Butyl Tape - The best bedding material around?

On Dream Chaser, there is a sunken anchor well at the bow of the boat.  So essentially when walking toward the bow sprit, you step down about 1 foot into a slightly lower area and then about 4 feet forward of that is the bow sprit and Anchor rollers just beyond the bow pulpit.

Mounted just above the base of the Bow Sprit and Samson posts is a solid windlass to pick up that 105 lb beast of an anchor.  The anchor chain (or line) goes over the windlass and into what is called a Hawse pipe.  The Hawse pipe is nothing but an opening in the deck of the boat, that allows the anchor to go through the deck and store in a locker down below (because of the weight of an all chain rode, you want it as low as possible in the boat).  

Typically a Hawse pipe is a bronze opening with a hinged lid that will open up when loading the chain and then you close it so you don’t take in extra water when the bow is crashing through waves or water is coming up and over.  

On Dreamchaser, there are 2 of these and neither is bedded to the deck, it appears that at some point they had been removed or pulled loose from the deck as the chain was coming up through them.  Because of this, water that in the anchor well, a good portion of it runs in through the hawse pipes.  (There are also drains up there that drain right out through the bottom of the boat) however when you take water over the bow, the anchor well will fill up pretty quick (or even a good heavy rain).  
<<Instert Picture of water running down the anchor well drain>>

My office in the boat is in the V Berth and when there is a good hard rain, I can hear it coming in through the anchor locker and “pitter pattering” on the bottom of the anchor well.  It is a a bit loud because we removed all of the chain to measure and mark it for easy depth recognition.  We also needed to install an anchor releasable connection point in the base of the rode locker.

So the first step was to find a place to install a pad-eye so that I can connect about a 15 foot piece of line to it and then braid or connect it to the chain.  This in case there was ever an emergency and we had to let go the rode, we would want to be able to release it.  With the line rhode, we could use a machete or diving knife to cut it in a bind (Where we would not be able to do that with the chain).  

As I looked for a good place to install the Pad-eye, I noticed that with all of that water coming in through the hawse pipe, that there was some wet wood rotted at the base of the Anchor Rode locker.  The previous owner had already created a new fiberglass divided rode locker to keep the line separate from the primary and spare anchor on the bow.  That was much appreciated, but as I went to find the place for this pad-eye, I realized that the plywood below the locker was fairly soft from all of that rain over time getting in.  

I was able to re-inforce this with a piece of 3/4” starboard cut to the shape of the base of the rode locker and then install it from the access panel below it.  It was a tough fit,  but did a great job of providing the additional support and base for the rode locker beyond the fiberglass structure, as well s provided a great method to give the pad-eye more to connect to.  

In the diagram at the top of this post, you can see the white layer below the “Floor of rode locker” which his where we installed the additional support.  Doing this also gave us a great solid foundation for the top support as well as the backing plate.  

Now we know that water is going to get in the chain locker as it is designed to have a drain in it that will drain overboard, but we want to water to go into the drain and not around our through drilled mounts for the pad-eye support.  So I decided this time I would use Butyl tape.  When it comes to bedding material on deck, I find it to be one of the best ones out there.  It stays flexible for many many years.  It is fairly easy to clean up, inexpensive and not hard to work with.  
There is a gentleman on the cruising forums that goes my the name MaineSail and is somehow affiliated with Compass Marine.  He has worked with a manufacturer to get the right mix of chemicals and materials like they did in years past to maintain that elasticity in the material.  He has also put together a great bit of information and comparison on the effects of butyl and beds some items on a clear plastic base so you can see how the seal actually works.  You can read the article here http://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/rebedding_hardware
As you know I do at times put links to different products we have used or purchased and often times I use Amazon, due to the convenience of it.  This is one of those times you should NOT go to Amazon.  Not all Butyl tape is created equal and while the stuff at Compass Marine is abut 3 times more ($18 for a 50 foot roll, versus stuff you can get on Amazon for as little as $8 per roll) it is worth every penny of it.

Below is the link to the site to order the Butyl tape from Compass Marine if you are interested.  (or click on the picture to the right)
I don’t have any affiliate with this company other than being a fan of their product and when you can buy 100 feet of the stuff for under $40, it seems silly to try anything else.  You may save a few bucks ($10 or so) but the amount of time it takes to remove, clean, bed and tighten the new bedded items, it just doesn’t make sense to skimp on this part.

Back to the project, I used Bed-it Butyl tape for this job and it worked great.  Essentially you layer the butyl on the surface that will make contact with the mounting surface and apply it.  Also be sure to counterbore your drill holes and to and wrap butyl around the base of the screw or bolt to allow that counterbore surface to fill with compressed butyl.
That is what we did here,  I will say when working with the butyl it is very sticky and sticks to just about anything, but more importantly it cleans up easy.  For any of us who have ever chewed bubble gum and had a bubble pop on our lips/face, if you recall you would just take the gum out of your mouth and dab the part stuck to you, well this works the same way and to clean it up you just dab and pull as it pulls any loose strains free from around the surface.

So it starts with drilling your the mounting holes through the surface you will be bedding to (in my case the anchor rode locker floor)  Dry fit everything first to be sure your all set.  Before you apply the bed it, use a small boring bit and just camber the edges of the drill holes on the top surface.  Then it is time to apply the bed it, in our case we had a base, 2 bolts and a backing plate.  

We put butyl on the top surface and rolled out a small snake like piece of butyl (like you would when you were a kid with play-doh).  Then wrap it around the bolt right near the surface that it is going to be bedded against.  Now push the bolts through their openings and firmly press down on the Butyl  I then snugged this up good and tight (not so tight that it squeezes all of the bedding out).  Let it sit overnight and then give it another slight tightening in the morning and clean up any excess.  You now have a great bedded seal that should not leak and last a long time.

A good butyl tape will last 30+ years as a bedding compound and unlike 5200 (devils juice) or 4200 it is much easier to clean up as well as remove when you need or want to.

So in conclusion, we are big fans of butyl tape as well as Compass Marine for working with someone to get this formula right and keep a great product around and available for us as boaters.  We will be doing many more projects with Butyl which is why we have 100 feet of it in our parts supplies, for use as we continue to re-bed deck harder over the next year.  I am sure we will post more details and better photos when working in the sun rather than in the bottom of a locker.

Below is a small video showing how we did the bedding on this anchor rode pad-eye.  I want to let you know however that the video is dark in some areas because this is literally mounted at the base of a locker that is designed to have 300 feet of chain in the bottom of it.  (Dark and tight little space)