Re: [Amel] Raymarine Linear Drive problems and J Boat sunk between New Zealand and Fiji

Anne and John Hollamby <annejohnholl@...>

Hi Bill,
Years ago I had a similar message on my linear drive on my last boat after many thousand miles.The problem that time was that there was a huge amount of carbon dust inside the motor from the carbon brushes. After cleaning it out it worked perfectly. There was still some life left in the brushes fortunately as Raymarine UK had changed their motor supplier and had no spares and infuriatingly did not give me the details of the makers of the original motor. The other common problem was that the planetary gears in the drive were made of a nylon type material with a life of about 15000 miles. A set cost £12.50 and I had bought three sets of spares.The brass ones cost £125 a set! I sold one set to an American couple and saved their bacon. They ended up in the late nineties running a hugely successful restaurant in Vanuatu and I sold anothe set to anothr couple who were stranded somewhere in the S. Pacific. Olivier assured me that they use the brass ones but I have never checked as I also have the chain drive model as a back up.
I hope this works for you.

Best wishes, Anne and John, SM 319

----- Original Message -----
From: svbebe
Sent: Thursday, May 21, 2009 11:56 PM
Subject: [Amel] Raymarine Linear Drive problems and J Boat sunk between New Zealand and Fiji

One of my fears is having to manually steer on a long passage with only 2 of us. We recently made a 1,000 mile passage from New Zealand to Vanuatu. About 200 miles into our passage, The Raymarine Autopilot went to alarm status with a message "drive stopped." The linear drive unit had failed.

Well, I donned my "chief engineer" cap and turned the A/B switch to the Rotary drive unit...problem solved, but a bit noisy as you know.

Since arriving in New Caledonia I have determined that the clutch on the linear drive unit is faulty and slipping causing it to go to alarm status. I have decided to make the next 1,000 miles to Australia with only one drive (fingers crossed) because there is a Raymarine service repair facility in Australia:

Raymarine Asia Service Workshop
Suite 301, 2 Minna Close,
Belrose, NSW, 2085

As a side note, we met a couple on a Hallberg-Rassy here in New Caledonia who had the same problem about the same time as us, however their solution did not include an A/B switch, they manually steered about 800 miles.

Also we are acquainted with a couple who were sailing a very fast J Boat departing New Zealand several days after us; they were sailing to Fiji. About 300 miles into the 1200 mile passage they also lost their autopilot (cause unknown). Additionally they began taking on water near the rudder post (but never found the actual source). The J Boat sank within 2 hours and is resting on the ocean floor with all of their belongings in about 6,000 feet of water. They could not stop the water and had no way to compartmentalize the problem. Fortunately they were rescued by a nearby boat which we also know.

Sometimes we take A/B switches and water tight compartments for granted. I thought you would like to hear these stories.


s/v Bebe SM2 #387

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