Sunday, April 15, 2012


After several months of slogging through various dark corners of the marine industry we finally gathered up all of the parts needed to try and reassemble the drive train in the Tartan. The tranny, all new and shiny, bell housing fixed, painted and bolted up, the custom-machined drive coupling gleaming like a big, fat jewel of steel, and the V-drive - after uncounted discussions with Walter Machine trying to convince them that their drive actually was mounted in a Tartan 42 with a Westerbeke engine and a Hurth transmission - dressed in dark blue paint and ready for service. Finally...progress!!!

Ahh...hold on there Ace.

The V-drive we pulled from the boat and sent to Walter Machine had 4 studs sticking out of the heavy end. The drive we got from Walter Machine? No studs. No holes. In fact one of the places where there should be holes sports the data plate. (Yes; I should have noticed it sooner. I plead being up to my belt buckle in alligators for missing this little detail.)

So I spent the weekend bolting it all together anyway and hung it on the back of the engine. My plan is to align the prop shaft / engine assembly so I can lay out exactly where me needs to locate the non-existent studs, then figure on installing them myself. For I know what Walter Machine's story is going to be. There were no studs in the units they manufactured. Studs, big beefy brackets, and two extra engine mounts, are a spooged together service bulletin fix for Tartan's hanging so much "stuff" that far off the back of the engine in the first place. "Stuff" which proved too much weight for the cast aluminum bell housing. How "spooged" is this fix? The extra engine mounts are hung up-side-down, supposedly working in tension and not compression. I'm not thinking that is such a good way to use mounts, so part of my efforts are going to be trying a redo on the brackets so the mounts can sit down-side-down. It is best to think of it as just another part of what has become the project of my life.

A life that has seen a bunch of projects. I have done million dollar repairs on airplanes, rebuilt wrecks back into flying machines, remodeled houses, resurrected dead motorcycles; there was always some understanding of what was going to be involved. None, until now, ever exploded in my face as has this boat. So bad has Kintala become that I have given up looking for an "end date." My life is flying during the week so I can buy the stuff I need to work on the boat on the weekend. When will it be done? When will I do something else with my life besides work and then work on a boat? When will we take to big water or even get this thing back out on the lake? Not a clue.  In fact don't even ask me to think about it. What's next is the studs, the mounts, the cooling system, the shaft seal, oil leaks, the...the...the. If I can get Kintala to the Fourth of July Raft Up under her own power I will take that as a major victory. (I give it about a 50/50 chance.) Then it will be the dodger, the wind vane, the solar panels, the...the...the.

When we started The Retirement Project I never suspected it would grow into a cautionary tale, but it has.  Many people are fascinated by our plan to live on a boat and explore at our whim.  Many wonder if they shouldn't try to do it as well. If they ask, I tell them all the same thing.

If one has been smitten by the idea of living lighter, being less of a burden to our little planet; if one chafes in equal amounts at the demands of corporate overlords and the harassment of bureaucratic busy-bodies; if one has been on the open ocean in the dark watches of the night and the heart desires nothing more than to be there again; if the wind and the sea and the caress of Mother Ocean tug at the very soul; if one finds modern Western culture to be incessantly childish and a crushing bore, and if one thinks of a good day as being equal parts sweat dripping off one's nose and blood flowing from skinned knuckles; then by all means find a boat, a willing partner, and take the shot.

If not, buy some clubs, take up golf, and never go near a sailboat at any time for any reason lest one be lost to the songs of Peisinoe.

You will thank me later.


Latitude 43 said...

I feel your pain. Well, maybe not that much :)

A simpler life awaits. Bring tools.

TJ said...

..."Bring tools."

Thanks...that made me smile.