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Old 17-11-2004, 15:53   #1
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Is my boat Ready for the Ocean?

My baby is a 1977 41" Islander Freeport. I purchased her in June of this year. The major items pointed out by the surveyor were a new prop, some blisters, bottom paint and some problems with the cooling system. These problems were taken care of including a complete rebuild of the cooling system, all new hoses, clamps, oil cooler, transmission cooler and new parts for the heat exchanger. I am trying to determine the sea worthiness of my boat and tend to be a little over cautious. Would it be too expensive or necessary to replace all the thru hull fittings? Or should I follow the rule of "if it aint broke dont fix it"? This seems to be my major concern of safety, I probably should have gone with a boat without thru hulls. What do you experts think of my rational?
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Old 17-11-2004, 16:35   #2
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First of all, you're not going to find an ocean going vessel without through hulls. Presuming the through hulls are bronze, the test is simple, scratch the outer surface with a sharp knife, if the scratch is a bright gold color, they are good ... if the scratch shows pink in color, they have dezincified and should be replaced.
Sea trials serve the purpose of determining if the boat and crew are ready or not. Several relatively short trips, under the widest variety of conditions possible should show up most defeciencies. Take notes on what works, and more importantly ... what doesn't. Fix what doesn't, then do it all over again ... till you can't find anything else to fix Even after proper sea trials, things will show up to bite you in the butt ... but that's the nature of the beast .... it's up to your inventive nature to fix the unexpected while underway!

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Old 17-11-2004, 18:04   #3
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Two quick points,
-bronze thru-hulls generally fail at the threaded connectors where electrolysis between the valve body and the thru-hull can take place and so might not show up in the scratch test.
-I would be much more concerned with the large expanses of old plexiglass offshore than with the thru-hulls.

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Old 17-11-2004, 18:19   #4
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"electolysis between the valve body and the thru hull" ... uh ... bronze valve body, bronze thru hull ???? Crevice corrosion perhaps, but that would be more common in stainless steel. Dezincification (the real problem with bronze) happens most at the point where the bronze is in contact with sea water ... I would be comfortable with the scratch test. If the valves have not been lubricated properly, the body of the thru hull can become "work hardened" by flexing more than it should, and therfore become weaker ... however ... presuming the valve operates without excessive effort, I would still be comfortable with it, presuming it's not dezincified.
as for "large expanses of old plexiglass" ... i would simply omit the word "old" ...any large expanse of plexi (or glass for that matter) can be a problem should the boat turn turtle.

L S/V Eva Luna

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Old 17-11-2004, 19:40   #5
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Wahoo has some good advice on the taking notes.

But as for the thruhulls, the thinnest part is at the threads and the chances are that's where they'll fail, bronze or not. If they're easy to get to I'd just replace them unless they are still new looking. At least you'll know their age then.
And if they're hard to get to and heavily coated with green (oxidation), I'd be suspicious and would change them for sure. And if you do change them replace the valves too with ball valves. Less chance of failure plus you can exercise them monthly to keep them freed up.

Try to make the boat as dry as possible. Seal old deck fittings and window frames/glass. The hull and rigging are the main concerns, electrical next. Check all lights AND sockets, get spare bulbs for all.
Make sure you have all the safety equipment required, plus.
The rest is the experience..................._/)
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Old 17-11-2004, 19:55   #6
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And don't forget them chainplates.

After 27 years any SS chainplates may be done for.

Out of sight, out of mind is the easy way out, but do it anyway.

I did, and yes, it was a pain in the arse.

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Old 17-11-2004, 20:01   #7
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OOOOOOhhhhhh ! I'm gonna start a storm of unrest here! Regarding "safety items" 2 things I refuse to have on my boat are an EPIRB & a life raft. Why? because people make the mistake of thinking as long as they have these 2 items aboard, they are safe no matter what ... and the sail when they shouldn't. You absolutely can't BUY safety knowing when it's safe to sail, and when it's not, is the thing. By the way, check out Tania Albei's column in Latt's & att's for more of the same advice.
As for "green" on bronze ... why doesn't everybody get this? The green patina on bronze is an oxidation that adds to it's it's strength, and is a protective coating. I'm happy to say that my boat has almost exclusively bronze fittings (turnbuckles, chainplates, cleats etc.) .... and I love the green!

