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Old 04-28-2018, 11:03 AM   #21
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Brian and GSHols, we had similar questions about aluminium when we first started looking at what material to use for the hull and superstructure of the new boat. Our former boat was all steel and I'm a big fan of metal boats in general so it was down to steel vs AL for our choices. I won't debate the pros and cons of steel vs AL here as these are well known topics and one will likely appeal to each of you more than the other.

Before I get into it, I think it is helpful to agree, or at least tell you that I believe there is no "best" material when it comes to boat hulls until we specify the context of the boat itself, size, use cases, owner preferences, etc. Great boats can be built out of any steel, FRP, composite, wood or AL and each one has its pros and cons which will suite different applications and different captains differently.

Secondly and echoing some of Sunchasers comments above I don't think there can be any doubt that AL is one of the very viable materials to choose from for building boats alongside steel, FRP, composites and wood. I also don’t think that it is any coincident that in my travels around the world and my research it seems that the greatest growth of new boat construction is in AL. I kept running into more and more situations where new shipyards starting up as well as companies combing back to life after various recessions or other factors knocked their business down, are chosing to change over to or go more exclusively with alluminium. I don’t have statistics on this, just my observation over he past several years.

So the choice is about finding what material best suits a given boat, use case and owner. If you'd like to read more about our use case and ourselves that led to our choosing AL for our new boat I have recently posted an article outlining ourselves, our use case and the key attributes our design needed to follow. You can read the posting here: http://mobius.world/project-goldiloc...or-just-right/

So I want to be clear that I am NOT any expert in AL and have not owned an AL boat other than small ones. I have worked extensively with aluminium for a long time in non marine applications building things with AL and have done a fair amount of casting, welding and machining AL in my previous life as an Industrial Ed/Shop teacher and with my many hobby activities. What I can tell you is what I've learned from all this and from my extensive research into aluminium as a boat building material over the past few years.

Someone who does have a LOT of experience with aluminium boats and has recently written some excellent articles on the topic is John Harries who runs the Attainable Adventures site at https://www.morganscloud.com/2017/11...e-tips-part-1/ The articles are behind a pay wall so you’ll need to be a member to read them but if you are considering AL for a future boat or own one already it would be worth the minimal subscription price for just these articles alone IMHO.

In our case we know steel well and so we researched aluminium extensively and had been doing so for years anyway as our dinghy was an AL bottom and we had lots of aluminium gear on the steel boat which provided good experiential learning. The result was that we believe AL is the best choice for us and our boat and I'll skip across the high points here in my attempt to provide some degree of answers to your questions and also why we settled on AL. Please just keep in mind that I am NOT building a case for AL being the best material for boat hulls nor that you should go with AL, I’m simply reporting on why we decided it was the best choice for US and OUR new boat.

We like the combination of very high strength and abrasion resistance for contact with harder bits above and below the WL, along with its elasticity to absorb and bend with blunt forces but not puncture. All up to a point of course and we in no way delude ourselves into thinking that AL or any other material is truly bullet proof but we believe that AL offers a great combination of these physical properties which match up well with our use cases. We do long passages and spend more of our time in very remote places and have lots of “hard bits’ around us from coral in the tropic to ice in the high latitudes so we WILL hit all of the above at some point and want the hull material to give us the best chance to “survive and thrive” as I call it, meaning not need to change our destination or journey to head to a yard ASAP when go aground, push through icy bits, etc.

Secondly we think AL offers us the least amount of overall maintenance time and costs. Our hull will stay unpainted above the WL and we will have no SS or wood on the exterior. Not needing to paint the hull saves money and time both to build and to maintain over the years. For us, we like the gray military look of unpainted aluminum as we want the whole exterior of the boat to give off a strong “don’t mess with me” vibe to any viewing us from ashore or other boats with ill intent. We fully appreciate that many of you will find this to be “ugly” and we’re good with that. Eye of the beholder and we have our reasons for liking raw aluminium that make it the best choice for us.

The “no paint” rule applies equally to the inside AL surfaces of the boat as well simply because of the potential for poor adherence of the paint to the AL which creates an ideal environment for water, fresh or salt, to get in there and keep the area wet and cycling lots of oxygen out of the air. This is a feeding frenzy and breeding ground for oxidisation of steel or aluminium and needs to be avoided at all costs. This is particularly important for the bilge areas or other places that have the potential of being wet off and on. Great thing in this case is that the best solution is NO PAINT or other any other sprayed on materials which can create corrosion inviting environments. As we boat owners know all to painfully, this is a very rare example where the best “at all costs” solution is also the cheapest.

