Life at the end of the road

November 1, 2014

A full year

Filed under: daily doings, New hybrid ferry — Tags: , , — lifeattheendoftheroad @ 6:55 am

It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it but it’s a year since Hallaig was deployed on Raasay. Now, don’t think that for a minute I’m getting weepy about the ship, it’s just that 12 months ago I finally returned home after a long spell away. Ironically I’m away yet again but hopefully I’ll be back at ‘number 3’ with wife, child and ‘wee dug’ by Wednesday Smile Much as I love working aboard MV Hallaig she’s kept me away from ‘wife, child and Molly’ more than I’d like. What with all that training in South Shields, Holland and on the big boats, then a spell at Mallaig and now ‘in dock’. Sure I’d be in the dock once a year anyway and it’s hardly a chore in the lovely hotel, but for me ‘there’s no place like home’.

I did try writing this last night but once more fell asleep after a long day and large meal, not to mention two pints of some Czech lager who’s name I can’t pronounce, and cost me the same as two bottles of red wine from Lidl.


Still, it was Friday night so the captain and I had our first steak and a portion of chips, which was OK but not a patch on the Victoria’s in Rothesay. I wonder if we’ll be back there for next years ‘docking’, it’s been a few years now since I was at Ardmaleish.

The Renk couplings

Friday’s main task for myself was a fairly straight forward job in the aft propulsion room and any engineer worth his salt could have had it done in a couple of hours. However, between liaising with Lloyd’s, the yard workers and trying to learn Polish it took me pretty much the whole day.


There are two of these beasties, one at each end of the ‘cardan shaft’ that connects the 500hp ‘permanent magnet motor’ to the ‘Voith propeller unit’. They are a type of constant velocity joint that allows for minute variations in alignment between the prop and motor.


The one by the motor had a slight oil leak that was contaminating the shaft earthing brushes, hardly crucial as they were still working just fine but it did cause an annoying squeak. Not that you would have noticed it on any other ship but Hallaig is so quiet that you could hear this on the car deck.


002 003

What should have been a relatively simple and straight forward job being complicated by a ‘shaft torque meter sensor midway between the two couplings.

Hylomar to the rescue

Once the shaft was out and swung to the side it became obvious that this was not a straight forward case of changing the rubber sealing rings.

 004 005

The oil was in fact running down the shaft via that ‘key’ in the six o clock position, the purpose of which escapes me as it’s not got a corresponding slot in the coupling. I can only assume that at one time the motor had a different type of coupling fitted and this ‘key’ had just been fitted to fill the empty slot in the shaft. The trouble was it didn’t fill it properly and the treacle like 460 grade oil was finding its way slowly down the shaft. There is actually a plate sits in that recess too so it wasn’t exactly pishing out but it was making a mess in our pristine ‘prop room’. Now, had I been at home I could have used some of the many tubes of Hylomar that Sean gave me Smile


Or better still some of the ‘Green Hermitshite’ we used to use when I was a lad, however we had none on board, or at least I didn’t think we had. Fortunately after consulting with the ever smiling ‘Tibi’ he produced a new tube of the stuff which was then liberally applied to the back of the steel sealing plate. The air gap between the key and coupling also getting a dose of the blue goo.

I never actually finished the job but did mange to get the shaft back in and bolted together so boxing it off will be today’s task, along with a good look at the forward one to see if that’s leaking too.


Here we have one of the props for the forward ramp being put in position.



Today should be a less demanding day with fewer yard workers aboard and none of the many subcontractors.

Anyway, it’s almost 7:00am and I’m off for breakfast Smile



  1. Hope you enjoyed your brekky. Good to have your blog so active again. It is part of our morning wake up down here in Spain,

    Comment by David & Margaret Gartside — November 1, 2014 @ 9:52 am

  2. love your active day.,have a look ,and if we can help let me know ,
    I used to use the green stuff,never worked out the difference between green and red stuff

    Comment by Duncan Boyle — November 1, 2014 @ 10:39 pm

  3. Man’ I’m stuffed from dinner but you’re food pictures made me hungry……..glad your back at to the blog, I sure missed you

    Comment by Tony — November 2, 2014 @ 6:13 am

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