Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Grub-a-Dub-Dub Vlog # 163

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

The less romantic and idyllic part of boat ownership is the not so picturesque job of cleaning. All boats need cleaning. Some get cleaned, others not so much. It’s sad to see neglected boats. And I see a lot of them.

The case in point: Little Bear.  The fuel tank holds are nasty. The starboard side must have been leaking for years. The foam around the tank is soaked in ancient diesel and the engine pan  that it sits on is stained by diesel and rust.  That’s gonna change. Today.

I do apologize for the audio quality and the sheer boring aspect of this video but I wanted to show that it’s not all exotic destinations, white sand beaches, bikini’s and buff bodies. To get to that point a lot of work and associated sweat needs to happen.

So I’m putting my scrub brush where my  mouth is. Ew. That was a mistake. But I think you get what I mean.

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

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Tank Template Blog #162

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Back on track. It’s fuel tank time. I have the styrofoam template mock-up complete and I will try to fit the whole thing into the tank hold. The trick with doing this is the material that the mock-up is made of.  It’s styrofoam.  If I push too hard it will bend and I’ll be able to fit it but metal will not bend so I have to be very careful.  If I push even harder it will break – not good. Not good at all. Bad even.

At the end of the expedition, I did manage to get the mock-up positioned correctly in the hold. Making a template based off of the large end proved to be the correct idea. The template fit just as sweet as sweet can be.

Now that i know I have a workable mock-up, I can take it back to welder-dude and we can start on the real thing. The aluminium tank. I will be using 3/16 5050 grade aluminium. This is suitable for  the marine environment and probably a bit thicker gauge than necessary but I want these puppies to out-last me. Fortunately for who ever owns this boat after me, the grunt work of replacing the tanks has been done. It’ll be pretty straight forward to create new ones.

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

Little Bear Westsail 32 refit: Franken Tank Blog # 160

Arrrrr me hearties. Welcome aboard.

Winter has set in. Rain, cold, wind. Not a good combination for working on a boat! Fortunately there are things I can do to move the project ahead. Things that I don’t have to be on the boat to accomplish.

In a previous blog / vlog, I mentioned that I had created a tank template out of cardboard for a test fit. That was a massive fail. But I generally fail my way to success so there was no great frustration or disappointment.

In order to get an accurate assessment of what the new tanks would have to look like I needed to reassemble the old tanks.  When I took the old tanks out I was pretty brutal with them. I gave no thought to careful cutting and removing. It was more of a hack and slash job. I just wanted them OUT!

Once I realized that I would have to reassemble them, I thought “huh”. Oh well, onwards and tankwards.  In this episode my friend who also  happens to be a professional welder volunteers to give me a hand in fabricating new tanks.  Step one: reassemble the old tanks.

It is more or less like putting a jigsaw puzzle together. Satisfying once finished.  Now we have the ‘originals’ from which we can make templates. Right?

Well, almost.  Because they have been welded back together from pieces, the corner angles and precise dimensions are a bit off.  This will come back to plague us as we cut and assemble the new tanks. But as always, we overcome, we conquer and attain victory.

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.