05 April, 2015
We motored to the cradle and started to go onto it but the upright arms had not been set well enough apart so the cradle had to be taken out the arms adjusted and the wood plank on which Malua was to rest removed. I, mean time, was going forward and astern trying to keep my place just off the slip. I moved forward and onto the cradle. The tide was almost at the top and the fit very snug but OK.
I set about pulling the prop off with my pullers and tools. The new three blade prop slipped on as designed and I put the nut on. Tightened it up and looked for the hole for the split pin to go through to hold the nut in place and low and behold there was no hole. The Autoprop does not require one and I have never drilled a hole in the original shaft. What could I do? nothing because time and tide waits for no man and the tide was going out and the water around the cradle dropping at an alarming rate. So give the instruction to let the cradle go back in the water and hope we have not left it too late to get Malua off the cradle.
With a few turn of the winch handle and a few more revs astern Malua slowly moved off the cradle and into deeper water. Now back in the pen I need to don scuba gear and search for the lost blade.
Three hour later after scouring the bottom on the marina I could find no trace of my propeller only a electric motor housing off a fellow's submarine who the set about helping me with the search. No luck.
Now to send the Autoprop back to the UK to have a blade added and balanced. A small price to pay seeing I paid more than $5,000 for the original prop ten years ago. Wait for the update.