Back to Labrador

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Sun 9 Aug 2015 15:05

Slightly to our surprise, we have successfully carried out the repairs to our Saildrive. This is the gearbox and vertical leg which goes through the hull and has the propeller at the bottom end. The problem has been sea water in the oil and the only way to get it out is through the drain plug right at the bottom, as are the seals on the propeller shaft.

The spares arrived at the appointed hour from England, sent to the Seamens’ Home, the hostel/hotel that is perched above the quay we are moored against and which has become a bit of a home from home, with showers, internet and warmth.


The skipper of the fishing boat we were moored alongside advised us that there was a 50 ton crane that would easily be able to lift us and indeed it was. Getting the boat alongside a rocky quay heading and into the slings was an awkward business, particularly as we didn’t really know what we were meant to be doing. However we eventually managed to get the slings in place, attached to the right chains and ‘Suilven’ was swung out of the water onto the hard. The engineer arrived, dismantled the drive shaft, took the offending part back to the workshop to fit the new seals and then reassembled the whole thing. The gears and bearings were in much better order than feared, so we now pretty much have a fully functioning engine.


The quay in Nuuk is currently full of yachts, most going South, but one on its way North to attempt the Northwest Passage to Alaska. We are rafted out from two fishing boats and two other yachts with a fourth yacht on the outside of us. Leaving to let fishing boats out or to go up to the ship yard is an art in itself, as crew of outside yachts are not always on board, but we’re now getting it down to a fine art, leaving our crew to secure the outside yacht in its new berth and circling round to pick them up before moving on.


So now we are just taking a last look at the weather forecasts and hopefully will set off this afternoon.


It is a small sailing  world up here, and we know several of the boats either from Greenland or Newfoundland, and others have met up in the Faroes and Iceland. We have all been holed up here while some strong weather goes through, but the wind has now abated and we are planning to set off this afternoon, either to Nain in Labrador, or if the wind is unkind, will aim for Battle Harbour, a few hundred miles further South.