A Dry Boat, and a not-so-dry-boat.

We managed another day on the boat this weekend and pushed on with the Salon redecoration/insulation. No further photos I’m afraid, I just forgot to take them. Imagine her looking one coat better that the last photo. The transformation will be more of a surprise this way anyway!

We were in a hurry to get on the boat with an early tide on Sunday morning, and in our hurry, forgot to provision adequately. The beer and Bacardi somehow contrived to stay in the camper.

All Day.

So for the day at least, ‘Free’ was a Dry Boat.

Until I looked in her bilges…

I always knew she was letting in a bit of water through the keel bolts. It was something I was psyching myself up to tackling. This weekend, I sponged about one bucket out of each bilge. 8 litres each side since I last did this, 2 weeks ago.
Then I lifted the inspection hatch for the Forward Looking Sonar, a big stainless plate in the cabin floor. It was awash with another 8 buckets! 60 litres since she went back in the water in May.

That is unacceptable, and needs to be resolved. It looks like I shall be lifting ‘Free’ out for a while, resealing the keel bolts and re-tightening them in an effort to improve the situation.

I suspect that the problem is exacerbated by being on a drying mud mooring. Perhaps its time to move to somewhere more suitable…

Keeping the water Outside.

This weekend we took advantage of the fine weather and tried to eradicate a few of the leaks.

The two portlights in the v-berth were sealed in place. Luckily, I forgot to take pictures. I have a hate-hate relationship with mastics of all kinds and I just can’t seem to pick up a mastic gun without making an inordinate amount of mess. I even begin to wonder if I’m deficient in some kind of saliva enzyme that enables plumbers and window fitters to just lick a finger and run it down producing a glass smooth finish.

If I try that with my mastic reactive spit, I just end up with it over all of my fingers, one by one, and then probably my tongue.

Thankfully She has a knack of making my bodges look somewhere near respectable.

The next biggest source of ingress of water was through the cockpit seating slats into the rear locker:



We removed the slats, and while She was doing a fabulous job of removing the underlying green mould and silicone sealant from a previous owners attempt at sealing:





I set about preparing to seal the seats with Butyl Rubber ‘Tape’.
Butyl Rubber is like Blu Tack in consistency, it should never harden and I hope it will keep the water out of the holes.



It should compress nicely and seal both the threads and the hole. Time will tell! I have absolutely masses of the stuff! I bought a 10m roll for about £10 and have used about 50cm at most, for both seats. Still it doesn’t go off and I’m sure I’ll find other places for it.

Here is the finished seat all cleaned up (by Her) and tightened down:


Another area of ingress was through the retro-fitted* engine instrument cluster. (I forgot to take a picture of before, but ‘Free’ is fitted with a Beta Marine 20hp engine with a Type C Deluxe Instrument panel.
This is quite a large panel and whenever the engine was fitted they obviously decided it was too large, or perhaps too fragile, to try and fit where the Centaur instruments were, and so a hole was cut into the starboard coaming.

The panel was mounted in a crude, (even by my standards!) wooden box, with a perspex facia,and all held up against the fibre-glass with 22 stainless screws through an aluminium angle type picture frame and copious amounts of silicone sealant. Needless to say this isn’t effective and the water just sits on the bottom right corner of the angle, into the box and onto the quarter berth.



The perspex hole-covers are annoying and fiddly to use and I’m trying to come up with a better solution, and one that keeps the water out.

Any and all ideas are welcome!

The dials on the Control Panel are all cracked and crazed and I’d like to replace those if it’s financially viable. There are some contact numbers on the back of the dials so I’ll try them first:


And finally, perhaps this is the reason that so little work gets done:


With views like this, lunch hours and tea breaks are a-plenty. And never just an hour.

*On a 40 year old boat almost everything is retro fitted I suppose.