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Old 11-12-2014, 02:51   #46
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Thanks. Water only came half way up the engine, so the idler pulley did not get wet. My main concern with the engine is the transmission, as I did drain about a litre of water along with the fluid, and it had been sitting for 5 months, so there may be damage. It all works now, but yes, there is a chance it will collapse after sustained use. I will look into a rebuild when I get back to Singapore, so hopefully it survives that long.
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Old 11-12-2014, 03:17   #47
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Work continues, with two days left until planned departure.

The old Simrad autopilot is now removed, and the new Raymarine is installed and working.

The galley headliner has been put back after fixing leaks around the hatch (screws through sealant) and dorade vent (bad weld) that have existed for 27 years. Every time it rained in the last 27 years someone saw those drips, and decided it was easier to use a towel.

The bathroom headliner was removed to check for rot or drips, cleaned up, and replaced.
Started work on the v-birth headliner as there is still at least one leak around the hatch there. I also removed the fan. Honestly, if you spend so much time in the bathroom that you need a fan there to keep you cool, then I don't think I want you on my boat.
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:04   #48
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Now for the nightmare ....

The aft float switch bilge pump has been turning one once or twice a day over the last week which is not normal, but it has been raining, so I assumed that water was coming in from leaks and did not investigate further. 3am yesterday after a late night and a few too many beers the bilge pump activated, but it had not rained in about 12 hours, so obviously there is a problem ...

Checked the bilges, and noticed water seeping through the hull close to the sonar transducer. Scratched it with my finger, and the seeping becomes a small stream. There is a small hole corroded through the hull, it is 3am, I have had a few beers, not much sleep, and there is nobody to help. What to do ?

1. put finger back on the hole to stop the flow and think of the boy and the dyke
2. decide that the bilge pumps can handle it, and go in search of a temporary fix
3. put a dinghy patch over the hole, and weigh it down with a sledge hammer. this slowed the leak considerably, and reduced bilge pump frequency, and gave more time to think
4. get paranoid about the bilge pump failing, and decide 4am is the right time to get out the new spare pump and plumb and wire it up ... just in case.
5. check that the leak is not getting worse, then go on the internet and research how to fix holes in aluminium boats while they are in the water.
6. wait until 8am, check that the sledge hammer is still doing it's job, then go for a walk to the nearest marine store.
7. buy two-part putty for sealing hull leaks underwater.
8. walk back to the boat, put on the wetsuit, and go for a swim in cold murky Sydney Harbour and hope the sharks are not too hungry today.
9. find the hole on the outside of the hull, clean around it with a scouring pad
10. try to cover the hole with a toilet plunger and hope the pressure will keep it there. it did not get a good enough seal to hold
11. knead a lump of putty, jump back into the water, and try to smear it over the hole. the putty instructions say to knead for 2 minutes, then you have 9-14 minutes to work with it, but after 2 minutes kneading, and 30 seconds swimming the putty was already hardening, and did not stick well to the hull, but did block the hole and did almost completely stop the water flow and after 36 hours is still in place. I did ball up the spare putty and planned to keep it, but dropped it swimming back to the dock, and a large fish rushed in and ate it, so he may be needing a constipation cure soon. I have since kneaded another ball of putty to see how quickly it sets, and what consistency it has, and it gets hot and reaches a brittle rubbery consistency after only a minute or two, and does not set further. It is possible that this putty has been on the store shelf too long, so may not be optimal. Personally I would prefer something stickier that sets hard (e.g epoxy), or very rubbery (e.g sikaflex) but this putty did not give me confidence that it would stay on the hull, so I continued working ...
13. ask the boat yard manager if he could get someone to put a spot of weld over the hole on the inside of the boat, but he says he can't weld while the boat is in the water, and I know the wait to haul a boat here is about 2 months, so I need a temporary solution that does not require welding, but is strong enough to sail hundreds of miles offshore to my planned haulout destination
12. walk to the hardware store to buy a two part epoxy in syringes that sets underwater. mix it up, spread it over the hole on the inside of the hull, then cover it in plastic and the trusty sledge hammer for pressure because there is still water weeping past the putty and pushing the epoxy out of the hole. after 8 hours the epoxy is still rubbery, so not sure it is going to set properly. Should have bought proper epoxy instead of the DIY syringe pack.
13. walk to the marine store and buy a fibreglass repair kit including mat and polyester resin. if the epoxy has not set after 24 hours I will glass over the hole.

This has all got me thinking about other solutions I could use with what is already on the boat.

A. could put a self-tapping screw through the hole, either from inside or outside the boat. a rubber washer would further improve the seal
B. the hole is near a stringer, so should be easy to put a strip of rubber over the hole and keep it in place with a clamp, wood block, and wedge.
C. it may have been possible to just smear sealant on the outside of the hull and let the pressure push it into the hole to set.
D. it may have been possible to just hold a plastic bag on the outside of the hull and let the pressure seal the leak

Anyway, it did make me glad of the work I have done replacing bilge pumps and float switches and fitting non-return valves. I now have more confidence in the pumps and in overcoming leaks, which can be a scary thing at 3am even in a marina, and would have been much worse offshore. Also, when I think about it, the wooden boat next to me pumps much more bilge water in a normal day than I do in an "emergency", so it is good to get this leak into perspective.

I suspect the hull corroded in the past due to flaking paint and stainless steel fittings and the void was filled with aluminium oxide crystals, and my recent activities wire brushing loose paint in the bilge and scraping the hull have dislodged the paint flakes that kept the water out, allowing the crystal to dissolve and the leak to start. My planned haulout will now need to include grinding the old paint out of the bilge, inspecting for voids, welding, and then priming and painting the bottom.

