Boat Maintenance On the Hard

Stones Boatyard & Marina, Nanaimo

Monday, June 11, 2012S.V. CAMBRIA

The epoxied hole and the through-hole as seen inside the bilge and outside the boat.

Progress over the past week has been disappointingly slow, but not surprising.  We knew before we started this was going to be a difficult task, and it has been.  Difficult and painstaking. 

Once the through-hulls were removed, each hole had to be sanded and the edges filled with epoxy for protection.  Once the epoxy cured, twenty-four hours later, the holes needed to be sanded again and cleaned with acetone.  Then, and only then, could we start to install the new through-hulls. 

The through-hulls are secured with a nut that screws down to a backing plate in the bilge.  To close the gaps and provide a water barrier, we’re using a 3M product called 4200. Unlike its counterpart, 5200 which would permanently adhere to the hull and take parts of it with it if the through-hulls ever needed to be taken out, 4200 can be removed when needed but still provides an excellent seal.  The only issue is the 4200, come to find out, won’t hold the through-hull in place after it’s cured and the bond can be broken with a twisting motion.  The cause of our next problem.

While I was busy applying a fresh coat of anti-foul today, David attempted to install a valve onto the through-hull in the forward head sink.  Because I wasn’t outside the boat with a fid holding the through-hull in place, it moved as he was tightening the valve and now has to be reinstalled.  With a cure time of twenty-four hours, that’s another day before we can try it again.  Lesson learned. 

But it gets worse.  With me still busy, he moved on to the engine room to install new valves on the three through-hulls that he hadn’t removed – the two cockpit drains and the engine intake – which is when he learned the threads aren’t the same.  Cambria is a British built boat and the threads are British Standard Pipe.  The threads on the new valves are National Pipe.  Because we can’t order valves with BSP in the Western Hemisphere, the through-hulls had to come out and the previous procedure repeated.

Surprisingly, he was able to remove the trio in only three hours.  Because of inaccessibility in the engine room, David had to attack the problem from outside the boat and grind the mushroom base of the through-hull off – something that required a cool head and a steady hand because of the possibility of damaging the hull with the angle grinder in the process, but it turned out to be the easiest method.  Once again, lesson learned. 

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