Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pretty bits and aching backs ...

A good thing about a 40+ year career ending the way mine is ending, and when it is ending, is that the transition from "corporate pilot" to "full time sailor" might be a bit less bumpy than it otherwise could have been. (How's that for a sentence?) As the last of my aviation paychecks dribbles in there is time to be on the boat pretending to be a sailor. So that's were I am and that's what I'm doing.

The pretty new drive train bits are installed. There is still V-drive and tranny fluid to change and one last good look around needs to be made to make sure nothing was forgotten. (There were no parts left over so that is a good sign.) The hope is Kintala will be back in operation by the weekend. Pulling the V-drive is a colossal pain on a Tartan 42 as the forward end of the engine pan makes it impossible to slip the drive straight onto the tranny. All kinds of contortions are required which usually bash up the gasket, hack gouges in the seal, draw blood and curses from the mechanic (that would be me) and generally cast a pall on an otherwise beautiful day. Well, I should say all kinds of contortions were required. After some careful deliberations and a chat with the resident boat guru I cranked up a cutting wheel and removed a proportional bit of the engine pan, making V-drive installation about 90% easier than it was. This seemed like a particularly good idea since rumor has it some people have had to do this repair several times over, sometimes while hanging on a hook in less than ideal sea conditions.

Kintala's new v-drive / prop shaft coupling is now bolted together with some high-tech self locking bolts backed up by low tech safety wire, so there is hope that this repair will not need repeated any time soon. But when it comes to boats and maintenance I think Dante got it right with,"Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'intrate".

Assuming tomorrow's test run is a success it will have taken the better part of three days to get this done, which seems like an unnecessarily long time. But I have discovered a couple of things as I move from my old world to this one. The first is that this body of mine has accumulated more than its share of damage over the years. Once upon a time putting in a 14 hour day slinging wrenches at an airplane was just another day in the shop. But now? Six hours hunched over the bilge wrestling with a 30 pound V-drive and its all I can do to limp to the shower. I think I could still do the 14 hours if I had to, but that is another thing I have learned. I don't have to do that anymore.

Of course there is another huge difference between airplanes in the hangar and boats on the water. A wrong move wouldn't sink an airplane. Playing with Kintala's drive train while she floats always seems to involve some moments of water pouring into the boat; something I have yet to get used to seeing. So working on drive parts in the bilge means working extra slow to avoid installing a "stupid."

Deb will catch up with me tomorrow.  One of the things unexpected was that the crush of work suddenly needing done "right now" keeps us apart several nights a week.  That was normal for a corporate pilot but it isn't something I want to carry into my sailing life.

And so it goes ...

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