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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > offshore modifications...
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Topic Review (Newest First)
02-02-2012 03:39 PM
killarney_sailor I think that you are confusing a couple of things here. There is stopping leaks on one hand and taking in a massive amount of water at one time if you got seriously knocked down or pooped. Neither is a good thing but obviously the latter is a really serious problem, the first is more of a serious annoyance. You can't fool around with taking on a bunch of water since that could be sinking issue. To my mind, whether you have doors or dropboards they need to be very strong and installed in such a way that they can't fall off or come open if the boat is doing nasty things. It does not help if you have immensely strong dropboards if they are not there. I think doors are better but boards are doable as well, although not as convenient for their main purpose ie entry and exit. We have doors but can also put our old dropboards in behind the doors when conditions warrant (which is very rare).

Stopping leaks is a very good thing and someone suggested a pressure washer to test for leaks - good idea but don't get the nozzle too close or you damage bedding.

As for cockpit volume, if you were concerned and plan to have some jerry cans with you (which is almost a necessity because many places you go you need to dinghy water and/fuel to the boat since there are no marinas and fuel docks (one boat in America Samoa went to the fuel dock used by the fishing boats, some of which are 150'+ - and blew out the manifold system connecting his fuel tanks. You can imagine how much of a mess that made).

Anyway, you might be able to position some of the tanks inside the cockpit, rathen tied to the rail where they are more vulnerable. Takes up volume but you need to mount them very solidly so they don't just float up if there is water in the cockpit. Also, don't get too carried away with filling up all of your cockpit. For example, it is safety issue to be able step up from the cabin and move into the cockpit into a secure cockpit. If all the foot space is gone and you climb up onto the seats that is a potentially awkward position. Also, picture how you will be sitting in the cockpt and moving from the cockpit to interior and onto the deck and imagine where you want to put your feet and legs for ease of movement and comfort.

Finally a question, I think you said you had 6 scuppers for drainage - are they in the cockpit well or at deck level - how big are the hoses/passages from these?
02-02-2012 01:12 PM
peterchech Listen, I am no offshore expert at all so this advice is worth about what you paid for it.

That said, I speak to alot of sailors, have built a few small boats and read alot on this kind of stuff.

I read the story here on this forum of a large production boat doing the transpac to Hawaii, and having to turn back partly due to the boat leaking too much. It had never leaked in coastal conditions. But in the rough seas it encountered, with the deck being swept by a wave every minute or so, enough water came in to get everything inside the boat wet and require running the pumps. Death of a thousand cuts so to speak. I have heard that modern thinking on offshore boats is the "tupperware" principal, that the boat should be able to be sealed up perfectly, including the companionway. Many production boats used less than ideal caulking methods, and after only a few years they develop leaks (check out the bedding with butyl tape thread he gives some good examples). After 40 years, that sealant is just gonna be gone. I am going through this on my own boat, which leaks when it rains. I have begun re-caulking all through deck fittings, including the toe rail. I hope the hull-deck seem is still in good shape, because that would be one hell of a job to re-do lol... point is, people say that if the hatches/fittings can be sprayed with a pressure washer and not leak, then they probably won't leak if hit by a wave. I don't know how true that is, but at least a few people seem to believe it.

While recaulking, you may want to inspect the through-deck fittings for corrosion. 1/4 inch stays won't do much good if your chainplates are corroded inside the deck.

As for bulkheads, the hull flexes while in heavy seas and this can de-tab bulkheads. Happened on my own boat, though not on a crucial bulkhead. I simply re-tabbed it, using two layers of cloth instead of roving. If I were going "offshore", I would sand and reinforce the tabbing on my bulkheads with a layer or two of cloth. This is cheap and easy to do, and gives you a close up look at the structural condition of your boat, including whether the (usually ply) bulkhead is beginning to rot or is in good shape. A few through-(tabbing and bulkhead) 1/4 inch bolts on each tab is cheap insurance to ensure that the tabbing won't become detatched from the bulkhead (they are usually attached with polyester resin, not epoxy, so the bond may weaken over time).

Another thing to consider is a forward crash compartment. James Baldwin raised his v-berth a few inches and sealed up the compartment underneath, creating a crash compartment. He did this after a collision with a fishing vessel which could have been worse if he were not a lucky guy...

Again though, I am not talking from experience as I have never made an "offshore" passage. Just reiterating what I have learned from others and from my limited practical experience.
02-02-2012 10:36 AM
duchess of montrose can you explain the pressure washers thanks and well my boat has been used offshore in a limited sense the p.o used it in the carribean and between texas and florida, so the rigging is rather stout looking and at the marina the guys its in told me it still has plenty of life left in it. but i do want to know about the pressure washer system and also could i replace the sliding wood panels with an aluminium one therefore giving it greater strength? And how about the part where the sliding hatch meets the dropboards how can i better seal that i've realized while the door idea is a much better idea it would require a lot of modification on my boat. also in tabbing the bulkheads if they look like there not about to fall does that mean there good how do u determine that
02-02-2012 10:11 AM
peterchech I think there are other things he can do to ensure offshore safety. I have read of sailors using pressure washers to make sure there are absolutely no leaks on the boat. Upgrading the rigging is another fundamental step I think. Inspecting, and possibly reinforcing the bulkhead tabbing couldn't hurt either, I found some broken tabbing in my boat from years of coastal cruising and I'm sure in the open ocean improperly secured bulkheads are the first thing to go
02-02-2012 10:07 AM
peterchech So does the aluminum door idea only work if u get rid of the sliding companionway hatch?
02-02-2012 12:52 AM
itsaboat Duchess,

I can't help you in your quest, but I'm throwing some free punctuations your way: . , ? ! ;
02-02-2012 12:44 AM
mitiempo This is what Brent means below. If building new, especially in steel or aluminum, it can make sense but I wouldn't try on your boat.

As far as making the cockpit well smaller, if you have 6 drains of 2" size - you are way ahead of most of us. Remember the boat you read about, Ming Ming, is much smaller than your boat so a footwell full of water in a 21' boat is a much larger issue than one on a 30' boat. The easiest way to reduce the footwell size is to store something there as long as it is sealed for protection from water.

From the Origami group:
02-01-2012 06:21 PM
duchess of montrose can u show me a pic and my coachroof is flat i have a doghouse so im guessing now id have to build a bubble ut of say balsa and glass over it., my decks solid glass btw but it looks like this i dont have a pic of my boat but heres one on the internet Redirect Notice
02-01-2012 06:11 PM
Brent Swain A jigsaw, table saw, or skill saw will cut aluminium easily. Do all your own cutting and layout, to minimize what you have to pay others for.,
A good slope on the back of your cabin makes a bubble over the companion way, and a single door on hinges ,work much better. How much slope does yours have?
A brake press can be used to fold down edges. If you do your own cutting and take it to a sheet metal shop with a brake, that shouldn't cost too much.
Aluminium doors, locked form the inside, with a lock you reach thru a vent to unlock, makes a very tough boat for a thief to break into.
02-01-2012 06:01 PM
duchess of montrose *doors hatchboards bad keyboard
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