Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chasing leaks.

I headed down to Virginia last weekend. We have been chasing a couple leaks in our salon for some time and I decided to rebed the sail tracks and see if that might dry things up. Of course the head liners had to be removed in order to reach the back of the bolts. I found evidence that I might be on the right track(no pun intended). I used a probe to inspect the bolt holes after removing the bolts and found evidence of voids in the balsa core in a couple different places. I am guessing these were caused by water. I couldn't detect any softness in the fiberglass so I filled the voids with some epoxy wood filler from West Marine.

A bigger issue developed as I removed the tracks from the roof. The gel coat underneath was in poor shape. There was also evidence that the tracks had been taken up prior and the "bad spots" underneath were filled in with something like 4200 caulking. I have to say it almost worked because they only leaked a little bit.

So, my rebedding project morphed into a fiberglass project. I have never really worked in fiberglass so I called my friend Chuck in Florida and he filled me in.(again, no pun intended) I really like the West Marine system. Chuck told me to get a gallon of 105 and a pint of 205 and buy the pumps that go with them. One pump of each and mix in some thickener and spread it on like butter on bread. It worked great. First, of course, I had to grind out all of the bad gel coat and all of the hair line cracks down to good glass. In retrospect, I ground out the bad spots and patched the holes but probably should have taken all the gel coat under the tracks off and put in a complete new bed. I got the epoxy down and called it a weekend as the roof should be sealed.

I will head back down to reinstall the tracks next weekend. The next big question is what to use to seal. West Marine suggested 5200 but I may need to do this again so I have decided to use either 4200 or butyl tape. The latter was suggested by the local repair yard at Stingray Point. As Chuck said. "you can't really mess this up because you can always grind it back out and try again" I figure I will give it a try and if it doesn't work I can always have someone who really knows how to do it clean up my mess. So far, I am pleased with the job and what I have learned. If it seals, I will consider it a success.
Capt. Mike

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