Aluminium is also my favorite material to work with vs steel or FRP. I’ve worked with all of these materials to a reasonable extent over the years, owned, renovated and maintained an all steel boat for over 12 years but given my choice I’d chose aluminium to work with. I can use pretty much the same carbide tools I use and have aboard for wood working. It is very easy to machine with mills, lathes and CNC routers all of which I have onboard. And it is a joy to weld which I also have onboard.

Corrosion and especially that due to electrolysis is one of the biggest concerns so no surprise that you guys are in that boat. (sorry couldn’t resist) While the concern is very real these are all very solvable problems as is corrosion and electrolysis potential in other materials and in all boats really as we all have various bits such as props, shafts, through hulls and fittings which are made from various metals subject to the detrimental effects of electrolysis and needing proper prevention and monitoring The question of “hot” marinas for examples is not something that affects just aluminum boats and components, but all metals. Therefore ways of protecting against this are quite well known and proven, we just need to be sure to do it all with great discipline.

Some things we have learned to do and will be doing with our new boat in include:
• Isolation Transformer. I would regard this as a must have piece of equipment for ANY metal boat for sure and really for all boats. It guarantees that you keep the hull and the whole boat physically isolated from any stray current or faulty aspects of shore power supplies. We spend almost no time in marinas so insist on hving an isolation transformer for other reasons as well not the least of which is that for world cruising an isolation transformer also gives you the ability to have any AC voltage from 100-240v coming IN through your shore power connection and equally chose any AC voltage out. You still need to deal with the difference of 50 vs 60 Hz but the number of electrical consumers which are fussy about 50 vs 60 Hz is very small and getting smaller all the time.
• Isolated Ground: Also good practice for any boat regardless of material it is made from but particularly important for AL and steel. In short the hull is for keeping the boat afloat NOT for conducting current anywhere for anything. All grounds need to be isolated via their wiring and the engine in particular needs to be isolated from the boat itself via its motor mounts and then ideally have all the electrical items on the engine to have their own ground wires and not be using the metal of the engine itself to be a ground. Make sure to isolate the prop shaft as well.
• While more expensive it is ideal to have dedicated ground wires for all your DC circuits by using double pole breakers.
• Have good meters to tell you that there is no current flowing through the hull, especially very low currents. Takes a bit of work and hunting down good meters but critical to do so and a great part of SWAN for boat owners. (Sleep Well At Night)
• IF you own an AL hulled boat you want to have a good low current testers on board and check the boats hull for any current at regular intervals. This can be done with a good sensitive multimeter though it is a bit more time consuming. There are also several meters you can install more permanently which make checking this very quick and you can also use low power LED’s to build your own quick check system. However you do it, the point is to KNOW that there is no current flowing through the hull. No current = No corrosion + SWAN
• The other highly valuable, I’d argue mandatory, tester to have onboard any metal boat, especially AL, is a silver chloride reference electrode. You can look these up to learn more if they are new to you but in use you put them into the water and connect the other end to a multimeter which enables you to the voltage difference between the water the boat is immersed in and the hull.
• Also as with any boat, we will have a well sized set of anodes attached, most likely zinc.

As for concern about the protecting the overall hull material from corrosion AL is similar to steel in that your greatest concern is for rusting/oxidizing from the inside out, not the other way around. Below the water line all boats need to have some coating to deter growth and therefore assuming the bottom paint is kept in good shape, the hull is never in contact with the water it is floating in. Above the WL in our case as I’ve noted we will not paint the AL at all and this turns out to be a good thing in that AL is quite naturally looking after itself in that the surface layer converts itself to a thin hard coating of Aluminium Oxide which serves as a great barrier. It is when we paint this surface and have places where the paint does not adhere well or otherwise allows water to sit there cycling oxygen through the dampness that corrosion sets in and often takes off. Not much different than we learned with steel though aluminium does oxidise a bit differently.

Finally for today, the concern about the proverbial “penny in the bilge” is really just another important example of the need for isolation, in this case isolation of dissimilar metals. As with metal components on all boats you want to try to eliminate or reduce as much as possible, ANY contact between dissimilar metals. Copper and AL don’t get along well and there is some truth to the copper penny in the bilge, however it has also been blown out of all proportion and AL boat owners will tell you about finding stray bits of copper wire for example in a bilge crevice that was sitting there for months or years in some cases and had only penetrated a microscopic amount of the aluminium. And again as with all boats, one of the keys to preventing this is to design, build and maintain super CLEAN bilges. We end up with very few bilges at all on the new boat as we have almost all tanks below floors and the WL, and in the engine room and workshop areas where there are purposely low spots they are designed to be very open and easily viewed and have either no flooring overtop or where needed we will make flooring grates from expanded AL welded into AL flat bar frames. Very good to walk on and yet very easy to see through all the way underneath.

