Black Friday Shopping Spree …

OK, so I lied, I don’t do Black Friday. But I did “go shopping” on Black Friday.  Actually it was more like a sleuthing mission, but there were no frenzied crowds.

octopus linear autopilot drives

Octopus linear drives.   What the heck is an Octopus linear drive?  It’s the thingy that moves our rudder for the below decks autopilot.

Before we left the boat last spring, our autopilot kept displaying an error message at the helm — rudder disengaged or some such thing.  We weren’t too worried, it had happened in the past.  All we had to do was add hydraulic fluid, top it off, bleed out the air bubbles and voila, it resumed its critical duties.

But not this time.  🙁

So we asked our trusty diesel mechanic to take a look.  His diagnosis was that the linear drive seals were leaking way too much fluid for the unit to function.   OK, now what.  We dug out the paperwork that came with the linear drive and got the brand name (Octopus) and part number.  He took the entire unit with him with the intention of ordering new seals.  Unfortunately the phone number didn’t work.

The offending leaky seals are at either end of the drive shaft (stick looking thingy).

The offending leaky seals are at either end of the drive shaft (silver cylinder).

He sent an e-mail and was waiting patiently for a reply …  while we’re waiting impatiently for the rest of the stuff to be done so we can head to the Keys (weather willing, of course).

Nancy Drew to the rescue … I got online and started sleuthing.  I typed  “Octopus hydraulic” in my usual google search box and voila … the third entry down was Octopus Hydraulic Drive Solutions/Products.  

A quick telephone call and I was connected to Gary.  I gave Gary the model number and info and he called me right back with new seal kit info – they’re shipping it this afternoon (I already got the confirmation e-mail), it’ll be here on either Monday or Tuesday!

SCORE!  One for the home team.  Now to see if our diesel mechanic has time to install the seals (and replace the linear drive) or if David wants to try it.  Either way, we’ll have the parts!

And that was the extent of my Black Friday shopping experience.  And it wasn’t even on sale.


  1. Nice work! Hope you get moving soon, after helping find the parts you needed. Isn’t it aggravating, having to do something like that. Oh well, if it gets you going. We are in the Keys, finishing up some bigger projects before a first ever Bahamas trip. Look us up!
    Chris and Joyce
    SV Saltrun

Speak Your Mind