4.01.2009

Hawse Pipe Repair Replacement - Westsail 32

Mary Rose had hawse pipes that really needed some attention. The hawse pipes were basically just Chrome plated bronze flanges and there is a significant gap inside the bulwark between the inside and outside flange. Previous owners dealt with this problem by applying regular thin coats of a Marine Tex type of epoxy over the gap. This product is not flexible and it cracks and pulls away from the hawse pipe flanges. When this happens you eventually have water enter the hull. I made the assumption that these were the second set of flanges that were installed and NOT the original ones that were installed when the boat was built in 1975. Well, we all know what happens when you assume. I searched for new hawse pipes but there did not seem to be any that fit the existing holes in the hull. So I decided to pull one set and see if I could clean, polish and reuse them. I pulled the first pipe on the starboard bow and was quite surprised at what I found. The area between and around the flanges was stuffed with fiberglass roving that had been impregnated with polyester. This material filled the gap between the flanges. Behind the roving was wadded up newspaper. The Admiral carefully unfolded the newsprint and found a date on one corner. It was dated April 17, 1975. That was the year the boat was built! I chuckled at the thought of a new boat coming off the assembly line with news paper stuffed in the bulwark. So these flanges were factory installed as this hull was factory built and not a kit boat. Who knows, Maybe Bud Taplin read this paper before it was used as molding material for the flange gap filler material. Bud Taplin was the first general manager of Westsail Corporation, and developed the manufacturing methods and put into production the original Westsail 32 in 1972, and built the tooling for the Westsail 42. In 1974 he left Westsail to start his own boat-building company, Worldcruiser, specializing in custom construction of sailboats. Since 1974 at Worldcruiser, he has designed and built many W-32's, W-42's and W-43's, all with different interior and exterior layouts. Visit Bud's web site to learn more. http://www.westsail.com/ Bud is our Westsail guru!The process to polish, seal and replace the flanges is outlined below with photos for most of the steps.

1. Break off the excess exterior epoxy and remove inner and outer flanges.






2. Break the fiberglass roving that surrounded the flanges inside the bulwark.






3. Remove all debris and newspaper from inside the bulwark.








4. Carefully clean old caulking material off of the hull where the flanges seated on the gel coat.
5. Buff the inside of the bulwark so the area around the hawse hole is clean. This will help you when you buff the whole bulwark later.
6. **Optional** Spray your choice of long acting bug killer into the open cavity.







7. Stuff fiberglass insulation through the hawse hole as far as you can in each direction. This will aid in heat retention in cold climates, keep the boat cabin cooler in the tropics and help prevent condensation and mildew.





8. Blue tape a large area over and around hawse hole. Cut the tape out of the opening. Insert the hawse pipe and cut the blue tape around the outside of the flange.






9. Clean the hawse pipes. My pipes were chrome plated bronze and the chrome was severely pitted and tarnished. I choose to polish off all of the chrome. I did this using a flap wheel sander on a high speed hand grinder. I also used a wire brush to clean the old caulking from the backside of the flanges. I tried an assortment of other abrasive pads to find the right mix. It is much better to use something less abrasive and take more time than to use a coarse material and then have deep scratches to buff out of the bronze. I used a cotton wheel and jewelers rouge to polish the flanges and then Flitz (TM) to buff to a high gloss. The final step was to wash them with a degreaser, dry them and spray on several coats of lacquer to help slow down the tarnishing process.

10. Replacing the hawse pipes is several steps in and of itself.

a. Place a liberal amount of 3M 5200 adhesive on the backside of the flange and install it on the outside of the hull through the hawse hole. Secure it with correctly sized new fasteners.
b. Reach through the hawse hole from the opposite side of the bulwark and apply a liberal amount of 5200 around the flange.

c. I then inserted a piece of thick walled vinyl discharge hose that was large enough to snugly fit around the hawse pipe flange inside the bulwark.















d. Repeat step "a" above with the remaining flange. Make sure the vinyl hose also goes around this flange.
This is where it gets a little messy
e. Fill the area between the flanges on all sides with 5200. (I used a half of a box of large vinyl gloves for this process.) Use an abundance of 5200 for this process and force it up, around, and into all of the spaces between the discharge hose and the flanges.




f. Use lots of mineral spirits and disposable towels to clean the excess 5200 off of the nicely polished bronze flanges. Be sure to clean the area around the outside so it does not pull and tear when you remove the blue tape. Give it some time as the 5200 will want to drip off the upper surface. Wait several minutes until the 5200 starts to tack up and then force some more into the upper surface. Keep cleaning the residue off the polished bronze back to the interior edge. You can put some mineral spirit on the glove and smooth out the final coat of 5200.
g. Give the flanges several more coats of spray lacquer.
h. Wait an hour or two and then pull the blue tape from around the flanges on both side and you are done.







We are quite happy with the results and look of the polished bronze. I was able to do two sets of flanges in one day including time to polish the flanges. Only time will tell on how well these hold up to the tarnish factor but I have a high degree of confidence in the ability for this process to create a water tight, long lasting, flexible seal for the hawse pipes. We can live with the tarnish if they keep the water out and require low maintenance. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.

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