Monday, December 20, 2010

Endeavour 42 Tank Replacement Phase II

Wand'rin Star in Cove Harbor on the mooring at Gatewoods.
This is the crane they used to pull the tanks out of the companioway.

This is a pic of the Bilge just after the 2 tanks were removed.

This pic was taken after I cleaned up the bilge a bit getting it ready to paint.

This is Chris on the Left and owner Darrel Gatewood on the right taking measurements of the 75 gallon fuel tank

Here is the aft water tank. You can see some of the foam still hanging on to the wall of the tank.

Port side of the fuel tank.

Here is where Darrel removed a piece of foam and exposed a hole in the tank where it had corroded through. He placed a metal bar through the hole to show the size of it.

This pic was taken today just after I finished putting on the first of 2 coats of Interlux BilgKote...Good Stuff!

We called Gatewoods three weeks before Thanksgiving hoping to get our boat in to have the remaining water & fuel tank removed. Chris at Gatewoods told me to check with him often to see when we should bring the boat over. We prepared the boat for the 4-5 hour trip to the Rockport boat yard. A week passed and I called Chris again to see if they could get to Wand'rin Star, again he said to check back next week as they did not have any space for her and were waiting for other boat owners to come get their boats out of the way. We realized we might not get the boat in before Thanksgiving, we even wondered if they even wanted to do the work. Then came the week of Thanksgiving and I knew there was no way but I called to check in with Chris, he said to call back the Monday after Thanksgiving. Man I was starting to get a bit impatient but any small coastal community moves at a much different pace than where we spent most of our life. I called Chris exactly at 0815 Monday morning and I am sure my voice must have sounded pleading. He put me on hold and finally he came back and said to bring her on over! I told him we would have the boat there just after 1500 hours. I called a dock neighbor, Kevin, to see if he would like to go over to help us take the boat and he said sure. We drove the Admirals car over to Gatewoods to drop it off since we would need a way to get back. Then we drove to Corpus and proceeded to get things ready to go. Kevin's admiral, Kerry would join us as well for the trip. We managed to get out of the slip by 1200 and the weather was perfect, light winds, sunny and about 75 degrees. I already had the route on the chart plotter so we kept the boat speed up since I needed to use up as much diesel as possible since I had over 60 gallons of fuel remaining in the tanks. Since we burn about 1.6 gallons at max speed it would not use much but the diesels like to work hard and it would be good for the engine. 7.6 knots is max speed but you can often exceed hull speed when you get favorable currents and this was the case after we passed Port Aransas and entered the Shrimp Channel where we did just over 8 knots. The channel runs along Harbor Island, Stedman Island, and Hog Island all the way to Aransas Pass and then takes a sharp right turn towards Rockport along the shore. All of this is in Aransas Bay where some of the areas best fishing and birding occur in the area. We had never been in the shrimp boat channel before and it was an interesting route to the boat yard at Cove Harbor as we passed several coastal landmarks along the way. Gatewoods did not have any slips large enough for our 13-foot beam, the slips were 14 feet wide but that just did not leave enough space for my comfort level since you need space for fenders between the boat and the pilings. So they had a side tie to two pilings that would just have to do. I took a practice run at the mooring and then called Chris to come out and assist, as the slight North wind would be pushing off the mooring. Three guys came out to assist and we easily drifted into the pilings and secured the boat. We had to pay a little extra attention to securing the mooring lines as a cold front was coming in that night and the winds would be 20-30 mph. Kevin and Kerry helped us take off our valuable gear and pack it to the car. Chris reassured us that everything would be safe but better safe than sorry especially in such a public place where it would be easy for anyone to board the boat and get whatever they wanted. The Admiral heard about a great Mexican food place in Rockport so this was a perfect opportunity to treat our excellent crew.

