A week crossing the Bay of Biscay from Lorient to Portosin

Between June 14-21 I joined as crew on a bigger Hallberg Rassy, namely a 46 foot.

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I thought it would be a good idea to get experience from the open seas before going blue water sailing.

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No point in showing more pictures….they all look so inspiring!   😉


Deck outlet for head tank and renewal of all hoses

The new regulations that are coming into place in Sweden make it compulsory to empty your head tank in marinas only unless far out at sea. So, isn’t that a good opportunity to refit the head completely? At lease a new valve, new hoses, and of course the new seacock and through-hull.

This picture shows the work in the beginning, after removing a lot but onlys putting the deck fitting and the hose and valve for it back. More hoses have now followed! All shining and new!


New name and home port


After replacing all through-hulls under the waterline and one above it was time to do some beauty work before SY SVANA be lifted back into the lake Mälaren again. The new name SVANA and home port Stockholm are there, and the old name Lady Fiona has been removed. The hull is painted with anti-fouling of lake-quality since we will only spend 4 weeks in the sea this season. Looking good!

Removing two through-hulls that were in a really stupid place – HR352 design error!

Sanding a 12:1 bevel in preparation for covering the holes with 5 layers of epoxi and fiber glass. Mistakes are made even in great boats, and these two through-hulls sure are a mistake in the Hallberg-Rassy 352: they are located under the flooring int the cockpit locker, and the flooring is screwed tight. It would take 15 minutes only to get to the location in perfect conditions.


To prevent the epoxi from dripping and running downwards I simply use tape, and on some layers extra pressure by adding paper in certain areas.


New through-hull for the head tank ventilation installed and ready. Bronze gives such a beautiful color depth compared to brass. Classy!


So am I satisfied with 5 layers of fiber glassed epoxi at 12:1 bevel when covering the old through-hull holes? No I like things to be bomb proof when I plan to take my three kids onto the ocean. So I also fiber glass from the inside and make sure that inside, outside, and the joint in the middle are all curing at the same time, together into one piece attached to the rest of the hull on both the inside and the outside. And I also bolt a wooden plate through the hull and cover it completely in epoxi. Overkill? Yes. Feels good? Yes.

The existing through-hulls that I keep are prepared for the groco through-hulls and seacocks that are to be bolted through the hull. An epoxy layer overlaps with the layer for osmosis protection. The bolt holes are countersunk, and sikaflex primer is applied to everything before covering it in sikaflex 291i and installing the hardware.

The ”dyvika” (Sweish word for the drain plug at the bottom of the bilge) is also removed and covered by epoxy / fiber glass layers at 12:1 bevel AND a mechanically bolted cover.


Removing old through-hull for engine exhaust…some work!

So I’m starting on the biggest and hardest of the old through-hulls. All others have been removed. I decided to cut this one in eight pieces instead of four so that I can break off each part with a hammer and chisel as with the smaller through-hulls. This one is in very good shape, though. Nevertheless I will feel better when it has been replaced. Why?

1. It has no backing plate!

2. It has no seacock flange!

3. It has no valve attached!

It is at the waterline, and it is the biggest hole in the entire hull, therefore it is important to make sure nothing goes wrong here!

I will know that EVERYTHING that passes through the hull (where it can end up under the water when the yacht is heeling) is NEW and made in the ABSOLUTELY BEST WAY POSSIBLE.

You could say that I don’t need to destroy this nice through-hull to fix points 1 and 3. The thing is that even if I skip point 2, the easiest way to remove the through-hull in order to install a backing plate is to cut it up into pieces. Unscrewing through-hulls can be close to impossible, crawling around in thight spaces trying to make huge spanners fit around the nuts and not get caught on things inside the yacht. And then the through-hull can still just rotate along with the torque, if you can get it to move at all against all resistance that sikaflex and other things cause.

I also found when working on it that the hose from the engine exhaust has rusted (the steel inside the rubber walls) and the rubber walls are getting brittle and dry. So it will be a good opportunity to replace everything.


This picture shows what I have done with the tiger saw – cutting inside as well as outside. But due to the length of the blade and the thickness of the saw I can not cut parallell to the hull, and therefore quite a few mm of material is left uncut along the outer sides. I will get back to these grooves with my fein saw.



After curring with the fein saw and hacking away with hammer and screwdriver and a chisel I could remove the pieces one by one. Much harder work than for the other through-hulls. Unfortunately I made some small scratches (<1mm deep) in the gelcoat. One job generates the next task….

First I thought that the inner ring was a wooden or fibre glass backing plate oddly set on the outside of the hull. But it was in fact just more bronze material that would take time to cut. All in all this is a high-quality through-hull that I am replacing. It did not show signs of deterioration.

New seacocks, thrugh-hulls, and more have arrived!

