Running gear | PassageMaker

Running gear

Running gear for inboard cruising boats is that gear outside of the hull that provides drive and direction. For inboard boats, that includes a portion of the drive shaft that protrudes from the shaft log, struts that hold the shaft in place, the propellers, and the rudders.

Troubleshooter: Understanding Shaft Seals


It’s a simple problem, though not an easy one to solve: How do you allow a 2-inch-diameter propeller shaft to penetrate through the bottom of your hull, give it enough freedom to spin over 1,000 times a minute, yet not allow water to pass through…

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The Nuts and Bolts of Propellers: Part 2

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In Part One of this two-part series, we discussed propeller terminology and selection. In this second and final part of the series, we’ll take a close look at some specific propeller problems and solutions, as well as computerized propeller scanning and repair.

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The Nuts and Bolts of Propellers: Part 1


The course propellers take as they spin their way through the history of seafaring—and of mankind in general-is an interesting one, indeed. In 1836, a Swede named John Ericsson and an Englishman named Francis Petit Smith simultaneously filed the first “screw propeller” patents. Ericsson’s prop-ahead…

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Proper Windlass Selection and Installation Tips


When it comes to deck gear, electric and hydraulic anchor windlasses are considered critical and necessary by most cruisers. Most would choose to not get underway if their windlass isn’t working properly, and wisely so. Being able to set, and retrieve, ground tackle is one…

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The Get-Home System: Do You Need One And What Are The Options?

Several years ago, PMM’s then-editor, Bill Parlatore, and I contemplated and eventually undertook a passage from Chesapeake Bay to Bermuda aboard a 30-foot single-screw trawler. As one might imagine, a great deal of discussion was had by all parties involved on the subject of the…

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Conventional Stuffing Box Wisdom

Stuffing boxes are ubiquitous. There’s at least one on every inboard-powered vessel, and two if you count those used on most rudders. The traditional design, the type that relies on rings of waxed flax packing material, has been around for hundreds of years, having first…

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A Keel Cooler Retrofit

Usually associated with long distance passagemaking, keel cooling remains a viable alternative for reliable diesel engine operation. Rather than pumping raw water into your boat to cool down the engine through a heat exchanger, as is the common practice on many cruising powerboats, a keel…

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Bitten By A Wildcat

We had just finished the 190-mile crossing of the Sea of Cortez from Mazatlan, Mexico, to Bahia de Los Muertos (Bay of the Dead, in Spanish). In spite of the name, Los Muertos is a beautiful anchorage, located 100 miles above the southern tip of…

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Dripless Shaft Seals

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As an operator of a TowBoatU.S. rescue and towing boat, I have responded over the last four or five years to a surprising number of assistance calls from boats that were sinking because a dripless shaft seal had failed and caused flooding. The use of…

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Antifouling TLC For Your Running Gear

Few, if any, components aboard your vessel are as important as the running gear—that train of rotating parts between the propeller nuts and the transmission. While it hasn’t yet been perfected, the basic design is over a century old and few mysteries remain where its…

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