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Old 04-11-2015, 17:09   #1
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Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

Hi All,

I've just bought an Adams 40 centre cockpit built in aluminium. Couldn't pass it up at the price even though the interior needs a complete demolition and rebuilding (I think I can save the map table). She's got a new Yanmar diesel, good rigging, reasonable sails and a sound hull and deck.

With little knowledge of aluminium, I need to be pointed in the direction of getting good advice regarding both the refurbishment and ongoing maintenance.

Thanks in advance
David
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Old 04-11-2015, 17:19   #2
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

What kind of pointers do you need, specifically?
Was the hull audio gauged during the survey? Does the boat have sprayed in insulation? How about wiring conduits? Double/dual pole circut breakers? A good thick barrier coat? Electrically isolated more noble fittings, especially below the waterline, & a great grounding system?
And I gather that you're up to speed on the usual boat stuff?
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Old 04-11-2015, 17:34   #3
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

I recommend enrolling in an aluminum welding class.

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Old 04-11-2015, 17:36   #4
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

Thanks for your very civilised response, Uncivilised. Well up to speed with the usual boat stuff but not sure how these things vary with aluminium.

The boat was guaged and given an ultrasound during the survey. The results were more than satisfying.

The insultion is not sprayed in but cut to fit. Seems to work well and made inspection easy. Unfortunately the original fitout was done in pine and a few hatches, ports and deck fittings leaked - bad combination with pine. Also the electrics are damaged so I'm starting again. The upside is that the new fitout will be completely customised to suit me.

What is really needed is pointers about things that are specific to aluminium like what to avoid in the fitout, things to ensure I do, metals to avoid and how to isolate more noble metal fittings, anodes and so on. Steep learning curve here but better than this being a first boat issue. Want to get this right first time.
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Old 04-11-2015, 18:11   #5
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

For metal isolation, such as fasteners, there's the usual; TefGel, LocTite, etc.
You'll need to be sure that things like your through hulls, & ballast are also isolated from the hull. For some things, like larger bolts, you can get isolator sleeves, or have them made. And all such fittings, noble metals, & through hulls need to be well & properly bonded.

Plus, if the boat doesn't have them already, it'll likely make sense to have tapped pads welded to the deck, to bolt all of your deck hardwae to. Which is a two fold help. Since they're welded to the deck, you shouldn't have/get any leaks from your deck hardware. And, they add a bit more "meat" to the (hull &) deck, in locales where you'll have more in terms of stainless steel fasteners.

Unfortunately, I'm a couple of thousand miles away from my sailing library at the moment. And in it are lots of reference books which cover how to handle a lot of what you're up against. But such books are easy enough to order, & should serve you well.
Again, Nigel Calder's stuff is a staple/good starting point. But Definitely also get in contact with the Metal Boat Society. I'm thinking that they're likely a wealth of good information.

As to your electrical system. Probably your best bet is to sketch out what you want in terms of; lights, fans, & other devices. In addition to how you want your harness & panel(s) laid out.
Then take your sketch, notes, & ideas to a pro, so that you can have the system properly designed & up to spec. Including putting in some extra, unused/un-connected wires, for things which you may wind up wanting to add later. Ditto on getting pointers on setting up your conduit system.

That, & of course, buy Nigel Calder's works on the subject, as well as those by the ABYC. Or works which have references & guides to the ABYC's rules on putting together such systems.

Ah, & you'll need to become a bit paranoid about avoiding dropping small pieces of wire into the boat/bilges, when you're installing any wiring. As loose copper is bad Juju in an aluminum hull.

And were it me, I'd consider hiring a project manager or good marine electrician, on a part time basis, to check up on my work, say, once a week or so, when the re-wiring was taking place.
That way, I'd know that everything was up to spec, & that I hadn't made any major blunders along the way when installing things.

You'll also be buying a few zinc "fish" to hang in the water (from the boat), for whenever the boat's not underway. They help to protect the boat from stray current in the water, as well as any electrical leaks onboard. Plus aiding in protecting your more permanently mounted zincs. Such as on the prop shaft for instance.

That's far from everything, & I only have a working knowledge of metal boats. Thus my recommendation for talking to a few pros, & some high end amateurs.
Ah, & you might send Evans Starzinger a PM, given that he & the Mrs. had an aluminum boat for a number of years.
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Old 04-11-2015, 22:13   #6
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Panope View Post
I recommend enrolling in an aluminum welding class.

Steve


Might be a good idea, Steve, thanks. Hadn't thought of that.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:51   #7
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

I own a 43' aluminium yacht I built from nothing, have a look here, you might find a few ideas about the interior side of things...

My advice with aluminium and deck hardware is: DON'T drill and tap into aluminium with stainless steel fasteners. I prefer to drill and tap into a stainless steel tab that is urethane-bonded underneath the deck and leave the hole through the alloy oversize, so I can get sealant in there and it doesn't seize up. Do it well and it won't leak either.

Regarding insulation, you really need to seal the metal. I sprayed foam, but you could glue panels provided you still seal all the gaps/seams with "something". If any damp air can get to the cold metal, it will cause condensation and drip etc. Permanently damp aluminium also ends up pitting.

Do yourself a huge favour and PAINT YOUR BILGES. Pitting is even worse there, because you invariably end up with salty dirt and dampness after a while.

