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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 12-19-2012
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Improvised Repairs

Also known as Jerry-rigging... I'm interested in stories of mechanical failures at sea and how you might (or did) cobble together a temporary solution.

For example, I once had the latch pop off one of the forward hatches of a charter. It had been glued to the inside of the lexan, not bolted through it, so when the glue failed, no latchee. It kept popping up and catching the jib sheet on a tack. The hatch had a little gas strut that held it up, so I popped the strut out and hung a pair of shoes off the end of it, which avoided the worst of the problems - save for some water leakage.

Fortunately the weather was relatively mild, because I'm sure if we'd started taking waves over the bow I would have had gallons of water pouring through that hatch.

Any other suggestions for how I might have fastened the hatch down securely without drilling a hole in somebody else's hatch? I guess if I'd run into a real storm, I might have been less reluctant to do that, on the grounds of necessity.

Other jury-rigged repair stories welcome.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Improvised Repairs

Well, on one occasion, the mainsheet sheeve suddenly detached from the boom and I had to strap another one to the end of the...

Oh, never mind, that was a Viagra commmercial I watched.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Improvised Repairs

Run a loop from the hatch handle to something below tighten it and use a Spanish windlass to get it real tight.
I've found that a bicycle tire tube, split, is great for wrapping around a leak in a hose type device. I used it to wrap my shaft seal gland to do remove it to work on it afloat.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Improvised Repairs

Saw three rolls of duck tape on a blown spinaker and it was flown on the second 40 mile lag, I'm sure with an effect on preformance, but it held.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Improvised Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by -OvO- View Post
...
For example, I once had the latch pop off one of the forward hatches of a charter. It had been glued to the inside of the lexan, not bolted through it, so when the glue failed, no latchee. It kept popping up and catching the jib sheet on a tack. The hatch had a little gas strut that held it up, so I popped the strut out and hung a pair of shoes off the end of it, which avoided the worst of the problems - save for some water leakage.
...
Any other suggestions for how I might have fastened the hatch down securely without drilling a hole in somebody else's hatch? I guess if I'd run into a real storm, I might have been less reluctant to do that, on the grounds of necessity.
...
Duct Tape - Don't leave the dock without it!

I also would have considered sail repair tape.


I had to repair the roller furler jib on a club boat. When it came time to mouse the pin, I couldn't find any wire. I did, however find that the binding to a chart book was one of those wire thingys... So, I clipped about 6" of binder off, and moused the pin back in place with it.

The next year, on the same boat, I noticed that the black painted wire that I put in place "temporarily" was still there.
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Old 12-19-2012
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Re: Improvised Repairs

That's why you need a compliment of qualified crew...just designate
a dedicated hatch sitter.
Yes duct tape...definitely don't leave home without it.
An aside regarding jib sheets and deliberate open forward hatches...
just rig a light bungee or line from your toe rail, (both port/starboard) forward of your hatch, and run to a fitting on your mast. Jib sheets will ride up bungee and clear hatch every time.
Back to duct tape and mech failures...once used empty coke
bottle with bottom cut out as fuel tank... (fuel pump/filter issues)duct taped upside down bottle to fuel line and poured diesel in bottle. Duct taped bottle to stern rail.
Got us home that night and was kinda happy it was dark when we
arrived!
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Old 12-20-2012
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Re: Improvised Repairs

At a good pharmacy you can buy bags of fiberglass plaster for broken bones.... Its an emergency repair for lots of things includinh burst hoses.

. I havent used it yet, nor do i want to, but it shows you theres many things you can buy that have multiple uses. Duct tape, the good stuff, is very expensive and leaves a horrible mark, but as an emergency tape for hateches and stuff, just great.

Wardrobe doors or cabin doors can be cut and screwed directly into the. Fiberglass in emergency.

Sail reparis for me are never sail repair tape as its too thin, too expensive. I use normal sailcloth and a litre can of contact cement. Might look a bit shitty but works!

Keep odd bits and pieces. They can be great for weird fixes.

When i have a problem at sea i dont just jump into the first most obvious fix. I sit dawn and have a think about it for an hour or so and usually a better idea comes. There are few things that need an instant fix, just secure whats flogging and have a think.
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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 12-20-2012 at 03:38 AM.
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Old 12-20-2012
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Re: Improvised Repairs

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkofSeaLife View Post
Duct tape, the good stuff, is very expensive and leaves a horrible mark, but as an emergency tape for hateches and stuff, just great.
I keep gaffer's tape on board (
Amazon.com: JVCC GAFF30YD Premium Grade 30 Yard Gaffers Tape: 2 in. x 30 yds. (Black): Camera & Photo Amazon.com: JVCC GAFF30YD Premium Grade 30 Yard Gaffers Tape: 2 in. x 30 yds. (Black): Camera & Photo


). It's made for photographers and stagehands. Stronger than duct tape but it pulls off cleanly with no glue residue.

For hose repairs stop at your local truck stop and pick up a
Amazon.com: HEATER HOSE REPAIR KIT: Automotive Amazon.com: HEATER HOSE REPAIR KIT: Automotive


. It will include a couple of different size inserts and a couple of clamps. Cut the hose, slip in the insert with a little rubber cement and clamp it. Not pretty but it'll get you home. Just make sure you get a kit that includes the size hoses on your boat.

I've also got some of that rescue tape on board but have had mixed results with it.
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