A few weeks ago I noticed some rot at the bottom of our big standup locker, where we store a variety of things including some harsh chemicals that we occasionally use to keep the exterior teak clean. When Rob opened the locker last week he noticed a lot of salt crystals, and thought there must be a pretty good leak.
With all the running rigging off the boat (and nice and clean at home), it was time to do one last scrub, including some work on the teak in the cockpit that was going to require some of those nasty chemicals. What I found was what was thought to be salt crystals was actually an entire gallon of a very caustic teak cleaner that had likely chafed a hole in the bottom of the container and completely emptied.
Suddenly the day wasn’t about outside, it was total cleanup time inside. We had to empty the locker and tear away the liner. The floorboards came up and we found the cleaner all the way down into the bilge. The cleaner has two parts, and we still had the gallon of neutralizer, so we poured that into the locker and bilge. Then we rinsed with a hose and started looking for damage.
The good news is the mast step wasn’t damaged. The bad news is the paint on the forward end of the fuel tank is destroyed. These are aluminum tanks Rob had custom built and installed in 2003. http://www.svyohelah.com/Boat/2006/Fuel/Baba40FuelTank.html
And even worse, last week he hauled fuel down and filled all the tanks. So the time this week we thought we had to finish varnish removal, we now have to spend getting the fuel back out of the boat, pulling the two forward tanks and repainting where needed. But it will be good to actually see in the bilge and underneath the tanks.
New Rule: No caustic chemicals live on the boat. Ever Again.