Monday, 25 August 2008

Day Twenty-Four - Plucky Duck

Osterley - Hanwell

Grand Union

FINALLY- 1 mile!

In which the
Duck is fixed!

Today we woke up despondent, but hopeful that we would, with the help of James' dad, a socket set, some large spanners, and a good helping of determination fix the Duck's prop shaft issues.

The culprit

A diagram James made showing the various components

We knew that in order to get anywhere with the coupling, we would have to remove it, clean it up, and retap it. And looking at it, we also realised that this wouldn't be possible without moving the engine itself forwards slightly. So, the first thing was to mark the position of the engine and check all the connections were flexible enough to move an inch or so. The bolts holding the engine in place were mostly accessible but a few required contortionist gymnastics from James and/or a long socket set. (James' dad went over to the nearest Wickes in order to get an extension piece for the socket set)

Once it was free, two long steel bars acting as levers were quite adequate to move the engine an inch forwards, and then it was possible to remove the coupling and get a good look at it.

Essentially it was fine, so we cleaned it up and retapped the threads. One of the holes still had a broken tap stuck in it from when they were first drilled, giving us three holes to work with. The shaft was the next issue, since it had manage to slip backwards about an inch. It has one deep hole and two dimples, and with a ground anchor in one of them acting as a lever James was able to move it back into place. The one deep hole was the one we needed to get a grub screw into, with two others in the dimples as far as they would go. This required a careful realignment of engine, coupling and prop shaft, which took at least five attempts.

But now, all is bolted back together and a trial cruise with some real load in both forward and reverse seems to prove that everything is as it should be. We are extremely grateful to James' dad, who gave us his entire Bank Holiday Monday to help us - I was only really required to make tea and provide food for James and Kevin while they were hard at work, and spent a lot of the day learning to bake bread, which was quite sucessful, even without a set of scales. I gave one of my loaves to Kevin by way of a thankyou.


  1. Well done Guy's. Glad to know you're on the move again. Eventually the water runs out and the toilet overflows (but that will be when you're iced in!). Welcome to the darker side of boating.

  2. I told you that solution was out there! Well done. See you in Ramsey.


  3. Good to read you are back, will lookout for you at Cowroast.
    great blog