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Project Log:  Friday, January 28, 2011

After removing the temporary, screwed-in alignment clamps from the bulkhead patch, I applied thickened epoxy fillets to the seam between the bulkhead and hull on both sides, and let it cure partially over a couple hours while I worked on other things. 

When the fillets had gelled, I applied a layer of 6" biaxial tabbing to each side of the bulkhead. 



As I moved forward with the preliminary steps towards installing the various new structures and tankage in the engine room, there'd necessarily be periods of minimal visual impact--and this was one of those periods.  I sat in the engine room for a while and visualized the various issues I'd likely come up against, attempting to foresee any access issues that might arise as I began to close off parts of the space, and to work through in my mind what was to come.

The main centerline fuel tank--as per original--would be installed beneath the cockpit, and, once installed, would effectively close off all access to the narrow bilge beneath, as well as to the stern tube and related components.  Before moving forward on this tank's installation, I needed to sort out some small issues in this area.

During my earlier disassembly of the shafting and stern bearing, I'd tried to figure out the exact setup.  Between then and now, I'd eventually determined that what I'd initially thought was a removable bearing casing was in fact not so, and that the shaft (Cutless) bearing did indeed fit inside the external bronze stern bearing. 

I had decided to leave well enough alone and not attempt to revamp any of the basic running gear arrangement, so before I moved ahead with tank installations that would limit access to the area I confirmed the measurements of the stern tube and stuffing box assembly so I could source new hoses, bearings, and related items to fit properly.  The measured sizes matched readily-available parts, so I was all set there.

I really wanted to install a proper garboard drain, being a firm believer in their utility and requirement--and having sorely wished there'd been one as I struggled to rid the boat of disgustingly muddy wash water early in the project--so I decided now was the time to determine the drain's location and do what was necessary to ensure its ease of installation later.

The main problem at hand was to translate what was happening inside the boat to the outside, as there was no ready reference point available.  The deepest part of the bilge was all the way aft at the deadwood, in the inaccessible space beneath the stern tube, and I wanted to install the drain as closely as possible to the deepest part of the bilge for best utility.

My first thought was to possibly drill a hole from the outside in.  There was a chance I could fit a right angle drill in the space beneath the stern tube, but first I needed to improve the access through a little bulkhead that secured the stuffing box housing in place.  Besides, the existing opening just looked sloppy.

With a reciprocating saw, I angle-cut the opening towards the bottom, which greatly increased the access to the space behind and looked better to boot.


Unfortunately, even at the widest point of the bilge behind this bulkhead (which was further forward than I hoped for anyway), the drill housing barely fit even without a drill bit installed, so there'd be no way to drill from inside. 

Instead, I made some measurements from inside to help me locate the bottom of the bilge from outside the boat.  With these measurements, and some careful sounding, I determined a point at which to drill a pilot hole from outside.  This worked:  the hole ended up in a good position, and just high enough above the bottom of the bilge to allow for the lower radius of the intended garboard drain to be close to the bottom when I drilled the larger hole using the pilot hole as its center.


Yes, it was a mess back in that inaccessible bilge area, but I'd clean it out soon enough--worry not.

The drain fitting would be installed entirely from outside the boat, so with the location now determined and duly  marked, I could install it at my leisure.

I'd been anticipating the arrival of new sealant so I could complete the port caprail installation, which had been my plan for the afternoon.  Unfortunately, it didn't arrive; not sure why, as normally I get one-day delivery from the supplier, but in any event that quelled my afternoon plans.

Instead, I decided to sand and varnish again the rubrail (3rd coat).



Afterwards, I worked on some materials lists for things I needed to have on hand soon, including various fittings for the new tankage, and took an early end to the day; it was my birthday, after all--and a Friday.

Total Time Today:  4 hours

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