I hope this all helps to provide some insights and answers to your original question GSHols about “the long-term upkeep of an aluminum hull?” In our opinion when you take the big picture view of overall boat ownership costs and time, an aluminium hull will require the least time and money to maintain over the life of the boat. Perhaps even more importantly, based on our time aboard other aluminium boats and talking with their owners, that lifespan will likely be much longer as well.

What’s not to like??

Wayne
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Old 04-28-2018, 11:06 AM   #22
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Thanks for that validation for AL hulled boats Sunchaser. We are in heated agreement about quality of both the work Circa does and the AL boats that predominate so many locations around the world. We've been to Circa several times and have been on as many aluminium boats as we can and believe that AL is the best and "just right" choice for us and our new boat.

Wayne
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:15 PM   #23
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Good morning. One detail that my boat lacked and I had to retrofit, is large, easily-opened tank access hatches. I found that out as eventually the chlorinated city water you will take on will attack the water tanks and just standing water algae can grow in there, you will need to get in there to clean. Same for fuel tanks, eventually you will need to clean those too. Also, if you plan to foam the hull, do not foam any area that can get wet, eventually the foam will fail (just like other coatings) and the corrosion will go unchecked, out of sight. This is particularly true of bilges.

My boat is keel cooled and the cooler is NOT exposed to the sea, it is inside my keel so you can eliminate any corrosion issues or external-damage issues that way.

If you plan hydraulics, eventually the hoses will need maintenance so make sure you can get at them as they are very rigid and difficult to maneuver through bulkheads. Don't buy cheap hydraulic components (or anything else, for that matter) and make sure the filter supplier is planning a long business life!

I also retrofitted all my sewer pipes with schedule 40 PVC pipe, therefore eliminating future permeation issues with the hoses you might otherwise use. DON'T use metal pipe for sewers and make sure your design includes access and flushing ports. You will be very unhappy if you use salt water flushing. In fact, plan a simple but big water-maker and if you get a large enough version, only use RO water in your tanks. DO NOT be tempted to have an aluminum holding tank, save space for a large plastic tank that you can get at and replace eventually. Choose at least 3/8" walls and NO metal fittings inside. Make sure it has HUGE vents.

I also have a hot water radiator system (Hurricane) for heating, plumbed with Pex and with the great English radiators, I bask in the warmth. Install LOTS of valves in all your plumbing.

Solar panels - plan for lots. Solar collector - make sure you have room for one to heat water and help with the radiators. Modern ones are very efficient.

Bayliner interiors - don't sweat the cubby-holes, waste of time. Large spaces are better as you will have to get your arm (body) in there to repair something sooner or later.

Almost forgot, install all stainless fasteners with a corrosion block and ONLY use 316. Try and not use any paint outside at all, including decks. Anything placed on top of aluminum will cause corrosion if it gets wet. Sandblast the decks? I'm still working on that. Plain aluminum and bare feet is lethal (and when the sun is out, too damn hot to stand on!).

Have fun (for the next 2 years!).
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:30 PM   #24
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This boat is a work of aluminum art: I would kill to have a boat as well-made as this one, maybe 10' longer.
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:33 PM   #25
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Ahoy Simi! Thanks for the good wishes, I'm sure we will need them!

We had similar concerns as you about parts availability if we went with a Gardner but came to be completely confident this would not be a problem and that a Gardner 6LXB would be the just right engine for our new boat Möbius. As you likely know while whole new Gardner engines have not been made new since 1995, the Gardner company continues as Gardner Marine Diesel in Canterbury Kent England, and they make or stock pretty much every part there is for most Gardners.

We have gotten to know Michael Harrison who has taken over the business from his father who in turn worked most of his life for the original Gardner and Sons company. Michael was able to find us a lovely 6LXB out of tug in the Thames that was repowering with an 8LXB and I have gotten to know Michael and his staff very well on my several visits there and working with him for the restoration I am now doing.

About the only parts which are not currently being made new are things like the large castings of crankcase and cylinder blocks, heads and the crankshaft and they buy engines all the time to add to their considerable stock of used Gardners of all sizes and vintage so even these parts are available. Otherwise everything from pistons, rings, manifolds, pumps, gaskets, valves, etc. are all being made new. Michael and his father cleverly bought up all the inventory and much of the machinery from the original Gardner factory and have also outsourced some manufacturing of Gardner originals to other companies so they are able to provide pretty much anything we might need.

I am in the process of doing a complete restoration of our 6LXB to "as new" condition with new cylinder liners, pistons, rings, bearings, etc. and Michael was able to provide this and ship them to me promptly. Having spent some time with Michael on several visits to his facility I can not say enough good things about him and the company.

