Our problem child…

When we disassembled our jib furler, we found it had a few problems. Some easy to fix, others less so. The primary problem was that a small amount of water had gotten inside. Which corroded a bearing, which “spontaneously disassembled,” which jammed everything up.

We have ordered new bearings, and they will be here in a day or so. But we have two problems that I don’t have the tools or expertise to work out on my own. The water leaked in past a seal because the aluminum shaft had developed enough of a groove that the lip seal no longer, well, sealed. So we need to have a new piece made. I spent this morning today with the owner M Yachting based here at Jabin’s working out a solution. It’s expensive, but still a fraction of replacement would be.

We need to order some parts, machine them to fit, and then send them out to be anodized. Nothing complex or difficult, but… time will be taken. At least 2 weeks turnaround. While they have that project, they also need to get out the races from the failed bearing. Sooooo… we’ll be here until at least the middle of June getting all the bits back together.

Over all, I have to say over the last couple of months I have learned far more about the internal workings of this part of the boat that I really ever wanted to know!

In the spirit of making the best lemonade we can, we have started looking at projects to do in what would be otherwise idle time.

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9 Responses to Stuck!

  1. Andy says:

    Sorry to hear that, Bill. You will be an EXPERT shortly. Still sailing here too!


  2. Nicky & Tom Murphy says:

    So sorry to hear this. 😥 We snapped our Genoa furling line last weekend. Not fun. Barring any unexpected discoveries when it’s replaced and the furler is inspected this week, would you like to join Tom and me for a day sail out of HHN on Take A Bow this weekend?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sykerpa says:

    Sorry to hear that, hope it work out fine and not to costly.
    We are in Bermuda with a broken head-sail top Swivel, just got a new one yesterday so hope I can mount it today. This fall we will replace the standing rigging and have all our furling gears serviced. hopefully I can learn how to do it myself in the future. Which I had your skill fixing things.
    Paul and Kerstin

    Liked by 1 person

  4. James says:

    Bill, Sorry to hear about the jib furler failure. Is your gearbox full of oil or grease? I am wondering how to best insure that the top bearing stays well lubricated? I filled the gearbox on our jib furler with the Variprop specialty Lithium grease, not sure if that is the best option or not. I think that we have a stainless output shaft on Sueno. Whenever the boat is sitting I wipe a bead of white lithium on the outside of the top shaft seal and cover the assembly, hopefully it helps. Best of luck to you! James

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill Kinney says:


      Thanks for the thoughts! My gearbox isn’t really “full” either way. I disassemble it routinely (every 2 years) and clean out old grease and manually repack the bearings and seals with new grease, very much like servicing old fashioned automotive wheel bearings before they came lubricated “for life.”

      In our case, the upper lip seal had worn enough of a groove in the upper output shaft (Probably from dried salt abrasion) that the seal just didn’t seal any longer. The resulting 10 ml of salt water was the problem. Having some “extra” grease on the outside of the seal might have helped keep the seal cleaner and more lubricated, but it wouldn’t do done more than slow down the leak after the shaft was scored. If I had been on the ball, I would have noticed the scored shaft when I last had it apart 6 months ago, and fixed it before it leaked. Live and learn! With a new metal surface, and a new seal, it should be good to go.

      The bearing that failed, was the bottom bearing on the worm shaft, the one that sat in a tiny little puddle of salt water at the lowest point in the housing. The bearing cages failed, and the rollers fell out. When I first opened the housing, I was wondering where all these little “pins” had come from.

      I am very much not a fan of what seems to have become standard practice with Amel owners of putting zerk fittings on the gearboxes and pumping them absolutely full of grease, and calling that “good.” Grease is not “forever.” It dries out and needs to be renewed. Just pumping new grease in does not displace the old dried grease from inside the bearings and seals. Anybody who has ever taken a winch apart for service has to have seen that you can’t just slather new grease on top of old, forever!

      The endless argument about which is “better” oil or grease I really don’t think matters. Both work and provide adequate lubrication. The key if using oil is that it has to be kept full enough that all the moving parts a least get a dip into it.

      Once the new parts are ready, it should be good to go. All the other parts are in fine shape. Some wear on the main bronze gear, but it should be good for another 10 years!


      Liked by 1 person

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