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s/v Code Blue – Problems in the Mazatlan Channel January 15, 2013

Posted by steveandjudy in Code Blue 2013.
Mermaid and Dolphin statue on the malecon of La Paz,

Mermaid and Dolphin statue on the malecon of La Paz,

Code Blue Followers: 1-15-13

From La Paz we were coming in the channel here at Mazatlan under power on Monday 1-7 and a dredger was in the channel so Judy had to take it out of gear for a bit during our passage of the last part of the dredger. When she put the lever back in gear and rev’d it up some, nothing happened for moving forward. Took it out and put it back in several times. With current going out and we were going backwards with the current, we used a boat hook to push off from the dredger and help from a worker pushing off. I tried dropping one of anchors but on the port side our jackline was blocking the Rocna 55 from getting loose on the cleat.

On the starboard side, the Lighthouse chain holder was bent some and would not come loose by hand to drop our Ultra 60, so headed to my tool bag. Finally got towed by a panga right away that was part of the work crew for the dredger, to El Cid Marina dock nearby. There we tried several times in forward and reverse to no avail. I thought maybe the prop had fallen off or linkage problems. Took a quick dive and the feathering Hydroalign prop was still attached to the shaft. Oh thank you King Neptune for not having it drop in the channel. I took a look at the linkage location at the tranny and things seemed to be secure and working properly. Finally the many shifting attempts worked in reverse, then forward. We took the dinghy off the bow, inflated and put the motor on it. Put it in the water and set up for towing to our dock just in case. No problems from that point to our dock about a mile away. I got several recommendations from other boaters to have Total Yacht Works very nearby take a look at it. I talked to Bob the Canadian owner, he sent Rafael his partner over the next day Tuesday 1-8-13 at about 9:30am. He did some tests at the dock and said the tranny needed to come out to inspect what the problems were. By 10:30am it was on the way over to the boat yard by dinghy. I stopped by at 12:30pm and the tranny was all torn apart and he showed me the parts that were worn and didn’t look good. Then he said it might be cheaper to replace the tranny than rebuild it, he thought about $2500 US as a guess. Just got an email and now working on a quote, but thinks now about twice as much. Finally, on Friday he gave me a verbal quote of $4500 for a used tranny with a 90 day warranty or a new one from Yanmar was $5000 with a two year warranty.

Mostly have had my original Michigan fixed prop on it. For a year of actual use and now cruising have had a 3 blade aperture ‘A” model Hydralign feathering prop ( www.hydralignprop.com ) from Australia. Much like a Max Prop.

I used Amsoil 20 W synthetic. Oil was always clear when changed. When sailing we would put it into gear to keep the prop from rotating, usually reverse. He showed me the dampener also that needs replacing. I’ve had the boat since new. Amsoil synthetic has a higher rating than most other oils.

A fellow Caliber owner sent me an advisory from Yanmar:
For the record, Yanmar recommends keeping the tranny in neutral when sailing. In fact, they will not honor the warranty if you try to lock the prop by keeping it in gear. The only way you should be locking the shaft is with a shaft brake.

Advisory Number: MSA08-003:

DATE February 8, 2008 Dealers and OEMs
TO: All Marine Distributors
SUBJECT: Gear in Neutral While Sailing All MODELS:

All Sailboat Engines

We continue to get questions regarding the correct gear position while sailing with the engine OFF. This advisory is issued as a reminder; Yanmar requires that if sailing with the engine OFF (not running) the transmission shifter must be in the neutral position or internal damage to the gear or sail-drive will result. This damage will not be covered by Yanmar’s Limited Warranty. Please instruct customers and dealers who deliver the sailboat to the customer, of the correct (Neutral) position for the marine gear while sailing.

If the customer desires that the propeller shaft not spin while sailing, either a folding propeller, shaft break, or other suitable device may be used. However, Yanmar accepts no responsibility for the selection, installation, or operation of such devices. Please also refer to Marine service advisory “MSA07-001_Yanmar Sail Drive Propeller Selection” for additional information.

If you have any questions regarding this advisory please contact a Customer Support Representative.

A Yanmar dealer in Seattle quotes a new gear is $4127.32, a new dampener drive plate is $255.36, both are in stock in Georgia at the warehouse. Of course this doesn’t include shipping or maybe customs. The gear with faster freight would cost $4385.29. We paid for a TIP (Temporary Import Permit) when we checked in at Ensenada, MX. This is only good for repair or replacement of parts. I’m not sure how much hassle with the government is involved when you really do need to use it. I’ve checked with Harbormaster office as to using the TIP paperwork. We need serial numbers, models and part names that I just got from the dealer.
Just got an email from a dealer and one of their suppliers has a Take Off for $2000, but they are a 2.33 to 1 ratio. Mine is a 2.64 to 1 ratio. This is only an 11 to 13% change depending on which way you measure it. Warranty would be 1 year. A prop shop is telling me they can re-pitch the Michigan fixed prop. He can give me more info on Monday 1-14 as he left early on Friday. My feathering prop can easily be revised by taking it off the shaft by someone who knows how. I’ve just never done it. Presently both are set at 17 x 14 Right. My guess would be to go to 17 x 12.5 pitch at this point. This $2000 gear seems like a decent option. A prop shop is recommending going to 11.5 pitch, which is about an 18% change instead of the 11% change I figure from 14 to 12.5 pitch. I’ve asked for a further explanation. But only $150 to change the fixed prop. I’ll set the Hydralign and see how we do first.

Take Offs are when a supplier has say 20 motor assemblies shipped in bulk to the US from Japan. Sometimes only a motor is needed so they Take Off the parts not needed such as a gear transmission. So far as known only 2.33 to 1 ratio Take Offs are available.

Rafael finally got back to me on Friday 1-11 when I visited the shop, a used gear would be $4500 with a 90 day warranty. A new one would be $5000 with a 2 year factory warranty both would be the 2.64 to 1 ratio. They didn’t know of any Take Offs available, or even what Take Offs were.

Now I notice a very small leak that might be coming from the cutlass bearing shaft strut to hull connection. This connection is under a bunch of golf cart batteries, wood platform and or inverter with wire connections. So lots of work to get access and see. Maybe a haul out to fix. Lovely. Winds are in the 15 kts plus bracket and and the port is closed due to high waves. Calmer on Thursday they say and hotter in the 80’s F. Now in the low 70’s and windy except in the mornings. Just had some friends stay with us in a condo for a week. They were going to sail with us to Puerta Vallarta for another weeks stay there that was already planned, but now they took a bus as we can’t move the boat very well with the motor/gear problem.

We missed the dredge and went by the first time

We missed the dredge and went by the first time

Went by the pipes then current took us back but able to push off

Went by the pipes then current took us back but able to push off

One of the transmission parts that is worn

One of the transmission parts that is worn

Picture of the transmission gears and parts on each side of the box

Picture of the transmission gears and parts on each side of the box

Boat Guy - statue in La Paz

Boat Guy – statue in La Paz

fruit stand in main Market of Mazatlan.

fruit stand in main Market of Mazatlan.

Steve and Judy

s/v Code Blue



1. mike schuster - January 15, 2013

Think how lucky that this didn’t happen in the middle of the Pacific!

2. Jim McCarthy - January 15, 2013

The take off will be your best option in my opinion and keep the other gear to be assembled later by yourself. I would try a 17X13 inch pitch with your existing Hydralign prop as the additional pitch will reslult in better milage as the engine won’t be used in full throttle very much anyway. Remember the engine will only be used when needed and the additional pitch can be changed back if it presents a problem.

3. Chris cowman - January 23, 2013

It goes back to my advise for anyone going off shore. Take every off your boat and disassemble it then reverse the process. Because you will do it during the course of your travels. Great to see you are doing well. Off to see Brian in Thailand next month

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