Our launch date is likely about 2 years away as we are just beginning construction of the hull now, and before we set sail I will order pretty much a full rebuild set of parts from Michael to have onboard just in case we should ever need any of them. As Christine often tells others she has come to be quite fine living on a floating parts department.

We are very much of the "belts and suspenders" crowd as we spend most of our time anchored alone in the most remote bays we can find around the world and far from the availability of parts and services of any kind. So in addition to spares of most every system on the boat, I also have a well equipped workshop that has a reasonable degree of machining and welding capability which enables me to come up with a fix for pretty much any situation that comes along and we have been able to get ourselves out of some challenging situation over the years in our previous boats. The fact that almost every single part on a Gardner was hand built within their factory was a big part of the appeal of the Gardner to me as it means if I don’t have a part I can likely make one.

Two other factors initially drove us to look for alternatives to modern diesels. One is the growing requirement for DEF (Diesel Exhaust Fluid) and given our scenario of mostly being in extremely remote parts of the world, we would be hard pressed to find DEF most of the time and would also need additional tanks to store the DEF. DEF is injected at about a 50:1 ratio which doesn’t sound like much but we carry 14k liters of diesel so we would need to have 280 liters of DEF onboard as well. And DEF has a shorter shelf life, less than a year, so we would need to find new supplies more frequently than we likely fuel up. The other and even more troubling factor was that several of the black box components of modern Tier III and IV engines including the main ECU (Engine Control Unit) are not possible to buy and carry on board. In our discussions with the folks at John Deer, CAT and Cummins they explained that due to current laws the only way they are able to provide us with a replacement ECU or several other such electronic engine boxes, is for us to ship them the failed part and then they take the log of information from this old part, program that into the new part and ship it to us. All very possible for those cruising close to major population centers but completely untenable for us. And furthermore there are very limited workarounds when one of these parts or sensors fail while we are at sea to keep the engine running even though it is quite capable of doing so. Hence began our search for alternative engines which led us to Gardner.

Even were it not for these requirements of modern diesels, I think we would still go to sea with a Gardner. One is reliability of such a simple and seriously under stressed engine. I don’t know what the exact difference is of the count of total moving parts between our Gardner and the JD6068 we would have gone with, but I’d guess it might be as much as 50% less. Our 6LXB is naturally aspirated (no turbo), no electronics whatsoever, the only electrical components at all are the 24v starter and alternator and every system is so rock solid and simple compared to modern engines we think we will have much higher reliability which is critical to our well being. The second key factor for us in engine efficiency. In my research I have come to understand that still to this day these later year Gardners like the LXB’s have amongst the highest thermal efficiency of any mass produced diesel engine. Some of the really gigantic engines producing thousands of HP can achieve a bit more but our Gardner 6LXB runs just a hair over 40% thermal efficiency and I’ve got the actual dyno test paper from Gardner to prove it! 

My personal sense is that in the valiant and wise efforts to reduce emissions, which I applaud and appreciate, we have lost sight of the forest for the trees. The focus seems to be more on reducing emissions than on improving fuel efficiency for example and I read conflicting reports on whether these tiers are producing less emissions but also less efficiency.

Don’t get me wrong these modern diesel engines are marvels of engineering and they are producing tremendous numbers in things like HP to weight ratios. However for our use case we can handle the weight and it is torque that we really want and I will gladly give up higher HP numbers for higher torque. The 6LXB produces about 740nm of torque which will drive our 1m diameter CPP prop very efficiently I think. In any case we will happily take the 40% thermal fuel sipping efficiency of our Gardner chugging away quite effortlessly for years to come.

Your question was timely as well because Mr. G as we call him, just arrived here yesterday and I’ll soon have a post up on our Möbius blog at http://mobius.world if you’d like to check that out.

Well, WAY more than you wanted and I’m sure you are now sorry you asked, though I thank you for doing so.

Wayne
I appreciate simplicity. My 120 Ford Lehmans have similar attributes. Naturally aspirated, mechanical fuel injection. Parts available.
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Old 04-28-2018, 12:36 PM   #26
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You do realize that with a Gardner, you will be expected to polish the brass and copper regularly so you will need a drum of Brasso and a crate of rags?

I have a Cummins 6CTA 8.3 M1 rated. I'm happy with it too.
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Old 04-29-2018, 02:43 AM   #27
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You do realize that with a Gardner, you will be expected to polish the brass and copper regularly so you will need a drum of Brasso and a crate of rags?

