Thursday, January 24, 2008

Dove and replaced prop zinc

I had Aeolus hauled back in fall of 06 to do a bunch of work. She was hauled at Schooner Creek Boat Works in Portland, Oregon. Among the many things done there, I had to get a new prop shaft because the old one had been so badly worn by the stuffing box. It was deeply grooved, which was partly to blame for the unfixable heavy dripping of the stuffing box. This photo is of the old shaft and zinc, but gives the idea. I went ahead and installed a new PSS dripless shaft seal system to avoid a similar thing ever happening again, besides liking a dry bilge. Of course, at the same time I got a new zinc put on the 1 1/8 shaft.

Well, I noticed this fall that the zinc was largely gone and hanging on by a thread. Not sure what is normal, but a year seemed like a good life for a zinc. Knowing this was coming up, and having no other reason to haul the boat as the paint was still good and all through hulls were new, I decided to do it myself. For safety sake, I want to be able to dive on the boat to clear fouled lines or whatever, and so asked my brother in law, the family diver, if he had any old wet suits laying around I could buy from him.

The guy floors me by sending me a brand new, arctic, full hood wet suit by Pinnacle. It is almost a dry suit it keeps you so dry. Thick and lined, yes, lined, with Merino wool!! I am not yet a certified diver, but grew up in the water and have no problem snorkeling and doing all things aquatic. As an action forcing event, the last time I started the diesel just to bring it up to temperature, the old zinc finally just spun off entirely. Time to do it.

So on a day that started at 20 degrees and rose to about 35 by the time I got in the 40 something degree water, I changed the zinc. Of course, Aeolus is right at her mooring and the prop shaft is maybe only 2 feet underwater so it was in no way technically difficult. However, even dry and fully protected in my amazing suit, the skin around my diving mask nearly froze solid and my ungloved hands were not too happy either.

All said and done, the shaft has a new zinc, I have new confidence that I can dive all the way under the boat and do just about anything that can be done from the water, and I had a ton of fun doing it.

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