Seal & Struts Don't Mix


Part of a letter to Tim Koester:

First, I want to mention that after the seal "attack", we very much appreciated your standby support (Obsession) as we limped into the anchorage. The next day, we arranged -- on very short notice, and a holiday at that (Memorial Day 1998)-- for a diver to diagnose the damage. This was via the Half Moon Bay Harbormaster. As indicated by the pictures, the strut was cracked about mid-center which, in turn, caused a misalignment of the shaft by about 1/4" (enough to touch the hull). Fortunately, we were able to motor back to SF Bay, and later to Stockton, with minimal vibrations.

E-mail to Don Henderson:

Just last week I got an e/m from a George Derry in Long Beach who owns hull number 20. He has a spare strut!!! His e-mail address is: His pager number is: 310-848-0130

Hope this helps, you may have to use his spare to have a new one cast.

Good Luck., Skipper Wall

E-mail to George Derry:

You were referred to me by Skipper Wall of the Islander 36 Association. He thought that perhaps you could help me with a problem. Briefly, on the Memorial Day Cruise to Half Moon Bay a seal (apparently quite ill) became lodged between the propeller and strut of my I-36. The boat is now on the "hard" in Stockton, with a cracked strut (now removed by the boat yard).

An e-mail from Skipper indicates that you may have a spare strut. (My I-36 was manufactured in 1976 but I assume all years had similar configurations). If so, and if you're willing to part with it, please call me at (415)-457-0771 or reply by e-mail. My home address is 111 Cypress Avenue, Kentfield, 94904.

 Many Thanks, Don Henderson, Kindred Spirits


I am very pleased at the "network" response to our strut problem. So far, five replies, all with very good info and leads. I'll fill you all in on the outcome, since it may be useful to others at some point in time.

Don Henderson, "Kindred Spirits"

E-mail to Bruce Hallberg:

As promised, here's a quick status report on our "Strut" situation; and to again thank you for coming to the rescue!. I've also copied Rick because of the many responses received from others to his initial communication of our problem to the membership at large.

 As it was, the length of your "extra" strut was roughly 1/2 inch shorter than our original one, angled slightly differently (probably due to your offset shaft configuration vs. our "straight" line-up with the rudder), and the mounting bold holes were of a different size and location. However, we were able to make the necessary modifications for what appears to be a great replacement installation. Saw it yesterday at the boat yard!.

Incidentally, we also followed up on your suggestion to ground the replacement strut to the engine block to minimize electrolysis exposure.

Briefly, a local prop shop brazed the hair-line cracks in your extra strut and filled all the holes. In turn, the Stockton boat yard "built-up" the hull resin to compensate for the size/angle differences, and then re-drilled the mounting holes to match our configuration. We'll be back in the water shortly -- after some non-Strut related work is done -- and expect to be returning "Kindred Spirits" to the Bay Area later this week. (Note to Rick -- our fuel tank didn't need to be removed. They apparently had a very "skinny" guy who somehow managed to crawl over it. They didn't access thru the starboard lazarette, as I envisioned. It no doubt helped that our hot water heater was previously removed pending a replacement yet to be made).

Thanks to your timely response and willingness to part with your "extra" strut, we probably saved at least four to six weeks of "out of water" time, as well as considerable $'s vs. the alternative of a new casting. In this exercise we also benefited greatly from the support, suggestions and leads provided by other I-36 Association members -- among them: Bruce Block, Skipper Wall, Harry Farrell, Joe Thon and Rick Van Mell.

While not particularly convenient to you, Bruce, for the benefit of other I-36'ers in the Bay Area who may have future brazing and/or marine machine shop needs, I highly recommend "The Prop Shop" in Richmond (518 South 11th St, off Cutting Blvd). On a Saturday afternoon, the owner, David Elkin, immediately tackled our job -- extending his normal closing time by several hours to facilitate a new day delivery of the "recycled" strut to the boat yard. Including the installation of a new cutlass bearing, the price tag was just under $100.

In summary -- we learned a lot from the "seal" experience -- and continue to be amazed at the effectiveness of the I-36 Association's e-mail network when it comes to sharing experiences and offering practical solutions to the inevitable problems (or is it opportunities??) of owning an older boat without a readily identifiable builders supply chain in the background. And, again, we very much appreciate your special involvement and generosity in helping to get us back on the water. Looking forward to seeing you at future I-36 gatherings!

After some 5 months of use, including the Drake's Bay and Vallejo Cruises, I can report that the engine/shaft et al have never performed better. Belatedly, enclosed are some pictures of the prop shaft strut replacement exercise involving Kindred Spirits, following the seal "attack" on the Half Moon Bay cruise. Most of the details are outlined above.

Don Henderson and Peter Wilhite, "Kindred Spirits"


Click pics for full size image.

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