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Old 25-12-2010, 08:15   #1
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Prop Shaft Broke, Taking on Water

It was 0245, midway between Thailand and Sri Lanka. I was sleeping, the boat was being steered by the Monitor windvane. I woke to the sound of water gurgling, I jumped from the bunk, and splash, four inches of water over the cabin sole. I quickly removed the engine box and with my flashlight saw the problem, no prop shaft. what to do? Grabbed a line and my facemask,( i always keep it handy) down below, I immediately saw the problem, the shaft broke and jammed the prop up against the rudder. I pushed the shaft back into the hull and tied the line around the prop. I then climbed aboard and tied the line to a cleat. I went back to the engine and inserted a DC plug into the stuffing box, to stop the water. What happened was, the shaft broke, (why? don't know) and the prop jammed up against the rudder, this caused the boat to go off course and caused the sails to flog, that's what woke me up. the water coming aboard did not wake me, it was the sails flogging. Lucky me. I then sailed to Sri Lanka and had a new shaft made.
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Old 25-12-2010, 08:30   #2
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Wow quite a story. You were quite lucky. Glad you're here to tell about it.

Something doesn't add up... You needed to plug the shaft log, and yet there was enough shaft to tie the prop against/into cutlass. Obviously we're missing some info.

Where (at what place) along the shaft did it break?
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Old 25-12-2010, 08:33   #3
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This is why I always put a S/S hose clamp on the shaft 2" b4 the stuffing box... It does nothing to stop the shaft breaking but sure as hell stops the unexpected hole as prop and shaft disappear into the deep blue...
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Old 25-12-2010, 08:51   #4
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What,,,, no HIGH and LOW bilge alarms????
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Old 25-12-2010, 09:09   #5
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Wow quite a story. You were quite lucky. Glad you're here to tell about it.

Something doesn't add up... You needed to plug the shaft log, and yet there was enough shaft to tie the prop against/into cutlass. Obviously we're missing some info.

Where (at what place) along the shaft did it break?
There could be several feet between the cutlass and stuffing box. I assume he shoved the shaft up to get it off of the rudder, probably stopped when he couldn't get the shaft to line up with the stuffing box while underwater holding his breath in the ocean with waves (what a weenie ), so then went back inside and plugged the hole.

A couple of years after I had kids, (kids had turned on some sort of danger switch in my head), I woke up in the middle of the night while out cruising with the thought by the time water in the boat would wake me up it would be too late. That's when a high water alarm went in.

John
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Old 25-12-2010, 09:11   #6
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I keep a great big blob of toilet sealing wax to plug up the hole if the shaft ever goes walkabout. I also have a bung available as well.
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Old 25-12-2010, 10:02   #7
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I guess I am a weenie, it was zero-dark thirty, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, so I guess I didn't line the shaft up perfect, I just wanted to get back aboard, so I just got the prop off the rudder. The shaft parted at the coupling. No I didn't have High and low bilge alarms, this was a boat I bought for $5000. so you can imagine it did not many bells and whistles, in fact the only electronics it had, was a very basic VHF and a Garmin 50 hand held GPS. But I did complete a circumnavigation in her. The SS hose clamp is a good idea and I do put a spare zinc on my shaft now. Yes I was lucky the shaft stopped at the rudder and didn't go into the deep blue.....
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Old 31-12-2010, 22:36   #8
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omg... very cool story...
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Old 31-12-2010, 23:01   #9
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it was zero-dark thirty, .....
LMAO, loving that description!!

Well done for saving your boat, another tale to tell people in the future!
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Old 01-01-2011, 14:29   #10
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Well done sir!

The biggest thing is that you didn't panic, kept your head and followed a logical path to solve the problem. I salute you. There are people out there who would not be able to do that. They'd be swimming, and hollering for rescue without ever even trying to fix the problem.

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Old 01-01-2011, 15:13   #11
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thankyou for the zinc idea--is only place on my boat unprotected by zinc-- does help not lose shaft and mess up a perfectly good crossing. had considered this, you reinforced my thoughts-- very appreciated!!!!
toilet seal wax rocks!!!!!! gotta buy 6 more for emergency uses.. also rescue tape......is what has been keeping water out of my boat until i can replace my entire stuffing box. nervous. yipes.
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Old 05-02-2011, 14:17   #12
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We some inner tire tube rubber to stop the ingress of water when our shaft ended it's association with the transmission. No damage was incurred just some expense and a few startling moments. The sound of water gurgling on a steel hull is fairly noisy.
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Old 05-02-2011, 15:49   #13
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But I did complete a circumnavigation in her. The SS hose clamp is a good idea and I do put a spare zinc on my shaft now. Yes I was lucky the shaft stopped at the rudder and didn't go into the deep blue.....
And there's where if we ever meet, I buy the first round!
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