Saturday, February 20, 2016

Cockpit Covered & First Cuts

Since I'm working below the cockpit, I wanted to remove the hoses and thru-hulls, that will be replaced anyway, so I can work on removing the fuel tank. To keep water from getting into the boat through the cockpit drains, I needed a frame and cover in the cockpit. Got some 2x4's and made a simple frame and a 12x20ft tarp. The tarp I got wasn't quite big enough, so I had to go to the local hardware store for another. Took a while to setup. Once I started putting the tarp on the frame, the wind started picking up and wanted to blow the tarp all over the place. The sides extend just below the cockpit and there's a small opening by the stern rail, but shouldn't let much, if any, rain in.

The cover isn't pretty, but hopefully it'll work long enough to do what I need to.

Didn't have a lot of time for the day but with an angle grinder I got from Harbor Freight, I started making a couple cuts into the tank. The first cuts went well, but didn't come off the tank due to the baffle in the middle of it. I made another cut behind it and came off well. Looking at the piece I remove, it appears to be 1/16" thick. I'll try measuring it next visit. From what I've seen online, a lot of tanks are made with thicker aluminum. So long as the cover works well, the tank, hoses, thru-hulls will be removed soon to make space for the next tank.

This isn't the easiest work and not a lot of space to work in, but it should work out all the same.


  1. Enjoy watching your progress and the ton of work this project represents. I'm not at all an experienced boat person but I was thinking what I would do with this tank issue. My thought was to have a plastic/poly type tank made to fit in within the current tank after you cut the top out. Or a mold made of the tank and fabricate a fiberglass tank to fit within the curren tank sides and bottom. Just a thought to reduce the work and possible damage removing completely the tank.
    Anyway...good luck and I continue to follow your progress.

    1. Thanks Jeff for the suggestions. I've been getting some of the same advice by others too. I'm considering different options, but the main thing I want to do is get this old tank out first. I've considered split aluminum tanks and fiberglass as well. Not an easy job, but one I think is worth the extra efforts.

    2. Tarp is good enough for what you're doing! Dig in!

  2. Always fun to do boat projects outside where you get to battle the weather! Ha. Good luck. As a Michigan guy who has put up a few tarps and boat covers, I can tell you that those top horizontal 2x4s are going to chew right through your tarp in no time. You might wrap the ends with old t-shirts or towels. Good luck!

    1. You know, after I got everything tied down, one of the marina workers told me about how they use rags at the ends of wood beams when they shrink wrap boats. I think loosening the tarps enough to slide something underneath might not be a bad idea after all. I think I have some old work shirts laying around somewhere.

      How long does your tarps last?

      Another idea I had was to get/make a canvas cover, but that'll take a lot more time to put together and it would be a lot of money for something I need fairly temporarily.

      Thanks for the suggestions.

    2. It looks like my reply didn't go through. Hmm. The tarp on my A30 shed is going on at least three years - maybe four. Just yesterday I noticed that it's started to break down at the top due to UV exposure. Sad, especially since it's a $200 tarp. Maybe I'll sew up something more durable.
      Life expectancy of a tarp has more to do with fit than anything. A good-fitting tarp and a properly padded structure will keep the tarp in good shape for a while. A loosely-fitted tarp and poor padding won't last through a good blow.