Seven Eleven and I’m in Sailors heaven

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 11th, 2011

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So, at last I was off at 8.45. After about 15 minutes on the way I checked the stuffing box because of the problems I had after I was afloat again. I had steadely tightened the nut on the packing gland in the days prior. But now it turned out that I had overdone it and the stuffing box and shaft were very hot. So,  I loosened it up some but that was not bringing the temperature down much. In hindsight I should have put new packing in the gland.  For the veteran followers on the “Lisa” list, you might remember the emergency I had for the North Coast of Sulawesi in 2006. When the rubber tubing of the stuffing box had broken open. I replaced the entire stuffing box with an American 25mm stuffing box. Last April I found the right size gland for the old 25 mm stuffing box, which fits the shaft much better. And I did not bother to replace the packing because it looked in good shape.

I do have extra packing with me and I decided to try and replace it at the pontoon of the Border Patrol/Capitania in Giurgiu but after trying to tie up at two different pontoons, that they could have had available but turned out to be occupied or cut off by mooring lines of a cruise ship, I told them that  was going back across the river to Rouse. So, I am now at the local Yacht Club. I managed to just fit in their visitors slip but have about an inch under the keel. The marina manager, Boiko (?), helped me get cleared in because it could have got a little dicey since my paperwork had become a bit convoluted with the game (?) the Zimnicea border patrol played with my patience.

I tried to replace the packing. But it turns out that is not an option in the water because I will have to remove the packing gland all together and pull the shaft. But I might just have struck another stroke of my, near legendary, luck because the crane you see in the background of the Rousse picture can lift me for Euro 50 an hour and it can step my mast….  Because the Danube level is unusual low I can clear the last two or three bridges before I enter the Black Sea. So, I’ll probably be here a couple days and then I can sail the last 500 k.m. of the Danube. That will be so much more peaceful than the engine. The floating crane where I was the last three days could also have stepped my mast, oh well, next time. There were a couple of spots today where I had but a few inches under the keel. I saw loaded barges, anchored ahead of these shallows, waiting for higher water. A dredge had cut off my vieuw of one channel marker and I went hard aground on the wrong side of the dredge. The boat started tilting on its side but somehow I got off with little pride lost, but probably a smidge off the new bottom paint.

Any one reading this that can council me on the proper temperature of the packing glands.  Is it normal for the water dripping from the packing, the shaft and the rubber stuffing box gland to be hot? I just do not think this is normal but I do not recollect how it was before.

Rousse looks like a very pleasant city. I will have more to show and tell tomorrow.



3 Comments so far ↓

  1. Matthias Klemm says:

    The stuffing box should be warm but not hot. You might have some gouges in the shaft and that’s why you can’t get the stuffing box adjusted properly. You can shorten or lengthen the rubber hose that holds the stuffing box so it will ride on a better part of the shaft. If that is not possible you should pull the shaft and have it looked at. They might be able to turn it down some but if the gouges are to deep you’ll need a new shaft.

  2. Hilmi Baran says:

    Hi Jack, I am sorry to hear that you are having problem with your stuffing box. With the stuffing box is that it must be allowed to drip very slightly to ensure that the packing remains moist.This requires not over tightening the assembly, as a stuffing box that does not drip is running dry and will need replacing more often. Perhaps more serious is the fact that a dry running stuffing box inevitably cause wear on the propeller shaft because of the friction between the metal shaft and dry packing. This wear may prevent a proper seal from being created even when the stuffing box is replaced. Ultimately this leads to the propeller shaft having to be replaced. I will be in Turkey On September 8th. If you need anything from Gig Harbor or Seattle let me know. Good Luck with everything. Happy, safe sailing. Hilmi..

  3. Sean McDonnell says:

    Jack, our shaft stuffing boxes are designed to leak, and shouldn’t be hot to the touch. Granted, its a much more complicated and larger system, but i think the same principle applies. If it overheats, it will damage the shaft or seize, or worse, the packing will blow out.

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