Nomad was fully provisioned and upgraded for heading south in November when family health issues forced us to cancel this years winter trip.

Nomad is now in a boatyard covered for the winter and waiting for spring.

Having dodged winter for two years we are readjusting.  Here is what winter looks like in Rock Hall.

Those are not waves – they are ice chunks being pushed against the shore – the Bay was frozen all the way across in late December.
Christmas in Rock Hall

Since we are sticking around for awhile we made the pilgrimage back to our namesake  – the Nomad Bar.

Since I have some time on my hands here are some of the projects completed on Nomad this past summer/fall.

On the way back from the Bahamas last year we noticed that the prop shaft was flexing and our PSS Shaft Seal was leaking between the two mating faces of the carbon stator and the stainless steel rotor.  The cutlass bearing was also creating a loud rattle at lower RPMS.

We had recently replaced the cutlass bearing so replacing another was not something we had expected.  We chipped out the old bearing and slid the prop shaft out a few feet.  When we slid the new cutlass bearing on to see how well it fit we noticed that it also had a lot of play.  Out of curiosity we slid the bearing further up the shaft and noticed that it fit tightly.  This led us to conclude that the prop shaft was worn.   So instead of replacing the cutlass bearing we replaced the prop shaft and the cutlass bearing!

New Cutlass Bearing Installed and Ready for Fiberglassing
Note Location of Set Screws for Those that Follow

Once the new shaft and bearing were in place we decided to replace the PSS Shaft Seal with a SureSeal™ Drip Free Self Aligning Shaft Seal since to replace shaft seals the prop shaft needs to be disconnected and almost removed.  The old head tradesmen in town that I have come to highly respect suggested that the SureSeal was the better way to go.

Nomad with new shaft seal

With most everything now replaced or upgraded on Nomad we decided that it was time to be proactive and replace the hot water heater, fortunately the old hot water heater was still being manufactured.  We liked the old Raritan heater because it had a heat exchanger which means that when the engine is running the coolant from the engine circulates through the water heater heating the 12 gallons of water it contains.  The thing to keep in mind is that the hot water will be the same temperature as the engine coolant which is much hotter that you would expect at home.

When the old hot water heater was out we noticed that the port side engine mount on the generator had failed.  The reason for the failure was vibration caused by a failed weld that held the mount to the pan.  We believe the weld failed because the prior owner did not have an overflow tank and the generator vented directly into the engine pan which meant that the pan was always wet.  The failed mount was directly below the old vent hose.  In the above picture you can see the new overflow tank.

Failed engine mount

We did not want to remove the generator to re-weld so we decided to drill two holes in the mounting leg and tap two stainless screws into the pan to secure it.  Since a hurricane had just come through Florida the only place to obtain the rubber part of the engine mount was Alaska, this delayed things for a few weeks.

Engine mount with new rubber and tapped screws ready for generator to be attached

We used a car jack and an oak board to lift the generator off its mounts.


Our old washdown pump was working fine.  When you are pulling up a muddy anchor you can not have too much pressure.  Some mud is like putty and really hangs on chain.  We decided to get rid of what might have been the original Grocco pump and replace it with a high pressure (60 psi) pump.  We have not had a chance to try it yet, but are hoping for a lot more blast. 

New high pressure pump

Twice last year our generator shut down triggered by overheating due to a clogged thru-hull.  The first time we sucked in a shrimp while in Biscayne Bay and the second time we pulled in a rock fish half way past its head.  This motivated us to add some intake covers.

Groco makes them in three different sizes and they are pretty easy to install.

Living aboard for 7 – 8 months a year, much of it in salt water, the head gets a serious workout.  Each year instead of replacing the joker valve which requires the pump to be completely removed, it is not that much more money just to replace the pump – and the labor is the same.  We also carry a spare pump on board.

We are working our way through the antifouling paints for our prop.  We have tried Prop Speed, Prop Gold, and this year we are testing Velox.

Prop Speed and Prop Gold apply a silicone coating which holds up pretty well for about a year.  It is a bit tricky to apply, but the real issue is reapplication.  Each year you have to completely sand off the old coating before you can re-coat.

Below is our prop at one year with Prop Gold.  The prop was almost barnacle free when well hauled out after a year.

Velox is easier to apply, is supposed to offer similar protection, but the biggest difference is that you do not have to sand it off each year – and you can touch it up.  The left over product is also supposed to last a few years.  We will see how it holds up this coming year.

Velox applied and ready for the coming year.

Impeller removal new Yanmar engine.

Every year we change the impeller in the engine and generator.  The impeller on the new Yanmar sits on the front of the engine and is easily accessible.   To Yanmar’s credit they make a simple tool that lets you quickly remove the impeller.

The tool has two parts, you screw one bolt into the impeller and then a second bolt screws into the first bolt pushing the impeller out.  If we were at sea I think I could have a new impeller installed in less than five minutes.  Note – on the new engines an impeller kit does not include the O-ring.

On the proactive theme we replaced the switches for the windlass

We also had the liferaft re-certified by Vane Brothers in Baltimore, I cannot recommend these folks enough . . . there is no other place I would buy or service a liferaft.

We replaced our four 8D batteries and also replaced the engine start battery.

Another cat wondered out of woods and took up residence in the fall.

We re-marked the chain at 25 feet intervals and repainted the anchor with zinc paint.


Mason 44 – Don & Betsy