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No Longer a Couple

Say it isn't so! No, not me and Brad, I'm talking about the couplings for the port transmission. After an all-hands-on-deck meeting on the 20th, with some life-line calls to additional experts, it was determined that the male coupling needed to be replaced. Specifically, the pilot bushing was found to be suspect in that it was a bit undersized. Ladies reading this, please compose yourself. Otherwise, please excuse the fact that I did not know all this detail but I'm grateful for the resources available today, including people who still work on ancient mechanical stuff, so that I could learn.


It's a bit of a mystery, but the couplings had worked for many years since the purchase by the previous owner and last servicing of the Paragons. Quite obviously, we had no issues for the one summer of enjoyment we've had thus far. Now, for whatever reason, but we all have a plan of attack in place, the port side with the suspicious "leak" has been determined that the couplings are no longer a desired match.


In the ongoing Masterclass for me with boat engineering and design of whathaveyou, learning the lingo of even one piece of any system, is daunting. I thought learning the lingo of sailing (let alone boating in general) was insurmountable, try multiplying that by a thousand, and you have power boat engine mayhem. None of this is for the faint of heart. I am tested daily in my patience and perseverance, and I learned something else just last night about what a "cross crosslet" can stand for: fortitude.


That's so random right? A cross crosslet? That's for another day.


But back to this salacious episode of I love yachting. Let me school you up on a coupling. Here's an article to get you primed for a good night's sleep. Perhaps these pictures will be bit more stimulating or just maybe a LOT more helpful.





The first picture, pardon the fuzziness as this was a difficult picture angle under the deck, is the coupling at the V-drive. The second picture is of the drive shaft coupling, and to help refresh how it should exist - the alignment line drawing. The outside diameter of the male pilot should be a mere fraction of an inch larger to fit snugly inside the female coupling.


Oh boy, but what's that, a V-drive? First, it's not a poorly-named wanton sex goddess but could be mistaken for anything other than a boat part, but is actually a component of the Paragons, which are technically two happily married parts, the transmission and the V-drive. In the below picture, you can see the side of the engine blocks that the Paragons connect to (the block on the right just doesn't have that big circular housing connected yet but will look the same as the left when it does), and damn if this ain't sexy stuff.



Next up is a naked Paragon, no no no, just not enrobed in a royal blue coating, but clearly you can see the various parts.



For those who are scratching their heads, think about the power the engine is making and how it ultimately makes the propellers do their thing - that's what the transmission/v-drive handles; making the boat go either forward or reverse at the desired speed. The V-drive is a bit of a bizarre way to do it since you are taking an engine in a "reverse" installation and channeling that power through an intricate gear design that turns that power around and sends it in the opposite direction. Essentially the engine power is sent ---> (toward the front of the boat) and the V-drive reverses to it go <--- backward (to the propellors at the back of the boat).



Ah, now it makes sense, right? CAYUGA was designed specifically to allow for gathering in the middle of the boat around the cocktail station (sink/bar) and pilot station area for tall tales of sail racing glory. With a V-drive configuration, the engines can sit a little further aft in the boat and the transmission/drives are forward and of course under the deck (which was the I love yachting mess recently) affording a very nice layout for those aboard. Not to mention, the engine boxes are fabulous seats in general. Doesn't this look great? Suntan beds, Becket lookouts, log canoe fan seating, the list goes on.



Let's wrap it up with the couplings. I say plural because we are replacing not just the disappointingly small port male coupling but also the starboard. All minds felt it was the proper attack to get the machinery right.


The correct size couplings arrived Friday and have been sent off with the shafts to be fitted and faced. If you read that article I gave you the link for at the beginning, you know what I'm talking about. For those of you knuckle-draggers, here's a picture from that article with what amounts to a very, very small tolerance for error:



After what's transpired, even if the couplings aren't the issue, the right fit is definitely the right way to go. It's been an interesting 2024 so far with CAYUGA, and the psychotic labor of love it is to keep classic boats as true to their nature as possible. So as a member of the Antique and Classic Boat Society and with a high regard for old stuff, including Brad, enjoy the Mad Men brilliance across the ages:



CAYGUA, girl, only the best for you, "the finest marine motors should be Paragon geared". In the end, I'm keeping in mind that the house usually wins, that is to say, boats are not a monetary strategy, but I still like the ride even if it's a gamble. 'Nuff said.

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The SAGA continues. I LOVE YACHTING !!!

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