Category Archives: Hands-On Tips


Free SMS messages to satellite phones has been available for many years. Unfortunately it has not been that well known or easy.

Satway is an APP for sending free SMS messages to an Iridium, Inmarsat or Thurya phone. This APP is available both for IOS or Android phones, and makes it easy for everyone to stay in contact.

Satway APP

Satway APP

Make sure your love ones download the APP before you leave!




After a 3-week vacation in Sweden, we are back on the boat in Messolonghi Marina. The Marina is very protected, as it is located in a delta with canal access.  It is a 10-15 minute walk into town, where you find all the provisioning you need.

Bella Luna in Messolonghi Marina

Bella Luna in Messolonghi Marina

We had an interesting trip from Athens airport to the Marina. When we left the boat we took the bus to Athens. It was a comfortable 3-hour trip.  Getting back, I arranged with the marina to have a taxi waiting for us at the airport, as we had three heavy bags.  It was an additional 50€ compared to the bus alternative.

Jim who was the taxi driver was waiting for us at the airport in his Skoda. We filled the trunk with our luggage.  Then he said we had to go to Glyfada and pick up 2 more passengers.  Vickie and I looked at each other, and understood this will be a hellish ride. I did expect a shared taxi, but not a car made for 3-4 people.

Five people in a Skoda for 3.5 hours with a dysfunctional AC,  in 35 degree C is not fun. Our Greek companions crossed themselves before entering the car.  We instead put on our seat belts.

Jim thought he was qualifying for a Formula One race, and was steering the Skoda with one hand in 160 km/hour and talking hands free on his phone most of the time. If he got a chance he snuck up behind every car he had in front of him.  10 m distance at that speed is not fun.

Relaxed driving in 150 km/h.

Relaxed driving in 150 km/h.

It was a big relief when we got to the marina after 3.5 hours!

Bella looked good when we got back and we got everything working within hours.

Soon we set off for the Ionian island before we cross over to Italy. We are looking forward to some nice Italian food.


It is recommended to check the alignment once/year as the rubber in the engine feet ages.  Another reason for misalignment can  be that the locking nuts came loose.

Signs of misalignment :

  • Vibrations
  • Wear on cutlass bearing’
  • Leaking stuffing box
  • Loose bolts in shaft coupling

Center the shaft in the stern tube:

Engine should be aligned to the shaft.  Not the opposite!  To do that you need to fix the propeller shaft in the center of the stern tube.

A common way fixing the shaft  is with the use of 4 small wedges.  On an HR 43 it is not easy to get down to the shaft tube with both hands.  Holding 4 wedges in place and at the same time moving the shaft back and forth takes more than two hands.  Two persons in the engine room is not an option.

I had a workshop do a fixing tool in delrin.    (Drawing Shaft plug)

Fixing tool

Fixing tool

Shaft fixed in the stern tube.

Shaft fixed in the stern tube.

With the tool, it was easy to center the shaft in the shaft tube.  Even if you are not considering doing the alignment yourself,  I recommend that you carry the tool onboard.  The mechanic will most probably not have the tool, and try to do the job  anyway.  If the shaft is not fixed and centered, it is a risk that the shaft will be aligned to the engine instead of the opposite.

Align engine to the shaft!

Make sure you have the necessary tools to loosen the nuts on the engine mounts.  A crowbar can be handy when you have to move 200 kg engine sideways.

You can start with just eye baling the alignment.  Move the engine around until it looks good.  

When it looks O.K., it is time to measure.  Turn the shaft coupling around and  measure the distance up and down and on both sides between coupling and flange for gearbox with a feeler gauge. When it is whit-in 0.005 mm it is O.K.

Centaflex is a flexible coupling.  In the documentation it is said to be able to take up two degrees misalignment.  The local Centaflex dealer did not agree about that statement, and recommended to do the alignment as good as possible.

If you end up to high on the bolt for the engine mount, there will be more vibrations and load on the bolt.  It is recommended that you can see at least 5 mm thread on top of the locking nut.  If not you should put shims or pads between the mounts and the engine foundation.

Need to install a higher aluminum block under the engine mount. On the to do list.

Need to install a higher aluminum block under the engine mount. On the to do list.

If your boat has an Aqua-Drive unit it is important to know that you should not have perfect alignment.  With an Aqua-Drive you should have app. 2 degrees misalignment!  If not the bearings will not be lubricated and will wear out.