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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 10-04-2006
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Fuel Tank Installation

What are your thoughts, suggestions, concerns regarding the installation of a gasoline tank in a 22' sailboat?? It's a '73 Kells with an outboard, and no cockpit lockers. The space below the cockpit seats is accessible by crawling back from the cabin. I'd love to put a perminant tank in this tight and cramped space, but since it is essentially open to the cabin, I want to make sure I make it as safe as possible. Aside from securely mounting the tank, and installing a vent to the outside, is there anything else that I have to keep in mind?? Does the tank have to be installed within it's own sealed and vented compartment, seperate from the cabin, or is the tank vent enough??
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Old 10-04-2006
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There are a few things to consider:

1. The balance of the boat
2. Tank vent has to vent directly to outside NOT inside the cabin

HTH.
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Many boats have tanks under the cockpit area, and not all have these storage areas fully isolated from the cabin space. Obviously the tank must be secured, and all fittings tight.

A temptation may be to mount the fill immediately above the tank on the cockpit floor. This does work, has been done, but it seems to me that the chances of water intrusion are higher (say, if a cockpit drain plugs while the boat is unattended), and any spillage will be underfoot and a slipping hazard at least. If you must do this, try to have thefiller on a slightly raised boss to protect the fill from standing water in the cockpit.

Vent the tank outboard in such a way that it cannot spill fuel if you heel over with a full tank.

Keeping the tank low in the boat helps maintain the CG, getting away from temporary tanks aft in the cockpit will help trim and reduce pitching as well.

I did this on a boat years ago, same situation, and managed to shoehorn a tank under the cockpit - it worked fine. The vent ran out to the transom, high near the centerline.
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I believe I can squeeze it in just under the cockpit floor, and have a few options as far as fill and vent locations. Vent definately will be to the outside, not to the cabin. As long as the vent is outside, and the fittings are solid and tight, there's no worry to having the tank inside??

Thank you all for your replies and advice.
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Also, the filler point should be setup so that any spilled fuel doesn't allow fumes to build up in the cabin or in any lockers. Having the fuel filler opening inside the cockpit strikes me as somewhat risky, as spilled fuel will enter the cockpit, and most of the fumes may end up in the cabin...which is a bad thing. Most fuel filler caps are on the outer edges of the side decks, and fuel spills will spill into the water...which, while not great for the environment, will at least prevent the boat from blowing up.
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Old 10-05-2006
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Rockter will become famous soon enough
It is a superb explosive that stuff, and it needs so little.

I know of a guy that took a grinder to an old gasoline drum, that was claimed to be purged.

He woke up somewhere else.
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Just to be clear, I wasn't recommending putting the fill in the cockpit floor, but some tank configurations encourage this, and I have seen several such installations. The Ranger 29, for example, has this from the factory.
It requires extra care and a good tight sealing cap.
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Didn't mean to suggest you had recommended it...just wanted to make it very clear that having the deck fill where the fumes or spilled fuel can enter the boat's cabin or bilge is a really bad idea.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

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Old 10-06-2006
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The fill can go up on the starboard rail, there's just enough width. The vent will go through the center of the transom, as high as I can get. Tank can be secured below the cockpit floor.

Thanks all for your replies and suggestions.
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