9/22/2012 – Making progress but falling behind

And that’s because we keep adding things to the “to-do-while-hauled-out” list.  It just seems silly, since we’re on the hard and fairly deeply into the back end of the boat, not to do everthing that needs/wants doing.  So here’s our current to-do list.

Pull engine to replace broken vibration isolators (engine mounts)

While engine is out, replace all coolant hoses

Replace cutless (or “cutlass”, depending on who you believe) bearing

Replace all below waterline thru-hulls

Replace all below waterline seacocks

Install new propellor

Remove the slop in the rudder and tiller

Install our new Lavac toilet, holding tank, and associated plumbing

Strip old Cetol from and re-Cetol tiller, windvane paddle, belaying pins, pin rails, and rudder cheeks

Install new PSS dripless shaft seal

Have fabricated and install new stainless steel engine beds to replace rusty old carbon steel beds

But, we are making progress, even if it is too hot to work more than 3-4 hours a day.  However, sometimes the progress is hard to see.  The last couple days are a case in point. While Lulu was busy sanding the above-listed wooden items, I was on the bus to Guaymas to drop the old engine beds off at Luis’ shop so he could make me some new ones out of stainless steel.  But, of course, in spite of arriving at the shop fairly early, Luis was not there.  He was in San Carlos.   His brother assured me that he would be back in the afternoon, maybe three or four o’clock.  So, I got back on the bus for the forty-five minute ride back to San Carlos.  Since I had to return to Guaymas later in the day,  I really didn’t want to get all grungy working on the boat so, instead, I spent the time on the computer researching things like changing out a cutless bearing.  Got back on the bus about 2:45 figuring it would be safer to get back to the shop closer to 4:00 than 3:00.  Got off at Serdan and 17th, hiked 3 blocks uphill, crossed Lopez, walked another short block, turned right and, about half a block down was Luis’ shop.  But, guess what?  That’s right, he still wasn’t there.  The friendly lady in the office said he should be back in one hour, or maybe a half an hour.  So, I wandered around, hit an ATM, hit an Oxxo convenience store for a big bottle of Gatorade, and then headed back to the shop.  Still no Luis.  I asked the lady in the office if I could wait in there (it was air-conditioned) and she said, “Sí. ¿Como no?”.  I settled in with my Kindle for a, hopefully not too long, wait.  After a few minutes she got up and left the office.  A few minutes later she returned with Luis’ brother who explained that he was sorry but Luis was tied up in San Carlos with some family problems, but he would definitely be at the shop tomorrow morning at maybe 9:00 or 10:00.  I thanked him and hit the road for another bus ride.  That comes to a total of 3 hours on the bus.  However, the next morning (yesterday) I got to the shop and Luis was there.  I explained what I needed and he said he’d e-mail me with a price after he checked on availability of material.  I’m happy to say that Luis’ e-mail was waiting for me when I got back to Chamisa.  His price was very fair and he said he could have it done by late next week.  I gave him the go-ahead so, hopefully, that’s one item off the list.

Today, once again, Lulu sanded.


Meanwhile, I worked on disconnecting the rudder so we could take it off the boat.  This was kind of a scary proposition for me as this thing is huge.  It’s taller than I am.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know that doesn’t make it very tall, but for a rudder for a 28 foot boat, it’s freakin’ huge!  I had no idea what to expect so I turned to the always helpful members of the Westsail Owners’ Association.  There’s almost nothing I can do on this boat that at least one of them hasn’t already done.  And, if no one’s done it, we always have Bud Taplin, former general manager of Westsail and general guru, to help us out.

Well, the other Westsailors assured me that removing the rudder was no big deal so, today, I attacked.   The first thing was to take a wire brush on an angle grinder to the many, many layers of bottom paint coating the nuts and bolts on the pintles.

Side note for non-boaters:  Pintles and gudgeons (gúh-juns) are the items that hold a rudder to the hull of a boat.  The pintles are pins that fit through the hole in the gudgeons.  In the next picture you can see the pintles with the nuts removed.  The gudgeon is bolted to the hull.  By the way, those are not bolt heads you’re seeing on the gudgeons.  Those are actually nuts that have been so covered with paint that the bolt itself is no longer visible.

Rudder on the left, hull on the right.

The bolts are bronze carriage bolts.  I’m not a big fan of carriage bolts since they tend to spin in soft materials.  I was amazed that, of the 12 nuts I had to remove, I only encountered 2 bolts that spun.  And, of course, a pair of Vise-Grips quickly put them in their place.

