Tanked!

September 29, 2015  Hours spent building to date:  1,484

The holding and water tanks (holding – 30 gallons, main water tank -30 gallons, backup water tanks -15 gallons) arrived last week and I have been prepping the tank bays and installing the fittings since then.  Getting the tank bays ready was pretty easy since the weight could be spread over a pretty large area across the bottom of the boat.  I simply beefed up the stringers to make them flat and added a heavy piece of fir running down to the keel which would take most of the load.

But installing the fittings on the tanks involved as much head scratching and planning as it did work, since:

— I wanted the fuel fills to be on the opposite side of the boat from the water fills and pumpout — summer fuel dock help is often highly educated, but a little dumb, and fuel in water tanks or vice versa happens all too often.  The explosive force of gasoline mixed into a holding tank that hasn’t been emptied in a couple weeks is measured in kilotons.

— The cockpit area of the boat is (as it should be) totally sealed from the hull so water can drain right out the transom without running into the bilges.  But this means access to tanks, tank fittings and hoses in this area has to be carefully thought out since sawing up the cockpit every time a repair is needed is a little extreme.

I came up with three potential solutions to the problem:

  1. The center section of the cockpit over the tanks themselves is going to be very tight and screwed down into hatch sealing tape.  This should make it almost watertight, but in an emergency, it can be removed.  It will also have an inspection hatch to get to a bilge pump located near the aft tank, since pump switches are notoriously prone to failure.   So I will always have an idea of what is going on down there.
  2. Hoses are okay running through the sealed area (I hope).  They virtually never fail, but every decade or so the vent hoses get grungy and have to be replaced.  So I placed the tank fittings for nice easy curves going back under the deckhouse to avoid elbow fittings in the sealed area and to make “fishing” new hoses easier.
  3. I tried to move all the hose clamps and fittings either back under the deckhouse or into the area under the “permanent” hatch.  It sort of works.  On the small tank, everything is easily accessible.  The large tank is just too tight.  By sliding the tank back and forth, all the hose clamps can be reached — they are the part that is most likely to fail.  But to change a hose, I think the whole tank might have to come back out, a pretty klugey solution.  I will mention this to the next owner after his check clears.

Anyway, releasing my inner plumber was a lot of fun, and I’ve started running hoses so I can screw down the cockpit subfloor and have a nice solid  surface to work on for the rest of the build.

The solo boat builders best friend for holding things down -- dive weights

The solo boat builders best friend for holding things down — dive weights

Bottom paint cans work, too

Bottom paint cans work, too

Water tank bay painted out

Water tank bay painted out

This in the subfloor for the giant watertight (or almost) hatch

This in the subfloor for the giant (almost) watertight hatch

Tank fittings factory

Tank fittings factory

Tank installation central

Tank installation central

Water tanks and fittings in

Water tanks and fittings in

Holding Tank

Holding Tank

High tech tool for getting dropped fittings out of bilge -- hanger and gorilla tape

High tech tool for getting dropped fittings out of bilge — hanger and gorilla tape

Side project -- laminating plywood to strengthen forecabin front

Side project — laminating plywood to strengthen forecabin front

 

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