Monday, September 14, 2009

Deck Rot

During the rainy weekend of 8/22/2009, Michele and I discovered (to our deep dismay) that we had water coming into the cabin through the aft-most stanchion base on the port side. A lot of water. We woke on Sunday morning to drier weather, so we prepared to pull the stanchion base to rebed it.

The first problem was access to the underside of the bolts -- tucked behind a bulkhead between the hanging locker and the v-berth. It's a good thing Michele is petite! Even still, we found evidence of a prior repair effort: We removed the nut and washer from one bolt, only to find another nut behind the washer, firmly embedded in the underside of the deck, with no way for us to put a wrench on it. Ugh... We ended up using a hack saw to cut the head of the bolt off, and then pushed it through the bottom.

Once we lifted the stanchion, the news got worse: soaked balsa core. I used a pick and dug out as much wet core as I could. I was able to remove a circle of core several inches in diameter, leaving nothing but the fragile glass on each surface (upper and lower). Two estimates from Osprey Marine Composites at Herrington Harbor North offered two drastically different repairs: 1) cut open a section of the deck, replace the core, and reglass/gelcoat ($2600.00), vs. 2) plug the underside of the bolt holes, and back fill the deck with epoxy ($400). We went with the less aggressive repair, as much because we didn't want mismatched gelcoat as because of price. If this doesn't address the problem, I think we'll know within a year or two, at which point we'll go with the more aggressive repair. Aside from the initial shock of a $2600 estimate, I was very pleased with Osprey. Despite it being a small job, they did exactly what they proposed, on time, and under the estimated cost, and they communicated with me the whole time.

Here's a picture of the epoxy-filled void. It's a mess from the work, but the deck area cleaned up and doesn't look too bad, though we still have some cosmetic work to do on the gelcoat.

Michele and I both took September 4th off from work (to extend the holiday weekend), and used some of that time to redrill the holes for the stanchion base and rebed it. While we were at it, we did the #3 base on the port side as well, so the two aft stanchion bases are done. We had done the complementary two on the starboard side a while back, but we're now much more motivated to do the remaining stanchion bases, water & fuel fills, and the ladder bases!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

enjoyed seeing your blog. got a question: looking at the trawler and open fisherman. guys up here in maine said the flybridge trawler is very tender and subject of a lot of "rock and roll". love the looks but need someone who has one to give me their experience. thanks. my email is: