We’re back in the water. Third time was the charm. New seals were ordered on Day 25, installed Day 26, and we were launched at 10am on Day 27. This time without any leaks. Looking back, Day 27 was the end of our last painfully long haulout.
With the seals replaced we can say without exception that everything in the engine rooms is new. That feels good. I could have saved myself a bunch of time, money, and stress if I’d just planned to replace the seals from the beginning.
But now that’s over and the engines feel fantastic. Four cylinders, freshly straightened shafts, new motor mounts, and a good alignment make such a big difference over the old engines. Ben wouldn’t let me run them hard, but I did talk him into a quick sprint to the turning basin and back. He wants the boat to settle for a few days so he can fine-tune the alignment before we really break them in. But I was dying to know two things: can we get the full RPMs, and can we get hull speed?
The initial answer to both questions is “no”, which has me a little bit miffed. Being able to get full RPMs is the primary measure that engine manufacturers use to determine if an installation is “healthy”. But there’s still hope. The new cutless bearings will loosen up over time and allow the shafts to spin more freely, and maybe the break-in process will help. We’re only about 500 RPM short. There’s also a chance that our throttle cable is just a tad too long and we’re not actually getting to full throttle.
For speed, I think we’re about a knot-and-a-half below where the calculators say we should be. We were hoping for 9, but are only getting about 7.5. The difference is probably some combination of the RPM issue, the down-angle of our shafts, and the fact that Max-Props are more about sailing efficiency than motoring performance. Taking all that into account, we’re probably faster than we should be, maybe because of our sweet underwater shape or because the scale on Billy’s Travel Lift says we’re heavier than we really are.
In any event, its way better than it used to be, and we’re happy to be back in the water.