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Old 23-11-2008, 14:06   #1
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It all started so innocently (fiberglass question)

My boat sits on a trailer for the winter. During these months I get as many projects done as possible. Todays assignment was simple enough, recoat the bilge with bilgecoat. The bilge on my boat is fairly small, all water collects there including the icebox drippings. When I started sanding for the recoat I noticed a seep of moisture coming in from one of the corners, uh oh. So I scraped some more off and the water seeped in earnest, not only from the corners but from the bottom, which sounds hollow by the way. Right now I have a bunch of weep holes opened and a warm circulating fan going. I plan on drying for as long as it takes, got all winter.

My question is this, can I just coat the bilge with some sort of two part epoxy coating? Or do I need to peel back some fiberglass and skin it with with another layer of glass?

The only water I usually have in the bilge is from the ice box. I'd reroute it but the outlet is quite low, right at or just below waterline.
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Old 27-11-2008, 18:29   #2
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My guess is let it dry out and then reassess.
How thick is the hull at this point?
Once dry you should have a better idea what to do.
What about letting the ac run into a shower sump and pump it out that way?
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Old 27-11-2008, 19:53   #3
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It sounds as if you have a wet core.

If it's a wood core you could have a problem. If foam, it's an EZ fix.

With wood you would most likely have to re-core the lower section of the hull. That involves a lot of work. To dry out a wood core would take a lot of holes on the inside with heat and fans to get it ALL dry. That's if it hasn't rotted yet.
One test you can do is drill a 1/8" hole, from the inside just thru the inside layer of glass and core, at the lowest point. If the wood comes out wet, work your way up the inside until you hit a dry spot, That's is where the water stops. Depending on how big an area is wet will determine what work will be needed. This is a common problem on trailerable boats. SailboatOwners.com (type in wet core) http://bbs.trailersailor.com/forums/...dex.cgi/page/1 (Log on and ask about wet cores in the hull)

If foam, the water will drain to the lower section of the hull and can be extracted and dried from there by drilling out a slug (maybe 2 or 3 ) with a hole saw and using the fan and heat method. And maybe a wet-vac to start.

Hope the best for ya!
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Old 27-11-2008, 23:52   #4
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Sometimes the water will be coffee looking if the core is wood.
I'd keep poking around while its still wet....may be easier to determine the extent.....then, if you love your boat and plan on keeping it, fix it properly.
Have you got any damage on the bottom, or mayby pourly set fittings top side...you'll want to figure out how it got in there to start with.
Delmarrys suggestions are a very good start.
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Old 28-11-2008, 16:30   #5
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The water comes out clear, I'm certain the hull is foam cored. I'm also pretty certain the problem is isolated around the small bilge area. No outside damage, no problems anywhere else for that matter. Right now it's all opened up with small holes drilled up as far as I could get on the uphill side of the bilge. There is a heater running now and will run as long as it takes.
My next course of action is to pose the same question to the guys at Com-Pac. The last time I had a question they were quick to respond, in fact Gerry sent the response. A big advantage having your builder still in business.
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Old 29-11-2008, 00:34   #6
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The water comes out clear, I'm certain the hull is foam cored.............. There is a heater running now and will run as long as it takes.
If it were a wood core, wood would have come out on the drill bit. Also if you break thru the inside layer, a foam core would feel like it were hollow between the inside and out side layer.

Be careful you only need to get it between 80 & 85 F. And you'll want a little fan running across the holes. This is the perfect environment to extract moisture. Colorado should be a fairly dry climate, which is good. It's hard to dry stuff out in high humidity.

Sometimes one cannot see the holes on the inside. It can be where the builder laid one piece of glass mat or another with the resin already cured on one side.

I had a 23' trailersailer that had got water inside from the rain (Open hatch). After I extracted the water it must have seeped water out of this one spot for weeks. I couldn't see a hole but it was like blood coming out of a pin prick. I ended up hole sawing a 2" hole on the inside over the spot and started the drying process. It took two weeks before a moisture meter would read normal (for wood).

