Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Plight of Walkabout

We launched Walkabout yesterday just in time to take friends down to a symposium luncheon at the the Abaco Inn in White Sound this morning.

All was well with the new lower unit extension, and the four bladed prop made a big difference in reducing any vibrations. It was a chilly day and I was sitting backwards watching our wake when I noticed what appeared to be white smoke or exhaust coming from the engine. I asked Dave if his gauges were all fine, and they were, so we figured it was the duct tape burning off from reassembly. I thought it might be my imagination, but the smoke seemed to be getting worse and I told the captain that. Suddenly it felt like the boat was put in neutral and forward propulsion stopped. Dave figured it was a spun hub on the prop. Luckily we were just at the White Sound Channel buoy and another boat was heading in and towed us to the Abaco Inn dock. We had our other prop and tools with us, and Dave considered changing it, but it was a bit rough and he was dressed for the symposium, not work. One of the sailing club members offered us a tow back to Hope Town and it became an adventure for us all as we made a bridle to help the boat tow better.

 I think the guys all loved the idea of towing the commodore back home from this club outing, but it sure was an unusual thing to happen to us. Oh, the poor embarrassed commodore!

As we approached the harbor entrance, Dave started the motor and tried putting it in gear, and discovered that we had propulsion again. We dropped the towline and had our friends stand by as we tried to take off, but to no avail. The prop just kept slipping. We could go slow though, which really helped since it was easier to dock without being towed. Immediately Dave took off the prop to find it was stripped and the rubber mount in the hub was disintegrating. Plus where it goes onto the shaft, it was gouged. Before he even removed the prop I mentioned to Dave that perhaps there was some kind of friction that would have caused the smoke and ultimate failure of a new propeller, a strange occurrence. The smoke must have been coming from the water being so hot from the friction and becoming steam. Now Dave will have to look into why this part, that was specifically made for this outboard engine, is different and doesn't quite fit or at least work properly (the pressure of the water as it turns pushed it too far forward, gouging it and causing too much resistance and friction...I was right!). Back to the drawing board.

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