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......