May 2017

DECK FITTINGS- TAFF RAIL REPAIR- MORE PAINTINGS

Our new compass Contest 130.

Installing the deck air ventilators.

And the new deck fillers, for the water tank….

…and for the fuel.

 The portside cleat on the foredeck.

And the refurbished old Lewmars 8 for the spinnaker sheets.

This is one of the new Lewmars on the coachroof.  All deck gear were installed with Sikaflex 292 and fortunately we didn’t encounter any bad surprises up until now. The little excess of sealant was cut away the next day after the sealant had cured.

Something important to remind is the way we use the sealant on decks. First we install the winch with Sikaflex and tighten up just about all the bolts. After 24 hours, when the Sikaflex is cured, we tighten hard all the screws to make sure there is a seal created in between the winch and the deck. If you tighten completely the screws from the beginning, all the sealant will overflow without creating the necessary gasket. This is the same procedure for the cleats, the windows, the winches, U-bolt and other deck fittings.

Later on, we made a discovery ! The original water line was covered from the previous owner. It seems that the boat was overloaded with gear and her waterline sank nearly 3″ ! The two nice original lines were actually painted with antifouling ! A bit of sanding and she recovered her lines.

Afterwards, we had a nasty surprise on the stern….that was worst than the waterline. With the use of a moisture meter, we found out that the stern area, were the fairleads are supposed to be, was quite damp.

We thought it was better to open the area and find out what was encapsulating the moisture. This is one of the rare parts on deck which is sandwich. Under the stern toerail, there is plywood. This was probably laminated in to the boat in order to reinforce the area. Surfing around the internet we found on the Benelux CO32 owner association website, an owner who had the same issue and did the repair.

The worst part was to dig through the stern and extract all this rotten plywood.

Not a very nice procedure but nothing structural either. The moisture meter is very sensitive to wood and this is why it was showing a lot of humidity. Luckily this rotten area was about 2″ to 3″ deep.

In total it took only 4 to 5 hours of work with a chisel and a rubber hammer to extract all the rotten plywood.

 

In the end we used the Dremel and a lot of sanding to clean thoroughly all this void.

The rebuilding part was more fun. Different shapes and sizes of plywood pieces were trimmed to fill up the long void.

Before fixing all these pieces with resin, it was necessary to fill up the little internal voids with epoxy+silica+milled glass fiber.

Then the plywood pieces were sank one by one into the epoxy mix.

And slowly slowly, to avoid exothermic reaction, we filled up all the stern with this epoxy + glass mix.

Using resin with silica and fiber made the repair extremely strong and watertight.

Here is the filling nearly finished.

When the wood pieces were totaly encapsulated into the resin mix, we used another filler to level up the area.

And finally, to finish nicely the cosmetic part, we used a low density filler which we like to call “mousse au chocolat” !

This took approximatelly two afternoons.

More drama ! This stainless cylinder might look a bit strange to those who know the Contessa 32. Actually, it is not an original part of the boat. The previous owner had installed in the middle of the bilges a strong piece of plain stainless steel in order to lift the boat from there !!! As we understood, he never used this system. Nevertheless, our major concern was that we could not use the main bilge to fit a water tank. So after, long discussions and hesitations, we bravely decided to get rid of this device.

A serious pain to extract this huge stainless rod and to find out the two holes in the hull !

The whole thing was connecting the two sides of the keel just above the ballast. But again, nothing really structural and fortunately, nothing that could not be repaired with epoxy !

We don’t know the exact weight of this stainless rod, but it was heavy enough to do some biceps workout !

And this is when you get a bit depressed…fortunately, the boat is extremely strong and thick in this area (about 2cm).

To patch up the area we first created two plugs made of epoxy + silica + glass fiber. We used two little cups as moulds and poured the resin mix in. We then trimmed these plugs to fit in the holes and fixed them in with resin. The screw holes were filled up with the same resin mix. To finish the repair and give some structural strength, we laminated a few layers of glass cloths inside and outside the area.

At the end, the area looked perfectly watertight and strong. It is true that this kind of repair can be done easily on G.R.P. boats. We could have used polyester, but the advantage with epoxy is the strength and the bonding properties.

After those repairs, we continued with the cosmetic part of the refit and painted the ceiling of the interior. This horrible grey color is just the primer.

We finished the painting with two coats of “Off White” from International.

 

 

 

 

 

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