- strut alignments
- Hatteras motor yacht
- Dania Beach
- November 2014
Working in South Florida boatyards becomes immensely more comfortable in late September and early October, and we're also looking forward to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. October found me in Dania Beach, working on a Hatteras motor yacht that had run aground and torn up the starboard side. All three struts were knocked off and hanging when the boat came in the yard, and the marine gear pretty much exploded. It may sound scary, but that's standard boatyard work, and realistically, on a little bit older boat like this (2002), it will be better than before it hit, and maybe even better than ever.
The port side only required an engine alignment, but all three struts got reset on the starboard side.
On this particular strut, sometimes called a "butterfly" strut, we buttered up the top of the strut prior to setting it as pumping or pouring to fill the gap between the strut and the hull would be tricky. When you pump or pour making sure that any possibility of an air pocket or void is eliminated is a critical step, and with this strut configuration it's easier to fill the top of the strut and bring it up than to come back later. Either way, we set the strut with the long threaded rod and wedges, and then use the shorter jacking bolts to lock it in place.
This video gives you a look at how we hang a strut and position it during the optical alignment procedure. I'm working with a Dania Beach yard, and the struts have already been dropped, prepped, and hung ready for alignment. I took the video while I was set up on the port side getting that engine aligned, and prior to setting up on the starboard side.
Optical alignment equipment makes a running gear repair procedure like this quick and accurate. First, the yard does all the prep work, getting the struts and mounting areas prepared. Then, in one morning we test-fit all three struts and determined exactly what we'd need to do to finish. The yard made a couple of modifcations, I returned and set all three struts in another morning. Finally, I come back after the strut bolts are in and bedded for a final check- but for comparison, we set the struts in the time it I generally see that it takes just to set a target wire. And, for these distances and conditions, we get better and faster results than lasers. For this type of work, optical alignment is still the most efficient, economical, and accurate choice.
The general idea is to get the weight balanced evenly so that the threaded rods at all four corners are loaded up and balanced. You can see we use flat stock instead of washers on the threaded rod- washers will suck up into the countersinks and restrict the fine tuning. We use the wedges to adjust the position, and once the strut is aligned we'll run the jacking bolts up and alternately tighten the jacking bolts and threaded rod to tension the system and hold the strut. Then, on a strut like this where the yard is going to pump Chockfast, I keep the scope on until the epoxy tabs- Splash Zone in this case- kicks enough to where we're sure nothing is going to move. The yard will finish the glass work, install and bed the strut bolts, and tighten everything up. I come back for a final check and report.
Engine and shaft optical alignment solutionsOptical shaft and engine alignment for yachts, boats, commercial vessels, and military vessels remains the most accurate, quickest, and most efficient alignment procedure.
Optical alignment equipment operated with knowledge and experience provides shipyards, boatyards, and builders with efficient and accurate engine, bearing, and stern tube alignment. Michael H. Bartlett, in the marine industry in Fort Lauderale for thirty years and with over 15 years of optical alignment experience and over 1500 successful boat alignment procedures, owns and operates Marine Alignment, Inc.