Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Gettin' Shiv'd

Ok, I think it is official, I'm losing my mind. I thought I had written, or at least started this post while I was at the boatyard, but I guess not.  Squirrel!

One of the reasons I spent more time than I wanted at the boatyard was due to the fact I was waiting on parts.  A couple parts in particular, sheaves (pronounced like shiv - the rollers in a block, not the makeshift weapon in a prison) in my genoa cars and an anchor roller were in rough shape and needed to be replaced...badly.  The sheaves in the genoa cars had apparently started sticking during the trip up and the result was pretty severe rope burns that cut grooves in the sheaves (you can easily see one of the grooves in the picture below).  The anchor roller had apparently gotten stuck some time ago and the chain had worn a groove all the way through that roller and started cutting into the bolt that made up its shaft.  Since controlling the sails and using the anchor are fairly important, I decided to replace both before I left.

Now, you might think it would be easy to find replacement parts for such common items used on many sailboats.  I know I did.  Wrong! In fact, I'm finding it more difficult to find parts for the boat than it was to find parts for the out-of-production 1976 airplane I used to own.

For the genoa cars, the makers name (Lewmar) was emblazoned on the side of the car.  But there was no model number.  I went to the Lewmar website and dug around for a while and eventually found a document that described how to identify the model and size of the cars.  I determined they were size 2 Ocean series cars.  I checked with several different parts suppliers but couldn't come up with a replacement part number. I eventually called Lewmar and described the part and the car to them as well as what I thought was the model.  After some time on the phone Lewmar admitted they had a number of different models that are all called "Ocean series" and I ended up sending them pictures of the sheaves and cars in order to identify them. They did finally identify the parts I needed and then I found out there were two replacement sheave kits (part number 29172054BK)...on a cargo ship on its way to the U.S. and I could have them in about week and a half if I get them next-day-air shipped from where they get off the boat.

Old and New Genoa Car Sheaves

The bow roller was another conundrum.  In this case, the roller appears to be a custom part.  This roller isn't the main roller on the end of the bow, but a secondary roller that sits further back in the anchor guide channel.  I tried searching for a roller in the internet, but the small-ish metric size could not be found outside of a few companies that make custom custom part prices.  I finally contacted a local machine shop in Deltaville.  Wes Summerfield runs a small machine shop out of his garage and seems to be inundated with work.  He said he had some scrap acetal stock and could turn a roller for me for the cost of labor.  So, after spending a lot of time scouring the internet for this roller, I had one in just a couple days thanks to Wes...and while it wasn't incredibly cheap, it was cheaper than any of the other options at one hour of labor.  I was able to get him to make the belly of the roller a bit thicker too, so maybe this one will wear longer before needing replacement.  The part he made turned out very nice.  If you are ever in Deltaville and need the services of a machine shop, look up Wes.

Old and New Roller.  Look at the wear on the old one

So, after a couple week delay, I finally had these little, necessary, plastic wheels and could finally start making my way south after getting them installed.  Here is where another rule of working on a boat came into play: No task is ever simple as you think it should be on a boat. Installing the bow roller should be easy, just insert the bolt through the roller and attach the locking nut.  I even had the roller made just slightly thinner to provide a bit extra clearance so it would roll easily, yet when installed this roller wouldn't turn.  Not wanting the new roller to quickly end up like the old one, I needed to figure out and correct the problem. I ended up having to remove the metal plates that lined the anchor guide channel.  The dirt I thought I was going to clean out after removing the pieces was actually old sealant that had given up and started collecting dirt and squeezing against the roller.  I'm starting to wonder if any of the glues or sealants used on this boat were designed to last. The 15 minute "replace the roller task" turned into a day of clean the guides and channels, re-glue the channels with 3M 4000 using the old roller and a couple thin shims to guarantee spacing, wait for it to cure, then re-install the roller.  But, a day later than planned, I had a properly functioning roller again.

And one update filed under the "this is my usual luck" category.  The replacement Lewmar sheaves came in a kit with new pins and screws.  They changed the design from the original through bolted design that used a standard nylon locking nut and a sleeve to a custom threaded sleeve and two screws.  I can only imagine this change was probably in order to make the parts custom so they couldn't be purchased at the local hardware store.  Anyway, the assembly requires that Locktite be used on the screws to secure them.  I did use Locktite when assembling the cars, but apparently didn't get one of the screws covered well enough.  So Yes, in the middle of the trip south, one of the screws came loose and the brand new sheave decided to go for a swim and jumped overboard during the second day of the outside passage.  Fortunately I hadn't thrown away the old sheaves and took the better of the two and put it back in service for the rest of the trip.  Two more replacement sheaves (part number 25002090) are now on order.  Still trying to decide if I should continue using the new design sleeve or go back to the old bolt through sleeve design since it is simple, seems less prone to failure to me, and works.

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