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I'm Fixing a Hole

This is the bilge of Valiente, the “loaner” Viking 33 mentioned below. The flung-aside sole boards, the splayed wet-dry vac and the sheen of water on the inside of the boat all speak to the presence of lake where it shouldn’t be.

Valiente flung briefly into the air indicates the scope of the problem. Tara, sailor extraordinaire and designated steward for this good old boat, reported that her pre-launch crew, with all good intentions, either ground open a previous (crappy) keel-hull joint repair, or said repair’s time had, after many a dry season, finally arrived. The resultant 15 litres a day contribution to the cabin’s water feature isn’t wildly dangerous, but in the absence of a bilge pump of the automatic variety (the bilges are flat where the sump isn’t very narrow) mean that about two sinkfulls of H20 every two days must be dealt with.
Here’s the semi-cheap (the haulout cost $230) and mostly cheerful quick fix for "unwanted moisture": Find cracks, grind cracks delicately with a Dremel tool, and fill with “5200”, a tenacious black goo that seals and glues and gets everywhere you don’t want it. Of course, the proper way to do this job is to haul the boat for days, not 60 minutes, in order to grind away the entire hull/keel joint, to dry it out, to tighten the keel bolts, to fill the gap with thickened polyester-vinyl fiberglass goo, to fair it like a baby’s bum, and to put on barrier coat, and then anti-fouling. But this may serve until October…maybe.
We had an hour, so we pretended the keel was a cracked driveway. Tara found several spots where age and (probable) prior impact to the big lead bit had caused separation anxiety.

Oh, yeah, baby. Squeeze it good. Woo-hoo!

Then…splash! Back into the drink for a quick trip to my club to drop off all the hardware I’d brought from Alchemy (after a U-turn to get the ladder we’d left by the TraveLift…yes, that is the name of the giant’s truss device), and then Tara sped westward solo to her dock.

Two days later I checked Valiente’s bilges. Water, but no worse, and possibly better in terms of less of it, greeted me. The 5200 may not be entirely “set-up” yet, so Tara will keep an eye open and we’ll figure out if a bilge pump will suffice, or whether we need to get a cradle over to another club with a TraveLift that will let us do the job the correct, if tediously season-shortening, way.

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