Webasto Diesel Heater 

Frank has a Webasto Air Top 2000 diesel heater – it takes a minescule feed of diesel from the engine’s fuel tank and burns it, generating warm air which is ducted into the boat. 

The unit was cleaned and serviced before I left the UK, but it had a problem which caused the heater to shut down after 10 minutes, which was actually enough to warm up the boat during the winter. However, I was a tad concerned about using it, and eventually ignored it. Further south and west, I had no need of it.

This Thanksgiving weekend I fixed the wiring (corroded connections) and also fixed a small leak in the fuel supply feeder pipe.

Here is the new pipe, plus a couple of shots of the fuel tank which is in the port lazarette:


The heater seems to work, but I will need colder weather to give it an extended test.

Holding Tank Update

The new cover for the holding tank is on, and the gauge has been fitted..

Woodstain and varnish have failed to match the color to the bulkhead. 

The sensor has been fitted, and wired up to the gauge, and calibrated. Very straightforward, and users of the heads can now check before flushing.

I had a slight mishap, tearing one of the copper foil sensors, but the company sent me a replacement very promptly – allowing me to pay after it arrived.


The next task is to hide the vertical pipes and build a storage unit for charts, manuals and papers, in the driest part of the boat.

Heads re-installed

The other side of the bulkhead that holds the cupboard-disguised holding tank is the heads/shower. In March, when Frank was out of the water at Hooking Bull boatyard in Rockport, TX, I cleaned the cocks for pumping sea water into the toilet, and for discharging black water from the holding tank. That meant disconnecting the toilet, and it has been disconnected ever since.

Having finished the holding tank, today I re-installed the throne.

No, the string is not a flush nor an emergency alarm pull!


The Throne Room on Frank

note the black “level” gauge on the wall


The plumbing is intrusive. I intended to have a custom holding tank installed behind the wooden cupboard/wall, but the cost is too high, so I shall get my money’s worth from the existing setup. One possibility is to re-route the “up” pipe from the toilet to the holding tank, behind the wall. 

I need to fit a grab rail at head height, because in a rolling sea the vent hose is conveniently located for the left hand to grab when taking a pee. I learned to take a seat, rather than headbutting the wall whilst doung the man-thing!

There is quite a bit of choreography involved in using the loo in a bumpy sea, involving dropping ’em aforehand and reversing into the heads compartment, timed with the ups and downs of the boat. Hopefully, the toilet rises to meet one’s backside, like a docking manouver at the Space Station. 

Another essential item – disposable gloves, to help with retrieving loo paper and helping the manual toilet pump cope with, ahem, larger solids.

Heads-up! Holding Tank false cupboard

To be USCG (US Coast Guard) compliant, I had to either fit a holding tank or sling the heads before entering US waters. Some Sadler 34 owners have fitted custom holding tanks behind the toilet, in the heads compartment. To get the job done simply, and more economically, I opted for this unattractive approach:

40 liter holding tank from http://www.tek-tanks.com

The holding tank is from Tek Tanks of Alton, Hants in England. They have a database of custom tanks for a load of boats, based on previous projects, but I will stick with the current setup for a year or so.

The plan is to hide it behind a wooden shell, made to look like a cabinet. This bulkhead is the driest part of the boat, so I will add a storage space to the right of the tank, (looking at it), for charts, manuals, documents etc. The loss of space would be a pain if there were four or five crew, but it is fine for one or two.

As an aside, my log was completely ruined after crossing Biscay in November 2014. It was “safely” stored in the desk, and water poured in through the leaky port above the desk, as well (I think) as through the open hatchway when a few massive waves snuck up behind me and took out the sprayhood. I then discovered plastic paper log books, which work great with pencil, and are resilient against sea, rain and flood.

I have ordered a Non-contact tank level sensor, from New Providence Marine. It means that I don’t have to fit a mechanical device inside the tank. It comes with a gauge which I will install in the heads compartment, warning people not to flush the loo if the tank is full.

The sensor has two foil strips running vertically, 3″ or 4″ apart, down the outside of the tank. I think it will have to be fitted to the rear of the tank, against the bulkhead.

