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Old 28-04-2015, 08:45   #1
KDH
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Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

Our boat has four deck drains which are shaped like shallow half shells at the edge of the deck. These are molded into the hull deck join which is completely glassed over. They are about 4 inches wide and 6 inches in length. The toerail was factory installed with thru bolts in the deck/hull joint. After 30 years, I have discovered some small blisters in these drains. The toerail runs over the top of the drains making access more difficult. The toerail/hull deck joint bolts are completely inaccessible on the interior port side of the boat and difficult to access on the starboard. So my question is this: Would it be ok to have someone familiar with metal work cut the aluminum toerail where it bridges the drains? This would remove the two 4 inch sections of toerail (which are not screwed to anything they just go over the drains like tiny bridges) approximately 4 feet apart. I would then have better access to remove the damaged gelcoat. I would like to epoxy the entire drain and paint so I don't have to do this again.
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Old 29-04-2015, 14:45   #2
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Re: Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

Hmmm...92 views and no answer? Come on guys or I'll have to ask this question over at Women Who Sail...
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Old 29-04-2015, 15:07   #3
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Re: Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

It would really help to see a picture or two. I'm not real keen on cutting aluminum toe rails.

I'm not really clear on your description.

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Old 29-04-2015, 16:49   #4
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Re: Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

What a pain in the butt. I would do everything in my power to remove as little of the toerail as possible to gain access. Aluminum toerails are usually flexible, so you would just have to get half of the bolts out and then it could be slid to the side. If that was not possible, I would try to fix them with the toe rail in place. Maybe pop the blisters with an awl, sand with a finger wrapped in sand paper, use a high strength filler (3M) to fill and then gelcoat or paint. If that could not be done, I would leave the blisters. Good luck and keep us posted.
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Old 29-04-2015, 16:50   #5
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Re: Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

Great boat btw.
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Old 29-04-2015, 16:56   #6
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Re: Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

They're 4" wide but not enough room for access? I would try to avoid cutting the toe rail.
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Old 30-04-2015, 16:39   #7
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Re: Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

I'm starting to get an idea of what you're dealing with but are you referring to osmotic blisters or the more cosmetic gelcoat problem of voids that rather resemble blisters?

The only cases I am aware of out of water blisters are with certain old Valiants.


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Old 30-04-2015, 16:41   #8
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Re: Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

A picture says a thousand words.

I'll say this though : It seems highly dubious that the consequences of having a few cosmetic blisters in your scuppers, could be worse than those of cutting big gaps in your toerail, which are after all the things that keep you in your boat, and alive.
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Old 30-04-2015, 17:07   #9
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Re: Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

I have seen quite a few blisters not in the water, although most are above but near the waterline, maybe as far up as 8" or so. it would seem strange they are in the scuppers, but maybe not if water sits in there. I would just gouge them out if you are worried and refill with gel coat of a matching color.
As mentioned, a pic would be real nice.
The problem with cutting the aluminum toerail is that it is a pretty stiff section, boats flex a lot, cutting in the middle section of the boat will create "hard spots" where the toe rail is gone and you might end up with more stress cracking near the cut out portions.... as the boat may have a tendency to flex more there.
Small blisters in your scuppers may be less of a problem than removed toerail....
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Old 03-05-2015, 07:38   #10
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Re: Deck scuppers access blocked (blister repair)

Thanks guys. Will try to post a pic later today but am on a small island on EDGE, not 3 or 4G so it may not load. Definitely leaning toward not cutting the rail if I can get the dremel in there.
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