I drove over Tuesday afternoon to see how it was going, Chris said they had the water tank out and was working on the fuel tank, he gave me permission to go back and take a look. When I got on the boat both tanks were already out and there was a helper removing the remaining foam from the walls of the bilge that had been supporting the tanks in place. I was thrilled so much progress had been made since at $81.00 an hour the project could get pretty expensive fast. I went to look for the tanks to check out their condition. The water tank was just as I had expected, it looked similar to the one I removed in terms of corrosion. Then as I was inspecting the fuel tank Darrel, the owner of Gatewoods came over and pointed out the corrosion on the fuel tank .He took out a small screw driver from his shirt pocket and flicked off some foam that was sticking to the side of the tank, a fair sized hole was then exposed. The only thing that was preventing this tank from leaking fuel was the foam that was surrounding the tank. The foam is supportive material that is a 2-part mix that is poured in around tanks and hardens to secure the tank into place so it will not move around or shift as the vessel bounces through the waves. Darrel mentioned they had to use their crane to get the aft water tank out since it was stuck in pretty good. They connected the crane cable to the tank, put tension on the line and then used a crow bar to convince the tank out, they used a similar technique to get the fuel tank out as well. I took a few pics of it all and then drove back to Port A to wait for Chris to call. Chris called Thursday morning and said we could pick up the boat Friday mooring, they would install a temporary fuel tank for us to take the boat back to Corpus while we waited for the new tanks to be built. I called Dan, a neighbor on H dock and asked if he would like to make the trip with us, and he said he would meet us at the yard at 0830 hours. They had the boat sort of cleaned up and ready to go. I met with Stash to go over the dimensions of the 85-gallon tank I had removed. Even though I had several drawings of the tank lots of digital pics, and all the dimensions, I now regretted discarding the tank. If I had saved the tank they could have just taken their own measurements and not rely on a novice, even though I had thorough drawings they had to trust my work. Stash made several notes on the bilge area under the salon floor so he could double check my work and we agreed on a plan. He suggested as a back up for us to go back and make a model tank out of strips of wood just to make sure that we would not have to buy a tank that did not fit. We had another fine voyage back to Corpus in perfect motoring weather retracing the same route down the shrimp channel. There were lots of fisherman out and they were catching as we passed several boats reeling in large fish. The Admiral spotted a Stork and Dan who also enjoys birding confirmed the sighting. This has been a topic of discussion with the area birders for weeks.

The next week the Admiral picked up plenty of cardboard and I spent a night cutting out pieces from the dimensions of my drawings. We decided to use cardboard, as it would be much easier for us than cutting up a lot of thin wood strips to use. (I do miss my workshop) The next day we went to the boat and using plenty of box tape we built two tanks that would fit right into the area of the 85-gallon tank. After we were satisfied with the fit we took the cardboard models to Gatewoods so they could use the models to refine their dimensions. It was agreed to make the new tanks all around smaller to accommodate other considerations that we felt would enhance the life of the new tanks. Mainly to prevent them from sitting in bilge water and avoid any possibility of being exposed to the corrosive effects of electrolysis. The new tanks would also be coated with a two-part epoxy to make sure they are not exposed to moisture. Chris, Darrel and I discussed final dimensions and now they would submit the plans to RDS Manufacturing, the company in Florida that would fabricate the tanks. RDS would use a CAD program to come up with draft drawings and then they would send the plans back to us for final approval. Then RDS would submit the plans to the US Coast guard for approval since they were custom made tanks and had to have the Coast Guards stamp on them. We just received an email today from Chris saying they had the prices from the company for the tanks, after our ok they will complete the CAD drawings but we will not get them back till after January 1, 2011 for our final approval.

In the meantime I asked them what I could do to get the tanks ready to go back in and it suggested that I cut out any remaining fiberglass tabbing that held the previous tanks in place and to clean and paint the bilge area with White Interlux BilgeKote paint. So I bought a quart of the paint from Gatewoods and started this not so pleasant part of the project. I spent about 5 hours cleaning the bilge area by first vacuuming all the loose stuff left behind, and then I used Palmolive dish detergent and thoroughly scrubbed the entire area and rinsed with a hose using a shop vac to vac out and dispose of the water. The space is big enough for me to get down in but a pretty tight squeeze at the aft end so I have to take short breaks and get up and stretch out the body every 30 minutes or so. Monday the 20th I went back down into the bilge and lightly sanded the entire area with a Dremal Multi Max. This tool is priceless since it is lightweight and you can use it with one hand extended into the tight spaces getting into the corners and other hard to reach places. Once again vacuumed, and rinsed out with fresh water. Today I went over the entire area with acetone for a final cleaning and to prepare the surface for the paint. I then apply the first coat of paint and take a pic of my new cleaned and painted bilge for this blog. This paint is almost like a super hard coat that is not penetrated by oil or other stuff that might get into the bilge and so of course makes future clean up much easier. I will probably wait till after Christmas to get the second coat done. The boat will be ready for the new tanks when they get here.

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