Planning, butyl, and a printer!

I haven’t blogged for a few days. Primary because I haven’t done much work. Well, not physical anyway. Iv’e been sitting in the companionway, staring at the salon, the galley and the chart table back and forth. Trying to assess the time it will take to rebuild each of them, what order and how to do it.

Yeah, I know. It isn’t really time to start up more projects at the moment. First and foremost because it will take time to get the materials here and if it will take longer than expected (which is expected!) I don’t want to be stuck here with unfinished projects and material that I can’t fit onto the boat. So it has to wait. I need something to do in the autumn as well!

Today I actually did something that I have been waiting for, I tried to maybe not stop the leak in the stern, but at least minimize it. I undid the hatch to the rudder stock and the emergency tiller mount, and… Yeah, not a beautiful sight really. Promise me, please, if you have or will ever have a boat, ban all use of silicone! I can see that the hatch has been an issue for quite some time. The reason is two-folded. First, the hatch itself is quite rudimentary and is probably leaking as a sieve. Secondly the ring around the hatch didn’t have a confident seal. Someone had just globbed on silicone and not as much so that it really filled everything. So, over time and people walking on the hatch, it leaked again.

First I removed all the not-so-sticky silicone and noticed that the hatch has been rebedded at least two times before this, according to all the holes. I really should repair the gelcoat if I wanted to do a serious repair, but I lack the materials at the moment so it will have to wait. If you take a closer look you will see that the edge is rounded into the hole (and you might also notice that the rudder stock isn’t in the center of the hole!) and thus makes a poor edge to attach the ring to. I think this is the major design flaw here, apart from the hatch being a bit too weak also. If I were to make a proper repair I would remove the gelcoat and add a sharper edge to the hole with thickened epoxi and then drill new holes to attach the ring to. As you can see they have either not used a drill at all or one that is too narrow for the screws being used, as the gelcoat has cracked around most holes. I gave it a good clean, scraping all the silicone off using a knife. I really don’t like doing that.

This is how it looks on a boat that has once been used as charter, I’m afraid. Neither the person chartering it nor the company is looking for any repairs that is costly or takes long time. They just want the boat out on the water. So I will have to deal with more of these quick’n’dirty fixes in the future. Silicone is definitely one of them. Ah, yes, that reminds me that one of the thru hulls for the bilge pump needs to be fastened. I don’t think it is, as it came loose as I removed the hose. But they had added a generous amount of silicone around the hose where it connected to the thru hull. Quick’n’dirty…

Anyway, I digress. The reason I did the hatch today is that I got a parcel delivered to me with four rolls of butyl tape! I have always wanted to test this magic material and now I had the chance! I bought three white rolls and one black, for jobs like this. I’m expecting to rebed all my deck fittings as well, so I better have some. I was happy to see that there is white, I have never seen anyone using it before. So, after adding some butyl tape the ring looked like this.

The extra small strips are there to cover the holes. When bedding things using butyl tape you can’t really screw things against the butyl, because it will roll up and away from where it is supposed to be. One thing that I noticed when I removed the ring was that the screws are have countersunk heads, so that they go into the material it is screwing down, while the plastic ring expects panned heads, or flat, that makes the head clamp down rather than sink into the material. So that is probably a souce of leak as well, and a reason why one of the holes was cracked. I need to buy more stainless screws! I found the best site for that,, which has pretty much any kind of fastener you need in stainless steel, and then some! Just make sure you get 316, or A4, which is the best. A2 is not as good, it is always better to pay a little extra for longitivity and peace of mind.

So, since the screws was countersunk I could just as well replace them with the ones I have bought, especially since mine were a bit longer and I would use the same holes.

When I was done, I flooded the cockpit with water as much as I could with an open transom to check if it was sealed. It wasn’t. Bummer. But I think it was mainly the hatch itself leaking (I mean, I can’t have failed, right?) and since the ring is a few millimeters high I’m hoping that the rain that will fall this week isn’t going to find its way into the boat via the ring, and hopefully it will drain off the boat before it reaches the hatch. Here’s to hoping!

On other notes, my second printer just arrived too. I tried not to be too eager and rip the package open before everything was done with the hatch, but it was hard. Yes, I’m a tech nerd! But also I was really worried that it too was broken on arrival. I suspect that the printer is a bit delicate and if it has been thrown around in transport it might break. But it worked! Then I had a short discussion with the supplier about sending the broken one back to them, since the cheapest way I could find spontaneously was €65 and their instructions were very clear that I needed to contact them prior sending it back, so that they could get a chance to try to get something cheaper set up. Good luck! The person replying to my email wanted to have the invoice number, of course, but then also the serial number of the printer. I was getting a bit tired of them and I said as it was – I don’t know how to find it and it is already packed up for delivery.

Nothing after that. Either I will get some sort of delivery notification or I will have to get back to them tomorrow. It is a bit ironic that I have to self-print all the return labels for a printer that doesn’t work. That’s why I ordered a new one, and it took some time to get it here. The person commented on that as we had our little passive agressive mail conversation. It is still within the 14 days to return things that have, and the supplier has 30 days of free return on their web site, so this can get interesting.

Do you want me to share some of my thoughts about how to rebuild the interior by the way? Leave a comment here or on Facebook!

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