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Barry's Blog #129 - Trepidation

It's only a recent thing that I've found myself frozen by trepidation, maybe I'm over thinking things.

One of my favourite sayings is "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is "One bite at a time." And whilst I still believe that tenet to be true, I find myself going along quite nicely with boat jobs and then suddenly I wake up one morning and find that I have no motivation to move forward with the next step of a particular job.

In fact it's more than just a lack of motivation. My gut twists with fear and I just want to run away. Of course I can't run away, I have to talk myself into just picking up the tools and getting on with it. Sometimes though, talking myself into it can take days.

I'm not sure what happened to the Baz that used to dive into any challenge head on with a 'he who dares wins' attitude. He's got to be around here somewhere.

Why am I sharing these thoughts and feelings? Because I want anyone reading this blog or watching this week's accompanying YouTube video, who is thinking of taking the plunge into the liveaboard lifestyle, to know that it's not all unicorns, rainbows and sundowners in the cockpit with newly acquainted yachtie friends. Sometimes, and especially if you plan on doing your own maintenance, it can be very daunting and scary.

I do however have a feeling that when all the boat jobs are done and A B Sea is once again a fully functioning vessel and we're sailing east through the Greek islands of the Aegean Sea, I'll look back at this moment in time and wonder what all the fuss was about.

The key

We have found that when we ask a question in our videos we usually get some great tips and advice from people who watch, and figuring out how to remove the small metal key in the end of the prop shaft certainly brought us a lot of helpful advice.

Feeling buoyed by how easy it was going to be to remove the key we set up cameras and grabbed some tools. The first suggestion was to spray the key with an easing lubricant and then a tap or two with a hammer should cause the key to just pop out. It didn't.

I'll not share any spoilers here but suffice it to say, removing the key took a lot longer than anticipated and a lot more than a tap or two with a hammer. Check it out in this week's video by clicking here.

How long is the shaft? With the key eventually removed it was time to pull the prop shaft through the P-bracket, where the cutlass bearing lives, and fully remove the shaft from A B Sea. My trepidation here was that the distance between the P-bracket and the rudder might not be enough to allow the prop shaft to completely clear the P-bracket. If it didn't that would mean that we'd have to drop the rudder and that is a very big task.

With the prop shaft and the very heavy Gori propeller heaved over my shoulder I began easing the prop shaft backwards and to my great relief it cleared the P-bracket with millimeters to spare. Thank you so much to the Jeanneau designer who thought that through, you're my new god.

The next part of the process was to remove the cutlass bearing from inside the P-bracket. I'd watched a few YouTube videos on how to remove the bearing and it wasn't going to be easy. From watching the videos the method I'd chosen to try also had the added bonus that if I screwed it up it would be an error that would cost thousands of dollars to fix. No pressure there then Baz.

Cutlass bearing inside the P-bracket

The cutlass bearing removal doesn't feature in this week's video, so I won't tell you how that turned because it would spoil next week's video.

The windlass

One of the things that lives at the bow of A B Sea is the windlass, its job is to raise and lower the anchor chain, and this can be achieved in two ways.

Firstly push the down button and the electric motor turns the windlass and lowers the chain at a set speed. Secondly release the gypsy brake and let the chain free-fall over the bow. The second method has never been an option for us because the gypsy brake is seized.

Gypsy release

So in this week's video we ask our viewers for their advice on how to un-seize it and we're hopeful that once again they'll come up with some great tips. If you have a tip we'd love to hear from you.

To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.

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