The propeller shaft passes through the stern tube and in the stern tube there are bearings that allow the shaft to spin freely, er I think. The tube has to be packed with grease. To do so, I use one of my favorite systems on the boat, the stern tube greaser. It is very Victorian article made of brass which, when you turn the handle on top, forces grease through a pipe into the stern tube.
The cylinder only contains a tiny amount of grease that is probably 20 or more years old. I take great pleasure in refilling the tube with brand new grease.
Safe in the knowledge that my my stern tube greaser is in tip top condition, I go for a wonderful sail. Nagannu Island is the biggest of a collection of sand islands that lie about half way between the Kerama Islands and Okinawa. This is my destination. It is a glorious day, blue, blue and 30 degrees.
On the way out the wind is light but all the same we manage a steady 3 knots. There are quite big swells but the Norfolk Gypsy is in no way concerned. The only things that concern me are the huge cargo ships and ferries that thunder up and down the main shipping lane off Okinawa.
When you see them approaching, it seems inevitable that they will smash right into you but by the time you get close they always seem to miss.
It takes about 2 1/2 hours to get to Nagannu and there the wind says goodbye and we flop around for a while. Expecting a long slow journey home I turn around and head back to Okinawa. Immediately the wind gets up, the sea gets up and off we go. The wind has turned and is now blowing pretty much from where we want to get to. I expect several tacks, but to my delight, the Norfolk Gypsy points much better into the wind that I had anticipated and we hurtle across at 5 to 6 knots. It is an exhilarating sail and the stuff that I have dreamed of for the last couple of years of restoration.
It takes 1 hour 15 minutes to get back to the bouys at the entrance of Ginowan Marina. There, mysteriously, the wind disappears and I fire up the mighty Yanmar 1GM. What joy to have reliable and reasonably powerful engine to take you home.
A wonderful day at sea. This is October. Notice the flag in the video to see how close she is sailing to the wind, I mean for those sailors amongst you.