After months of searching, I finally found *the one*. 28' Newport in great shape with all the trimmings I wanted (Universal D). With a recent survey (six months) that gave her a clean bill of health and a perfect sea-trial, I got a good deal and couldn't have been more excited to own my very own boat.
Fast forward two weeks to her maiden voyage. Fair day on the Puget Sound, with absolutely no wind, we're motoring for a few hours at 4 knots then...THUD. Engine whines and we've lost all thrust. Thinking that we slipped out of gear, I'm jamming from forward to reverse to neutral, back to forward. Nothing.
Fortunately a passing power boat noticed our frantic waving and towed us to a near by marina. After hauling her out, we have a bent strut and snapped driveshaft.
But how? Engine was running fine, no vibrations, everything in alignment. I didn't feel a violent impact (more of a nudge), and there wasn't a line wrapped round to obviously foul the prop...so, what the $#%*?
Struts don't just bend, drive shafts don't just break. With no blatant evidence of any major collision or line, I'm at a total loss for what caused this...Any ideas or advice for a new boat owner? Many thanks in advance.
A piece of wood may have been caught between the prop and the hull, and with some underlying, undetected weakness in the shaft caused the rest.... but I'd expect you'd have heard a more significant "thud".
Thanks for the quick responses, all. We were definitely fortunate to be as close as were to home with another vessel nearby. We were being towed literally within seconds after the incident.
I admit I'm not terribly familiar with the flex of a shaft vs. the strength of a strut, but I'd think that a bent strut would break the 1" shaft before a seized or fouled shaft would bend the strut, right? Just trying to figure out the cause and effect...
No clue what it might have been. Late in the day, sun reflecting off the water, auto helm engaged...but it was definitely a bumping kinda thud, then we slowed down, if that makes sense. I hadn't thought of an animal strike though...hhhmmm.
The prop would have been bent or damaged if the prop hit anything hard enough to bent the strut or break the shaft. You didn't mention a damaged prop, so I assume its ok. Is it a fixed blade?
Hopefully the force bending the strut didn't damage the hull (stress fractures of the glass) around the through bolts. Be sure to have that checked out.
I recently repaired a Moody 33 that picked up someone elses mooring with their prop. It ripped the diesel from it's mounts, bent the prop,bent the shaft and strut and nearly sank the boat by ripping the hose from the stuffing box.The chain from the mooring left the scene of the crime with only a few telltaleindentations.