SV Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382 - Homeport: Beaufort, NC

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Installing a Holding Tank in the Head

There are many design features of Morgan 382, 383, 384 series we find appealing,  BUT…  The original holding tank set up is not on that list.  The original design utilizes a void in the lower, aft keel for the black water tank.
Morgan schematic of original head plumbing.
Thus waste must be pumped from the head under the port salon seat, under the galley counter to a PVC pipe inlet that deposits the waste under the floor of the bilge.  To exit the vessel said waste must then be pumped back up out of the bilge to a "Y" valve in the wet locker on the starboard side.  From this valve the waste is either discharged overboard via a thru-hull fitting or pumped out via a deck fitting.  Ready for the icing on the cake?  The deck pump out fitting is located directly above the electrical panel.  WTF?

With all the other refit projects on Pilgrim, we may have been able to live with the black water set up  in an effort to expedite our return to the water (who am I kidding?), but we discovered that the bilge water was leaking down into the holding tank below. If the bilge water could find its way down, then odors and, in the case of a full holding tank, waste could find its way up.  This system had to go.

We are installing a 15G, plastic Todd tank under the counter in the head. 

  • All black water associated plumbing is confined to the head.
  • The length of 1 ½” sanitation hose required for the head plumbing is dramatically reduced.
  • The holding tank is located above the waterline.
  • The black water system requires one less thru-hull below the waterline.All the discharge thru hull fittings (black water and sink drains) are now located on to port and all intake fittings are on starboard.  Thus decreasing the likelihood of pulling our own waste water back onboard.
  • Easy to visually check the level in the holding tank.
  • Reduction in holding tank capacity.  On our M34 we lived with the same 15G holding tank and rarely had an issue with capacity.
  • Must relocate the waste pump out fitting on deck.
  • Holding tank vent line now longer or must relocate vent to head area.

Early on in our refit I removed a large section of the vertical wall below the head sink. The cut out was sized to allow the tank to slip into place. 

Test fitting holding tank under head counter in Pilgrim.  Tank was harvested from our last vessel a Morgan 34.
Opening up this wall has proved invaluable in providing access for tabbing repairs, seacock replacement, plumbing upgrades, and now holding tank install. 

The forward holding tank supports serve multiple functions.  They must carry a portion of the weight of the tank, add to the strength of the had pan,  and assist with spreading the weight of the head pan across a greater section of the hull.

 I began by epoxying a section of ¾” marine plywood to the head pan below the cut out. Both clamps and a couple ¼” thru bolts were used to secure the plywood during the curing.  The section of plywood makes contact with the hull on either side of the opening directly under the toilet.  At the points of contact I installed 1708 cloth tabbing.  The tabbing covers the plywood and extends  across the hull to aft bulkhead.

Supporting the forward, outboard end of the tank required a short section of cleat be added to partial bulkhead that serves as an attachment point  for the port forward chainplate. 
Multiple layers of plywood and 1708 tabbing along the joint between the head pan and hull.
The cleat section is both epoxied and bolted to the bulkhead.  As this is the site of the infamous head pan corner that instigated a recall of the 382’s in the early 80’s, I chose to add even more tabbing  to spread the load on the hull.

The aft support members for the holding tank are all mechanically fastened to the primary bulkhead with #12 SS screws.

Test fitting the oak cross pieces.
I utilized a combination of marine plywood, Starboard, and red oak, each serving to their individual strengths. 

Finally I epoxied a 2” strip of ¾” marine plywood around the perimeter of the opening cut in the head pan.  This was done to provide a solid anchor point for whatever facade we design to cover the opening.

After hours of working on multiple projects under the head sink it is gratifying to apply a top coat of paint to the area. 
With the fiberglass work complete we were finally able to paint the area under the head counter. 

Starboard chocks installed along the bulkhead and cross braces will hold the tank in place. 

Additional chocks and straps will be added once we complete the plumbing.

Tank in place.  Time to figure out the plumbing.

Next step… figure out the plumbing runs.

