Never put off until tomorrow what you should’ve done yesterday

We’ve installed a new propeller not long ago and immediately we’ve noticed slight vibrations, which occurred periodically in about 2-3 seconds. First we thought that it’s not a big deal. The vibrations were very minor and we try to sail most of the time anyway.

About a week ago, we sailed little further out. The weather was wonderful, fresh breeze, waves about one meter high, perfect day. Just about when we decided to turn around and head back, the wind died. We were just at the outer end of the south-west Kaohsiung cargo ship anchorage. For a while we tried to sail, but the current can be quite strong in these parts and it started to push us towards the anchored steel monsters.

We started the engine to improve the non-existent apparent wind. We still had doubts about our new prop. So we opened the engine room, switched between different RPMs and observed what the engine does. Right away it was obvious that the waves increase the vibrations. We watched the engine with worries and started to investigate what might be the cause of it. Since nothing other than the propeller changed, we naturally suspect that the prop has to be the cause. The guy that made it for us has a different opinion. Our shaft is bent he says.

One possible cause could have been a key that does not allow the prop to sit properly on the taper. I’ve dived and tried to reinstall the propeller. They key seems fine. We continued to talk to the guy that sold us the prop, but he seems to be convinced that bent shaft is the only reason. His prop is impeccable he says. He even came around the other day to measure something. He arrived without any instruments and only repeated what we already heard.

We won’t get anywhere with him, until we get the shaft out.

That might sound like an easy operation, but is a bit scary in reality. You have to remember that the shaft passes through the hull about half meter bellow the water line, so when the shaft is pulled out, water will start pouring in. That will be Jana’s job, to plug the hole in timely fashion. Me, I will be holding my breath, under water, at the other end of the shaft pulling it out.

Then the shaft will be put onto a lathe together with the prop and it will be tested.

It is actually quite embarrassing that we have been putting this off for such a long time. We were basically about to cast off and still were unable to deal with stuff like this. But every time we would think about pulling the shaft out, we immediately started comforting ourselves that the problem is not as big and that it will go away. Unfortunately it is another case of procrastination. Yes, we are guilty of procrastinating. Today we have an excuse. The water was too dirty to dive. Since we have to do what we still consider like a really scary job, at least we could be allowed to do it in clean water instead of a pool of garbage covered by a layer of diesel and oil… We will try tomorrow(?). Wish us luck!

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