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Monday, October 11, 2010

Aft Hawsepipes are IN!

Well, that took longer than expected. And not necessarily due to weather. For you non-boaties out there, "hawsepipes" are deck fittings that allow things like a dock line or anchor rode to pass-thru the hull of a boat. On a small recreational boat like this, it is usually thru the bulkwark, above the deck.

I already have the forward ones installed. Cast stainless, nested hawsepipes, made by ABI, and as mentioned in an earlier post, they became a casualty of the down economy. So I could not find matching pipes for the aft. I eventually found some chrome plated bronze hawsepipes by Perko. Roughly the same opening size, but with a larger flange, so they look a bit different. No matter, no one is likely to be looking at the front and back of the boat at the same time, right? Turns out these non-nested Perko fittings would install easier than those ABI ones would have anyway. Because...

The bulwark in the aft end is much thicker than the fore. About three to four inches. So a nested pipe would not be long enough. Since it goes through the bulwark, the mounting holes "open up" to the inside of the boat. So the pass thru "pipe" of the installation must be sealed to keep water out. Whats more, the inside and outside faces of the bulwark are not parallel, due to the hull design. The outside face slopes inward just below the toe rail. Again, a nested pipe would not work.

Now, a "typical" hawsepipe is installed by simply cutting the opening on both sides of the bulwark, mounting the fittings,  then inside,  wrapping a piece of rubber, like tubing from an inner tube, around the pipe flanges and securing them with a large hose clamp. The rubber and clamps keep the water out. But I am determined to NOT make this a "typical" installation, of course, by asking the question "What if you wanted to remove the fittings for when you want to, say, paint the boat?" Answer: get inside the bulwark, from underneath, after clearing away any interior bits covering access to the hawsepipes, unclamp the by now old rubber, then remove the fittings from the outside. Sounds like a PITA doesn't it? So I decided to take my lumps now and make this installation harder, so any future removal/installation would be easier.




This was done by machining and fitting matching  "donuts" out of Coosa board to act as a mounting flange for each hawsepipe. These were epoxied to the inside of the bulkwark. Then a similar wedge shaped "donut" to take up the angle difference between the two, due to the slope of the outside hawsepipe, epoxied in between.



Now the 'brilliant' bit. The first inner and outer donuts have matching holes for the mounting screws and have stainless tee nuts embedded in the "back". The epoxied in wedge makes these tee nuts forever inaccessible, but that is ok, as once set, only one person and one tool is needed to remove the hawsepipes (can you tell I am obsessed with this 'one person one tool' thing?).


So there you go. All epoxied, sealed and fittings easily removed/installed. I still need to do some filling and fairing on the inside of the thru 'pipe', but will save that for when the boat gets painted. And, 'final' installation will get a light duty sealant in there too.



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