Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Bilge Water Blog #158

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

This post is a bit out of order. I filmed this right after I discovered that the fuel tanks had been leaking and before I started removing the old tanks. My big concern was to get the contaminated water out of the bilge.  I need to have a functioning bilge pump, but I can’t allow the pump to engage when there’s fuel in the bilge. Nope, wouldn’t be good.

I used a hand pump to pump out the bilges into jerry cans. With that out of the way, I used some oil absorbent pads, and some eco-friendly grease cutter to clean the mess up. I am pleased with the result. It was a quck job and not as gross & messy as I had anticipated.

It’s good to have clean bilges, dry and tight. With this little job done we can move on to building the new tanks.

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Clean up & Test fit Blog #157

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Both tanks are out, so now it’s time to start the replacement phase of the project. Step one is to get all the old expanding foam and assorted hardware removed to create a nice warm, welcoming spot for the new tanks to inhabit.  There really wasn’t much technical about it – peel off, dig out,  the foam cut out the old straps and viola! Done. Well, mostly done. The tank holds are now ready to do some test fitting of a new template tank.

The first rendition of the tank template was made out of cardboard.  It was designed from the  blue prints of the original tanks. The modification that was made was to remove about 6″ from the bottom of the tank in order to make it fit. I don’t believe there exists such a beast as a modular tank. The new tanks will have to go in, in one piece.

Spoiler alert: The cardboard template didn’t fit.  The reason was not what I suspected. In the vid. I stated that there was an old exhaust hose that had been routed up & around the tank and a couple of metal straps, and some wiring.  Well none of that was the reason the tank would not fit.

The reason was the width of the tank across the top. The space in the hold is 16″ wide. The tanks are 23″ wide. So….. how to reshape the template to make it fit?  I don’t want to kill the volume of the tanks. They were designed to hold 38 Gallons of fuel. If I lose 5 or  10 gallons I could live with that but any more would be unacceptable.

Like most projects I undertake, I figured it out. But if you want to know … you’ll have to wait till next week. 😉

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.



Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Port tank out Blog #156

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

After the disappointment of missing the year’s sailing season due to the leaky fuel tank problem, I get cracking on removing the fuel tanks.  When I created this vid, I had already removed the starboard side tank.

The port side tank presented a different challenge – it was full of fuel. Well, not ‘full’ but it had about 20 gallons of diesel in it. Good thing the leak wasn’t too bad. I would have HATED to have 20 gallons of diesel sloshing around the engine pan & bilge. That would have been a major bummer. Colonel Bummer? Certainly General Bummer.  I digress…

I bought a couple of gizmos to facilitate removing the fuel. One worked the other did not. That may have been more user error than anything but the mission that I chose to accept was accomplished. I got the diesel fuel out.

Now then, having removed the fuel I realized that it was quite contaminated. Water and years worth of accumulated dirt. It wasn’t really ‘sludge’ like you’d expect from an old tank but it looked like black, finely ground graphite powder mixed with the fuel which then settled to the bottom.  Oh well, time to get rid of it. No problem.

Problem: what to do with contaminated fuel? It’s not as easy as it would seem.  At least not around here. What’d I do with it?  Well I’m not telling you because the enviro-weenies would lose their minds. But let’s just say a certain gravel / dirt road has a nice water-proof coating on it now. You’re welcome.

Once the fuel was removed and disposed of in an environmentally responsible way, I got to removing the tank.  I used a ‘zip-disk’ on my angle grinder to accomplish the task. I just LOVE appropriate tools.  The right tool for the job makes all the difference in the world between a frustrating and grumpifying day and a happy we-got-er-done day.  In this instance we got `er done.  😀   Yeah, so I basically cut the tank into bite sized pieces.  The opening through which the tank needs to come out is approximately 16″ wide.  The tank, at the top, is 23″ wide. Problem.

No problem, zip disk to the rescue.  Ting tank walla walla bing bang. A bit of sweat, some gymnasty contortions and that bad ol’ tank was sliced, diced, and removed. Yep. End of day – no more fuel tanks.

It’s fall now and winter is coming. I want to get the majority of the work done so that when the nasty weather arrives I can keep Little Bear buttoned up and dry.  Well .. onwards!

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Bye Bye Rust Bucket Blog# 155

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

In this episode, I have to tackle a chore that I wasn’t expecting to have to tackle for a couple of years – the fuel tanks. When I bought the boat I knew the starboard side take was kaput.  The PO told me as much.  The starboard tank is divided by a baffle that sections off one part of the tanks for use by the diesel heater.  However it is rusty both top and bottom.  I didn’t realize how bad till I got it out. It was really really bad.

The port side take was ok, at least I thought it was, until the cold snap this winter. I suspect that the old steel could no longer handle the shrinking or expanding due to temperature changes and a seam somewhere started to seep. Not a huge leak but I ended up with a couple of gallons in the bilge. 😦   Not good.

So, both tanks need to come out. Both.


I think that the boat was built around the tanks they’re a weird trapeziodal shape designed to follow the shape of the hull.  The old shop manager who built Westsail boats back in the day is still around and sells parts for these old boats. He reckons that the only way to get the tanks out is to remove the engine.  Well from what I saw when I removed the tanks, removing the engine would not have made one whit of difference.  I had to cut them up to get them out.

Needless to say the new ones going back in will not be the same size. They have to be able to be juggled around a bit in order to fit them in. Fun fun fun.  I suppose that unless you purchase a new boat, becoming a boat wright is part of the journey. And that’s not a bad thing. I like learning new skills and learning about my boat and how it’s constructed.

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Raymarine i70s Blog# 154

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

I do apologize for the quality of this video. I primarily use a GoPro to record all my videos.  In this video the result is that all the light sources show up really brightly. So when I show the display of the i70 it just shows as white light. 😦  sorry about that.



As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: What’s a ‘Hockle’? Blog# 153

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

What is a hockle? I didn’t know until I saw it and discovered that there’s a technical name for it.  It’s basically a situation where three strand braided rope starts to unbraid and twist.

Time to route the wiring for the Raymarine multi-function device.


As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: More Head Cabinetry Blog# 152

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Cabinetry work. I am no carpenter, but I think I did a fair to passing job on this. Might even call it ‘spiffy’.


Yup, that’s ice. ICE! So much for global warming.  More like ‘weather weirding’ if you ask me.  I know you didn’t ask me but if you did ask me that is what I would say.

As always, fair winds following seas, and God bless.