Duplicat's Diary

Jobs you wish you hadn’t started
by Rick at 07:09:43, 2022-05-25 (day 2943)

For a while, I’ve had a couple of clutches (rope jammers) that were showing signs of failing. They were both failing in the same way - the sides were breaking above the hinge pin. Clearly the failure case as this is where the load gets applied. Spin lock no longer make these clutches but they do make an updated model which has the same bolt pattern (easy, no drilling!).

So dodging the rain, a bit of a hike got us to a chandlery and by luck they had what we needed in stock. So back to the boat and let the fun commence. Because its on a boat, the access to the back to get to the nuts is never easy. For the traveller clutch, we are lucky that I’d previously fitted an inspection hatch to allow me to service the winches (which where otherwise impossible to remove). However, the clutch sits directly over a bulkhead, into which a slot had been cut to allow access to the winch nuts. We got it off easily, sat the replacement down but could we get the nuts back on the bolts? Nope. Privilege, in their stupidity, had taken an angle grinder to the bolts to shorten them and damaged the threads. So coupled with working blind, with an arm into a narrow hatch and then a good way inside, and the bulkhead restricting finger movement, it was quite a sod to do.

The second one would be easier - its on the side. Headlining in Peter’s cabin removed, we could get relatively easy access to the nuts (but standing on some furniture to get high enough). Had to remove some errant fibreglass to get access to some - but soon enough that was free too. I replaced this double clutch with a single as we never use the second run. Fitting the new one was a bit easier, though the bolts had once again been crudely shortened. That was totally unnecessary here, as there was lots of room. In fact, these were even more damaged than the aft ones - so it took a lot of effort above my head to get the nuts started on the threads. Then of course there were holes to make good where the second clutch had been. So out with the epoxy, mixed up some with added fibres, and put it in the holes with some shaping. Clean up, and then this morning I finished it off with some gelcoat.

So what would have been a few minutes turned into an entire afternoon’s event with lots of cursing of people who cut bolts when its not necessary. However, its another good job off the list. The new clutches are lovely with a slightly different design of spring loaded jaws, rather than the clutch arm taking the load (and thus the sides failing).

Paperwork to leave completed, so tomorrow’s forecast will decide if Saturday is go. It looks like it will be. We’ve contacted the Fijian authorities, so things are moving. And to top it all the sun came out today for a good period.