2012, April 20th. Making it right with the stuffing box.

So I installed the wrong size of packing into our stuffing box during our drive train re-build. I knew something was wrong when I had to build a tool to cram the 1/4″ stuffing into the box and banged it down in there with a hammer.
In my own defense I’ve read the following tutorial on stuffing boxes several times and got the idea for the ‘cramming’ tool from this website: Maine Sail tutorial.

I used some small diameter PVC pipe to make a ram and used a torch to heat up the PVC to bend it into shape (as suggested somewhere on page 3 in the link).
Today I extracted the three rings of 1/4″ GFO packing I recently put in as our stuffing box has been running a bit hot. The best extraction tool turned out to be a 2″ coarse threaded drywall screw. It took some time to get the old stuff out but it was easy to put in the correct size packing. The packing nut was easy to engage even with 4 rings of 3/16″ packing in there.
The new shaft and cutless bearing sound much quieter then our old set up while underway at around 1600 rpms.
Next up, fine tune stuffing box, check engine alignment and enjoy some sailing while racing nearly every week.

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2 Responses to 2012, April 20th. Making it right with the stuffing box.

  1. Freddie says:

    Hey Caleb,
    Speaking of stuffing boxes, gotta tell you a story of mine on my T27. We launched last week and everything for most part went smooth (except for the fact I forgot my sails at home and the hauler broke my VHF antenna)…We went out to the temporary mooring to leave it there until I can get someone to help me bring her to her home mooring…So I had checked all water entries earlier and everything was dry…That is until right before we left where the rigger asked: “did you check the stuffing box?”. Did not even think about it, and I researched the topic a ton this past winter! sure enough it was dripping pretty damn good…about 100 drips per minute…So now I’m freaking out cause I was hungry, tired, nervous, emotional, all of the above about the launch! So, I called one of the guys from the Mattapoisett boatyard and the guy explained not to worry since the stuffing will expand as my boat had been sitting on the hard longer than usual…He went to check it out that evening and noticed it had slowed down to about 1 drip every 4 seconds…I was relieved but the whole night, in the back of my head, i kept thinking the boat would sink…So after very little sleep thinking I would wake up and drive to her only to see the she would be under, I went to the hardware store and bought me the proper wrench to take care of the leaking…When I got there she was there just happy as can be and more importantly, she did not sink! lol…Although I did not go anywhere that day while on the boat, I was extremely satisfied just doing small stuff like tightening the stuffing box just enough to still drip for proper lube/cooling, installing my stereo system, and just hanging out on my boat for the first time on a beautiful day on the water. It was awesome! Let me know when you’re ready to make a trip up here!

    • Caleb says:

      Hi Freddie,
      Glad you’ve got your T27 in the water.
      Been there and done that with the stuffing box nearly sinking our boat once years ago. Sorry to hear that the stuffing box issue made you lose some sleep but this indicates that you will be a very diligent boat owner, which is good. As long as that stuffing box is only dripping and not spurting (never seen this happen even with the stuffing box nuts undone) it can take a good few days to allow enough water in the boat to create major problems. In our case, we neglected the boat for a few weeks and upon return found about 6″ of water above the cabin sole (floor). There were several bad ramifications of this incident of neglect (dead batteries, water in engine oil etc) that we eventually managed to remedy and learn from.
      As for just hanging about on your own boat at a mooring I can honestly say that it is the best! It helps to have a never ending task or two in mind that you have prepared for but just hanging out on your boat, having lunch, listening to the radio or the sounds of your anchorage are more then enough to make me quite happy. There is absolutely no reason you could not just go out to your boat to hang out and drop a fishing line over the side while just enjoying yourself on your floating home.
      If/when I get up to your area I will give you a call as I’d love to see your T27 yawl rigged boat.
      My best,

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