1 LiveBloggin' the ICW: The Fun Just NEVER Stops....

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Fun Just NEVER Stops....

to the far right, you can see the shaft, which goes into the coupling.
To the right, you can also see a set screw, which is tightened down
to secure the shaft to the coupling. This one was being
taken apart, which is why the setscrew is not moused closed.
Woke up to some confusion and consternation this morning...(I was alone, just so we don't have any misunderstandings here!).
Seems the guys on the older, mid 80s IP dragged, right into the mangroves. Worse yet, before they had even had coffee...gotta hate that. We'd had a small front come through about 7:30, the wind shifted, and his anchor tripped. I'll come back to that in a minute.
So I rowed over to see if I could help. Turns out that not only had the anchor tripped, but when he fired up his engine to motor clear, the shaft key on the transmission coupling came loose. So he had no way to drive the boat out of the situation.
This is what is known as the Domino Theory of Boating Crises. First one thing goes wrong. Then something else goes wrong to complicate it. They you drag into your friend's boat, break a $200 solar panel, and then drag into the mangroves.
In the pouring rain...with no bimini. Hungover from St. Patrick's the night before. I'd have laughed, but the karma gods would have been all over me. I don't take those kinds of chances...
But what can we learn from this?
After their friend towed them with his dinghy to the seawall and they tied up, we took a look at the situation. First question - why did they drag? I'd watched them anchor when they arrived, they did a proper job of it, adequate scope, backed down, etc.
Checking the top of the mast - sheaves,
any wear on the halyard and so on.
Turns out they were anchored on a Danforth. A good anchor in the right conditions, (I carry two of them), but not when the boat shifts 180°, as it did when the front came through. Danforths are notorious for not resetting themselves, and that's what happened here. Most likely, the rode tripped the anchor and AWAYYYY they went. You should only use a Danforth when you know the boat will remain in the same basic position, i.e. no tidal shift or wind shift.
Then, the shaft key....turns out that the transmission coupling was not adequately tightened down on the propellor shaft. It was so loose, the shaft could move both forward and back, and spin, inside the coupling. (I can just hear the mechanical types reading this cringing now....)...and so, the shaft key fell out.
For those not mechanically inclined, this situation is a very bad thing for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that the shaft could fall out of the boat, leaving a hole in the water....
It's simple maintenance - you check these things, and many others, as a matter of habit. It's the only way to avoid getting hit with the Domino Theory and keeping Murphy out of your boat - uh, other than Murph, the cat. He's ok.

There were a lot of interesting responses to our last post on anchors, most of them on the Facebook pages that share this blog - I'll include some of the better ones in the next blog post.