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Project Log:  Friday March 11, 2011

The final tank awaiting installation was the centerline aft fuel tank, located beneath the cockpit and a virtual replica of the original tank that I'd removed some months ago.

Now that the new tank platform and surrounding area was freshly painted, all that stood in the way of the tank's final installation was the acquisition of the materials required to install it firmly in place.  I ordered stainless steel padeyes, bolts, and straps, and with the materials on hand I proceeded with the installation.

The tank platform itself would hold the tank from side-to-side on its own, but the tank needed to be strapped down so it couldn't possibly shift upwards.  To hold the tank in place, I installed two cast stainless padeyes on each side of the tank platform, bolted through the sides of the platform to hold them securely.  I'd allowed enough additional width in the tank platform to accommodate the bolt heads.



It was probably unnecessary, but I decided to install some dense rubber chafe protectors over the heads of the bolts on the inside edges of the tank platform.  I thought this would help prevent any potential problems between the bolts and the sides of the tank; the rubber also acted as wedges, which ended up holding the tank snugly--but not overly tight--when I slipped it into place afterwards.

At the forward end of the tank, I'd earlier prepared a wooden strip to span the front edge of the tank between the sides of the base platform, which I installed now to help hold the tank in place (though it was a friction fit between the rubber covers on the sides). 

Later, I'd add additional support to the forward end to hold the tank securely; this would come in the form of the A-shaped brace that would double as a support for the mizzen mast step above, as seen in photos from the boat's original layout when she arrived here.  For now, though, the screwed-in wooden strip would be plenty.


I installed a bronze tank drain valve and close nipple, as with the other tanks in the engine room.

To hold the tank securely against the platform, I used a pair of 3000 lb. ratchet straps.  I ordered straps that were purported to have composite bodies, which I thought would be a good hedge against corrosion; unfortunately, only the ratchet handles were composite, while the main body of the ratchet was steel, as on most ratchet straps.  I decided to use them anyway, and the straps would be easy to replace later if the bodies started to rust.  I'd probably coat the bodies with waterproof grease or something to limit their potential for corrosion, but that would come much later.

To make the straps work effectively, I had to  modify the ratchet end.  The length of the strap at that end was long enough so that the ratchet body and handle ended up at the top of the tank in awkward and unusable positions (both the forward and after straps).

To get around this problem, I cut the S-hook off the end of the strap, leaving a sewn loop only, and cut off the pin holding the strap to the ratchet body, as there was no means of undoing the pin as designed.  Then, I replaced the pin with a bolt of appropriate diameter, and, up in the boat, threaded the strap through the padeye and then back up to the ratchet body, where I secured both ends with the new pin.  This shortened the length as needed so that the ratchet bodies and handles ended up on the side of the tank.


Where the straps passed across the top corners of the tank, I installed dense rubber chafe material beneath.

This completed, essentially, the installation of the last tank.  As with the other tanks, I covered the holes for the various fittings with tape to prevent debris from getting into the tank during the remaining construction.

Finally, I installed a bronze drain valve on the forward water tank.  On this final tank, I left the bronze drain plug out of the valve for now, something I should have done on all the tanks since I planned to fill each with water as a test at some point, and would need to drain all the tanks; of course this only clicked in my mind on the last of six tanks (though of course I could remove the plugs from the other drain valves when the time came).

Total Time Today:  4.25 hours

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