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Systems:  Fuel Tank/Battery Platform


With the cockpit sole going in, it was time to begin to address some of the below-sole installations.  The large bilge area beneath the cockpit would be dedicated mostly to the new diesel engine and related systems, including a fuel tank and batteries.

I elected to mount the fuel tank down low in the boat, and near the longitudinal centerline (as well as on the athwartships centerline).  There was plenty of room in the open area beneath the cockpit.  To install the tank, however, I needed to build a sturdy platform.  I also planned for the platform to house the two ship's batteries.

I pored over my catalogs, and identified a tank that was the right capacity and general shape.  After double checking to ensure that there was adequate room beneath the cockpit beams for the tank, I moved forward with the platform construction.  Using the tank dimensions, as well as the dimensions of some standard Group 27 battery boxes, I determined the size platform I needed; it turned out to be 2' deep by 3' wide.

From a piece of 18mm Meranti plywood, I cut the platform to size and prepared to mock up its installation.  I wanted the platform to be level, both side-to-side and fore-and-aft.  While the aft corners of the platform would rest on the hull, attaining level fore-and-aft required lifting the front edge significantly, so I milled a cleat to secure to the bulkhead that would support the platform in the right place.

Next, I trimmed the front corners of the platform at an angle.  I did this because I wanted to ensure that there would be channels for any water to drain off the platform or adjacent hull and into the bilge.  I also needed to trim the corners to allow the platform to clear the fillets on the bulkhead tabbing.

Before installing the platform, I painted out the bilge area directly beneath, as the 2' depth of the platform would make reaching these areas more challenging once installed.  I also painted the underside of the plywood platform.  Then, I laid it in position and checked for level, and created epoxy fillets on each side of the platform against the hull.  Because of the angle of the hull and the amount the front of the platform was raised for level, this required a substantial amount of mixed epoxy--as usual, more than I had anticipated.

When the fillets were done, I cut some 6" 22 oz. biaxial tape to the right lengths and tabbed the bulkhead to the hull on each side, and to the bulkhead at the forward end.  I added some 12" cloth tape on the sides to reinforce those areas a bit more, and spread the remaining epoxy over the top of the platform to seal it.  I left this to cure overnight before continuing.  Later, I painted the top of the platform, along with the surrounding bilge areas, with more of the gray Bilgekote.

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