Wire everything as a 2-conductor system, I have 2-core cables going to everything, and switch both cores. Leave the battery negative off the hull and insulate the engine block from the beds/hull. Mount it on plastic blocks and use insulating bushes around the bolts. Make sure the Morse cables etc don't connect it back to the hull.

Have fun.
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Old 05-11-2015, 01:58   #8
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

Thanks for your ideas, Spray. There are some well thought through solutions there which I'm sure will be useful as I go.
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:43   #9
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ozwizz54 View Post
Thanks for your very civilised response, Uncivilised. Well up to speed with the usual boat stuff but not sure how these things vary with aluminium.

The boat was guaged and given an ultrasound during the survey. The results were more than satisfying.

The insultion is not sprayed in but cut to fit. Seems to work well and made inspection easy. Unfortunately the original fitout was done in pine and a few hatches, ports and deck fittings leaked - bad combination with pine. Also the electrics are damaged so I'm starting again. The upside is that the new fitout will be completely customised to suit me.

What is really needed is pointers about things that are specific to aluminium like what to avoid in the fitout, things to ensure I do, metals to avoid and how to isolate more noble metal fittings, anodes and so on. Steep learning curve here but better than this being a first boat issue. Want to get this right first time.
Get this boat. You'll want to memorize it. I own a steel boat, by the way:

Aluminum boats are an excellent choice for cruising, but they have some specific issues relating to electrics and galvanic wastage that MUST be addressed on an ongoing basis. The upside is that you needn't ever paint them if you don't want to; the downside is that you have to be careful with the anti-fouling as it can't have copper!
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:50   #10
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

Quote:
Originally Posted by OceanSeaSpray View Post
I own a 43' aluminium yacht I built from nothing, have a look here, you might find a few ideas about the interior side of things...

My advice with aluminium and deck hardware is: DON'T drill and tap into aluminium with stainless steel fasteners. I prefer to drill and tap into a stainless steel tab that is urethane-bonded underneath the deck and leave the hole through the alloy oversize, so I can get sealant in there and it doesn't seize up. Do it well and it won't leak either.

Regarding insulation, you really need to seal the metal. I sprayed foam, but you could glue panels provided you still seal all the gaps/seams with "something". If any damp air can get to the cold metal, it will cause condensation and drip etc. Permanently damp aluminium also ends up pitting.

Do yourself a huge favour and PAINT YOUR BILGES. Pitting is even worse there, because you invariably end up with salty dirt and dampness after a while.

Wire everything as a 2-conductor system, I have 2-core cables going to everything, and switch both cores. Leave the battery negative off the hull and insulate the engine block from the beds/hull. Mount it on plastic blocks and use insulating bushes around the bolts. Make sure the Morse cables etc don't connect it back to the hull.

Have fun.
I would add that I I have an aluminum pilothouse roof atop a steel cabin (good for weight aloft), through which I run a number of power and data cables, as the fluxgate compass wants to be up there. I've taken the following steps: painted the inward flange of the cabin sides with two-part epoxy; laid down a thin strip of HDPE plastic on which the roof is separated from the steel flange; laid down butyl tape outboard of that for sealant; and put in nylon bushings to keep the SS fasteners from contacting the aluminum roof.

The alu mast gets Duralac or Tefgel for its SS fasteners on the same principle.

I also have a galvanic isolator, isolation between the transmission and the shaft and the "floating ground" described above.

It's a lot to learn and to take into consideration, but all will be forgiven when you hit a reef and the only repair is pounding out the dent with a rubber mallet!
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:14   #11
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

Join the Metal Boat Society A wealth of info > Whatever you do DO NOT paint the aluminum the weathered patina is moire salt proof and much easier to maintain. Russ
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Old 05-11-2015, 09:22   #12
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

I would suggest Attainable Adventure Cruising at https://www.morganscloud.com/. They and Steve Dashew at set sail.com know more about Aluminum boats than any one I know.
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Old 05-11-2015, 14:20   #13
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

Have never owned an aluminium boat except for my tender. However, when a boat reaches its end of life, aluminium is the only material that is worth anything as scrap! With the current price collapse for second hand boats, this may be a real plus. Also beware of Americans who have problems spelling "aluminium" correctly.
Aluminium boats can also be a bit noisy with wave splash, but it's all pleasant. Not mentioned above is the issue of metal fatigue. Make sure this addressed professionally, particularly around gen sets and engines.
The Adams 40's are great boats. Enjoy.
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Old 06-11-2015, 03:16   #14
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Re: Need direction - Aluminium Hull/Deck

I'm very appreciative of all this information as I wasn't aware of much of it. Good hints and positive direction. Sorry about being a little slow on responses to you as I've been travelling all day and have another day of it again tomorrow. But I am interested and I've been looking atinto some of these suggestions especially the books as a starting point.

Fortunately I have time to plan this project. Next week I have a medical procedure planned which will have me in hospital for a week with a month or more of recuperation after that. All that equals a lot of thinking and planning time.

And, yes, Bilgewater, the Adams 40 is a surprisingly good yacht. This one carries heavy growth on the hull and still easily made six knots in a twelve knot breeze. I was suitably impressed.
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