[When I first bought her, I could not find the holding tank (it was a crappy hand-over). I called or texted from the Irish Sea and learned that there was none. This explained why it was backed up.]

The tank takes up valuable foot space when sleeping in that bunk, unfortunately, but it will be fine for someone 5’8″ or less. And, of course, a place at the dining table is sacrificed, but for the next year or so, it will do. Especially if it is disguised as a cabinet or cupboard!

More rails (update Oct 29, ’16)

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(Plugs in, cut and sanded. Pics below).

Rail bolt holes countersunk, shims shaped.

I had intended to finish it today but the sealant that I bought is permanent, rather than semi-permanent, so I shall aim to finish next week.

I also cut some plugs to cover the bolt heads. The ends of the rails need rounding off, and the edges too

Coachbolt covered with teak plug

Stbd rail with plugs standing proud.

Plug cut down with saw. I used a steel rule to protect the top of the rail from the saw teeth, putting the ruler between saw and rail.

Port rail sanded.


Just need to round the ends off and then oil. Or Cetol, which gets lots of positive support. It has a slightly amber hue, but will be good for two years, if looked after. And I have a new tin. So I think it will be Sikkens Cetol. 

New Official Number!

ON 1272125, the new Official Number for Frank, has been assigned by the Coastguard. Once I receive the Certificate of Documentation, I can strike the Manx Red Ensign and hoist the Stars and Stripes!

I will need to have the new port, Corpus Christi, TX, put on the stern, to replace Douglas, IoM. And I need to permanently add the new O.N. to the boat. 

Coachroof Rails progress report.

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The short report – progress is slow.

—-

The long report: what do you expect? It takes three hours 15 minutes each way for the drive and it is still too hot to sleep on the boat.

I decided against sandwiching the new rail between the old halves – as you knew, it was a daft idea anyway.

So I cut “shims” out of the bottom halves of the rails, from where the rails had mounted to the coachroof.

First patient please..

There are 7 mounting points on each side, and as one end of the port rail was sacrificed to create a cutting knife for the new rails, I had 13:


I used the coachbolts to line up the holes, then glued and clamped the shims in place:


I made a shim to replace the sacrificed one, out of the left-over new wood. 

The shims are too long and look shabby, after 31 years. I will sand, trim and shape them next week.

I will shorten each end of the rails, and shape the wood so that it matches the approx 45° slope of the end mounting point, so that sheets, lines and “moving stuff” does not snag on the ends of the rails.

As you can see, I still have to countersink the bolts. I am struggling to find the right shaped router blade or countersink bit. Once I have done that, I need to cut some caps from the left-over teak and, after using sealant (3M, no Silkaflex in the US) to keep the bolts secure, add some more sealant to act as semi-permanent fixing for the caps.


That is the plan, anyway.

I read that teak oil can soften the marine sealant…

Today, I also started to fabricate a wooden case to disguise the holding tank which is on the saloon side of the bulkhead between saloon and heads. I just thought – maybe I could put knobs on it, so it looks like a cupboard! More on that another day.

Rail Sandwich?

The coachroof rails need to be about an inch deep – 25mm – and the thickest length of teak that I could get is a tad over 20mm. So I was going to make shims from the two six-inch lengths I have left over. This will give me sufficient depth to countersink and cap the bolts.

My latest plan is to use the existing old rails. 

Originally, I was going to cut the shims from the old rails. I was going to do this by cutting them laterally and cutting out 5mm deep sections from the underside, where the rail mounted to the coachroof mounting points.

My current idea is to use the whole length of each rail, and sandwich the new piece between the old tops and bottoms. I must admit, I am not convinced that the tops will work, but I think the bottoms will do the job…. An open sandwich!

The new teak is very pale, but I expect that it will all fade to similar shades. I am missing the sternmost two or three inches of the port side rail, which includes the mounting hole and tapered end, so I will have to make a shim for that section.

I had to cut the old rails ino shorter lengths yesterday to get them into the car – so there will be some small gaps where I sawed the wood. I can fill and hide the gaps on the underside, I hope, but the topsides will look awful, I think.

We shall see..

Some pics of work in progress: