Soggy Decks and Rotten Bulkhead

Soggy Decks and Rotten Bulkhead

November 2017

Hauled the boat out in Bellingham for some repairs.  We had some soggy deck core on the starboard side and a rotten bulkhead that the chainplates connect to.  The chainplates hold the cables that hold the mast in place.  Very important.  We started with disassembling the cabinetry.

You can see the dark spot and some water coming from under the chainplate on the left.  All that cabinetry must come out.

The bulkhead is made of some plywood sandwiched between two fiberglass supports.  We cut one side out to get to the rotten plywood, then remove it all with a chisel and a grinder.  A lapped sanding wheel on a 4-1/2″ angle grinder worked wonders.  It was hands down the best tool we bought for this job.

Tyvek suits run a bit small.  This is an XL.  I found out they come in 4XL.  Next time…

Here’s what we had when we were done.  A pile of soaked wood chips.  That aluminum plate on the left was replaced with a stainless one.  It had some corrosion from years of contact with the stainless chainplate bolts.  We cut out the under side of the decking.  You can barely see it at the top of the picture.

I fabricated a new bulkhead from two 1″ thick pieces of solid fiberglass sandwiched together and bonded it to the existing fiberglass.  The soggy balsa deck core was replaced with a synthetic reinforced foam, glued in and coated with two layers of fiberglass.

We let it set up over night and tabbed it to the hull.  Stronger than anything else on the boat.

Chainplates are back in place.  Now we have to get the cabinetry back together.



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