Progress Report 3

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Sat 21 Mar 2020 06:34

This last week has been a big one. My focus has been on removing the intermediate prop shaft and the two fuel tanks then cleaning the bilge beneath the tanks. I do not know when the fuel tanks were last removed, not in my time, so I reckon it has been at least thirty years. I am pleased to report that, overall, the week has gone very well. The prop shaft came out without too many problems though it required unbolting the engine and sliding it forward. The shaft is now with an engineering firm to have the flange for the flexible coupling realigned and the bearings replaced.

With the shaft out I could now get the fuel tanks out. I had to cut out a floor beam to get the forward tank out and build a frame to which I could attach a ‘come-along’ to break it free from its mounts. Once free, it was a matter of manoeuvring it out the companionway hatch and over the side. Being made out of mild steel, the tanks are quite heavy, so all of this was a challenge, requiring the strategic use of timber bearers and tackles to control its movement. I was certainly grateful to have Kate’s assistance for this particular part of the project. The aft tank was a little simpler because it is located directly under the companionway hatch. The tanks are now cleaned up and waiting on a pallet to go to Rudolph’s next door on Monday for grit blasting and repainting.

With the tanks out, I could now de-rust the bilges. So far I have been pleasantly surprised at the state of the bilges. It seems the years of oily grime that had built up over the years under the tanks has done a good job of excluding oxygen and therefore keeping the steel relatively rust free. The bilges are now mostly clean and the worst of the rust and flaking paint has been removed.

In the coming week I hope to repair some small holes, paint out the bilges, and have the fuel tanks and intermediate shaft refurbished.

All is well.


The fuel tanks:


Frame for lifting the tank:


Easy does it ...


It’s out – a bit like extracting a tooth:


The bilge where the tanks used to be:


One of the keel bolts. Not too bad I reckon after sixty years in a grimy bilge: