Friday, September 10, 2010

Lagoon 42 TPI construction - Replacing through hull fittings

After the sail drives it was time to “move forward” and overhaul the old skin fittings in the starboard bow locker. The story goes that the first owner of Lucey Blue was a Cuban who put the boat into charter for a few years to help pay for his new toy. We don’t know how the owner managed to get around the US embargo against Cuba, but that is another story. The bottom line is that in order to maximise the number of bunks available for customers the owner installed a bed in the port bow locker and a toilet in the starboard locker for the skipper. The bulk of this strange setup has long since been removed leaving a couple of old fittings that were starting to look a bit suspect.

The idea was to replace the ball valves and then later install a large holding tank and salt water deck wash system. Like most jobs it turned out to be a bit more complex than originally planned and before long it was apparent that the through hull skin fittings would also need to be replaced. Removing the fittings was easy enough and it was a simple matter of another trip to the ship chandlery to find replacements. But that pesky owner had cut some corners and the end grain balsa core had not been sealed after the holes had been bored through the hull. The net result of the “Cuban shortcut” was a wet patch of balsa core around one of the skin fittings - approximately 15 cm in diameter - that had to be dried out over a few days before I could seal the exposed areas with epoxy bog. We ended up checking all the skin fittings on Lucey Blue just to be safe – no other problems identified.

Despite the extra time the repair was easy and the hull cross-section confirmed the robust construction of Lucey Blue. All Lagoon 42s were built in Rhode Island by Tillotson Pearson Inc. (TPI) using their state of the art infusion process and vinyl ester resins.

The hull thickness near the bow on Lucey Blue is about 2.5cm - with an outer fiberglass laminate of about 4mm and an inner fiberglass laminate of 5mm. I guess in the old days the cost of resin was a bit cheaper and TPI were keen to ensure a high quality build to support Lagoon’s entry into the US market, but talk about overkill….

We are still considering the best toilet and sullage tank system. But with our shiny new skin fittings it should be a simple plug and play solution.

Another interesting task complete - hopefully we won’t find any more surprises onboard!!!

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