Monday, October 30, 2017

How Washington's Derelict Vessel Program Works: A Real World Example

We get tangled in a sunken vessel in Friday Harbor - incident detailed here
I report the sunken vessel to the DNR, who run Washington's Derelict Vessel Program, mostly based on funds collected from boaters when they pay their state registration fees.
Vessel is listed as priority 4 as a result of my contact, per Jerry Farmer of the DNR
(A year passes)
A new version of Vessels of Concern list is published (they are published twice a year - the link points to the 10/2017 version)...  our sunken vessel has gone missing from the list!
I notice that the vessel has disappeared from the list and I contact Jerry Farmer at DNR, asking why the vessel was removed from the list.
Jerry Farmer replies that "...San Juan County is an authorized public entity (APE) that has the authority to remove vessels in accordance with RCW 79.100"  and that he had closed the DNR case on this vessel accordingly.  He also said, "However; some of our APE’s remove these vessels without following the custody process. If this is the case then they will not receive reimbursement from DNR’s derelict vessel removal account".  He referred me to Mark Herrenkohl of San Juan County, and also cc'd Mark.
Mark Herrenkohl contacts me and asks if I have the WN number of the sunken vessel.
I reply to Mark, telling him that in the confusion of having to hire a diver to get loose from Friday Harbor I did not have the foresight to ask the diver for the WN number on the vessel (assuming there was one...)
I query Mark, asking if there has been any progress
Mark responds that they have asked NOAA to mark the wreck on their charts.  And that they think the harbor is a busy place and maybe they shouldn't mark the wreck with a buoy.  He also says they are "talking about next steps."

So the current status, after the passing of a year and 4 months of conversations with very friendly, courteous, and open government officials, is that the wreck (and it's two sisters) is still on the floor of Friday Harbor, waiting to snag someone else's anchor or rode.  And I still avoid Friday Harbor, taking my boat and my patronage instead to Roche Harbor.

Apparently I screwed up big time by not asking the diver for the WN number, which would have allowed San Juan County to pursue the custody process with the last registered owner and therefore secure reimbursement from the DNR for the raising and disposal of the vessel.
SO REMEMBER:  If you ever have to hire a diver to get loose from a sunken wreck, ALWAYS GET THE WN NUMBER off the wreck!

Monday, October 9, 2017


Looking up at things

For several years now, Eolian has sustained a small yet nagging intermittent leak at the mast partners - where the mast penetrates the deck.  After several failed attempts to locate the leak or to pre-emptively stop it, I removed the interior trim and examined things from below, while it was raining.  And leaking.

I was relieved to see that the water was...
  • not coming down the mast, which would indicate a leak at the top of the boot - one of the places I have very carefully examined several times, and
  • not coming out of the foam deck coring, which would mean a wet deck.  Whew!
Instead, the water was appearing at the joint between the deck ring and the deck.  Tho I have repeatedly attempted to seal between the deck ring and the deck externally, it has never been rebedded.

Removal of the mast wedges

So I pulled up the boot and started the removal of the deck ring. I had thought it was a complete ring, but soon found out it was two half-rings, each held in place with three screws.  Well, not quite.

Half the deck ring is off
On the port side, the ring was less than a half, by about 1/2".  Apparently the end of the ring broke off, either in fabrication or during installation.  The pieces were cut from a teak plank - they were not laminated.  At the ends, the grain runs across them, and it is easy to see how an end could have been broken off.  What is a little more difficult to understand is that the installer solved the problem of the missing 1/2" of deck ring by simply filling the gap with what, I surmise, was a giant blob of polysulphide.  Now, after 39 years, it was as hard as a rock.

And so was the sealant that was between the ring pieces and the deck.  I had not given much thought to this, but the mast wedges driven in do bear somewhat on the deck ring.  And as a consequence, the rock-hard "sealant" broke loose from the deck instead of flexing.

Thus leakage.

Add a strip of 1/8" thick white butyl tape
After everything was dried out, I wiped things down with paint thinner and allowed it to evaporate off.  Then I applied strips of 1/8" thick white butyl rubber tape to the underside of the ring pieces.  I then screwed things back in place.  A couple of revisitations to the screws were required as the butyl continued to squeeze out of the joint.
Gap filled
The problem of the missing 1/2" of teak I solved by trimming down one of the wedge pieces and driving it into the gap (lined with butyl tape), and cutting it off flush.

Handy stuff

The final step was to line the complete outside of the ring with some self-adhesive aluminum-backed insulating foam tape, meant for preventing condensation in air conditioners, etc.  On the sides, where the boot hose clamp has little clamping pressure (the mast cross section is rectangular with rounded ends), I applied multiple layers so that the hose clamp would have something to bear against.

Does it leak?
Never thought I'd say this... waiting for rain.  To see if it leaks...

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