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All Hail the Footman Loop

posted Jun 12, 2011, 6:07 PM by Christopher Hubbell   [ updated Jun 14, 2011, 7:31 PM ]
The good news is that after I spent a little time looking at the tank mounting straps and their adjustment bracket I was able to figure out how they were supposed to be rigged.  They were not rigged that way when I took the tank off, which is why I had concerns about their integrity.  Now that they are rigged properly they seem rock solid and I'm happy with them.  Sort of...

As I was tightening the forward strap around my empty fuel tank I noticed that the mounting tri-ring was separating.  I can only imagine what almost 100 lbs. of diesel sloshing in heavy seas might do to further open it, and eventually drop the tank, spilling diesel all over the bilge.  Not exactly what I had in mind after super-sanitizing the bilges.

The first thing that struck me about these hooks is that they really don't seem appropriate to their job.  What exactly is the purpose of the inverted hook?  There isn't one, because it's not right.  I believe these are from some kind of  cargo rig, and not intended for attaching to a bolt.  So, I began a quest to figure out what I should be using.

After quite a bit of digging around the Internet I discovered footman loops.  They mount with two #10 through bolts, and are made from stainless steel.

Tomorrow I will drill new holes for the footman loop through-bolts and fender washers, then mount the straps in a more proper way which isn't susceptible to separation.  That should wrap up my fuel tank refurbishing, as I was able to successfully install the new fuel fill hose.  That was an interesting form of mind twisting chicken and egg puzzle, but in the end I triumphed.

In parallel with all this I have been finishing up the new cockpit locker dividers.  I built the forward dividers from 1/2" exterior plywood, and the aft pair from 1/4" plywood.  I then saturated them in un-thickened epoxy, and finished up by laminating one layer of 10 oz. cloth on each side to protect against dings, stiffen, and make them more durable.  The sound proofing is heavy, and I wanted them to be stiff enough to support it well, and have a tough skin for adhesion.

As I'm typing, the first coat of paint is drying on them.  I believe I'll end up putting about 3-4 coats on them as I was a bit sloppy with the fairing.  They are, after all, only locker dividers.  I rolled on an exterior mildew resistant white alkyd enamel by Behr (Premium Plus Ultra) which looks fantastic and smells evil.  It must be good...  I'm using it here first to make sure I trust it for the lockers themselves and the bulkhead which is also slated for painting.

The final touch will be adding sound proofing tiles to the dividers and the companionway stairs, but I imagine that will come after I launch the boat as time is running out.