Saturday, November 29, 2014

Removing and Repairing a Privilege Catamaran Watertank

Tank exposed, cabinetry and freezer removed.
During our first day out of Guaymas, Mexico, we discovered freshwater in the starboard bilge.  It turned out to be a leak from the stainless steel water tank on that side.  We could have delayed our trip across the Pacific but instead have been using the remaining tank and 5 gallon water jugs.  This project has been a unknown black hole of time hanging over my head ever since.  Well if ever there was a place to repair the tank, it was Australia.  The big problem with this job is that the the tank was put in place right after the keel was laid.  Everything else was built over it.  This meant a serious amount of cabinetry that had been fiberglassed to the hull had to be removed.  The new freezer that was installed in Mexico had to also be taken out.  There were lots of unknowns and once started, that side of the boat would be torn apart until the tank was back in and the cabinetry reinstalled.  That could be weeks or maybe a month.  This is not something you wanted to do during the cruising season.

Tank ready for removal
As it turned out, only the cabinets on the outboard side of the tank had to be removed.  It appeared that it would be possible to rotate the tank during removal so it would slide under the inboard cabinets.  That was incredible luck since I don't think the factory ever intended these tanks to be removed.   The tank was also fiberglassed in place and all that had to be cut out.

This is the area that I suspected had the leak.  The welder at the Gold Coast City Marina was very busy and I would not be a priority for him.  We met a welder named Malcom last year and when we went to find him, it turned out that he closed up shop.  The guys next to his shop at 'ICE CAP' do refrigeration but were not too busy and were able to do the welding right away.

They set me up in their parking lot with saw horses and I removed all the corrosion and leak checked the tank. to find the leak.  As it turned out, there were quite a few places that needed to be welded.  Tony had to cut out the entire bottom edge and weld new metal in place.  There were also some tiny cracks that he closed up with the TIG welder.

While they were doing the welding, I was sanding and prepping the keel to get it ready for the tank.

Looks alot better that before it was removed.  Hope for no leaks.
Repaired tank installed and ready for fiberglass.

There will not be enough time to finish everything before we leave for the US so the rest of the installation will have to wait until we return.

No comments:

Post a Comment