Sunday, September 27, 2020

Catching Up, Part 2: Portland Yacht Services

I arranged to have Intermezzo hauled out so that repairs could be made to both sail drives (the part of the boat that connects the engine to the propeller). The starboard sail drive had a "wobble", a pretty significant vibration of the propeller. The port sail drive was leaking oil into the engine compartment.

We arrived at Portland Yacht Services on the morning of September 16. It was a windy day and a fairly strong current was flowing on the Fore River fronting the yard, making for a tricky entry into the Travelift slip.  My boat handling and Lisa's line throwing skills made it look easy, though.

Intermezzo was lifted out by a giant 300 ton Travelift, a machine capable of lifting large fishing boats and ferries. Intermezzo looked kind of puny hanging from the slings, nothing like the tight squeeze hauling out in Puerto Escondido where we had just two inches of clearance between the hull and Travelift!

The boat was set down in the gravel yard next to a Leopard 48, Cameo, which was getting new rudders. There we sat for the next eight days. It should have taken only four days to do the work, but there was a mix up with getting parts, the mechanic wasn't available and there was a weekend in the middle. Somewhat frustrating, but the yard only charged for five days lay days and I got quite a bit of work done while waiting.

The sail drives were repaired by a very capable and personable young guy, Rand. He really knows his stuff, and knows when he doesn't. I enjoyed diagnosing the problems and working with him a lot.

The repair to the port sail drive involved separating the engine from the sail drive and replacing an oil seal, a job that was daunting to me but that Rand did quickly and easily. I also decided to change the oil seals at the propeller end as preventative maintenance. That turned out to be a good decision, as a fishing line had been sucked into the space between the two seals and destroyed the outer one.

The main cause of the "wobble" at the starboard sail drive was improper installation of the propeller. The guy who installed the propeller left out a bushing. I cut him some slack as he did the installation in the fading light of a summer evening, hot and humid, dripping sweat and being eaten alive by mosquitoes. The poor suffering idiot was me.

However, the propeller shaft also had quite a bit of play in it. Rand dismantled the assembly and measured the play in the main bearing. It was about 2.5 times greater than the maximum play of 0.1mm. We decided to replace the bearing, which eliminated the play in the shaft. With the propeller properly installed, all look good.

While I waited for parts to be sorted out and Rand to be available to work on the boat, I re-sealed the aft port window which was leaking, replaced the freezer drawer gasket,  repaired a factory default in the gelcoat, exercised the bottle screws for the shrouds, and polished and waxed the lower portions of the hulls. Lisa touched up the bottom paint where the new paint didn't adhere to the hold. I don't like how the Petit Hydrocoat anti-fouling is holding up. I like water-based paints from an environmental perspective, but I just don't think they stick as well as solvent-based paints, like previous mystery anti-fouling I had applied in Mexico, which performed wonderfully.

I would have been quite happy with getting all this work done, but my sense of accomplishment was dampened by a crack that appeared in one of the salon windows.  On a couple of nights, I was puzzled by occasional cracking noises, but figured it was just the boat contracting as the temperature dropped. It turns out that the black tinted salon window was exposed directly to the sun, was getting hot during the day and then contracting faster than the hull at night, causing it to crack near a lower corner. This is something that other Leopard 39 owners have experienced, so I was unhappy but not completely surprised.

I drilled a hole at the leading edge of the crack to prevent it from propagating any further and sealed it with a piece of clear tape. It doesn't look too bad and I don't think it will leak, but the window will need to be replaced, which is not an easy job. More boat buck$ to spend. Ugh.

Finally, on September 25 I paid the substantial yard bill and the Travelift picked Intermezzo up again and lowered the boat into the water. The weather was chilly but pleasant, an easy departure from the slip to resume our journey southward.

Twelve ton Intermezzo looking diminutive hanging from a 300 ton Travelift
This boat weighed 285 tons and squashed the Travelift's tires!

Intermezzo on the hard, Lisa done touching up the bottom paint

Rand's work on the starboard sail drive in progress