Catalina 250 WB
Water Ballast Tank Repair
This water ballast boat was sitting low in the rear on the trailer allowing water ingress and failure of the ballast tank to drain completely. Winter storage froze the water and broke the top of the ballast tank. Repairs included leveling the boat on the trailer, removing the rear berth floor and companionway step to gain access to facilitate repairs
This boat was purchased by the current owner at a deeply discounted price due in part to a known leak. When the boat was placed in the water, it became evident quite quickly that there was indeed a leak. A quick run to the store for some food coloring and a basic dye test was conducted of the water ballast tank. I received a phone call asking about repairing the water ballast tank. A short time later, I arrived at the lake to find the boat tied to the dock, with the bilge pump running approximately every two minutes. A general review of the boat found perimeter cracks around the top of the tank under the V-berth and disappearing under the kitchen cabinets and bathroom. the previous owner had installed an inspection plate in the floor of the main cabinet. The rear berth floor had a large mound of crude fiberglass work to the rear floor just forward of the bulkhead. Pink colored water continuously filled the bilge. The owner pulled the boat and the issues with the trailer became apparent.
Once at the shop a ballast tank fill test was conducted and confirmed a major leak under the rear berth. The previous fiberglass repair was easily removed with a simple pry bar. Once the floor of the rear berth was removed, an obvious crack in the top of the ballast tank was discovered. Generally speaking, there is between 3/4-1" of clear space between the top of the ballast tank and the bottom of the rear berth floor. The crack was cleaned, ground out and reglassed using West System Epoxy and numerous layers of glass cloth. Cracks were also discovered around the companionway step base and the tube for the centerboard lift cable. The step was removed to facilitate repair. All cracks around the perimeter of the tank top where ground back and glassed over. Once fiberglass work was complete, the floor of the rear berth was replaced.Due to the damage to the tank, i recommended to the owner that an inspection hatch be placed in this location to be able to monitor this repair.
Additionally, the boat had to be raised on the trailer by 10 inches to level the boat for storage.