I have a Cummins 6CTA 8.3 M1 rated. I'm happy with it too.
Quite right XSBank that membership in the Gardner club brings with it lots of responsibilities for keeping it all "Bristol" and yes, Brasso has been added to the list of stores. I may be up for the task having been in the CDN military for a bit and being an Army brat growing up so I have had an intimate relationship with Brasso!

I am a lifelong gearhead and lover of all things mechanical so there is no denying that part of the appeal of the Gardner is the looks and I do plan on restoring ours to better than as new condition. Obviously so mechanically as our lives will literally depend upon Mr. G as we fondly refer to him and I will also go the extra mile in polishing much of the AL, brass and copper components for that museum like look. Actually not as silly as it may sound as keeping an engine super clean is good practice for safety and maintenance as it makes any leaks or changes very visually apparent very quickly. Some thought I was nuts to paint the 6cyl Cummins in our previous boat all glossy white but it made it much easier to keep clean and made the inevitable leaks readily apparent.

The engine room is one of my all time favorite places on my boats so I want to feel a strong sense of pride and appreciation for that big shiny Gardner every time i open up the ER door and step inside.

Wayne
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Old 04-29-2018, 03:41 AM   #28
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Ahoy Pender Harbour! Sounds like Gwaii Haanas is a great boat. Victoria was home after my Dad retired from the CDN military till I headed off to BCIT and UBC, my sister lives in Comox, my brother and son in Vancouver and friends spread out all over the mainland and many of the BC islands. Can't wait to get back there on our new boat to enjoy that very special area.

Thanks so much for all your very valuable comments on AL hull boats. Nothing rates higher in my books than experiential learning or first hand knowledge so yours is particularly valued and appreciated.

I think we have addressed all your points in our model the boat is being built from as per the following:

• Yes, we learned the importance of good tank access in our previous boats and all tanks on the new boat will be readily accessible.
• We have always had watermakers and that is the only water we ever put in our tanks so that we know for certain it is as clean and pure H2O as you can get. The new boat will have a very large watermaker, we will likely drive this one with an AC motor and have an output of around 200L/hr (52USG). We have about 5300L / 1400 USG of water tank capacity as these will also serve as ballast to counter the large volume of fuel as it is used up and maintain ideal trim.
• Other than for exhaust gas cooling we have NO seawater aboard at all. I long ago learned to beauty of using fresh water for all the heads and we have zero odor issues and almost no maintenance issues as a result.
• We have a high capacity Alfa Laval MIB303 centrifugal fuel cleaner for true fuel polishing which will enable us to pretty much eliminate any debris or water from ever being in our fuel tanks. In the previous boat I build a very thorough fuel filtering/polishing system that started with a huge Gulf Coast Filter system then redundant Racors and a spin on fuel filter on the engine and generator. We had all steel tanks on this 1994 steel hulled boat (built in Sidney BC BTW) and I cleaned the tanks thoroughly just after buying her in 2005 and when I opened them up again in 2015 during our big refit in Fiji there was literally nothing but fuel in the bottom so this diligent fuel filtering/polishing regime definitely paid off.
• While we loved “living in a thermos bottle” as we used to call that previous boat that had 3-4” of sprayed in foam from above the water line and overhead, I also came to know the dangers of trapping moisture anywhere it did not adhere 100% and the challenge of removing it when needing to cut out parts of the hull or other maintenance. We will built the new boat to be even more of a super well insulated thermos bottle but we will use EBDM rather than foam. Much more work to install but well worth the effort for us and something that we can DIY very well.
• We also love keel cooling, put it on our previous boat and will be doing so on the new boat as well. As with our steel boat we will build this integral to the hull out of AL plate or tubing rather than external bolt on coolers. Our keel is too small so we will build the keel cooler channels into the hull elsewhere. The benefits of having a closed loop fresh water cooling system in the engine is huge to me and would never go otherwise.
• At this point in time we won’t have any hydraulics onboard other than the auto pilot power steering which will be a self contained system.
• Right now we have no plans for solar water heating but we have a very substantial amount of solar output to keep our even more substantial battery bank fully charged pretty much all the time. At today’s solar panel rates we have a bit more than 4.3 kWp of solar panels and the Gel 24v battery bank has a total capacity of 52kWh.
• We had a Hurricane diesel fired heater on our previous boat and it worked very well providing plenty of hot water for all the little radiators and muffin fans throughout the boat. This provided very even and dry heat whenever we needed it. For the new boat we will go the same basic route with small radiator/fans throughout the boat and PEX plumbing but we will put in a full diesel fired boiler for this and domestic hot water. Right now I’m leaning towards a Kabola.
• Like you, we’ve learned the value of easy access to everything and so there will be a minimum of any liners on the walls. Those we do have and the ceiling panels will all be readily removable using either quick release plastic snap in fittings or Velcro.
• And yes, we too keep a very ready supply of Lanacote and Teff-Gel onboard and use it religiously on pretty much all metal to metal connections, dissimilar or not.
• There is no SS on the exterior other than things like windlass and winches.
• Also no paint and no wood on the exterior. For the decks we tested out diamond check plate but didn’t find it was 100% non skid in all conditions so we will go with a synthetic glued down material along the lines of TreadMaster. As long as this is glued down very carefully we’ve been on AL and steel boats that have this on their decks for over 20 years in some cases. We will keep the colour as close to white as possible to absorb the least amount of heat from the tropical sun.

