Thursday, July 12, 2012

Houston We Have A Problem

Not too bad but yet another thing that has to get put on the list of 'to-dos'.  After getting the first primer coat on the cabintop I moved onto getting the decks ready for primer.  I sanded the side decks back to the cockpit and then decided that it was time to remove the port caprail.  I had been putting it off because until now it wasn't in the way, but I'm actually getting close to painting this beast so I got to it.

Like the starboard side, I had to use a hacksaw to cut the 5 inch bolts holding on the genoa track.  Time consuming and mind numbing, but not difficult.  After that I needed to do the same to the for and aft chocks; again, not hard, just tedious.  Finally I moved onto the 50 or so screws holding the caprail onto the bulwark. For some reason, I actually enjoyed this task.  I have to use a chisel to split the wood bung covering the screw, and then use my big screwdriver to back it out.  Not one gave me a problem and even though it took over an hour, I felt like progress is progress.  Every screw I remove is one less I'll need to do later.

Finally it came time to get the caprail off.  Using my japenese pull saw, I cut it into 3 sections and started to pry it up.  On the starboard side, it took a little bit of force to loosen it up, but once it broke free it was a breeze.  Unfortunately, the forward 10 feet wouldn't budge on the port side.  I tried chisels, screwdrivers, hammers, etc... but the only thing I succeeded in doing was actually pulling the gelcoat off the bulwark where it did finally give way.

Upon closer inspection from the outboard side, I could see some mahogany colored 5200 (or something of that ilk) under the rail and extending down over the hull-deck joint.  Not good.  It looked as if there was some previous damage done to the boat that necessitated a goopy patch over the hull-deck joint and under the caprail.

I couldn't tell the extent of damage until I got the caprail off but I couldn't get it off... what to do?  I finally resorted to using my power planer and decided to just turn the whole section into wood chips.   It only took about 10 minutes to buzz the whole section off and I made the whole boat shed smell like fresh cut wood. Mmmmm!

Messy, Messy!
What I found underneath was a bit perplexing.  It's hard to tell if there was previous damage to the area.  The top of the bulwark is a bit banged up but that could have been caused by me trying to pull the caprail off  and the tenacity of the 5200 pulled up the glass in that area.  However, the laminate thickness of the bulwark in that section is really thin (~3/16" instead of 1/2" on rest of bulwark).  It may be that the original layup was not good in that section and the builders 'fixed' it by putting a few stainless sheet metal screws into the bulwark and injecting a crap load of 5200 into the area to keep the joint intact.  Or maybe it's a combination of the 2; the thinner laminate was weaker and if the boat was in some sort of collision it popped the hull-deck joint and somebody repaired it.

In any event, it's not anything I can't fix, but it will take time.  My plan is to clean up the joint as well as I can and inject epoxy into the bulwark void to tie the joint together.  Another thing to do; Oh well.

Once I got past that let down, I sanded the top of the entire bulwark around the boat and filled all the screw holes with thickened epoxy. Once it cures, I'll sand it down and it should be ready for a coat of primer (after I do the epoxy injection of course).
Bulwark sanded and holes filled
Just about ready for primer

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