Monday, October 9, 2017

Mid October 2017: More Boat Business


As we were keeping a careful watch on Hurricane Nate’s path we had some time (and finally some pleasant weather) this past week to focus on a few remaining maintenance and repair items.  And as usual those work efforts led to more interesting “discoveries”.
Batt Charger Mounted Directly  on the Engine Room Wall

As part of troubleshooting our LinkPro battery monitor mystery we went back to tracing more potential grounding issues; and while James was staring at our second battery charger it suddenly occurred to us the thing had multiple grounds – there was its standard and required grounding post, but it was also screwed directly into the engine room’s metal clad wall.  Apparently that’s a no-no in a Nordhavn since that cladding is connected to the boat’s bonding system ground.  We rectified that by fashioning a starboard mounting plate to place between the charger and the wall.  That does not completely solve the LinkPro issues, but it is one less variable removed from the equation.
Batt Charger Remounted on a
Starboard Backing Plate

Next we went to work sea trialing the latest stuffing box adjustments for the main engine’s propeller shaft, with Chelle doing all the helm work while the guys hung out in the engine room.  But unfortunately the sortie revealed little to no progress – even removing one of the three packing rings to obtain an obscene amount of raw water flow gave no temperature improvements.  While Rick was shooting the thing with the infrared temperature gun he noticed an odd discrepancy – the temp at the front of the collar was around 8 degrees hotter than the reading at the back of the collar….only 3 inches away.  That had to mean a misalignment producing more shaft friction at one end vs. the other.  A closer examination of the shaft’s stern tube coupling hose revealed it wasn’t quite straight, nor was the propeller shaft’s entry into the stuffing box.  And the shaft’s coupling at the business end of the transmission wasn’t quite flush either.  Uh-oh.

We returned to the dock, with Chelle at the helm for a challenging docking exercise, and then attacked the problem again the following day (a Sunday).  After James noodled on it a while we decided to try (a) removing the stuffing box follower / collar and the shaft’s stern tube hose, rotating the latter, while also (b) adjusting the engine mounts to achieve a more aligned shaft coupling arrangement…all without hauling the boat out of the water.  That isn’t nearly as simple as it sounds.  It requires some really big wrenches to handle the torqueing requirements of the shaft coupling and motor mounts on a 3800 pound diesel engine; and it seriously tests the efficiency of your bilge pump (lots of water coming in along the shaft through the stuffing box.) 

James:  You got a good bilge pump?
Rick:  Your guys installed it, you tell me.
James:  What’s the depth here?
Rick:  Maybe 3 to 4 feet under the keel.
James:  So we wouldn’t sink very much.

James in the Background Working on the Stuffing Box; Jay in the Foreground
Working on the Motor Mount Readjustments

It took James, Jay and Rick several hours to get all that done (the bilge pump kept up), then we headed out for another hour of sea trialing.  We saw a 17 degree drop vs. the previous day’s measurements with no temperature variations across the follower / collar.  While only one hour of running time isn’t a particularly thorough test, it did involve runs at wide open throttle and there was no vibration….so it was very promising.  We want to improve the temps a bit more after letting the packing rings set in, but it tells us we may finally be on the right path.
James with His Head in the Bilge Working on the Stuffing
Box and Shaft Realignment

We also still have an intermittent and annoying coolant overflow on the main engine, even with a new pressure cap installed.  We’re going to replace the expansion tank’s neck assembly next to insure the new cap has a tight seal.  Unfortunately that’s a special order part that is being shipped from Seattle, so it will be several more days before we can replace and test that.

On the social front Chelle has been able to squeeze in a couple more rounds of golf, and we enjoyed a wonderful overnight visit from Chelle's mum, Charmaine, who has returned to her winter home in central Florida.  She also allowed us to take her out to dinner at the Sandpiper to celebrate her birthday, which was great fun.

As for the weather: Hurricane Nate moved well to the west and north of us and is currently soaking the northeast U.S., which left us a few days of mercifully dry and calm weather for our latest sea trial outings.  While Hurricane Ophelia - now downgraded to a tropical storm - is spinning way out in the middle of the Atlantic, it is a non-factor for us given its distance and direction.  But there is yet another low pressure system to the east of the Bahamas beginning to slowly spool up to and will be headed this way.  While some models develop that into another tropical system, it doesn’t look all that likely to encounter favorable development conditions.  Still, its predicted path will bring some wind and rain to south Florida late in the coming week….so we’ll continue to hang out here for a while longer, with our focus on conquering the remaining maintenance items.

That Low Pressure Trough East of the Bahamas Will Head
Our Way and Trash Out Our Weather Later This Week.
It’s looking more and more likely that when we finally do cast off we’ll be heading south from here, down the Keys and then up the west coast of Florida….back to Fort Myers and Legacy Harbour Marina.

Rick Sweating Away in the Lazarette Servicing the AC Strainer Basket. We
Discovered That's Required at Least Weekly Given the Rate of Slime and
Barnacle Growth in These Warm Tropical Waters.

We Also Mounted a New U.S. Flag on Ghost Rider and a Solar Light to Keep
Old Glory Lighted at Night.  The Old One Was Pretty Tattered & Weathered. 
And No, It Had Nothing To Do with the NFL or Pinhead POTUS Comments. 
We Respectfully Retired the Previous Flag per Accepted Protocol.
But This Is Still the Most Important Flag on the Boat.  It Goes
Wherever We and Our Ghosts Go.


  1. We have not heard from you in a while, hope all is ging forward. We are slowly wandering around and currently camping on Waco Lake beautiful spot. Please give our best to Charmaine. Harry and Maura

  2. Hi Harry,

    Getting ready to post a new blog entry soon, just made it back to Fort Myers today; apart from the usual list of things to fix on the boat all is well. Thanks for checking in with us. Will advise Charmaine. Enjoy Waco Lake!