Ready, Set….No.

Okay, okay, yes, everyone in the Little Cunning Plan household needed to just calm down; get a little reality check, untwist our collective knickers. And we’ve done just that. Wiser minds have prevailed and I hope ours are among them. After our last post where I ranted about how pissed off I was that the hatches leaked, and threatened to use butyl tape to re-bed them in the cold season, our readers raced to our rescue and gave us a good talking to. We love our readers.  And we love how they bring good ideas to the table. Because I can come up with some really bad ideas when I’m mad. 

One of the comments that made us take a deep breath was this reminder by a reader known by the sobriquet of “Saffy the Pook”. Got to love that. He/She put in writing what we had been talking about, only reading it in someone else’s words planted our feet even more firmly on beloved terra firma:

“Like your exhaust, this is not a job that will tolerate shortcuts or amateur mistakes. Also like your exhaust, it can have serious negative repercussions if it fails at sea under trying conditions. As painful as it may be, commit to doing it right whether that means spending the time to do it yourself or spending the money to have a pro do it for you.”  (Saffy the Pook)

Of course, that is 100% accurate. You’ll get no argument from us, Saffy.  And you express this with such a reasonable tone, too.  When I say this kind of thing, it comes out more like, “WE CAN’T GO TO SEA WITH A *&^$^&* LEAKING HATCH! WHAT IF A BIG WAVE COMES? WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE HAVE TO DO THIS OVER? MY HANDS ARE STILL RECOVERING FROM ALL THE **&^ CLEANING WE DID LAST TIME! I STILL HAVEN’T REPLACED ALL THE BRAIN CELLS I LOST DUE TO ACETONE! CAN WE PAY SOMEONE TO DO THIS FOR US? WHY AM I WHINING IN CAPITAL LETTERS ALL THE TIME???”  Your way is probably better. 

Around the same time, alert reader and friend Lee Youngblood (sailor, yacht broker, photographer) sent us an email with this subject line: “DON”T DO IT!”.  Well that got our attention! He cautioned us about rushing into making a repair at this moment in time, reminding us that butyl tape is only for applications where there is compression between pieces (and duh, we actually knew that and it’s why we didn’t use it in the first place, but I forgot about that in my pissed-off stomping fit).  He also reminded us that cold weather was not a good time for bedding material to set up well.  Lots of smacking of ourselves in the head was happening, let me tell you.

Even when I’m in a rant, the better part of my brain is working the problem and trying to find the least offensive solution, but keeping the primary goal in mind is sometimes an issue. In this case, the primary goal was keeping water out of the boat for the rainy season, not redoing the entire job. So I had started researching short term solutions, wishing that I could find something like the butyl tape we used on the ports in the hull. That stuff is working great! But, of course, getting that off would not be easy, and it would look pretty bad, too. Didn’t anyone make a clear rubbery weatherproof tape with good adhesion? A girl can dream. A girl can waste plenty of time doing the Google on stuff like this, also.foil tape

Then we got Lee Youngblood’s email suggesting we try an old cruiser trick of using aluminum tape. Bingo. In fact, we had some of that on the boat already. Another reader suggested using preservation tape, and that sounded like it would be a winner, too. But we already had the aluminum tape.  Mike used it when he was building the refrigerator box. I remember at the time he was working on the fridge he commented that he loved that stuff and could think of many uses for it. He wanted to keep some on the boat, so we had maybe half a roll left. The stuff we used is called Extreme Weather Foil Tape and it’s basically like heavy aluminum foil with a good sticky backing. Don’t ask me why we didn’t think of using that. Viva, Lee!

I hope you weren’t holding your breath waiting to see if we actually did those hatches right this time because you’ll have to wait until warm weather comes back around. That’s a lot of breath holding. Today we went down to the boat and made her water tight (hopefully) with this stuff. It’s really too wide, so first thing we did was cut each piece into two pieces of equal  width. This stuff is really easy to work with but get it right the first time when you apply it. If you have to reposition it, it’s not going to be nice and smooth anymore. We did all three hatches and are very pleased that they look decent. 

After applying the tape, I went over it with my fingers smoothing it out and making sure that the edge was firmly adhering all the way around each lens. It is easy to puncture this stuff with any kind of sharp edge, so you need to use care when smoothing. Other than that, this tape is dead easy to use and the paper backing comes off easily. 

Anyhoo, I think/hope/pray we’ve got this under control for this season. Add it to the long list of tasks to be addressed at the haul out this summer. Ideally, we’d like to be able to take the hatch lids off to work on them. I think being able to take them home and put them on the bench to work on will help us be sure all the silicone is off, if, indeed, that is the problem. The other possibility causing the leaking is that we didn’t use enough product, especially on the forward hatch. We were nervous about using too much, but may have erred on the side of being too cautious. Live and learn. Perhaps that mystery will be solved when we give it another go.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for bringing your experience to the table!




17 thoughts on “Ready, Set….No.

    • Yeah, probably I shouldn’t write blog posts when I’m in the midst of a rant. But sometimes that’s just when I need to write! Can’t think why we didn’t think of this tape ourselves, but this is what I love about the blogging and sailing community. Someone always has a good idea.

  1. Phew! I like the foil tape idea (looks good) – – will do same for current temporary fix on Pelagia, when the weather improves (too cold right now).


  2. My husband is in construction, and we’ve been using the same kinda foil tape (not sure of brand) on Nirvana for the past few years .. mainly on holes left behind after we removed the handrails a couple years ago (still haven’t put the new ones on yet), and lately when removing all the hardware in preparation for painting. Works great!

  3. Thank you, thank you, thank you! The aluminum frame windows in my Catalina 38 leak. We have buckets beneath them. We have agonized about solutions. But this tape is a really good idea that will take less time, effort, and money than the rest (much less!). Warm regards, Don in San Francisco Bay

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