Tuesday, July 5, 2016

"No Turning Back Now..."

Every now and then I make a decision to do something and then realize that "something" was bigger than I thought. When that happens, sometimes you can turn back... sometimes you can't.

Lowering the V-Berth is one of those jobs that, once you start, you can't turn back.

First, I had to get the old holding tank out of the boat. (Now, despite the fact that it had been pumped out months ago, it still contained about two or three gallons of residual waste... Yippee)! I measured the tank and the only way to get it out of the place it was secured was to turn it up on end; I was NOT willing to do that. There's no telling what would have happened with the old hoses and the last thing I wanted was two or three gallons of wastewater on me or in my bilge. Since I was going to lower the V-Berth anyway, I removed a piece of plywood to make room for the tank's exodus.

I was careful when I cut the lines to bag and tape each one, but somehow, old stinky waste still leaked out of hoses that should have been dry a long time ago. (This may be a witness to the high seas I experienced on the last night of my passage to Carrabelle).

Leaky, stinky, mess!

Finally the tank was free and I lifted it out with great care and no little effort, (at 8lbs. per gallon, it was a little work). I was slow and deliberate like I was handling Nitroglycerin. With my weak stomach, both could easily blow me up in a couple of different ways.

I carefully lifted the tank out of the cabin and then lowered it to the ground with a couple of ropes. I'm pretty sure the tank was the original tank installed by P&M... it smelled like it. (BTW, I love my Nature's Head composting toilet).

Once that part of the job was done, I still had/have a lot of work to do. To lower the V-Berth, all hoses and eventually, two large Groco Seacocks, and the fiberglassed tabbed plywood have to be cut out. Lot's more work than it initially looked like... no turning back now.

Look closely...
the berth will be cut down to the black line
drawn all the way around.

Two Groco Seacocks for sale... :)

Obviously, I need to buy some Bilgekote!

As you can see, there's no turning back now. I'm hoping to have the old V-Berth cut out completely by the weekend and begin installing the lowered V-Berth with all new hardwood plywood next week. (I don't know why I do this... my time predictions NEVER work).

I'm not completely sure how I'm going to set this thing up. I want liveaboard comfort coupled with maximized storage. (Is that possible)? This should be interesting.

Fair seas and God bless!


  1. That'll be quite a drop in height. That'll give you plenty of headroom. It seems you have plenty of storage elsewhere in the boat so not much of a shortage to you.

    Those seacocks look like the tapered cone type, that you might be able to clean up and reuse. If they ARE restorable, that's possibly good money there. Were they used for the head system? At least, soak them up in a bucket of vinegar for a while to eat up the corrosion, then you can use a wire brush to clean up some more. Get past the green, you might be able to see if they're worth going further.

    Anyway, I was thinking of using bilgekote on my boat but saw some info saying that it may not really adhere very well. So, right now, I'm considering Interlux 2000 barrier coat, since it IS made for constant contact with water and may be easier to clean. Another option is gelcoat. Just thinking of something to keep you from doing more work later, but in the short term, anything would look better.

    This is what I read that got me to change my mind about bilgekote. Only a suggestion. :-) Look at user "Maine Sail" comments. He's well experienced and know some good things about taking care of boats.


    Maine Sail's how-to site might be useful, in case you haven't seen it yet: http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/boat_projects

  2. Lowering the V-Berth will shrink the storage under and make smaller the berth itself, but I plan on installing shelves for books and other items, drop down storage, and with no holding tank, other storage.

    As to the seacocks, I will remove them before I rebuild the berth and before I paint. I'll soak them as you recommended. I really appreciate the advice... not always sure what will work when venturing into uncharted water.

    I like the Interlux 2000 barrier coat idea but the price is a little high... I'll do some research and price shopping.

    Thanks for the links Dan. Good sources of information.

    I appreciate your input.

    1. yeah, cost is always a factor when it comes to boat projects. I like the shelving idea.

      You're off to a good start. Let's hope the finish is just as strong. :-)

    2. Thanks Dan... I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to attack this yet... I have a picture in my head but I'll have to wait and see if it translates to the actual finished product.