The insides of boats are not as redundant as the out sides, especially the smaller ones. It's insides are usually covered up with some kind of paneling.
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Old 29-11-2008, 04:12   #7
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A big advantage having your builder still in business.
You can say that again! Nowadays a person's lucky if their bank is still in business!! Our manufacturer, Liberty Yachts made around 30 of their 28-foot cutters and then stopped production.
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Old 29-11-2008, 04:42   #8
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And you'll want a little fan running across the holes. This is the perfect environment to extract moisture. Colorado should be a fairly dry climate,
Have a small heater running across the holes circulating air. The biggest problem will be keeping it from freezing from the outside in. Temps are dropping up here, but at least it's a dry cold!
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Old 03-12-2008, 13:13   #9
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Good News!!

Got a reply from Gerry Hutchins. The only wood in the area is a small dam built out of plywood to create the bilge in the concrete (Com-Pacs use concrete for ballast). Worst case scenario I would have to rebuild the bilge area. He also stated there is no core below the waterline.
Looks like Pooka might get another 20 years.
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Old 05-12-2008, 15:55   #10
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Update:
Started tearing into the bilge today.

My first thought was to dry it out with this series of holes.


After a few days more and more water came in, so I decided to completely open up the bilge based on info from the builder.

First the glass was stripped off exposing the plywood form. Notice the wood was starting to rot on the lowest part.


Next the plywood was removed as far as I could effectively reach. What you see here is the concrete that makes up the ballast.


This picture is looking aft into the bilge showing the very limited access.



This shows post demo looking aft. Note the concrete tapers off under the plywood form, probably due to not enough vibrating during the pouring process. This caused water to hold in what was supposed to be the highest part of the bilge. Also you can see ice back there, it's cold here.



So for the next few weeks or so she will sit like this with the heater running 24hours a day.



The next question is how to rebuild the bilge. Since I can't get the last of the plywood out I'm planning on filling the void underneath with more concrete, that's what is supposed to be there anyway. In order to make up the 3/4" from removing the plywood I'm thinking of more concrete to get the dimensions back and build the proper slope. After that is where I need help. Reglass over the top or use a two part epoxy putty like Gluv-it? Or maybe both then a few good coats of bilge paint. I don't want to do this again.

A lot of future problems will be avoided if I reroute the icebox drain. Maybe into a small holding tank with an automatic bilge pump.
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Old 05-12-2008, 16:11   #11
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Glass/epoxy over the top for sure. Maybe you can mount a plastic bottle to catch your ice box drain water.
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Old 19-12-2008, 12:32   #12
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I saw some stuff on line that they use to recast transoms. Would that work?
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Old 19-12-2008, 15:17   #13
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Can you slope the boat so that the bow is lower than the stern? If so you can use self leveling concrete. Set the angle of the boat such that a level will be level when setting on the bilge and the forward plywood. That way the concrete will slope from the front of the boat toward the rear. The plywood can be treated with the epoxy for rotten wood. I can't think of what it is called. I believe they make that self leveling concrete in an epoxy for as well as concrete. Good luck and let us know how it turns out.
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Old 19-12-2008, 17:35   #14
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I think the rotten wood stuff is called "Git Rot" I only know what iv'e read on the internet. We used to use a non expanding epoxy grout for setting machine bases. This may be a suitable option as opposed to using some mega buck boat stuff. It should be available from any large industrial supplier.
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Old 19-12-2008, 18:17   #15
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The project is almost done now. As you can see in the above photos the plywood was removed to where it was in good shape, which was also as far as I could reach. It was allowed to dry for a couple weeks, up here in CO the dry time was short. I rebuilt the bilge with epoxy resin and 6oz cloth. Then it got cold, real cold here. So in the mean time I'll start making up a small holding tank for the ice box to drain into. I'm thinking of an epoxy resin fiberglass tank into which I'll fit an automatic pump. That's one more pump to deal with but one less problem in the bilge.
All in all it's been going pretty smooth, although the fiberglass is not the prettiest. At least it's never seen.
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