Additional images and notes can be found in our Holding Tank Install  photo album.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

New Deck & Bilge Pump Drain Manifold

The Ted Brewer designed Morgan 382, 383, & 384 series has a unique, and I believe very well designed, system of deck & cockpit drains.  A 4“diameter tube with exits above the water line transverses the beam under the cockpit sole.  From the exterior of the boat it is possible to look through the tube and out the other side.  Morgan owners refer to this drain as the “torpedo tube“. 

Two,  2” id cockpit drains feed vertically directly into the tube.  Port and starboard deck scuppers feed into the tube via a manifold located in the engine compartment.   Pilgrim’s manifold was a tired, poorly constructed mess that grew new limbs to address additional plumbing needs.
Pilgrim's dubious drain manifold
A single strategic hack saw cut excised the manifold.   
All the remains is the 2" id tube that feeds directly into the "torpedo tube".
Armed with a sketch of my vision for a new manifold, I headed into the hardware store.  Amazingly the Beaufort Ace Hardware had everything I needed to fabricate the new manifold.
Dry fitting the new manifold.
The primary body of the manifold is 2” id schedule 40 PVC.  The 1 ¼” id deck drain hoses attach at either end.  The manifold also includes a ¾” id inlet for the small volume, primary bilge pump and a 1 ½” id inlet for the manual bilge pump. 

To decrease the likelihood of down flooding and to maximize space in the engine compartment I elevated the new manifold 4” above the torpedo tube.
The new manifold is elevated 4" above the torpedo tube and supported to two eye straps 
No bilge pumps are currently installed in Pilgrim – stay tuned  - so  temporary plugs are currently screwed into those inlets.
Bilge pump inlets are temporarily plugged.
We plan to reroute and replace the deck scupper hoses, but at present the existing deck scupper drain lines are feeding the new manifold.

Future projects will include replacing and rerouting the deck drain hoses.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Mast Partner Repairs and Installing Mast Collar

The voids at the mast partners, visible from below decks, required filling prior installing the new mast collar backing plate.  The largest void starboard and aft side of the deck opening was large enough to require a piece of 1/4” plywood as filler.
cutting plywood biscuit to fill void at mast partners.
The other voids were small enough to allow the repair to be completed with thickened epoxy.   

I planned to fill the voids then clamp the new backing plate in place while the epoxy cured.  The backing plate will ensure the epoxy fully fills the voids and prevent the epoxy from sagging while curing.  

However we did not want the backing plate permanently adhered to the cabin top.
Using duct tape as release agent on new backing plate.
Epoxy will not bond to either face of duct tape.  Covering the top surface of the backing plate with duct tape allowed us to use it for clamping the repair in place.

Using new backing plate to hold repair in place during curing.

Curing epoxy generates heat - the curing process is an exothermic reaction.  Too much heat and the epoxy cures (“kicks”) quickly and creates a weak bond.  In extreme circumstances the curing process can generate enough heat to start a fire.  What causes excessive heat?
A greater volume of epoxy – filling a large area = increase in heat
The more dense the epoxy – adding a thickening agent  = increase in heat
Insulating the epoxy – clamping it between the deck and backing plate  = increase in heat
Hot sunny conditions - July day in eastern NC = increase in heat.

We were concerned about the epoxy kicking too quickly.  Using West Systems tropical hardening catalyst served to slow down the reaction.  We also used every trick in the book to cool the deck above the repair.
Attempting slow down the curing with shade, ice, and a fan.
We shaded the area, placed bottles of frozen drinking water on the deck, and used a box fan to circulate fresh air across the surface.

Voids at mast partners filled with epoxy and plywood biscuit on right. 
Success – the epoxy cured properly and the backing plate released easily.

Anne came up the the wonderful idea of using a screen tool for applying butyl-tape 
Anne used a screen tool to roll a bead of butyl-tape into the gasket channel on the mast collar.  The butyl tape will create a water tight seal between the deck and the collar.

Working as a team, Anne topsides, and myself in the cabin...

we bedded the thru-bolts and stainless rod with UV resistant 3m 4000 sealant.

New mast collar backing plate installed.
And, yes somewhere along the way we added a couple coats of white paint.

