Water Tank Clean-out

floor1.jpg (40686 bytes)One of the real weaknesses of the Island Packets is the tank layout.  Island Packet endeavors to make a quality boat and most of the problems we have encountered with our early model IP38 have been addressed in later models but the tanks have changed little.  Hopefully they will catch on soon and address the problem.

The diesel and water tanks are mounted below the salon floor.  floor2.jpg (49112 bytes)They are each a single tank made of aluminum and there is little access to them.  A boat of this quality should have stainless tanks and it should have 2 tanks each for water and fuel.   The IP 40 should have 150 to 200 gallons of diesel capacity rather than the 90 gallons it has.

Our boat has only 57 gallons of diesel capacity which is clearly not enough for a major crossing.  The tanks are buried in the floor without enough access for a cleaning port.  If either tank needed to be repaired or replaced then major surgery on the floor would be in order.

Our water tank was dirty and every time we sailed in rough seas with half of tank we had cloudy water which was pretty gross.  floor3.jpg (36896 bytes)We wanted a hole cut in our salon floor so we could install a cleaning port.  Burch and Mason cut the hole with a router to control the depth accurately.  The first cut went just through the wood and then a smaller hole was cut in the underlying fiberglass.

Once we had access to the water tank we had Northern Machine cut a hole in the top of the tank and build us a port and mounting brackets so we couldfloor4.jpg (31983 bytes) close it up.   Once we had access to the inside of the tank we worked on cleaning it.  It is divided into six chambers by baffles and we only had access to 2 of the chambers.  We used a hose to rinse the other chambers and a spare bilge pump with a long hose as a vacuum to drain the dirty water.  It worked OK but it would have been nice to scrub the whole tank.

We still accomplished our goal and we now may clean our tank when it is needed.  This is a modification thatfloor5.jpg (34957 bytes) would make sense for any Island Packet that will be travelling to foreign waters and with plans to take on water from shore.  It is interesting that the worst tank of water we have loaded so far was in San Diego.