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.