Additional images and notes from this project can be found in the Mast Partner Repairs Photo Album

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mast Collar Backing Plate

Juggling a couple projects at once ensures that when paint is drying, epoxy curing, or the weather outside foul there is always something to get done.   Repairs surrounding Pilgrim’s mast collar & partners have been an ongoing, "back burner" project over the past couple months.

Nautical Lingo: The partners are the section of the deck or cabin top through which the mast passes.  Typically this section of the deck is reinforced to accommodate additional forces.

Circa 2002 Pilgrim’s previous owner suffered a dismasting due to the failure of a turnbuckle.  Pilgrim received a taller, double spreader  Isomat NG-80 mast as a replacement.  The mast install included new standing rigging, mast step and deck collar with blocks for directing lines aft to the cockpit.
Pilgrim's mast collar with five blocks for directing lines aft.
We suspected the thru-bolts for the mast collar were a source of water intrusion.   Removing the headliner from the area  below decks confirmed our speculation.
Rotten plywood backing plate for mast collar. I believe the plywood is from the original Morgan construction.
Not only did we reveal a major source of leaks we also discovered the plywood backing plate for the mast collar was rotten.  Not a little rotten mind you, but handle it carefully less it disintegrate in your hands rotten.

Delicately removing the plywood, since I wanted to use it as a template for the replacement, revealed both good and bad news…
Void are visible as darker brown areas along the aft (top)  section of the opening.
Bad news – the original deck fabrication included some voids clearly visible from below.   These need to be filled.
Good news – the deck in this area is solid fiberglass.  The leaks did not saturate any deck coring.

Using the original plywood as a template, I fabricated a new backing backing plate from ¾” marine plywood.
The old plywood held together long enough to work as a template for the new piece.
While test fitting the new piece, I realized that doubling the thickness would extend the backing plate below the headliner.  With the backing plate visible in the cabin any future leaks would not be hidden by the headliner and go unnoticed until damage was done.   As a bonus the additional material could only serve to add strength to the entire assembly. Thus I cut another identical section of plywood and laminated them together with thickened epoxy.

using a drum sander to clean up the inside radius of the now 1 1/2" thick backing plate.
To avoid the possibility of future leaks damaging the plywood backing plate, I drilled out the areas where bolts pass through and refilled these sections with thickened epoxy.
1" diameter epoxy plugs at the site of all the hardware that passes through the backing plate.
To seal the exterior of the plate from moisture I applied four coats of epoxy.
Backing plate complete and ready for bolt holes to be drilled through the epoxy plugs.

Additional images and details are available in “Mast Partner Repairs – 2014” photo album.

 Check back soon for a post on repairing the deck voids and re-installing the mast collar and new backing plate.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quarterberth No More (a.k.a. My Nav Station Backrest)

Pilgrim’s previous owners also found more value in devoting the quaterberth to storage.  They installed panels that serve as seatbacks for the nav station and doors for the quarterberth aft storage.  Here is an image from  Pilgrim’s listing on the internet that include the panels.

Image from Pilgrim's Listing with Nav Station Backrest Visible on left.

Re-installing the panels took a bit of creative shimming and some new cleats as I have reconfigured the hatches in the aft storage area deck and removed the headliner.
The two outermost panels are fixed.
To provide better natural lighting in the storage area, I painted the back of the panels white.  Since we intend to install the new electrical panel along the starboard hull, I also painted the front of the outboard panel white.
The two center panels are removable.
Two removable panels occupy the center section of the opening.
With all the panels installed the nav station has a nice, solid backrest.
With the panels in place we are now able to begin designing the housing for future electrical panel.  We plan to install the new panel  along the hull aft of the original nav station.
Future electrical panel will occupy the space along the hull between the existing nav station and the white, outboard panel.
For additional images and information check out our photo album - Quarterberth Refit - 2014

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Progress on the Quarterberth Refit

Installing new thru-hulls and seacocks, specifically the new engine raw water intake, had to be completed prior to progressing forward on the quarterberth project.  Installing the thru-hulls lead to an extended detour into hull repairs. After a two month hiatus, I’m now back in the quarterberth and making steady progress.

