So much for our theory about the stuffing box being pressed in. The come-along did nothing of the sort, and we decided to see what several rotations would do to budge the stuffing box. Despite being secured down to a gasket with four massive bolts and an abundance of Phillybond, which I’d best describe as day-glo orange MarineTex on steroids, it turns out the stuffing box was actually threaded onto the shaft tube! It took a massive custom-welded wrench, liberal application of WD-40 and 25 full rotations, each involving four repositions of said wrench, within the confines of the engine room to ultimately remove the stuffing box.
And it’s OUT!
And why, you might ask, would we even embark on such a disturbing undertaking to begin with? To replace the inner cutlass bearing, buried deep within this stuffing box. An inner cutlass bearing? Yes. Never heard of that? You’re not alone. And while perhaps it may have been possible to access this particular bearing without removing the stuffing box, no one we spoke with could venture a guess as to how it was installed.
One very worn stern bearing…
The next step is to determine how this bearing is set in, removed and replaced, not to mention finding that replacement. The fun never ends!
The previous stuffing box struggles…
Years ago I began a web site so friends who couldn’t easily download photos could follow and, in some cases, advise me on the restoration of my 18’ Marshall catboat. The years passed and Myra Lee was sold, replaced by Annabel Lee, a 32 Cheoy Lee trawler. I added the blog and branched out to include my writing and other assorted randomness. And I’ve seen a steady flow of readers, both in the small group of people who know me personally and a wide range of strangers coming across my blog while seeking insight on how to repair a damaged keel or hydraulic steering system. But for any of you reading these days, you may have seen a few unusual and somewhat cryptic posts regarding a situation that has left me questioning the benefits and drawbacks to maintaining an online presence.
First off: I’m not involved in any social networks; I’m quite content with my social life just as it is. I’m a fairly private person and I like it that way. But I’ve come to learn that an acquaintance I barely knew and I haven’t seen or spoken to in, by my estimates, over seven years, has suddenly taken to sending me hostile letters. Clearly this person is upset, clearly she has issues with me. She needed a sympathetic, supportive friend, and she wants me to know that I wasn’t. I’m not arguing. The fact is I’m not the chick-flick sort, my preferences lean more towards Zombieland, and that’s a good summary of my interpersonal skills as well.
I realize some people may not like me. She’s not the first to tell me I’m a bad person, she likely won’t be the last. However, there’s not liking me, and then there’s something a bit more troubling. My stats show that she’s followed my blog in what seems an almost obsessive way. It made me question whether being online was prudent. But were I to pull my blog offline tomorrow, that likely wouldn’t end the hang-up calls I receive daily or the strange car I’ve seen on my street some nights, the one that pulls away the moment I switch the outside lights on. True, those may be something else entirely, but after events of the previous weeks I’m beginning to wonder. Either way, now the police are investigating the matter.
Through the internet I’ve reconnected with my childhood best friend as she sails across the globe. We haven’t seen one another in roughly 30 years, but we ‘talk’ almost daily as we go about our lives, oceans apart. And I’ve shared my experiences regarding the finer points of fixing and maintaining an aging Hong Kong trawler with other owners, who offer their insights to me. Which is precisely what I’d like to get back to discussing. That, or the Zombie Apocalypse.
Be advised: I have spoken with the Police and have been instructed to inform you that should you initiate any further contact, be it by E-mail, U.S. Post, phone, text, verbal or any other means, you will be charged with harassment.