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Barry's Blog #138 - If not now… Then when?

A few people have questioned why we left so many jobs so late into our stay on the hard at Livaditis Boat Yard on Evia island, Greece. That's a good question and the reasoning as to 'why' is many faceted.

Let's go right back to when we arrived at the boat yard on October 26th 2019, at that point in time we knew we had at least two major maintenance jobs that needed doing before we could go back into the water and sail off into the sunset.

One job was reapplying antifoul paint to the hull, rudder and keel. The antifoul paint itself is sensitive stuff and generally can only be applied to the surfaces at most a month before going back into the water. Therefore painting of the antifoul is by default a last minute job.

The other major job we knew we had to do was to replace the exhaust mixing elbow which had rusted through with age and was blowing sticky black diesel soot all over the engine and engine bay.

The exhaust elbow

It took us a while to settle into life on the hard and into the apartment on site at the boat yard and to finally get around to removing the rusted-through exhaust elbow from the engine. When I eventually had the elbow separated and could see the rust damage up close it was obvious that we had two choices. Either buy a replacement or get the rusted one repaired. In the end it turned out that we did both. We'll keep the repaired one as a back up because at the first sign of diesel soot in the engine bay that elbow is getting replaced right away because the diesel soot cleanup is horrendous.

Manolis the boat yard metalwork specialist did indeed repair the rusted elbow but we were still unsure about reattaching it to the engine because we had no idea how long it would be before another section of it rusted through.

We did some research and discovered a guy at a boat yard in the north of the island that custom made exhaust elbows from high quality stainless steel. We figured that if we could get one of those made at the right price it should last a good 10 years or so.

There is no car hire in the local village of Limni so it took some time to discover the nearest car hire place and how we'd go about getting the car to us at the boat yard. Time passed and it was January when we finally hired the car for a week. The primary mission was to go see the guy in the north of the island and ask about the cost of a custom made mixing elbow.

As it turned out he said it would be cheaper to simply buy an original Yanmar mixing elbow and we took his advice. We received a text from him 3 days later telling us that the part had arrived from Athens and that we could come and pick it up.

Scheduled maintenance

We admit that we are total noobs at owning a yacht and have no idea of what maintenance should be done, when it should be done, or how it should be done. Fortunately we have so many great viewers and subscribers who know far more than we ever will about yachts that sometimes it seems like we have a living encyclopaedia at our fingertips.

One guy in particular, Jay Perry, has been extremely helpful. He previously owned the same model yacht as ours and did an extensive refit so he gave us some great tips about what maintenance should be carried out while A B Sea was out of the water.

Two things he highly recommended we look at, were the stern gland and the cutlass bearing. Replacing both of those required the removal of the prop shaft which leaves a nice open round hole in the boat. Yep those jobs are best done out of the water.

Looking back, the stern gland could probably have lasted another couple of years, however being the noobs we are, we extracted the prop shaft through it without first removing the key from the end of the shaft and invariably caused damage to the waterproof seal. Getting a replacement stern gland from the UK was a relatively quick process but as one job led to another job, putting the jigsaw puzzle back together was by now becoming a lesson in project management.

The cutlass bearing, which the prop shaft passes through outside of the hull definitely needed replacement. However removing the bearing had us beat after a week of trying and we eventually called in a local guy who had it out in 15 minutes. Lesson learned, always call the guy with the correct tools for the job.

The cutlass bearing saga

If you've been keeping up with our blogs and vlogs recently you'll know of the problems we had getting the cutlass bearing delivered. The courier, ironically called Speedex, took quite some time getting the first bearing to us and then we discovered that the diameter of the bearing was 0.5mm too big.

A second bearing was ordered, which again thanks to Speedex never got delivered and was eventually returned to the UK.

Luckily we had a great guy called Tom at Exalto Bearings UK who understood our plight and did everything within his power to get the second bearing sent back out to us as fast as possible and this time Speedex managed to deliver the bearing to us. It was the perfect size and the local guy had it fitted within 15 minutes. Remember, call the guy with the right tools for the job.

The new exhaust elbow

Once we had the new exhaust mixing elbow in our possession you would think that it would be a simple task of fitting it in place of the old one. Wrong.

With a couple of months of sticky black diesel soot blowing around the engine bay I had a concern that the air intake system might need a good clean. So while we were waiting for the cutlass bearing to finally show up, what better time to remove the air intake from the engine and give it a thorough clean?

Once on the workbench and dismantled, we discovered that we actually had a turbo system. Wow. But it had not been serviced at all by the previous owners and had seized up completely. That took some time to fix especially when you consider we'd never seen one of these systems before let alone taken one apart and put it back together.

After a few days of deep cleaning, head scratching and YouTube research, we managed to get the air intake/turbo/exhaust system rebuilt and functioning. Bloody legends. Snap that baby back onto the engine and move on. Whoa, not so fast there Skippy.

We were still waiting for the cutlass bearing to arrive remember? Until that's in place, we can't install the prop shaft, we can't install the stern gland, we can't reconnect the prop shaft to the gearbox and we can't install the air/turbo/exhaust system.

That's kind of how it goes with boat jobs. Although at first glance they all seem separate, they are inexorably connected.

Antifoul paint

While we were waiting for the arrival of the cutlass bearing we'd taken delivery of our antifoul paint but of course we couldn't apply it as we didn't know when we'd be going back into the water. Also in the months that A B Sea had been standing on the hard we discovered that the maintenance of the keel had been glossed over by the previous owners and the deeper we dug the more issues we found.

Eventually we had to grind back almost 60% of the keel to bare iron. Then following helpful advice and tips from our viewers and subscribers we took all the necessary steps in preparing the keel to the stage where antifoul paint could potentially be applied. If only we knew what date we'd be back in the water and when that cutlass bearing would arrive!

As you'll see in this week's video the cutlass bearing does finally arrive and I'm so overjoyed.

I'll tell you all about what happens next in next week's blog. Until then, stay safe out there.

To watch the video that accompanies this blog click here.

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