Alistego Returns to Service!

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After weeks of what (sometimes) seemed to be mind-numbing boat work, the good ship Alistego returned to the waters of Cold Lake for an absolutely lovely day of sailing. Though the wind was just very light to light it was a perfect day for reacquainting this crew with her ways.

While the local racing fleet was trying to go ‘round the buoys, we contented ourselves by enjoying a light lunch while we watched everyone else trying to get all the “speed” they could from a knot or maybe two of wind! I can’t be sure but I think I saw some of the racing crews "huffing and puffing" to fill their spinnakers! The photo above was taken by one of the crew members enjoying the day’s racing.

Unfortunately, after returning home, I discovered a couple of centimeters of water in the bilge under the cabin floor boards. After a thorough search it became clear that it wasn’t coming from the bilge board cases or their pins, which left only the bronze bolts securing the lead ballast to the keel. To test my theory, I poured a small amount of clear penetrating wood preservative into the recesses around each of the nuts and bolts and sure enough I got a small amount of leakage near the rear ballast bolt. So it seems that the mighty 3M 5200 is not quite as permanent an adhesive and sealant as I had believed back in the day.

At first my plan was to try and drop the lead ballast and just re-do the whole job but after a little research it became clear that just because a 5200 joint is leaking doesn’t mean it isn’t still impossibly bonded to the hull. A poor couple on Youtube dropped the keel on their large sailboat and ended up watching the keel take a 2 foot by 3 foot chunk of the hull with it when it finally let go! That seemed to me, something I wanted to avoid. The more practical approach seemed to be to remove as much of the 5200 from the ballast/hull joint and then reseal the joint with fresh 5200 to ensure compatibility and hopefully waterproof the joint again. So that’s what I did.

The resealing of the ballast is now complete and I’m satisfied with the outome but we may have to wait until spring to see if it was successful as our sailing season is winding up here in our part of Canada. Perhaps we’ll get a really nice autumn day that just begs for a trip to the lake and one last sail to wind up the season.

Dale Hymanyk 2022