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 Fuel Locker Hole
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1st Mate

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Initially Posted - 06/27/2023 :  22:03:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My family was recently privileged to be able to buy Catalina 250 WB #191 "Mariah" from Henk and Johanna Grasmeyer ("Zeil" on the forums here), and have spent much of the past month preparing her to sail in our home waters of Utah Lake, Utah.

One of the concerns Henk had had ever since he purchased the boat, was that a prior owner had decided to route the motor's alternator cables down to the battery compartment by drilling a hole directly in the deck below the fuel locker.

This created the possibility of gas fumes coming down into the battery compartment (and the rest of the cabin). Henk considered this a major issue and felt it extremely urgent that this be fixed. He has mentioned the issue on this forum as well; and I believe several other posters had mentioned that similar holes had been drilled in their own fuel lockers. Henk's suggestion was for some sort of conduit to run through the area to seal off the holes, preventing fumes from entering the cabin and isolating the electrical cables from the rest of the fuel compartment.

My first thought was to epoxy a 1" PVC coupler around the hole, then fit some 1" flexible PVC spa hosing into the coupler and then out the hole to starboard. The motor cabling could run through that.

I got the coupler epoxied in place, started playing with the flex pipe, and--fool!--I'd mis-measured the hole in the starboard bulkhead; and the flex pipe wouldn't fit through the hole. Trying to make lemons out of lemonade, I played with running the flex pipe aft and out through the stern cowling.

Running it around the fuel tank was a bit more complicated . . .

Then had to finagle the fuel line . . .

The result seemed to be an improvement on the status quo, and I called it "done" for the day. But, nagging questions persisted. What if exhaust fumes backed through the hose and into the cabin? What about the setup possibly permitting water ingress from following waves? Was it really a good idea to have the electrical cable going out the stern of the boat near the water--or having it in such close proximity to the fuel line at any point in the setup?

After stewing for a couple of days, I went back to Home Depot and found a 24" length of 3/4" flex tube and a 1" to 3/4" PVC adaptor; together with a scrap of rigid 1" PVC pipe.

Rigid pieces friction-fit into previously-installed epoxied PVC coupling (yes, the epoxy work is sloppy; it was one of my first times working with the stuff!):

Now to get the electrical wires to run through that flex tube. The tubing was too stiff to make a hard 90-degree turn from the hole in the deck to the hole in the bulkhead, so I left it fairly long to give it room to make the turn (probably cut off 6" or so). The cables were a tight fit in the tube and it made for slow going, but we got there in the end.

The flex tube friction-fits into the rigid PVC assembly, loops up, and then down and out the hole in the starboard bulkhead. The fuel line is now run further away from the entire works.

End of tubing protrudes just a bit from the bulkhead hole.

I'm much happier with this arrangement. Other than the 1" PVC coupler epoxied to the deck, it's all removeable if I want to experiment with some other arrangement later.

Jim and Crystal Smith
Lehi, Utah
1996 Catalina 250 WB #191 "Mariah"

Edited by - crystal_blue on 06/27/2023 22:08:19

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Response Posted - 06/28/2023 :  10:22:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote

Please everyone welcome (Crystal Blue) James and Crystal Smith to this forum

It has been our pleasure to get to know them after they drove the 1500 km all the way up from Utah to British Columbia and bought our C250WB "Mariah". They spent a few days with us transferring the intricacies of the boat and all it gear and belongings.

During this time it was our privilege to get to know them as well as some of the children during the transfer and enjoyed a wonderful dinner afterwards.

For us it is the end of a 20 year sailing era and a new beginning for James, Crystal and family. We wish them happy times with their "new", sailboat for many years to come.

One more thing... James has impressed me very much with his attention to detail and his keen mind to understand all there is about the boat and sailing life.

I'm sure that James, Crystal and family will provide, as shown by his first installment, meaningful value, equal to that which past members have provided. This has made this forum a valuable contribution to the enjoyment of our boats.

Henk & Johanna
"Floating", a few off your "barnacles".
"Someday Lady" '95 C250WB #151 ('03 - 2016)
"Sea ya" 30ft Bayliner (04-2018 - 09-2018)
"Mariah" '96 C250WB #191 (05-2019 - 15-05-2023)
"Lady J" '00 C250WK #499 (05-2021 - 09-2022)
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