Strengthening the Anchor Pad-eye and Bedding Technique

Before we bought DreamChaser, the broker had mentioned that the previous owner had done work in the Anchor locker,  re-glassing the bin.  I can see where they did that and added plumbing to allow the shallower part of the deck as well as the anchor locker itself to drain from either side and to a large thru-hull about a foot above the water line.  They did a really good job on that top part of the bin however we noticed that there was not a pad-eye to connect the end of the all chain rode to.  When we had our survey done the surveyor noted that with an all chain rode we needed a "Break away link" or "quick release" so that in an emergency the chain could be disconnected from the boat.
We searched for a while and never found this but did find an alternative that would work.  We would need to add a portion of Line rode that could be cut in the event of an emergency.  This was what we were going to do because we wanted to add an additional few hundred feet of line to the 200 feet of chain.

The project started with removing all of the chain from the chain locker and laying out on deck carefully.  Next was to determine the best location for the pad eye that would allow for the anchor rode to not tangle upon deployment and still allow access from the back side to properly seat a strong backing plate.
Chain locker (left side is for secondary anchor and rode)

For us, this was in the bottom of the chain locker where there is an access panel below it for access.   I think we found the reason for the need to re-glass the bin.  You can see in the photo where the new bottom of the bin had been glassed in.  It wasn't remained when complete so your seeing the color of the actual resin cured.  The base had cracked at some point in the past and water had essentially rotted the original base of the bin.  With a new wooden base to support the weight of the chain, it was time to now plan the backing plate and start the project.

From inside the chain locker, I was able to use the pad eye base to mark the locations for the holes to be drilled.  I used a drill bit slightly larger than the diameter of the bolts and drilled down through the bottom of the chain locker and the wooden base.  
Holes drilled, and surface cleaned in prep for bedding
Even though this is not going on the deck, the anchor locker has water that gets in it from time to time through the hawsepipe and also just from running off the chain and line.  Because of this I wanted to bed this properly.  I used a 6" by 8" piece of 1/2" starboard as the backing plate.

The next step in this process was to prepare the pad eye and base with butyl tape so that I could insert it through the bottom of the chain locker.  
I have done a lot of research over the last couple of boats and from everything I can tell the best way to bed material to the deck is to use Butyl Tape.  It remains pliable for 20+ years, and maintains an excellent water tight seal if done correctly.
Pad eye, prepared with butyl tapel ready for attachment.
The problem today is that Butyl tape that you buy at an RV or Auto supplier is typically not of the same good quality that is once was and tends to harden and not longer provide that seal.  I will have information at the end of this post regarding butyl tape and the source to purchase the newly formulated (using the old formula) to still remain pliable.  It is really easy to work with, essentially you rip small pieces of the tape the length you need and apply it to the flat part of the base to be bedded.  After doing that I rolled out a few little 'snakes' of the tape and wrapped that around the bolt where it meets the bedded surface.  This allows the extra to be forced into the threads and the opening  to also seal around the bolt (or screw or your fastener of choice).

The pad eye is bedded and the excess butyl is oozed out
After inserting the pad eye through the holes in the base of the chain locker it was time to install the small metal bracket below along with the nuts to tighten it all up.  Because there are 2 bolts, it is important to tighten each nut one a turn or so and then go to the other to smoothly apply pressure to the butyl tape and not ooze it all out on one side.  The process of tightening the pad eye to the fiberglass, plywood and starboard took about 5 minutes of applying a bit more pressure, waiting for the butyl to ooze out a bit and tighten a bit more.

Once everything is tightened up it is time to clean up the "oozed" tape that came out from the pressure.  in my case with the uneven surface to mount to, I know that I have a thinner later of butyl tape on the high spots but put enough excess on the base to start with so that there was a full seal even on the thicker portions
Final surface
To clean up the excess you can just pinch a piece of it an pull upward to use the edge of the base to tear it like you would tape from a dispenser.  It is important that you don't pull it out horizontally or from the side where you might stretch the butyl tape thinner and have it break somewhere under the surface, but pulling it 90 degrees to the surface it cuts it flat.  To clean up any extra, it is a lot like getting gum off of your face after a big bubble pops.  Just hold the little wad of butyl you have torn off and dap little pieces of it and it attaches and picks it up.

So with the final surface cleaned up we are ready to connect the anchor rode and load all of the chain back in the locker.  As I write this blog, I think that is pretty ugly in there.  I guess I could paint the chain locker, but then I remember it is all going to be buried in 400-500 feet of line and chain, so I guess it is just fine.

Additional information on Butyl Tape.  I don't receive any funds from Compass Marine, I just completely agree that this product is great and that this is the best way to bed surfaces.   I learned this the hard way as our first boat (The Dog House) had it's ports bedded with silicone (and they were not Beckson brand ports which require silicone).  They were forever leaking, so it was my first introduction to butyl tape many years ago.

The person that seems to know the most about this subject goes by the username MaineSail  from Compass Marine and is an authority on bedding matters on all of the sailing, boating, cruising and live aboard boat forums.  He has researched and published many articles related to this process.  He has also worked with a manufacturer to create a Butyl Tape with the properties needed to remain pliable in the conditions we use our boats.  For reference here is a link to one of his detailed articles on the subject.  There are also links contained within it to order Butyl tape from him.  The minimum order is 2 rolls, but I would still recommend doing this even if you are not going to use that much.  Frankly with the time it takes to bed components and the consequences of the seal not being good.  It seems to be a no brainer to me.
Click here of the Information with Pictures and step by step instructions (and results)





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