Stern Tube

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.

I am so pleased to possess a stern tube greaser
It is beautifully made.

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.

New grease for old.
This job gave me great satisfaction. There is something about 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.

Massive ferry

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.

Thousands of tons of goya on the way to the mainland

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.

The mainsail at 6 knots!

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.

I am pleased that I retired

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5 Responses to Stern Tube

  1. calderi says:

    Looks lovely, watch out for the sun. For some reason, the stern tube is often known as “the stern gland”.
    Can you adjust the position of the main sheet traveller? A mole wrench might be a possibility –

    • I went sailing with Nick from New Zealand who is professional boat racer. He reckons that on gaffers it is never worth having the boom further over than the stern quarter when beating. I don’t know if he is right. I remember the Shrimper had an adjustable traveller which must be there for some reason.
      She did incredibly well pointing into the wind when beating back from Nagannu

      • calderi says:

        I’m sure Nick is right, though might be fun messing about. Bits of ribbon or wool attached to the shrouds make fine wind indicators –

  2. Rachel Claus says:

    And I am happy for you …and for your dancing boat!

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