Tugboat fix!

Last we left you with the tugboat, the propeller and driveshaft were in a sorry state – they broke in Lock 10, and we managed to piece them back together to get us to Waterford safely.  Now, time to fix the issue correctly.

The problem area
The problem area (photo; Kerry Batdorf)

What happened was the shaft that goes through the hull and drives the propeller became detached at the shaft coupling located between the stuffing box and the thrust/carrying bearing.  Two set screws had sheared off in their dimples and the shaft slid back out of the coupling until the key holding the two shaft sections together fell out and at that point the shaft became completely detached from the engine. The temporary fix for this is detailed in the posts “News Flash,” “Tugboat Update,” “Tugboat End Result,” and “Tugboat Video Summary.”

John Callaghan suggested we contact Ron Bloom at the Van Schaick Marina. Ron recommended we order a set of Clamp-Fit Propeller Shaft Flanges and he would provide someone to install it. The parts were delivered overnight to the Waterford Police Station as we had no address of our own other than “above Erie Lock 2” and we were not about to take any chances with the expedited delivery. This new coupling is massive; it is at least 3 times the weight of the original coupling and it should take more torque than we will ever deliver to it.

Andy Scott, who recently joined our crew for a couple of weeks, disassembled the shaft saver and removed aft coupling in preparation for the new coupling.

George fitting the coupling
George fitting the coupling (photo: Kerry Batdorf)

George and Mel from the Marina came out to the C.L. Churchill, and cut off the stubborn forward coupling.  They then installed the new coupling and adjusted the shaft alignment. We started up the engine and exercised forward and reverse gears several times up to 1000 RPM while still tied up to the cedar trees and bollards on shore. The engine vibration that had recently developed was gone and the new coupling held tight. Now, to test it out on the way to Schuylerville!

Kerry Batdorf
Ship’s Carpenter