Thanks again for your very thoughtful response and all that first hand knowledge. Hope you will join us on this multi year adventure and continue to add your suggestions and ideas. Much appreciated.

Wayne
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Old 04-29-2018, 03:42 AM   #29
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Hello,

At less even if it need some maintenace paint the flts surface of the deck and roof, and you save a lot of "hot" inside.
First we start witout paint but in summer season (even not in tropical area) only in Med you quikly be able to cook some eegs on your deck ...

Trawler long-cours - Génèse, construction et navigation(s) d'un trawler ou passagemaker de 19 m en aluminium.
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Old 04-29-2018, 03:50 AM   #30
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Doesn't sound like "ranting" to me at all or at least I would be a fellow ranter on this topic. We are a "floating parts department" as Christine often referred to our previous boat and this is largely because we spend most of our time in very remote locations or on long passages so we assume there is simply NO shore side assistance for us. Our previous boat had a rock solid Cummins L634T and we carried a spare of almost all her parts as well so this is not driven by the make or model or the engine we use but rather by our use case scenario.

I am fortunate in having been a HD mechanic in a former life so there isn't too much I can't look after myself when it comes to engines and mechanical things, but I do need the parts. Fortunately Gardner Marine Diesels still makes or stocks pretty much every part of the LXB and most other Gardner models so parts avaiabilty isn't a problem and I already have a complete set of all these parts for the rebuild I am now doing on our 6LXB Gardner; new liners, pistons, rings, bearings, valves, seats, etc. Pretty much every moving part and all the gaskets so when I'm done she will be in like new condition. Before we set sail on the new boat I will reorder almost the same full set to have on hand just in case but most likely those will be part of my will along with the Gardner itself and hopefully the whole boat!

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Old 04-29-2018, 03:59 AM   #31
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For your choice of "no paint" in the bilge after 16 year with our "Hoa" it must be tempered :
In our boat we just paint inside :
under the box of chain prier and few coat of "epoxy brai" under the toilets areas just one single coat of "primer".
After 16 years this paint still in very good shape.
For the next one may be we will paint also all fore-peak, and the bilges because the side with even only one coat of primer paint looks better than the side without paint after 16 years. Ok the Al was not damaged but it is not absolutely perfect like the painted one.
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Old 04-29-2018, 04:00 AM   #32
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Merci Long-cours. Understand your approach but for us we simply don't allow any paint on any AL surface for even less maintenance and zero risk of trapping moisture between the AL and the paint or sprayed on material.

However we spend a LOT of our time in very hot climates and know the value of a super well insulated boat and will go even further on the new boat. Our previous steel boat had excellent insulation from 3-4" of sprayed on foam on all the interior surfaces other than the bilges and this worked extremely well. However there were areas that were not well foamed when it was built and caused us a great deal of trouble to replace the rusted out panels that resulted.

So for the new boat we will go with adhesive backed EPDM sheets that we will apply to almost EVERY interior AL surface including all the stringers, frames and webs. We think of it as a "Thermos bottle" type approach and works equally well in hot tropical climates as well as frozen Artcic/Antarctic locations, all of which we intend to visit.

For the decks we will glue down synthetic material such as TreadMaster to provide both a very non skid surface and one that absorbs the least amount of sun possible to keep them cooler.

