The reality of refitting an abandoned sailboat!! WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO!!#103
We got to a point that we don't know what to do on this step of refitting our sailboat (that was on the hard for more than 22 years when we bought her). We don't really know how to solve this problem. The problem is the diesel tank. The former owner kept it almost full during 22 years with an addictive to protect it against seaweed and bacteries. It seems that this works, as the diesel was kind of good after all these years, almost no dreg on the bottom. Well, let’s talk about the problem. The diesel tank is part of our hull and it’s also made out of hot galvanized steel. The boat was kind of inclined to one side all this years and inside the part of the tank that there was some air it got rusted. So, we have pieces of rust coming off from there. The other parts of the tank has some bubbles on the paint and it seems that it’s rusted underneath this paint.
We tried to treat one of the 7 parts of the tank, and we (I mean, Duca) spent all day long trying to sand this. He used a Pistol Grip Needle Scaler, then a sandpaper on the angle grinder, then the sanding machine and then just the sandpaper with hands. After all this (8 hours of hard work) the tank was not perfect with just bare metal, but it was good enough to be painted. We needed to paint it in the same day otherwise we could have some rust. We painted 3 coats of phenolic epoxy, that is a specific paint for this sort of places as diesel tanks.
This was I think the hardest job so far since we start working with the building of our tiny house and the refitting of our sailboat. So, we are not sure if we keep doing this job on the other parts of the tank or if we give up and just treat the really bad spots and add some more filters.
We did some tests using a wire brush in the lids, but it didn’t work well due to the coal tar that we have under the paint. Oh! Talking about the lids. They were the same way as the tank, 2 of them with rust falling off the lids and the other with some bubbles underneath the paint. The solution we found for them was to sandblast them and then to paint. As until the end of this episode we couldn’t find any portable sandblasting machine we didn’t have any solution for the tanks. But! Guess what!? After seeing our suffer, Reginaldo (they guy that have sandblasted our hatches) said that he has an old portable sandblasting (that uses water and some sanding material) that we could try to put it together and to use inside the tank! It seems that we found a solution! After this great news we discovered that there is a big amount of a product called garnet in our marina that someone used years ago and it was abandoned on the grass with some grass grounding on the top of it. hehe. It seems that now we have the machine and the perfect material to use on it.
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