Sunday, June 3, 2012

Screeching Halt

I know you know that sound. Everything's going along nicely and then you pull the duct tape off the surface cracks in the gelcoat at the mast of the mast around what is supposed to be deck plug and find

We had everything done. We'd refreshed the bottom paint, the wheels and tires on the trailer would at least make it down to the boat ramp and back up to the trailer storage area one more time. The tires don't hold air for more than a day but long enough to get down and back. We'd run up the motor and it ran fine. We did have to buy a new battery but that was a minor bump.

We hauled the boom, the motor, the sails and all rest of what was necessary out to the boat and stowed it all away. We hung the boom and put the mainsail and cover on. Mr WK hung the motor. We were within 24 hours of launch. Everything was done and in place. 

 We had some time so we figured we'd mess with the deck plug again, maybe even get one installed and get the mast lights working again.

So we pulled off the duct tape cover the hole and the small (at the time) gelcoat cracks that emanated from the deck plug hole had grown. Apparently we hadn't duct-taped over the hole as well as we thought we did last fall and freeze and thaw cycles had widened and lengthened the cracks considerably. 

Well, there was NO WAY we could sail like that and the launch was scrubbed. 

After crying on the gelcoat for bit we latched onto a friend and we took the boom (with the sail still attached!) off and put it in the boat. We took the motor off and put it back in the truck to take home and we took the mast down and secured it.

The next day we were back out. We unscrewed the tabernacle, the metal fitting that sets on top of the mast step and that the mast sits on. Then we hacksawed off the front of the mast step.
Looks like a piece of chocolate layer cake, doesn't it!
You can see that the crack extends UNDER the tabernacle!!! 

Close-up of the front of the mast-step

 Then we hacksawed off the top of the mast step.

This is after we removed the top layer of wet wood. The wires at the bottom are the mast plug wires.The gray, concrete looking stuff at the back with the two holes is fiberglass resin. The back of the mast tabernacle screwed into those tow holes. The brown is damp plywood.

Close-up of the front of the opened mast step

The white around the deck plug wires (above) is old calk. The way the boat manufacturer did this is that after the deck was built and out of the mold, they used a 1" hole saw to drill through the deck layers and fed the wires through the hole. Then they filled the hole with white caulk so that the deck plug fitting wouldn't leak.

 This is the opened mast-step all cleaned up and ready to dry out.

But wait!! There's more!!!

We have a friend that has a wood moisture meter. He came out with us a few days later to test the moisture content of the exposed wood. The wood at the rear of the open mast step had a moisture content of just under 20%. The plywood at the front of the mast step was somewhere over 20%. The meter only went to 20%.

As the exposed plywood had a chance to dry out some, it was more apparent that it was wet, too. So, we excavated further.

And further still until we came to the bottom of the plywood. 

That pinky-gray stuff is all fiberglass resin.

 Same thing but different days, light and angle.

So that's where we are now. We were able to purchase our fiberglass repair supplies locally and now the weather just has to cooperate so we can have some dry weather.

Here's a link to more photos if that wasn't enough  for ya

blogging to: a quiet house

reading: Children of Wrath by Paul Grossman, a Willi Kraus mystery 

Parting Shot:

1 comment:

Brigid said...

Hang in there. . .