Thanks again for your comments and experience,

Wayne
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Old 04-29-2018, 04:40 AM   #33
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"For the decks we will glue down synthetic material such as TreadMaster .."
In my point of view Treadmaster or similar products could be worst than a paint.
Look around old boat fitted with this product, when they remove them they got big "surprises" on fibreglass boat it is not a big problem (for example on the old Fisher) but on alloy boat the surprises could be very bad ( in France from may 40 years we had some alloy sailing boat fitted with Treadmaster and the result is not good.
When we decide to keep our deck in raw alloy with good "deck shoes" it was acceptable but for the sun ....not at all. And on metal material I am not a partisan of anything (wood, treadmaster, ) always the sea water found her way and the salt and humidity stay ...for years , even on boat built carefully in very good and very expensive boatyards.
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Old 04-29-2018, 05:42 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by long-cours.62 View Post
"For the decks we will glue down synthetic material such as TreadMaster .."
In my point of view Treadmaster or similar products could be worst than a paint.
Look around old boat fitted with this product, when they remove them they got big "surprises" on fibreglass boat it is not a big problem (for example on the old Fisher) but on alloy boat the surprises could be very bad ( in France from may 40 years we had some alloy sailing boat fitted with Treadmaster and the result is not good.
When we decide to keep our deck in raw alloy with good "deck shoes" it was acceptable but for the sun ....not at all. And on metal material I am not a partisan of anything (wood, treadmaster, ) always the sea water found her way and the salt and humidity stay ...for years , even on boat built carefully in very good and very expensive boatyards.
Merci encore. We have found and been on some boats with glued on TreadMaster type of material that are as you describe however we have been on many more with no problems. I think that as with many other components and with painting itself, it is all about the preparation and application and we believe that if this non skid material is glued down with good preparation and application it will hold up for at least 20 years with no intrusion of water. We prefer no shoes most of the time in warm/hot climates so the added thermal barrier this provides is important to us and otherwise we might consider painting on non skid surfaces.

We are a long time aways from needing to make this decision and your concerns are certainly heard and we will do more research and looking but right now we believe that when all our use case criteria are taken into account and that we will be doing the application, we think that glued down synthetic material on decks will be the best choice for us.

I spent a bit of time this morning over on your website looking over your very interesting boat. Some similar thoughts with yours and ours and looks like you've got a boat that suits you very well.

Thanks again for your very thoughtful remarks and concerns. Please keep them coming.

Salut,
Wayne
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Old 04-29-2018, 10:57 AM   #35
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Thanks for your comments. A Gardner I nearly bought captivated me with its slow, (350 rpm) smooth and steady idle.

My boat is 43 years old and is in the process of being “improved.” This is the condition of my decks currently with stick-on tread. Its incredibly difficult to remove, leaves glue residue and corrosion underneath. I am trying to find somebody with a dustless sandblaster to blast the decks clean and provide a non-skid surface. I personally will never paint or glue anything on them again and have been trying to find a solution. Modern boat builders may have found the solution but so far I haven’t. I have no idea how long these treads have been on there, I’m in my 5th year of owning “Old Shiny.”

That picture of the aluminum boat I posted had been blasted all over except for a taped border around fittings and openings, leaving a shiny frame. Nice solution. He, however, painted his decks with no-skid....

My roofs have freight decks installed, essentially providing double decking which provides a very cool interior in the hot sun. Even thought the ceiling is insulated, feeling the heat come through where the double decks are not installed is remarkable. Think of a Land Rover with a tropical roof.
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:21 AM   #36
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I’m loving following this discussion of AL boats. I actually have really liked the looks of the aluminum pleasure boats that I’ve seen. The bare, oxidized metal doesn’t put me off at all.

I do have a question though. Insulation has been mentioned, but I don’t understand how glueing insulated panels to the inside is going to avoid the potential problems of moisture getting between the panels and the AL causing corrosion issues?
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:46 AM   #37
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Good morning, there are no corrosion issues when there is no water present. I scraped a lot of foam out of my bilges (it had been extensively done by the PO too) and there was some corrosion under it, fortunately contained to a bulkhead and not the hull! In the walls and ceiling, very dry and zero corrosion. I have a photo of ruined aluminum somewhere which I will post if I can find it.

One other consideration that is probably familiar with a steel boat, Make sure you isolate all fasteners that attach to the aluminum structure; I'm not describing this very well but for example if you attach panelling to a wall, use firring strips attached to the aluminum and then screw to the wood, never screw into the metal as the warm air touching the screw head will rain condensation from the cold screw head, rusting the fastener and staining the panelling and everything the moisture drips on. A PO attached a radio to the ceiling of the wheelhouse and the metal bracket dripped like a tap.
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:54 AM   #38
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The aluminum is a piece of my engine room bulkhead, cut out with a sawzall. The upper edge was down...The ceiling shot is NOT a leak but exposed fasteners. I completely stripped the room, insulated, firring strips new ply new everything. Do you like the panelling? Early Atco Trailer. Scary for anyone who has ever lived in a bunkhouse!
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Old 04-29-2018, 11:59 AM   #39
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This is how I heat the inside, these are "towel heaters" and they are amazing. Silent (no more of those rotten bus heaters) and radiate like a fireplace. The head can get like a sauna, great when having a shower or...Powered with a Hurricane boiler which is now the noisiest part of the heating system.
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Old 04-30-2018, 03:15 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xsbank View Post
Thanks for your comments. A Gardner I nearly bought captivated me with its slow, (350 rpm) smooth and steady idle.

