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GRP Enterprise Dinghy Floor and Tanks

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Smorgie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Smorgie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: GRP Enterprise Dinghy Floor and Tanks
    Posted: 23 May 16 at 9:51pm
I'm new to sailing and I've just purchase an old GRP dinghy (sails have 1972 on them and number is 165**.) I have some questions and was wondering if anyone could help me out?

I've only sailed it once but during the gusty conditions I managed 3 near capsizes and in doing so put about 10cm of water into the boat. On getting out I found lots of water in the two side buoyancy tanks when I took the drain plugs out. So I need to find out how the water has got there. I can't find any info on the hull design and sections. I'm guessing they should be isolated from each other and do not join to the under floor area?

The edges of the floor seemed to be sealed to the tanks with silicone sealant (it's translucent and very flexible with bits missing), is this correct or should this be glassed in (and is they a void underneath the floor)? I'm just wondering if it has leaked through the floor into the sides as the level of water seemed to be similar.  Both tanks have inspection holes so the water could have got in through these (they have no O rings which I'm guessing it should.) 

Any help would be very useful.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote 423zero Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 16 at 10:00pm
I have a Enterprise in the 16 thousands, so it is a 70's ish boat, they are very tippy boats anyway, the water is not causing this, though it could make it worse.
The Enterprises from this era tend to be a bit leaky anyway, unfortunately the water can find many ways in, fix the obvious ones first (missing "O" rings etc).
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 16 at 10:37pm
Glass enterprises of that era tend to make sieves look watertight.
The floor tank join is a notorious failure point, doubtless the silicon is a previous attempted cure.
I fear I haven't come across a cost effective permanent fix.if you really clean up the join area and put on two layers of glass tape, one wide, one narrow, right across the seam with luck it will make it a lot better for a while.

Edited by JimC - 23 May 16 at 10:41pm
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Smorgie View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Smorgie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 May 16 at 11:15pm
Thanks for the replies. I'm sure I can reseal the floor if I do a big cleaning job on the old sealant and reseal it with a flexible sealant.  I guess that it is not a good idea to glass in the edges of the floor and gelcoat over so there is no way for water to get in?

If getting water in the tanks is common is there anything in there that the water will damage in the long term, for example wooden stringers?
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transient View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote transient Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 16 at 12:59am
Another weak spot on some old fibreglass ents is the join between the front storage compartment walls and the underside of the foredeck. This doesn't become evident until you have a complete capsize, at which point it becomes a disaster. The solution is the same as Jim mentioned for the side tanks. Bit more fiddly though due to tricky access

Edited by transient - 24 May 16 at 1:05am
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Rupert View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 16 at 6:30am
Nothing really sticks well to gelcoat, so any fix breaks in the end unless you grind the gelcoat off the area you are fixing (so the bottom of the tank moulding) and then glass onto that as jimc describes. A very messy job, but not hard.

An easy but temporary solution is duck tape. Works surprisingly well for a few weeks. Get proper stuff, though!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 16 at 10:47am
A flexible sealant won't work I'm afraid. The problem with side tank joins is that we walk and jump around on the floor, which bends and distorts under foot, especially on a glass boat where the floor isn't that rigid. But because the tank side is pretty rigid (being vertically aligned) the joint is continually opening up.

To be brutally honest I'd counsel not to worry about long term life. The 70s glass Enterprises really aren't built well enough to worry. Get some life out of it for your money, and when it gets too much hassle skip it. Rupert may well have a very good suggestion with duct tape, at least assuming you are sailing inland with safety cover. Slow the water ingress so the sailing experience is reasonable and you'll be OK.
On the other hand if you are sailing on the sea, or without decent safety cover, well, all I can say is that I would not use an old glass Enterprise in those circumstances.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote davidyacht Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 16 at 11:16am
You could put some 4" hatches in and feed in some long bouyancy bags which would help the boat float and displace any water in the tanks ... I dont know about the class rules, but I guess that you don't need to seal the tanks if you could get buoyancy bags that fill the space.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 16 at 11:47am
Or lots or plastic 2l lemonade or cider bottles, just to endure you don't sink!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote transient Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 May 16 at 1:27pm
The one I had experience with (No. 12506) had polystyrene already installed. Discovered it when I cut 2 inspection hatches into the tanks.

 To answer the earlier question, there are wooden fillets in the tanks that the thwarts screw into.
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