff (because the kids could just see the kitchen from their seats...and had declared it looked JUST LIKE MASTERCHEF!!). It was a delicious meal, and a very special night out.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Noakes shipwrights - Carbon fibre rudder shaft and Edson quadrant repair

Our first task at Woolwich was removing the starboard rudder and carbon fibre rudder shaft. The job did not take long and after removing the broken Edson quadrant and upper stainless steel holding pin the whole thing just fell out. Well we had to lift the boat a bit to allow the assemble to slide out gently, but it was an easy job….

Lagoon continues to impress in terms of quality. The rudder, shaft, bearings and overall steering system are all massively over engineered according to Noakes – the lower bearing alone is over 30 cm long and made of solid carbon fibre. The fact that you can still order replacement steering components for an 18 year old catamaran also speaks volumes for US build production boats – at least those that were kitted out with quality equipment.

With the rudder out and available for detailed inspection we spend a while ensuring there were no hidden problems. After carefully consideration Noakes decided the best solution was to grind away the damaged area and laminate the shaft to a slightly larger diameter using vacuum bagged carbon fibre and epoxy. The repair took a few days, but the end result is stronger than the original shaft.

While Noakes worked on the rudder shaft I installed a new plywood panel for the “steering stopper” – the original panel was a bit too small and the forward bolt holding the “stopper “ in place had worn its way through the timber over time.

The repaired rudder and new Edson quadrant were not installed until just before the boat went back in the water about two weeks later. I missed that event, but by all accounts the task was straight forward up until they had to realign the steering system. Senior shipwright Gary Ferres said they had three guys working under torchlight tweaking and tuning the steering system to ensure the rudders were parallel and had full turn left and right. At one point they were out by 45 degrees because the cable steering had come off the Edson idler. But in the end – under failing torchlight – they prevailed and bolted the rudder assembly back in place.

I am glad to have the job done and really happy it all went so smoothly.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

PDQ 32 Catamaran

On our way down to Woolwich for our annual haul out we spotted a PDQ 32 catamaran in Middle Harbour, Sydney.

The boat is a long way from its Canadian birthplace and looks well set up for cruising. This rare sighting in Australian waters made us think of Mike and Rebecca on Zero to Cruising currently exploring the Hudson River in North America.

Coincidently PDQ was bought by Pearson Composites in 2008 – formally part of Tillotson Pearson Inc. (TPI) and builders of Lucey Blue.... so now our boats are kind of related ;-)

Woolwich Dockyard, Sydney - Lagoon 42 TPI catamaran haul out

After a few busy days at the boat show the time arrived to move Lucey Blue from Middle Harbor to Woolwich for her annual haul out. The trip down the harbor was a tad slow given our furry bottom and strong westerly winds. But we had fun and arrived late on Sunday afternoon ready for “our extraction” on Monday/Tuesday.

The facilities at Woolwich were impressive and despite the strong winds we had a quiet night or two tucked away snuggly in the historic dock near the center of Sydney.

Lucey Blue – a Lagoon 42 TPI – is 6.9m or 22 feet 8 inches wide and requires a pretty substantial travel lift to get out of the water. Luckily the yard is designed for boats much bigger than ours so while squeezing into the travel lift was a bit nerve wracking the job went smoothly under the supervision of Sean Langman and we were soon on the hard next to a 20 million dollar prototype carbon fiber super yacht.

Everyone enjoyed the show, but we were glad to be through stage one and ready for the real work ahead including the rudder repair, rigging renewal and other tasks.

Annual haul out at historic Woolwich Dockyard, Sydney - August 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

2010 Sydney Boat Show - Jessica Watson and Lagoon Catamarans

Despite the crowds, we had fun at the boat show looking for odds and ends for Lucey Blue. The kids were great and put in a ten hour day on Saturday which is pretty impressive given Ryan is only four.

We managed to pick up (well...only just managed to pick up ;-) a new Rocna anchor:

...a heavily discounted digital TV system and a few cruising guides for the East coast of Australia from Boat Books.

I also spent some time admiring the Lagoon 400:

A real highlight was Jessica Watson's talk about her round the world solo adventure. Emily really enjoyed meeting Jessica and looking over Ella's Pink Lady.

We were also amazed to see Lucey Blue - a tiny blue spot with a big pink flag (white arrow) - near the head of the welcome home flotilla for Jessica (red arrow) on the back cover of the Jessica Waston's book - True Spirit: