What’s wrong with this picture?

Posted: July 15, 2012 in Chris Craft boats

If you said “There’s water in your boat”, that would be correct, but not the answer we’re looking for, and not a problem anyway.  If you said, “Your lines aren’t stowed properly”, that would technically correct too, but again, not what we’re looking for.

If you said, “Brian, isn’t the prop shaft supposed to be connected to the coupler at the back of the transmission?”, DING, DING, DING!  We have a winner folks!

While out with the boat earlier this afternoon, I’d anchored of a sandbar and went swimming with my unwilling partner, Ari, our Jack Russel/Beagle dog.  When we pulled away, I heard what initially I thought was the prop hitting a rock (it was shallow, but not that shallow), and I immediately threw it neutral.  Determining the water was indeed deep enough not to hit the stoney bottom, I put it back in gear, and nothing happened.

Peeking under the engine box revealed the problem instantly.  The prop shaft had slid out of the coupler, the “thunk” noise was the prop hitting the rudder.  Happily, by the time it got to that point, it was no longer driven, having slid completely out, and no damage was done. 

I thought I’d be able, with the help of  the Leatherman tool in the boat bag, to loosen the bolts on the coupler intended as pins to keep the shaft from doing what it did, but nope.  The Leatherman tool is good for giving a guy the false comfort that, like McGyver, he can fix anything, anywhere, with only what’s at hand, but it turns out a tool roll is a much better.  The Leatherman IS good for opening bottles of Bells Oberon if the opener isn’t in the boat, but that’s about it.

I got a tow back to the boat launch from a couple also anchored on the and bar with a pontoon.  It was nice of them, but the guy insisted on trying to tow me at WOT, which did not  make us go any faster, but did make the bow of the Chris dig down and pull harder.  So  hard, it tore a cleat out of the deck in fact.  I kept signalling them to slow down, and he would for a moment, then he’d crank it right back up.  Figuring he meant well, but didn’t know he was just burning more fuel than he needed, I gave up and stopped signalling.  The bow chock is a standard Perko item I can replace at the Marina, and the holes I’ll fill with sawdust and epoxy and just replace it, no big deal.

Once home, with proper tools, I quickly put it back together after grinding a couple of flats in the stainless shaft with my 4″ grinder and new wheel.  We’re now ready to go boating this evening, and I’ll have the tool roll from the wagon in the boat this time. 

Oh, and be carefull with power tools, they will bite…







  1. JBurt says:

    Back when I was building boats, I always used a safety collar on the shaft. Set it about 1/2″ – 1/4 ” in front of the shaft log seal. It will keep it from sliding back into the rudder If it were to come loose at speed it could do some damage. Dimple the shaft and loctite for the setscrews for added security. I put a collar on the rudder shaft also. They are required for racing and cheap insurance.

    • flynbrian48 says:

      That’s good advice. I thought of that when I was putting back together this afternoon, but lacking a collar, and having it back together, I though simply taking a stainless hose clamp and using it would work too. A friend lost the rudder from his boat, it snapped off at the base of the rudder log, the steering arm was still in place, the upper half of the rudder shaft turned fine, they couldn’t figure out why the boat wouldn’t steer!

  2. Karin says:

    ouch on the grinder accident! Were you wearing gloves? We *always* wear gloves and I know that’s saved hubby’s hands *many* times and mine a time or two also!

  3. flynbrian48 says:

    Karin, Obviously, no! It does’t hurt. Much…

  4. Ray Coleman says:

    OUCH!!………….it bites!

    admire your “take it in stride” attitude………but, really, what choice does one actually have ……lol

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