Main Outhaul on SM

ianjenkins1946 <>

Hi Y'all, This has been a well documented area but there is one further point worth making. I changed my outhaul gearbox in Guadeloupe two years ago when it was 9 years old and we had sailed about 40,000 miles. It worked OK but was getting noisy.Unfortunately when the gearbox was renewed the original grommets were reused. The outhaul has worked happily since, another 5,000 miles or so, but the other day I noticed that the motor was moving from side to side under use. I hadn't noticed this before, presumably because when unfurling or furling the main you are looking at the sail and not the motor. On inspection I found that three of the bolts attaching the gearbox to the bracket on the boom had sheared. By itself that is a pain as it means driving the driveshaft out of the gearbox to release the gearbox so that you can tap out the broken bolts and replace them.Gary Silver's photos are wonderful for showing you what to expect, as is Kimberlite's photo showing the necessary use of a sledge hammer! However, that is only part of the problem . After 11 years the bolts have worn oval holes in the bracket so that even if I replace the bolts with fresh grommets the scene is immediately set for renewed wear. One solution is to cut off the lower part of the bracket and weld a fresh one on. Mid-season, in a Spanish seaside town, with the inevitable guests a few days away, this is not easily done. What does occur to me is to improve on the Amel design by adding a fresh plate ( with fresh bolt holes) to the inside of the lower part of the bracket which would also have sides that drop down a few millimeters ,port and starboard, to sit against the outside of the gearbox so that the gearbox is held firmly in place . This would avoid the grommets and the bolts having to withstand the sideways pressure exerted each time the outhaul is used.
Two points1. Has anyone else had the problem of oval holes in the bracket and what solution did they adopt?
2. I encourage everyone to do what we failed to do, namely to check regularly on the tightness of the bolts holding the gearbox onto the bracket and also to look at the condition of the grommets.
Fair winds, Ian and Judy, Pen Azen, SM 302, San Carles de la Rapita, Spain