First step was to use epoxy and 1708 cloth to tab in the partial bulkhead I discussed in “Fabricating Locker Dividers that Match the Hull Shape”.
Tabbing added to both sides of this partial bulk head will add strength and stiffness to the hull and quarterberth deck.
I also added tabbing along the forward wall that forms the seat for the nav station.

My priorities for this space were to house the engine raw water intake, the starter battery, and a tool box.  It took a bit of experimentation, but in the end it all fit successfully.
It all Fits!
The space containing the starter battery will likely also house the battery selector switch(s) and some buses for large gauge wires.  I anticipate a loom of wires will run through this area to the electrical panel.  To accommodate the wiring, I included circular cut out sections in the dividers and the tool box shelf. 

The marine plywood I used for the dividers is fabricated in metric units and did not match the thickness of the original quarterberth decking.  I purchased a 48” x 48” section of ½” birch cabinet grade plywood for the new deck sections.
Test fitting new deck sections.
The new decking, dividers, and shelves received two coats of Kilz Primer and a top coat of latex, semi-gloss exterior grade paint. 
The view from the cockpit while painting the new quarterberth decking.
The pile of scrap lumber in the bottom, left of the image above is all harvested from Pilgrim.

The new decking in place.  Now time to paint the original sections of decking.
Since the starter battery compartment will be accessed infrequently, I elected not to cut a finger hole.  The battery is a sealed AGM and thus does not require regular maintenance.  The lack of a finger hole will also reduce the chance of accidental spills from reaching the electrical connections. 
securing the starter battery.
The final touch was to add a tie down strap for the battery.  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Raw Water Strainers

Now that the new thru-hulls and seacocks are installed it is time to begin re-plumbing Pilgrim.  Since the engine raw water strainer needs to be installed as part of the ongoing quarter berth refit,  the strainers will serve as the starting point for interior plumbing.

Pilgrim now has two raw water intakes -  one for the engine coolant water and one for the house needs (galley sink, wash down, toilet).  Each raw water intake has a Perko Strainer to prevent foreign objects, (sea grass, bits of flotsam, small fish, etc. )  from entering systems aboard the boat.   The two strainers are identical and thus reduce the number of spare parts we need to carry on our travels.

The engine raw water seacock and strainer are now located on the starboard side under the quarterberth deck.  Relocating this system provides easier access to operate the seacock or to clean the strainer basket.

Engine raw water seacock and strainer, lower right, located to starboard under the quarterberth deck
To better align the strainer inlet with the seacock, I constructed a mounting bracket from scraps of starboard material.
Engine raw water strainer on mounting bracket
The bracket made the mounting of the strainer so much easier that I constructed a similar mount for the house raw water strainer.
The house raw water seacock, strainer, and syphon break.
The house raw water seacock, strainer, and syphon break are located on starboard in the wet locker forward of the nav station.  From here I plan to run a ¾” id hose to a raw water manifold located under the galley sink.

Friday, July 11, 2014

New Thru-Hulls & Seacocks Installed – Almost...

Pilgrim’s new marelon thru-hulls and seacocks are installed! Well almost all…

The 3/4" flush thru-hull for head sink drain installed, but where is the 1 1/2" thru-hull for black water discharge? 
Due to poor communication between Anne inside the boat and myself outside the boat, we over tightened the 1 ½” black water discharge thru-hull.   Yes you can crack a marelon thru-hull fitting.  Fortunately we both heard a pop and removed the fitting to investigate.
Crack along inside face of outer flange.  Crack does not extend to opposite face of fitting.
The crack occurred on the inside face of the outer flange.  It does not extend all the way through the fitting, but we conservatively chose to purchase a new fitting.  No sense taking chances with a mission critical piece of hardware.  We have ordered a new thru-hull fitting.  Ironically this occurred after successfully installing four other fittings...

New 3/4" seacock for head sink drain is the only fitting remounted in it's original location.  Note filled holes from original fittings on left in image.

exterior view of new 1 1/2" galley sink drain thru-hull.  The site of the original thru-hull is near the center of the newly barrier coated (grey) rectangle.
External view of new 1 1/2" engine raw water intake located on starboard.
Seacock for engine raw water in-take is now located below quarter berth deck. 

The new 3/4" house raw water intake is located in the wet locker portside, forward of the nav station.