AE 28 Problems and Solutions
June 5, 2012
From the log of Harry Allen, San Francisco Bay Alerion Express 28 Fleet:
Stuffing box. Stuffing box on some non-saildrive boats incorrectly installed, scored the shaft, leaks too much. Shaft replaced and stuffing box replaced with dripless shaft seal.
Prop size, design. One boat with saildrive recently learned that the factory installed prop was smaller than the size recommended by manufacturers so it was replaced with the larger recommended prop and performance reported to be substantially improved.
Several boats with shaft drives have replaced the feathering Martec prop with a folding Max prop which gives much better performance, especially backing. (Editor’s note: slightly increased drag under sail)
Mast and Jib Boom
Mast step not on centerline. Mast had to be removed and step reset on centerline.
Main sail cars. Some boats with fully battened mains have had problems with Fredrickson or Ronstan cars on the mainsail. The cars consist of the car frame, some balls, probably Delrin, some small plastic spacers and some stainless screws. Sometimes the plastic spacers get worn out which may increase friction getting the sail up. On a couple of occasions the screws have come out at inopportune times, once falling into the sail track and jamming the main in a half-hoisted condition ultimately resulting in moderate grief and expense. Solution is to check the cars occasionally, replace worn parts, put thread lock on the screws. Spacers come in several very slightly different sizes and shapes and have to be very carefully checked to make sure the right replacements are used for the particular groove in the mast.
Jib outhaul issues. On the foredeck just aft of where the jib boom goes through the deck there is a pad eye to which a block for the jib outhaul is attached. The size and quality of this factory installed item has varied over the years, but on many boats it is a small Schaeffer stamped pad eye. The jib outhaul is the most heavily loaded line on the boat and the pad eyes on a few boats have failed under load at inopportune times, usually in breezy conditions and bumpy seas. The remedy to prevent failure is to replace the pad eye with a Harken swivel block with a stainless steel backing plate under the deck or use a larger Schaeffer cast pad eye with reinforcing plate with a high load block by Ronstan or others.
The factory installed cam cleat for the jib outhaul is inadequate and impossible to deal with under load if the wind is blowing at all. Most local boats have replaced it with a rope clutch which leads to the winch.
(Editor’s note: The jib outhaul was designed to be doubled — led from the double block assembly on the boom end through the clew cringle and back to the d-ring on the block assembly. Many owners tie the outhaul directly to the clew cringle. Doubling the line reduces the load on the turning block and at the cam cleat by one half. See photo.)