But, even when all the bolts were out, the rudder was still glued to the pintles by decades of thick paint.  I finally hit on the idea of putting a large screwdriver partway through the bolt hole on the pintle and then using it to try to hold the pintle while I used the massive leverage of the rudder to turn the rudder away from the pintle.  Worked like a charm and soon the rudder was free.

Free at last!

So, what did we find?  Well, as you can see here, after wire-brushing the pintle, there is definitely a little bit of wear.  But certainly this isn’t enough wear to cause the amount of play we have in our rudder.  At least I wouldn’t think so.

Total wear ran from 0.010″ to 0.025″.

The gudgeons were another matter.  They showed wear from 0.020″ to 0.045″, but more importantly, they were no longer round.  They had worn to a slightly oval shape, wider across the beam than fore and aft.

The “holes” in the gudgeons are made of thick-walled fiberglass tubing. I suspect these are original which makes them 36 years old.

Obviously I need to insert some sort of sleeve.  Another query on the Westsail Owners’ Association discussion board brought about an excellent idea from our friend Lee (Westsail32, Patience).  Lee suggested we have the gudgeons bored out to accept a 1″ cutless bearing, which are available locally.  Brilliant.  My next move will be to remove the gudgeons for boring out.

Meanwhile, Lulu has something new to strip of finish.

Is that one big rudder or what? Just saying.

Another day in the yard, another gallon of sweat.  What can I say?  Yard work ain’t pretty.


on the pintles


About sryoder

Steve & Lulu... retired. Had enough of the cold wet dreary fall/winter/spring in the Pacific Northwest. Bought a boat, fixed it up, sold our home and sailed to Mexico in November, 2010. Been here ever since except for occasional forays to the States (summer only, thank you) to visit the kids, parents and siblings. If you're looking for a sailing blog, this is the wrong place. This is a traveling, hunkering in, eating blog. Sailing is just how we get from place to place when we can't walk.
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9 Responses to 9/22/2012 – Making progress but falling behind

  1. Chuck/Jacaranda says:

    Hi Steve & Lulu – Regarding using a cutlass bearing for the use in the gudgeon. We had a problem doing just that many years aho. We had the rubber pull away from the bronze cutlass sleeve while mid pacific. It cause very stiff steering which caused all our aires blocks to explode.

    What we ended up doing is removing the cutlass bearing(6 hours) and had a piece of solid round rudder bearing material (i think it was Nurlite but not sure) machined to fit tightly in the rudder shaft hole. It was machined to be slightly larger than the rudder shat itself. It was also fluted? to allow plenty of water to be able to pass thru it. So far after 15 years and 20,000 miles it appears to be still working good.

    Just another suggestion if you can find a piece of round stock a machine shop can easily bore it out to fit.

    Good luck. We are also planning a haul out soon but hoping the heat will break a wee bit before hand.


    • sryoder says:

      Dang it! Just when I thought I had it all worked out. I could maybe buy a 3/4″ ID x 1.5″ OD cutless bearing and have the inside (including the rubber) bored out to 1″ ID leaving me a nice bronze sleeve. OTOH, I’ve got a query in to a company in the US that makes/sells a plastic material for rudder and shaft bearings called Vescolite. Don’t know if they’ll sell to a private citizen but maybe they can direct me to a distributor. Thanks, Chuck, and we’re hoping the heat will break a bit pretty soon as well.


  2. Nice work you two! It’s coming along nicely – and that IS one huge freaking rudder! 🙂

  3. MWhite:LittleCunningPlan says:

    This is the logic that always makes the little jobs I attempt turn into large, freaking nightmares. Making a large bucket of cleaning solution? May as well clean every thing in sight, including all floors, surfaces, etc. Time to checking off ‘to do’ list? 5 years.
    And the problem is, it’s just so darn logical to take care of everything when you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of pulling that engine. So I say go for it and more power to you and Lulu. I mean, isn’t it nice to have the time necessary to do this kind of thing? You’ll be glad you did.

    • sryoder says:

      You are so right Melissa. But we’re coming up with even more things: move the cockpit drains up and aft (requires glassing in the old holes), move the engine exhaust higher (also requires glassing in the old holes), replace the sorry excuse for a scupper with something that will actually move some water off the deck in a hurry without plugging (requires more fiberglass work). Looks like we might be here awhile. And, we’ll have to learn how to do fiberglassing that looks good AND is seaworthy at the same time. But, as you say, we’ll be glad we did.


  4. Tate says:

    Starting to look like our blog. >:)

    Don’t work on boats in the summer !

  5. Dani says:

    Wow! Lots of work. It is sooooo hard to not “do this while that’s apart”. You’ll thank yourself in 6 months:D

  6. Pingback: 9/27/2012 – What a difference a couple of days can make | yodersafloat

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