I finally got up the nerve to tackle to center fuel tank of the Whitby 42.  The dreaded tank.  It was originally put in and packed with expand-a-foam to hold it in place.  Then fiberglassed over.  If water ever gets in past the fiber glass, it pits and corrodes the tank.  From pictures I took through a hatch I cut in the tank, I knew mine was not in good shape.   Another problem was the black sludge in the bottom.  I couldn't clean it out because of the baffles.  Very annoying.  But now the tank is gone. 

If I had to do it over again, I think I could do it in three hours.  If you live in Ontario and want help, let me know.
In the end, it took more time thinking and contemplating the entire ordeal than the job even took.  
Here is how it was put in:  Before anything else.  So it can't come out in one piece.

 Here is what I did: 
Step 1.  Cut off the drip pan.(in ONE big piece.  I did it in three pieces, over time, as I was thinking I wouldn't have to replace the tank.  Then cut the fibre glass tabbing off the tank and get out the black goo!  What is it??......I have no idea but it was the worst thing I have ever smelled in my life. (I was a stay at home dad....lots of diapers...and this was worse!)

Step 2.   Cut off the back half top of the tank.  Start at the access opening.  Go all the way.  My picture shows some strange cuts.  I had originally cut an access hatch to see into the back of the tank.   Then clean out the 30 year old sludge.  This pictures shows only SOME of the sludge.  I had done lots of cleaning before I took the picture.  Then I used a 14$ saw from the hardware store.  It is 16" long, and only 1" wide.  Sort of like a drywall saw but much longer.  It was great for going between the hull and the tank, cutting the foam away.  It didn't go all the way, but it did a lot ot help.

Step 3.  Cut the tank in half length AND sideways.  Cut out the baffles.
I originally only cut in in half sideways.  Then tried to hull it out.  It wouldn't budge.   Cutting it in half is the hardest part of this activity.  When you get near the bottom it is hard to get the sawsall in the right angle.  To go across the bottom I used the drill and put 15-20 holes in a line.  It was easier to drill as you only have to push straight down.  But to cut across, it is hard to get good angles and leverage.  I did learn that there is 3-4 inches of foam UNDER the tank so you have room to drill through and cut.   Cutting the half length wise is easy.  The back wall is tough however.  There is a thick piece of wood and thick fiberglass behind that.  I only cut half way down the back.  By cutting the tank in half length wise, the tank can twist and collapse in to make it skinnier as you pull it out.
In the picture on the left you see the first try I had to pull the tank out BEFORE I cut it in half.  The chain hook straightened, releasing the load,  and shot up and out of the boat.  Then, on the way back down the winch caught on something above and the chain swung back down, angled under the bulkhead I was hiding behind, and hit my face.  If I hadn't had safety glasses on I might only have one eye now (Pirate patches are over rated).  The glasses took the blow and drove up above my eye near my eye brow.  Now I have a nice black eye.  Could have been worse.  In the picture on the right, is the new winch and hook.  A 4,000 lb rated ratcheting wire come-along.  Worked great!

 Step 4.
Winch out the back half
Cut holes at least 5 inches below the top.  Twice I had holes 2 and 3 inches and the winch pulled through the 1/4 inch aluminum.  I had an already made beam (Another boat story for another day) to hook my winch to.  It is a 2x6 flat to spread the load and 2  2x8's.  The red rope is not an ordinary rope.  It is part of my tree climbing gear for removing trees.  It has a SAFE working load of 10,000lbs.  And it is doubled around.  Everything else would have broke first.

Back half out!

 Step 5

Cut the font half top off, Baffle, and cut it in half along the bottom.  It is easier to get access to the front half with the back half gone.  You get an extra inch or 2 from the foam being gone.  My cut didn't go all the way to the front.  About 80-90% of the way.  I used my skinny saw to cut anywhere I could between the foam and the tank.  This saw was great. About 16 inches long, but only 1 inch thick.  Like a drywall saw, only much longer.
In the picture below you can see the cut and the hole where the hook will go.

The foam is annoying and get in the way.  The front half of the tank is wider than the back half so make sure you cut the oil drip pan as wide as you can.  (Something I learned for next time......yah ...next time??)

 Step 6  Worlds Greatest Daughter !

There was a large pile of foam in the bottom of the bilge.  I couldn't reach it well, but my 11 year old daughter fit just right.  She scooped out all the insulation that was left.  A great helper.

THE TANK IS GONE  !!!!!!!  

Things I learned for the "Next Guy"

1.  Tools needed:
         Sawsall with 10-15 (make it 20??) blades
         Drill with a SHARP GOOD QUALITY  about 1/2 inch drill bit.
         Pry bar.  For getting foam off and prying sides away to loosen things up.
         Hammer.  Because every good job needs a hammer.
                     (if you get frustrated you can always just start pounding on the tank to feel better). 

         Good quality Winch / Come-along.
         Safey gear.  Glasses, Gloves, Thick pants and shirt. Shirt is key.  
                              You will be rubbing the top a lot as you cut the bottom.

2.  Get everything else out of the way.
         My boat is completely gutted.  Nothing in it.  No wires, wood, plumbing, etc... so it was ideal.  

3.  The front and back of the tank are up against solid wood.  My tank really stuck to the back piece.

4.  Get a good helper for the last bit.

5.  If I had to do it again, with what I know, I would predict 3 - 4 hours to get the tank out. 

 Assuming:  Engine is already gone, hatch is gone, fuel tank is empty.

 Always wear your safety glasses.
  Nice eye shadow eh?