A Proper Prop

No wind or rain today! Here’s a chance for the Captain to put the troller on the grid and exchange the old prop for a new one while the tide is out.

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He’ll have to work fast before that water rises again and floats the boat. As soon as the tide has dropped enough to give him a working surface on the grid, he begins.

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The old prop needs to be pulled off, but that isn’t so easy. Nor should it be. It’s meant to be on there good and tight. Not something you want to have wobbling on the shaft or twirling right off the shaft and whooshing away into the deep. It’s hard work but the wheel puller (fishermen often call the prop a wheel) that he puts around the propeller puts physics to work and with a bit of elbow grease and a few grunts, the old prop pops loose.

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This boat is going nowhere until the new propeller is put on. You can see the gadget that helped pull off the old prop lying on the ground next to blue kneeling pad. The propane bottle on the left was used to heat and expand the hub of the propeller, making it easier to release it from its tight fit on the shaft. Like holding a stubborn jar lid under hot water to make it easier to open.

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The new propeller is placed on the shaft. It’s a bit like changing a tire only harder work. The blocks of wood under the bottom blade will stop the prop from wanting to turn as the wheel nut is tightened to hold it in place.

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Whew! That was hard work. The Captain drops the pipe wrench on the ground while he stretches his legs and gives his arms and shoulders a rest. But OH! Look at the back of his coveralls. Which washing machine will want that mess in its tub? Bottom-of-the-boat scunge and copper paint. So much fun for Ahab’s wife.

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The annual spring cleanup of the hull of the boat is yet to come. A proper shipyard will be needed for that job. For now, Ahab’s wife will try to enjoy how shiny the new propeller is and forget about how grungy her Captain looks after a hard day’s work.

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40 thoughts on “A Proper Prop

  1. But, wait — where are all the barnacles? Where’s the first step, where you use a scraper to get rid of those so you can get the prop puller in place? Welcome to another difference between your waters and ours. We can put a clean prop in the water and have barnacles on it in a month. There’s a reason so many divers make good money just cleaning props in the water — on a regular schedule.

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    • This is a new prop. The old one has done 38 years and will be the spare now. And the scraping of the bottom will happen in a haulout in the shipyard where the boat will be on dry land 24/7 and all the scraping, painting, and zinc replacement will be done. I may have a post about that somewhere. If I find it I’ll add it here in the comments.

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  2. Thanks for the story, Anneli. I enjoyed reading it. It’s always good to have a place with tides high enough to let a boat fall dry to work at it below the water line. I remember an incident in my former sailing-life when we had to get our rudder repaired in Hartlepool in the north of England.
    I can feel with the captain, though, for his hard work. But work well done!
    Have a great wweekend,
    Pit

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad he’s doing that job and not me. I imagine the prop isn’t the lightest thing around either, but that’s a job I would want to do myself instead of trusting someone else to get it done right and on tight!

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    • It really is quite heavy. Heavier than it looks. But the old prop has been on the boat since day one. It’s still good but the new one is heavier (thicker) and doesn’t have 38 years of wear on it. The Captain has had all those years of learning how to do “boat things.” When he was in his 20s he learned everything from the ground up, by watching, asking, trying, being resourceful, and doing every possible repair job there was on his first old boat – and his first boat had a lot that needed repairing. So he had to learn. He’s very capable and confident now.

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  4. This kind of talk is what doomed my son. His school always took the 3rd graders for a sleepover on a ship. His year, they told the kids to volunteer for stuff. Then they kind of slipped in the sailor talk for the toilet but son as usual wasn’t paying attention but was goofing around. So when they asked who wanted to clean the toilet (I can’t remember the phrase ???), he excitedly raised his hand. hahaha

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  5. Whether it’s a boat or an RV, regular maintenance seems to be a common thread. Weather and water sure do take their toll. Tides always fascinate me. Along the Texas coast it changes only by about a foot.

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  6. Wow, that really is hard work. Does the captain like doing it? I know my husband likes to do things himself. He likes getting his hands dirty (or overalls in your case), but hiring someone sounds good to me. I’m lazy though. 😛

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    • He does hire people to do the jobs he can’t do, or if it’s very heavy work and he needs a second person (and Ahab’s wife has refused) then he’ll get someone to help with the “bull work.” I’m learning how to say no (gently) and suggest that he get someone younger and stronger to help. He must enjoy this kind of work in a strange way, as it’s all part of commercial fishing (which he loves).

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  7. This was very hard work and so glad he is still able to accomplish such important repairs and maintenance of your boat. I think I have asked this before, but do you call this boat a “troller” but some here in U.S. call it a “trawler?” Just wondering and I will pay attention to your answer this time, Anneli.
    That grease and gunk would have to go in a basement sink to soak in my “world” when I had a house and a basement sink by the washer and dryer. I would make him take it off at the door, handing him a robe or something like a towel. This really is tough life but the Captain is amazing, as is Ahab’s wife! Hugs to her for sharing the story! 🙂

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    • A troller is different from a trawler. A troller fishes single hooks, several to each steel line that comes from the trolling poles. A trawler drags the bottom of the ocean with a big net. Trolling is more like angling, while trawling is like mopping the floor.

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      • Sorry, I am sure you wondered about my memory since this might have been the second time I asked, Anneli. 🙂 Thanks for answering this. It makes sense.
        I did pay attention to the really nice lines of the boat and the work being done. The day with sunny, pretty blue sky created a beautiful photograph with a perfect water reflection. I would blow this up and frame it, Anneli!

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  8. My sister and I used to sail about with our father. He loved the sea. I recall heading to the Marina to polish and shine the boat. It was expected- all hands on deck. We grew up spending weekends on the waterfront or cannery wharves. Lovely post.

    Liked by 1 person

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