When you discover you have a screw loose

One of the nice things about sailing is that there are set fundamental precepts that all agree with.

I can think of a couple.

  • The propeller should be attached to the boat.
  • The water should be on the outside of the boat, not the inside.
  • The mariner should be in the boat, not in the water.


Sadly many of these precepts were broken today.

My propeller is attached to a shaft. This shaft runs through the bottom of the boat, via sealing box, to the engine. It spins. The boat moves forward. Excellent stuff.

There is a small lug screw that holds the shaft to the engine coupling.

This failed today, and the whole shaft exited and descended some four kilometres to adorn Davy Jones locker.

I was alerted to this by, despite fundamental precepts, the ingress of water through the cavity through which the late departed shaft ran.

I have a bunch of variably sized tapered wooden plugs for this very occasion. The cavity was promptly plugged, water pumped out, and peace reigned once again.

Well almost, I had a vague optimistic vision of the shaft hanging on by a thread, invisible from the inside, but retrievable from the outside.

I removed a suitable quantity of sail, and descended into the murky depths to find out if this was the case.

It was after dark, there was a 10 knot wind and 2.5 metre seas. I made the mistake a few years ago of watching Jaws. There are also the fundamental precepts to consider.

I can honestly say that getting into the water was the second hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I made my peace with the Almighty and dived to find the other side of the hole and an absent propeller.

It is not the end of the world, but it is quite a nuisance. I’m now entirely reliant on sail and entering Los Angeles will be a pain.

Such is life and all that.

Latitude: 25.251, Longitude: -128.165, Time: 07:00:18 24-06-2018 UTC