Friday, January 14, 2011

Wading Through the Mess

The exact cause of Talofa Lee's sinking was never determined. Initially, a lightning strike was thought to be the most probable cause. No evidence of a strike was found. Secondarily, a thru-hull fitting, perhaps the paddlewheel speed sensor, was considered because her hull had recently been scrubbed by commercial divers. That fitting was found to be intact. No other fitting below the water line was the obvious cause. The teak plywood backing block for the thru hull for engine seawater cooling supply was severely rotted, indicating a long standing minor leak at that connection, but no conclusion could be drawn regarding that being the cause.

Talofa Lee sank to her cabin sides before she settled to the bottom. The deckhouse top and rigging were not submerged. She was refloated using drums and moved to a small shipyard to await insurance survey. She was not completely de-watered until after her survey (about three inches of water and oil covered the saloon deck) and no one was allowed to take action, such as clearing the engine and transmission of sea water until the survey was complete. This exacerbated the damage.

Main cabin after removing all loose items
Sitting in the hot Florida sun for two months with wetted upholstery and carpeting, and standing water in the boat, caused significant mildew and mold. Unpainted plywood delaminated in many areas. Corrosion-resistant fasteners corroded. Solid wood trim pieces swelled and a few cracked.  Painted plywood in general suffered no ill effects.

Electrical systems were destroyed. The positive battery posts on both installed batteries were vaporized by high current when the battery terminals became covered with salt water. All wiring was severely corroded. All electronics were destroyed.  The stove was not salvageable, nor was the 12V Cold Machine refrigeration.

The Yanmar 2GM engine was frozen and would not rotate.

Mildew on varnished surfaces in the main cabin

Companionway steps with oily residue on deck below

Mildew on bulkhead and corrosion on fittings

Electrical panel

Head deck

Cockpit clutter while de-cluttering boat for dryout

About 20 percent into removing things for boat dryout

1 comment:

  1. "no one was allowed to take action, such as clearing the engine and transmission of sea water until the survey was complete"

    I'll do my best to not rant about insurance companies, but that's right up there with my friend being told by hers that "it would have been better to hit the deer." They'd rather that she suffered terrible injury, or even died, than tear out the underside of that little car on a rock.

    I remember holing up numerous times during approaching bad weather, watching the cruising folk head into the nastiness on a mad dash north, trying to make New York by June 1 as per their insurance companies. Made no sense, living on a cruising deadline and a what if and maybe rather than common sense and caution.

    Makes as much sense as leaving salt water ruining a boat until someone can get around to dealing with it.

    Congrats and good luck on your project. I'll follow it with interest while I'm currently a landlubber, dreaming of someday restoring a norsea of my own.