Performing a Running Gear Overhaul on a 135 foot Yacht

2017 February 7
by Chris Brown

As mentioned in an earlier post, we were contracted by the new owner and captain of an older 135 foot Broward Yacht to do a number of running gear and hydraulic projects on the vessel. On the running gear side, we were tasked with removing the shafts, props and rudders to inspect and refurbish the components. From the shaft perspective, we inspected them to ensure they were straight and corrosion free. The machine shop found the shafts were slightly bent and required straightening.  We also installed new cutlass bearings and repacked the stuffing box and performed an optical scope alignment before reinstalling the shafts back in the boat.

As part of our standard maintenance and service process, we removed the rudders to check the bearings and packing glands. In this case, the bearings were in good shape so we did not have to replace them. We just needed to repack the stuffing boxes to complete the work on the rudder service.

Maneuvering the rudders with lifts

However, the challenge with removing and re-installing rudders on a yacht of this size comes with handling them. Each rudder weighs in excess of 800 pounds. In order to do the job right, and safely, it takes precision forklift work. We use two lifts to start the process, one to stand the rudder in a vertical position while the second secures the rudder so that it can be moved back to the boat.

It’s a matter of inches

Maneuvering the rudders to align the rudder shaft with the opening in the boat many times translates into a matter of moving the forklift just fractions of an inch one way or the other.




After considerable team work between the mechanics and the forklift operators, we successfully re-installed the rudders and now the yacht is good to go with a complete running gear overhaul complete.



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