And for anyone considering an aluminium boat ... try to avoid painting it, and try to weld on aluminium fittings instead of using stainless steel screws and bolts
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:15   #49
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

how big are the tides in your area?

if it was me I would dry out between tides,and either use epoxy putty inside and out after giving the effected area a good grind.

or remove the transducer and trough bolt two oversized aluminium disks with pu sealant on either side of the hole.

another alternative in the water is building a "dam" or box around the leak and filling with quick drying cement!

you can forget about fiberglass and polyester it wont cure,or stick to a wet surface,or seal if it is still leaking
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:32   #50
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Tide is probably about 1.2 meters here, which may not expose the hole. Tides would be bigger in the outer harbour, but not sure there is anywhere suitable for drying out a keel boat this size.

I was also trying to work out a way of using pressure to inject epoxy into the hole to displace the water, either from inside or outside the boat. E.g plastic bag full of epoxy on the outside of the hull, and vacuum pump on the inside to burst the bag. Or rubber cup full of epoxy on the inside then crushed against the hull.

Hopefully the epoxy in the hole now will set hard, otherwise I will try with mat and polyester resin tomorrow.
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Old 11-12-2014, 04:46   #51
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by homeless View Post
Tide is probably about 1.2 meters here, which may not expose the hole. Tides would be bigger in the outer harbour, but not sure there is anywhere suitable for drying out a keel boat this size.

I was also trying to work out a way of using pressure to inject epoxy into the hole to displace the water, either from inside or outside the boat. E.g plastic bag full of epoxy on the outside of the hull, and vacuum pump on the inside to burst the bag. Or rubber cup full of epoxy on the inside then crushed against the hull.

Hopefully the epoxy in the hole now will set hard, otherwise I will try with mat and polyester resin tomorrow.
you can forget about using polyester resin it won't work
you could try epoxy resin with a fast hardner,but any water coming from outside and it will not seal due to pressure from outside the hull.

I would be inclined to find a beach and lay the boat over with the tide going out,then use some fast setting resin and a glass patch on the outside.

or use two discs and through bolt with 5200 or polyeurathane or rubber washer
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Old 11-12-2014, 08:29   #52
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

I agree with atoll, polyester resin will not work - another reason is that it doesn't stick to epoxy.
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Old 11-12-2014, 11:57   #53
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

A strong second here for Atoll's recommendation to use 2 plates, one each side of the hull, thru bolted thru the hole. A mechanical connection is much stronger than anything you will do with adhesives. Make the plates on the large side, because you do not know how far away from the hole you need to go to reach strong metal.

You're going to be making a long open ocean passage. Make a strong fix. And make up several extra sets of backing plates and stock extra sealant for them. If another area lets go during your passage it will be really nice to have prepared patches ready to go that you can install in the water.

Cheers, Paul
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:33   #54
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Homeless,
If you get the chance check out Untie the Lines on YouTube. Karl (the boat name) was bought in the same manner and is aluminum as well. I wish you all the best but seriously consider checking as much of the hull as possible before heading out. BJ

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Old 11-12-2014, 14:57   #55
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I reckon I would screw/rivet a patch plate with a sika or cork gasket and get it up north where some cheap diy yards can be found then get it fixed properly be welding. I'd also worry a little about other holes appearing so be prepared for more patches or buy a crash pump!
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Old 11-12-2014, 15:18   #56
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

What is the access like to the hole on the inside?

I would be making a temp patch on the outside to seal out the water, then getting a patch TIG welded onto the inside.
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Old 11-12-2014, 15:23   #57
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Put a pop rivet in the hole and then build a cement box around the area. I think we used to add washing soda to the water to make the cement set faster. Remedy from the olden days except we usually jammed a broom handle in the hole (old steel boats).
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Old 11-12-2014, 15:51   #58
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Sikaflex 291 works amazingly well on holes on my aluminium power cat for plugging small holes. However, it needs to be applied to a dry surface. If you can put a self-tapper in the hole and stop flow, you could layer in 291 from inside.
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Old 11-12-2014, 18:06   #59
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Atoll's method with double discs makes the most sense to me. Polyester resin cannot adhere to wet surfaces.
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Old 11-12-2014, 20:36   #60
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Re: Breaking All the Rules ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by homeless View Post
11. knead a lump of putty, jump back into the water, and try to smear it over the hole. the putty instructions say to knead for 2 minutes, then you have 9-14 minutes to work with it, but after 2 minutes kneading, and 30 seconds swimming the putty was already hardening, and did not stick well to the hull, but did block the hole and did almost completely stop the water flow and after 36 hours is still in place. I did ball up the spare putty and planned to keep it, but dropped it swimming back to the dock, and a large fish rushed in and ate it, so he may be needing a constipation cure soon. I have since kneaded another ball of putty to see how quickly it sets, and what consistency it has, and it gets hot and reaches a brittle rubbery consistency after only a minute or two, and does not set further. It is possible that this putty has been on the store shelf too long, so may not be optimal.
Next time two-part putty sets too fast, put it in the fridge or on ice and get it cold before you mix it, and mix it on ice. See if that works better.

You're fixing 27 year old leaks around hatches and through decks?! That means you've got the boat back to its normal condition before it sank, right? So you've got a $167,500 boat, I mean, that's what it would have sold for then, right?

You've done well. Good on ya, mate.
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