A cast of thousands and the rudder’s back into Pandora

Only a few days left till Pandora splashes and we begin our sailing season.  It seems like forever that I have been working to do everything needed to put her in tiptop shape for our trip south again this fall.

Friday was a particularly important day as I installed the new bearings and re-shipped the rudder.   I can’t believe how tough that job turned out to be as just getting out the old bearings was a bear.  After that I had to do all the measurements so that new bearings could be made.  Nothing off the shelf for Pandora, custom all the way.  Ugh!!!  But you knew that already as it was covered in older posts.

Anyway, the rudder is now back in and operational.  Whew!!!

There was a cast of thousands on hand for all the fun.  I can’t wait to get the bill. At the peak of the action, there were five guys on hand.  The 5th is operating the lift to pick up Pandora high enough to slip the rudder shaft into the lower bearing.  We actually put the rudder in twice as the first time we put everything together “dry” to be sure that it fit.  And it didn’t.  The upper bearing didn’t line up with the lower and middle one.  That sucked.

After what seemed like forever, everyone left me alone to determine next steps.  I ground out the inside of the sleeve that the upper bearing fit in to allow for some movement so that the shaft would like up properly.  In an operation where 1/1000 of an inch makes a difference, being off by 1/8″ was a huge miss.  Fixing the miss-alignment didn’t take as much time as you’d think.  I just jacked up the rudder, checked the fit, dropped it again, ground some more and so on.  After a while I was able to get everything in line.  Once all that was done, it fit perfectly.  Ok, dry fit, check.  Then, everything came apart, epoxy was slathered all over the bearings and we put the rudder back in, only this time, for good.  We also applied wax to the rudder shaft to be sure that any epoxy drips would not stick where they were not wanted.   This doesn’t look like much, but this is the upper bearing all epoxied into place.   Still nasty looking, you say?  Nothing like a new deck plate to make everything look OK.   Some things are best covered up and out of sight.Yesterday I re-installed all of the steering components and tuned things up.   This is what the space looked like prior to the install of the new bearings on Friday.   Not much here. And, a few hours later, pretty crowded.  Looks easy?  Sort of…I never thought that I could be excited about something as mundane as a plastic sleeve, the new mid-station rudder bearing.   Pretty slick.  The entire weight of the rudder assembly rests on the pin (bolt) on top of the black bearing.  I got a new bolt as I don’t want to take any chances.  I also fabricated some rollers from stainless steel tubing and some water pipe.  They help the rudder turn more smoothly.  Got to be sure that everything is solid and well secured as dropping the rudder into the ocean would make for a very bad day.  “Guess what Brenda, the rudder fell out.  No way to steer.”  Yes, a career limiting move,  no make that the end of my sailing career.  Best to avoid that…Yesterday I finished up on the rudder install with some final tweaks.  I also rebuilt one of the winches that was being a bit sluggish.  That was a messy job.  Lots of old grease to clean out.

I tackled some gelcoat repair where there were some imperfections in the cockpit.   One of the guys at the yard mixed up a matching color.  He did a fairly good job.  At least the patches will look better than having dark chips knocked out of the surface of the cockpit.

Today, still more little details to attend to.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, she’s supposed to splash.  I will be JUST SO HAPPY when all the work is done and we head out for a few days.

Soon I’l be lounging in the cockpit instead of squirming around in the aft locker.   Lounging is definitely better.  Yes, lounging, not squirming.    That would be good.

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