Friday, 22 April 2022

The toe rail, and associated issues ...

Raasay is a little unusual in having an aluminium toe rail instead of a wooden or plastic cap on the gunwales.

I don't know if this was an original fitting or a modification. I suspect the latter.

It has some pros and cons. The pros are that it is sturdy and provide a convenient place to tie off halyards back from the mast. And it's surprising how handy it is to have lots of places to clip things on...

There are two cons.

The first is that it sits on top of the hull/deck joint, with a flange down the outside, but no flange down the inside This means that the joint isn't neatly closed. The whole thing is held together with through-bolts at fairly close intervals, which makes it strong but lets the deck molding flange bulge a bit here and there.

The second is that the fairleads that came with the toe rail (and were clearly made for it) are impossible to source. I managed to get a couple of close matches to replace the bow pair (which were damaged), but they aren't an entirely satisfactory fit.

Here are a few illustrative photos:

Raasay's Toerail

Saturday, 5 February 2022

Prop Shaft Removal


I've been further investigating the possibility of getting the prop shaft out. The inboard end is easier to access than I though (although I had to remove a chunk of the exhaust to get at it).

The big problem is the hex bolts in the coupling. They are very rusty, and although I've been able to clean out the heads I can't move them. I've tried WD40 and heat, but no luck so far. I could cut them through the slot in the side of the coupling, but starting that would completely commit me to the whole process, so I'm pondering ... 

New Cutless Bearing


The new bearing has a nice bevel. I had thought I might need to adjust the edge to avoid it being exactly where the ring of pit corrosion is on the prop shaft.

The bearing is a snug fit in the housing, but I can get it in and out by hand. I think I'll ass a couple of retaining screws, to be on the safe side.

Sunday, 30 January 2022

Cleaning up the Cutless housing


The tool and the outcome. I just hope I haven't taken out too much material. I'll know when the new bearing arrives ...

Friday, 28 January 2022

Cutless Bearing Renewal

The left-hand picture shows the old Cutless bearing removed from the housing. Clearly, the installer had failed to get it the whole way in, and had just cut it off - it was only about two inches long. I suspect this was the same person who installed the propellor (see 'A thought-provoking prop failure...').

A curiosity, and further to the off-centre prop shaft:

The second picture shows that the bearing housing is clearly asymmetrical. This may not be associated with the prop-shaft alignment, of course. But ... ???

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

Raasay's Prop Shaft

Somewhat inspired by the 'Sailing Brothers' ugly discovery when they checked their Cutless bearing prior to their Atlantic Crossing, I thought it was about time to have a look at Raasay's prop shaft. The bearing definitely needed replacing, and I was worried about what I might find - particularly since it looks as though the prop shaft can only be withdrawn with the engine removed (which is what the Brothers found).

Raasay's prop shaft isn't showing signs of cracks or fissures (to the naked eye), but there are definite signs of pitting and wear. And the taper has some damage (see 'A thought-provoking prop failure ...').

It might (false hope?) be easier to replace that I thought, though. With the prop and bearing removed, two things seem clear: the shaft is slightly angled to starboard, and there is a fair bit of movement (even without disconnecting the inboard end). I think I can get it out past the rudder skeg ...

If I can, I'll get quotes for replacement or repair. If not, I'll investigate getting the pitting repaired in situ.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021


After making several attempts to clean the broken parts and epoxy them back together (all failures) I explored the depth of the remaining hole in the crankcase.  I put a long screw into in and turned the engine over to make sure no moving part fouled it.

Then I had a hunt through a spares box and found an M8 machine screw that could be gently screwed into the hole. This almost sealed it, and after the application of some sealant, succeeded in sealing it completely.

I could run the engine without losing oil, now, but had no oil pressure alarm. Which was fine, for getting us home.

The trip to Corpach and back up the canal was quick and almost uneventful. Angus met me in Corpach to help with ropes in the locks (the canal won't let single-handers transit the long flights this year).

The 'almost' needs qualification:

- The outboard decided not to start. This turned out to be an oiled plug, but I didn't have the right size of spark plug spanner to discover this until after we got home.

- The pickup line had wound itself round the mooring chain in Findhorn, and it took some ingenuity to get it unwound. We spent our last night on the boat lying to a couple of ropes lassoed around the mooring bouy, but got it all untangled in the morning.