Saturday, November 23, 2013

Roller Furler Progress

Earlier this week I left the damaged roller furler assembly at a machine shop in the industrial are of Ducos, about a half hour bus ride out of central Noumea. After a lengthy conversation in my stilted French, the manager told me to come back on Friday afternoon to pick it up and said he would email me if there was a problem. Hearing nothing I made the trip out to Ducos again yesterday with my friend Erik off Papillon. Eric was interested in visiting the machine shop to see if they could do some aluminum welding in support of a repair to better support his prop shaft.

When we arrived at the shop, the man I talked to brought out the roller furler in much the same state as it was and explained that he could not disassemble it because the drum was forced to one side in the barrel. Erik speaks fluent French and helped translate the bad news. I felt terribly deflated by this. If the assembly was not repairable, we could end up in New Caledonia for the cyclone season or at the very least miss Rani's flight home from Auckland. I thanked the manager for trying and offered to pay for their time, but he declined payment since he could not fix the problem.

Next, we headed off down the hill to visit an aluminum welder that he had suggested for Eric's job. On the way back from this visit, Eric suggested we look into another machine shop on the off chance they could help with the furler. To my surprise, the men in the shop had some knowledge of Profurl furlers and were able to remove the circlip that retains the bearings. They then used a large press to push out the drum and took off the old bearing and additional clips.

We walked for another couple of hours in the hot sun around Ducos, eventually buying a set of very overpriced seals and a bearing race for the furler rebuild job as well as some material for Eric to mock up the aluminum plates he would need for his job.

At least we are making progress. Today we go into the marina to take apart the furler foil and make up the new forestay. Despite being very busy arranging his family's stay in New Caledonia and work in Australia, Erik has offered to help me rebuild the furler. This is a job that requires a vice and some very heavy circlip pliers, neither of which I have on Ladybug. We are fortunate to have the help of such capable and generous friends.

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