Some of the material with which I am replacing nine through-hulls (I’m also covering up three old through-hull holes with platic/fibre glass) has arrived, the main parts from Groco. Looks as good as I was hoping after seing them at West Marine this Christmas. The pictures show some of the configurations that I will install. All parts are mainly from bronze.


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Partly assembled and fully disassembled parts for port scuppers. They are located in a locker where there is no space to have the proper seacock attached to the inside of the hull. Instead I use the flanged adapter for the through-hull and a 90 degree elbow followed by an in-line valve and a pipe-to-hose fitting.



This configuration is for the head discharge. The holding tank is located over the through-hull and the 90 degree fitting accepts the hose from the holding tank.


These are actually two configurations. The small one is, believe it or not, actually 1-1/4 inch internally. I will use this in several places like kitchen sink discharge and cockpit discharge lines. The bigger configuration is 2-1/2 inch internally (6.35 cm). Will I be the first, over-prudent, person to install a valve on the engine exhaust? Well…I think it might be the most important of all on a Hallberg-Rassy 352. The location of the through-hull is just above the water-line (just a few inches), and the hole is the biggest of all in the entire hull. In any case I feel very comfortable being able to close it off easily.

Will get back with more information about the installation when the temperatures get above freezing outside.


In what shape are the through-hulls on a 33 years old high-quality yacht?

When you refit a yacht it makes sense to start from the basics – making sure that the yacht doesn’t sink. So before getting new sails and other improvements that will give better performance, I checked the through hulls. In what shape are through-hulls on a 33 years old top of the line sailing yacht?  The answer: not good enough! I removed them by cutting the outer ring into four slices (without damaging the hull) and then continue the cuts into the pipe part of the through-hulls. Finally I hacked each of the four pieces off with a hammer and a screwdriver as chisel. It went quite smoothly. Except for one or two of the through-hulls. They were simply in the good shape they were supposed to be…the others were not. I mean, they were not too bad, and posed no danger. But they were getting old.



These flanges on the through-hull are not supposed to be pink, they have been de-zinkified. I will replace them with bronze. The European standard only states that through-hulls should last five years. Rediculous! This is one area where there really is no choice than to go for high quality american models, there simply are no good ones from Europe. Seacocks should be made from bronze, have an attachment flange, and have a bronze through-hull. I will buy mine from Groco.

On the inside I removed the wheel from the gate valves. Gate valves have no place in a yacht. I know why! When I reached out for one of the wheels with the intention of screwing it off from the valve main body, it just came out with a slight pull! The grooves were completely gone by corrosion. I am glad this piece did not fall out by itself when I was at sea, because it would have constituted a 1 1/4 inch hole through the hull. It was also hidden under the floor in the oil-skin locker, so would have taken a lot of time to get to. I will permanently cover the two through-hulls in the oil-skin locker with plastic/epoxy/glassfibre, and re-route these houses to other through-hulls.


When you see this oxidization you start wondering in what shape the threads are….Mostly rather ok it turns out. But you don’t replace through-hulls to find the good ones, you do it to find the bad ones. And for sure they are there!



So what do you do when you have bought your first serious sailing boat? Except for sailing….  Well for me it means starting at the bottom, to double-check and improve on basics such as the hull, the sea-cocks, the engine, and safe storage on land. The first season on land I repainted the hull, adding more epoxy on a couple of spots where it looked thin. I cleaned the propeller and replaced all zink anodes. She shines beautifully in the spring sun!

For storage I added four extra supports (the blue ones in the picture) to the cradle she had been stored in all her previous winter life. I don’t think her previous two owners (one Dane and one German) had kept the mast on while on land, and since I wanted to do that I figured some extra support would make it bullet proof. It is so conventient to not have to take the mast off!


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One of the first things I did when commencing work on my pride and joy S/Y Svana was to replace the cutlass bearing. During the pre-purchase marine survey, the surveyor commented that it was possible to shake the propeller shaft ~1-2mm due to wearing out of the rubber inside the cutlass bearing. Since my aim has been to rapidly correct any comments that the surveyor had, and after that get started on my own improvements (like installing a radar on an aft radar pole), during the spring of 2015 I replaced it with a new bearing from Volvo Penta.

First, I bought a three-arm propeller puller and got the propeller off from the shaft. Then it was a very hard job both to get the bearing holder loose, and after that to get the bearing out of the holder. The holder was attached with two screws, but their main task is to prevent rotation of the holder. The holder itself is held firmly by the threads on the pipe that constitutes the through-hull for the shaft. In addition the small gap between the holder and the boat was filled with marine filler (sikaflex) and plastic. To get the bearing out of the holder I had to cut it in three pieces inside the holder.

This work was a good chance to have a look at the holder and clean the openings that guide water into its rubber channels.