L S/V Eva Luna

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P.S. check out "Metal corrosion in Boats" by Nigel Warren for definitive info.
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Old 18-11-2004, 00:11   #8
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Yes, Bob is right. With Bronze, green is good. Well... polished bronze is better in my opinion, but that is just a personal pref. If a Bronze skin fitting is affected by electrolysis, the entire area in contact with the Salt water is affected. Not just a part of it. So Bob is correct that a good way of checking them is a scrape test. If it shows a Pinkish colour, then it needs replacing.
Antoher personal opinion is, I prefer Fibre reinforced plastic fittings. Strong and durable and no chance of electrolysis.
As for the original post, whatever they are made from, a regular inspection is always required, but if they look and test OK, they don't need wholesale replacment.
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Old 18-11-2004, 04:45   #9
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While I do not want to start a food fight on this subject, on the thru-hulls that I have personally replaced with my own hands and on the thru-hull that snapped off at sea on a boat that I was delivering, the damaged area were on the threads of the thru-hull where it made contact with the valve body. The valve body themselves looked nearly perfect except on the thru-hull that snapped off at sea. On that one the interior of the valve was badly pitted but showed no external signs of a problem. I have always conjectured that the problem was related to small differences in alloy between the valve body and the thruhull stem.

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Old 18-11-2004, 06:01   #10
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Quote:
Wahoo Sails once whispered in the wind:
Regarding "safety items" 2 things I refuse to have on my boat are an EPIRB & a life raft. Why? because people make the mistake of thinking as long as they have these 2 items aboard, they are safe no matter what ... and the sail when they shouldn't. You absolutely can't BUY safety knowing when it's safe to sail, and when it's not, is the thing. By the way, check out Tania Albei's column in Latt's & att's for more of the same advice.
Ok, Bob, I'll take the bait.

Following your line of thinking, wearing a seatbelt makes you a worse driver because you are safer in case of an accident and, therefore, willing to take more risks. Several years of statistics don't support your view.

Does having a fire extinguisher onboard make you more careless with the stove?

Fact is, unexpected things happen in unforseen circumstances. Not carrying an EPIRB and a life raft will simply put more lives in danger because your rescuers won't be able to find you and will be exposed to the conditions while they hunt.

Why not do both? Prepare for an emergency, then use all of your caution, seamanship, and experience to avoid ever using the equipment?

Striking the bait,

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Old 18-11-2004, 06:41   #11
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OOOOOOhhhhhh ! I'm gonna start a storm of unrest here! Regarding "safety items" 2 things I refuse to have on my boat are an EPIRB & a life raft. Why? because people make the mistake of thinking as long as they have these 2 items aboard, they are safe no matter what ... and the sail when they shouldn't. You absolutely can't BUY safety knowing when it's safe to sail, and when it's not, is the thing. By the way, check out Tania Albei's column in Latt's & att's for more of the same advice.
Conversing with other Cat owners (yes I know this is the mono forum) a common concept is that cats don't sink and therefore you don't need a liferaft.

But I ask them, as I am asking you... What do you do if there is a serious fire on board? You probably won't even get to the SSB for a mayday call. You may be left floating in a dink (if you can inflate it in time) with no help in sight. My 2 cents.
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Old 18-11-2004, 07:06   #12
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I only use 316 stainless skin fittings and ball valves are a little more expensive but worth very cent.Strip and inspect very second year ,double hose clamp very hose connection you can. Greg
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Old 18-11-2004, 18:03   #13
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Ok .... for the record, I have 4, A,B,C, 10 rated fire extinguishers aboard,(a 27' boat) I wear a PFD and a tether when sailing at night ... and I do wear a seat belt when in a vehicle ... I also have 2 DSC capable VHF radios ... and Navtex. I figure the Navetex is my best safety feature.
Perhaps the person I'm describing isn't smart enough to check out a site like this, but I deal with the retail boating public, and I hear all of the time "Heck, we have been here waiting for 2 weeks ... Joe's goin' tomorrow, so I am too ..." They simply count on what they can buy ... not on what they need to know! If Joe is jumping into a maelstrom ... they are too.
Guy's and girl's ... I'm sorry to say it, but when you deal with the "average" boater ... you will be sorely dissapointed in their lack of knowledge ... and their unwillingness to learn. I used to sell electronics, and the amount of customers that refused to read the owners manuals was amazing. They thought that if they bought a GPS, they didn't need to know how to navigate! Hope all of the readers of this are waaaay smarter than that! As for SS thru hulls ... crevice corrosion at the threads has to ultimately got to be a problem, the jury is still out, in my book ... for now, make mine bronze!

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Old 18-11-2004, 19:32   #14
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Ditto on Curtis post!

And as for SS thruhulls they'll need to be bonded in the marinas just like the bronze. They may last a bit longer but they do get wormholes thru them through electrolysis.

A few years ago I was machining a, customer supplied, old used 3" prop shaft down to a 2-1/2" and ran into a wormhole that ran from the taper up about 3 ft. then made a turn straight into the shaft. I blew air (125 psi) into the hole and the air came out of a crack on the opposite side.
So much for (used) stainless!............._/)
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Old 18-11-2004, 19:49   #15
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Thru hull fittings

A few years ago a company in NZ was making plastic through hull fittings. Anyone use them or know if they are still available or how well they lasted??
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