My boat is 43 years old and is in the process of being “improved.” This is the condition of my decks currently with stick-on tread. Its incredibly difficult to remove, leaves glue residue and corrosion underneath. I am trying to find somebody with a dustless sandblaster to blast the decks clean and provide a non-skid surface. I personally will never paint or glue anything on them again and have been trying to find a solution. Modern boat builders may have found the solution but so far I haven’t. I have no idea how long these treads have been on there, I’m in my 5th year of owning “Old Shiny.”

That picture of the aluminum boat I posted had been blasted all over except for a taped border around fittings and openings, leaving a shiny frame. Nice solution. He, however, painted his decks with no-skid....

My roofs have freight decks installed, essentially providing double decking which provides a very cool interior in the hot sun. Even thought the ceiling is insulated, feeling the heat come through where the double decks are not installed is remarkable. Think of a Land Rover with a tropical roof.
Quite right XSBank those low revs of Gardners really captured my attention as well. Our 6LXB redlines at about 1800 and I think we will most likely run her around 12-1400 on passages at about 10 knots most of the time. With the CPP we can dial in ideal load and maximize efficiency at pretty much any speed we want so it will be very interesting to see what our real data tells us about fuel burn and overall performance once we launch and get out there testing and exploring with her.

Thanks for sharing the photos of your work on cleaning up the decks, looks like a nasty job. Was there much corrosion or was it more so the deterioration and wear of the non slip material that prompted you to remove them? Dustless blasting would work but not sure they’d let you do that while in the water? Have you tried one of those scrapers on the end of a propane torch as a way of taking off the majority of the glue and tread material? That or some chemical solution might work best if you’d like to keep her in the water as you’re cleaning it all up.

As with you I don’t know of a better solution than the glued on synthetic material. I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time over the past few years traveling to shipyards and yacht builders around the world and have not seen anything new or different on their boats for this. High end super yachts and the like often go with teak on decks, and the company here that we are building with uses faux teak on some of their boats which is really a variation on the “TreadMaster” type material. Painted on non-skid doesn’t work very well for us due to the heat retention of the metal. It is an option and we did this on our previous steel boat with white poly paint and non skid sand. Worked well for non skid and the white kept the deck temps for your feet bearable most of the time in the tropics were we have been mostly the past few years but would still heat up pretty good. The glued on synthetic material seems to cut down the thermal retention and transfer from the metal decks on boats we have been on with this so that seems to be the best option we’ve been able to find.

With your boat being 43 years old and the non skid deck material being of unknown age it is quite possible that it has been on there for over 20 years and maybe we just need to factor that in as the lifespan of this material and plan on needing to replace it every 20 years or so?

You are quite right that keeping the decks bare, no coatings of any kind, is the best solution to preventing corrosion. No water = no corrosion. But I’m not aware of any way of making bare AL sufficiently safe slip wise when walking/working on them. We looked at going with diamond check plate but it has the same heat transfer problems of raw AL and was still not safe enough skid wise for us. Dashew used this on his prototype boat “Wind Horse” and concluded the same thing so they used TreadMaster on all their FPB boats. The key I think as with any coating is the prep and application so our current plan is to be meticulous with this, using the best available adhesive and making sure all the edges are particularly well glued down. Then over the years it would be important to keep an eye on these edges and seal any that show any signs of lifting. So I’m agreeing with you in spirit that nothing would be best but it simply isn’t an option for us until there is either a way to make bare AL sufficiently grippy or there is a new solution all together that comes along. I’m certainly all ears for a better way to create cool non skid AL decks so please keep us posted on your progress with this on your boat.

Our solution for the heat transfer in roofs/ceilings is going to be lots of insulation on all the interior surfaces including all connected structural parts such as ribs, webs, frames, etc. Our previous steel boat was extremely well insulated with spray in foam everywhere and we had extremely little thermal transfer between the exterior and interior of the boat. On one of the refits I repainted the whole hull and decided to go with dark blue for the hull sides and there was no discernable change in interior temperatures even in the very hot areas we cruised for many years in Fiji, Polynesia, RMI, etc. So we are big believers in going overboard on insulation. With the new boat though we are going to bite the bullet and go with EPDM glued to the interior surfaces as it has as close to zero water absorption as you can get of any material we know of. It’s more expensive both to buy and install but insulation is a high priority item so it is smart spending for us.

Thanks again for all your suggestions and sharing your experiences. Hope you will continue to do more.

Wayne
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