Boating: Drydock Time – New Running Gear & Rudder Modifications

New Shaft & Prop
New Shaft & Prop

We’re now on the final leg of the jobs to be done on the boat! Above is the new prop & shaft, supplied to us by Crowther Marine over in Royton. To fit our current stern tube & gland, the shaft is the same diamter at 1-3/8″. Unfortunately no 4-blade props were available, so I had to go for a 17×11 left-hand, but with a much larger blade area than the old one.

Propellers
Propellers

Here’s the old prop on the right, with the new one on the left, amazing how different 1 inch of diameter actually looks. The opposite hand of the new prop makes no difference in our case, as I can simply switch the hoses to the hydraulic motor on the shaft to make everything reverse direction.

Stripper
Stripper

Above is the solution to my problem of no weed hatch – a Stripper Rope Cutter from Ambassador Marine. This device has some seriously viciously sharp cutting teeth to help clear any fouling from the prop in operation. Only time will tell if it’s effective at allowing me to stay out of the canal manually removing the crap!

Cutless Bearing
Cutless Bearing

We finally got the bearing mount finished, by S Brown Engineering in Stockport. This is made from Stainless steel to stop the bearing corroding in place & becoming a real arse to replace. Set screws are fitted to make sure the bearing doesn’t move in service.
Attached to the side of the bearing housing is the fixed blade mounting for the Stripper Rope Cutter.

Bearing Test Fit
Bearing Test Fit

Above is everything fitted to the shaft for a test before the gear went into it’s home in the stern tube. The Stripper mounts behind the prop, clamped to the shaft. The 3 moving blades move against the fixed blade like a mechanised pair of scissors.

Bearing Strut Welding
Bearing Strut Welding

10mm steel plate has been used to make the strut for the bearing tube, welded together. In the case of the joint between the stainless tube & the carbon steel strut, special welding rods were needed, at the price of £2 a rod! Using mild steel rods to weld stainless could result in cracking of the welds. Not a good thing on a prop shaft support bearing.

Sand Blasted Hull
Sand Blasted Hull

Most of the old tube has been cut away to make room for the new bearings, and the bottom of the hull has been sand-blasted ready for welding.

Running Gear Mounted
Running Gear Mounted

The bearing mount is welded to the hull, the Stripper & the prop are fitted to the end of the shaft. There’s 1.5″ of clearance from the blade tips to the hull plating. The rudder has about an inch of clearance to the end of the shaft.

Rudder Fence
Rudder Fence

To help keep the prop wash down, directing more of the force into moving the vessel rather than creating a nice rooster tail, a pair of plates has been welded onto the rudder. These also provide a handy step should someone fall in ;).

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