My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
Congratulations to all my fellow graduates of the Marine Engine Mechanic and Small Engine courses at Georgian College and good luck in all your future work endeavours. Thank you too to our instructors who have provided us with a solid foundation of knowledge on which we can now build our expertise. I certainly feel much more confident about tackling mechanical challenges on Kuan Yin. Our graduation ceremony in Midland last Monday was a great occasion – formal enough to be a dignified ceremony without being over the top with caps and gowns! Thank you to all who worked to organize the event.
Congratulation also to my four fellow winners of the Bruce Robertson Boat Ontario Academic Awards of Excellence – a prize of $1000 each to the five students with the highest marks over the two semesters. I am grateful to boating Ontario for sponsoring the award; I’ve spent my award on a small stick welder for the (steel) boat, as I took welding classes on the weekends. (I also took sewing classes one evening per week, and my thanks to Juanita of Juanita Sewing for her excellent training.
I’m now back to the boat in Labrador. We had an icebreaker clearing a path through the ice crossing the Strait of Belle Isle from Newfoundland in the fog. The weather today is cold, wet and the Strait is choked with sea ice.
However, I’ve plenty of work to do before the boat can be launched, so I’m not too panicked yet about late start to the sailing season. The priority is dismantling the stern gland, Cutless bearing and stuffing box (where the prop shaft exits the hull). There has been a bad vibration for a long time and this is the only part of the drive assembly that has not been inspected and improved. I though I’d found the problem two years ago when I discovered that one of the four engine mounts was much larger than the others (which would create a differential vibration).
With my new-found mechanical confidence, dismantling the stern gland was straightforward; I’ve found two Cutless bearings in the tube (instead of one) and they are out of alignment. So the prop shaft would line up with the engine when stopped, but have a shake once the shaft was turning. Hopefully this is root of so many problems.
There’s a new composting toilet, a C-head, to install. I decided to switch to a composting toilet because it means that the sewage holding tank, all the associated plumbing hoses and two thru-hulls can be removed from the boat – and it’s always good to remove holes in the bottom of a boat!