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  #1  
Old 08-22-2007
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Consequences of Boat Storage: Gelcoat and Bilge

As you know Waymar has been on the hard for two years. I was back home a few weeks ago and paid her a visit. (had to change the cover as the old one was completely shredded after two winters).

Inside she looked pertty good. No water accumulation at all. Everything was bone dry. She even smelled OK (2 years closed up). So I start taking a closer look. Inside I have two issues: Here is a pic from the bilge. My question is should I be worried about the rust (I had the antifreeze there but it evaporated:



Here is pic #2 of the engine compartment, againn do you think the surface rust will be an issue:



Finally, on the outside she looked OK She will need some cleaning up until I noticed this:



Its about a 3sq ft area. What is it, how did it happen and how do I fix it and when. I called the marina's regular fiberglass guy but he is on vacation right now.
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Old 08-22-2007
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Far as the rust goes - would be a good idea to get it off the engine with a brush and some emery cloth, then coat everything with vaseline if you are not going to be using it for a while. Keel bolts are not looking great. Clean them off and if they are pitted, etc. might be a good idea to get a yard navvie to look at them. Would be a good idea to see if you can arrange to have someone come down to the boat and keep the bilges dry (really dry) while you are away...

The blisters don't look too bad yet. Stand to the side of one and pop it, and catch whtever comes out on a clean, white paper towel. Check out the colour. If it's clear, or just slightly yellow, you can probably just take off the finish an let it dry out. If it is tan or darker brown, then you want to take a pick and start checking carefully to see if the hull is degrading at all. If it is - grind it out - let it dry, and repair it.

Good Luck !
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Old 08-22-2007
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Yes, I'd agree that you need to remove the surface rust and then spray the engine with a protective spray. Boeshield t9 might be a better choice than Vaseline, as it will be easier to clean up and much easier to apply. As it is not an agressive penetrating oil, it will not be likely to do any damage.

The area that is blistered, was it in contact with the cover? If that is the case, it may be caused by the contact with the cover. Is the boat painted or gelcoat??? If painted, then the blisters might be caused by the cover contact... I know it happens with some of the LPU paints.
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Old 08-22-2007
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As far as engine rust, I learned a trick. On the PWC's we had after each use we would liberally spray them down with silicone. When we sold them earlier this summer the engines still looked brand new.

You will need to get new belts for your engine. Those will probably be stuck in position. After sitting still for a long time under tension they will probably break soon. I would leave them on for the initial startup. They will also help to remove the rust from the pulleys. Do change them before getting in a bad situation. Take the battery home and charge it so the alt won't have such a hard time on the initial crank.

I noticed you only have one belt so ignore the plurals in the previous paragraph.

That alt looks pretty bad. If you have time take it off and have it tested. When you have the belt off turn the alt by hand back and forth all the way around and make sure it turns freely Not real fast, but not real slow and don't just spin it, your hand (fingers) will have to stay in contact with the pulley. If the bearings are going bad you will feel little bumps as you turn it.
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Old 08-23-2007
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Thanks guys!

Like I said the inside is bone dry. When we put her on the hard in September 2005, I filled the bilge with anti-freeze (essentially to protect the pump from freezing). It has dried up, leaving the rust stains on the keel bolts. Until I laid her up end of '05, there was absolutely no rust on the bolts.

I'm thinking that the engine will need major servicing before putting her back in the water. Question: As she has been idle for two years (nothing has been turned or cranked ( back in '05 I flushed the engine cooling and filled with anti-freeze and also changed the engine oil twice ) can I leave things as is and do the stuff next spring and summer (before she goes back in the water) or should I do some preventive maintenance. e.g. turning the engine a few times (manually with the handcrank and the pressure off (to oil a few of the moving parts), spraying the engine with a penetrating oil (even WD40? as its not going to start for another 8-10 months). Will the alternator (and anything else for that matter) degrade if I do not do something now?


All batteries will be new when she goes back in the water.

How can I tell if the hull has been painted? (i.e. the difference between gelcoat and an added coat of paint) It all looks white to me.... Much of the hull was in contact with the cover (for the last two years I used the cheap blue tarp you get anywhere. It got completely shredded over two winters. I now put back the heavy canvas cover (It had several tears in it which I repaired). it is in contact with the hull in many places.

The bubbling of the hull is bizarre. the bubbles are dry, no discoloration (and are not very deep). It looks like some kind of chemical cooking of the surface.

Anyway, I'm making copious notes and plans. I wnat to do things right and get her looking great. Sometimes I think it will be like any spring commissioning but this time I think I will have some expensive work to do....In will have a new survey due in '09 so maybe do it a year early and get a list of todos is another thought....


Last question: How do I hide the cost and level of effort from the admiral????
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Old 08-23-2007
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Mark-

The anti-freeze was probably a major factor in the bolts rusting. Stainless steel requires exposure to oxygen to not rust. The anti-freeze, just sitting in a pool and not circulating at all, would have deprived the stainless steel of the oxygen necessary to prevent rusting.

IMHO, you would have been much better off draining the engine completely to protect it from freezing, rather than leaving anti-freeze around the engine block.

The cheap blue tarp was probably the culprit. They don't breathe, and can trap moisture against the hull. The canvas cover won't trap moisture, as it can breathe.
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Old 08-23-2007
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Thansk Dawg,

Ouch,

So what do you suggest I do now? I'll be back at the boat for a day in late October. iI Kingston (Ontario), folks tend to leave the anti freeze in the cooling system for the engine over winter (water cooled engine, normally lake water). Do I leave it as is?

Regarding the Keel bolts, ...surface rust? I guess I'll have them checked...

On the gelcoat, as it would appear to be cosmetic, I can fix that before the boat goes in (I just read a Don Casey article on gelcoat repair).

Thoughts?
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Old 08-23-2007
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If the boat is out of the water... drain the system... if the boat is in the water... fill with anti-freeze. Leave the bilge empty and dry...
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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.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 08-23-2007
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Your blisters look like they were caused by your tarp. I have seen the same blisters where shrink wrap has been in contact with gelcoat for too long. Heat, blisters,happens. They will need to be fixed, but mostly cosmetic until you get it wet again.

Kingston, Ontario has a cover guy that is great. Metal framework, canvas cover fitted to your boat, never a problem with the dreaded shrink wrap or heat. Mine is on its 5th season and still looks new. Not cheap, but worth every penny in my book. I paid more to have the upholstery and flooring in my runabout fixed, and those problems were all caused by shrink wrap. Save now........pay later!
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Old 08-23-2007
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I wouldn't think the plastic tarp would raise bubbles in gelcoat - lots of covered boats around, never seen it except on a painted boat. Scratch some of the bubbles and you are likely to see the paint come off, showing the gelcoat under.

Painted hulls should be left bare, use a deck tent type cover that ties to the toerail.

I expect the only way to repair the areas with bubbles is to repaint it, and if you want the result to look good, you need to repaint the entire boat. Covering a painted hull with plastic is a nasty mistake. Canvas may not be so bad as it breathes some, but you still need to worry about abrasion harming the paint. Leave the boat uncovered rather than covering the hull.

Last edited by sailingfool; 08-23-2007 at 11:05 PM.
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