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Old 13-03-2013, 11:34   #1
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Soggy Bottom

I have a 1973 Ray Greene Rascal 14ft sailboat. Yes, it's old and beat up. I don't hvae much in it and don't really want to either. I use it as a learner boat. I have the much dreaded mushy bottom. Water has gotten inbetween the sandwich of the the fiberglass and destroyed a large portion of the balsa core. The main problem is the floor in the cockpit is also the hull (the lower part of the sandwich). The floor has gotten some cracks due to the problem and the hull will start to soften up soon. I know the right way is to cut the floor, replace the balsa and re-glass. That being said could I also just cut out the floor, prep and epoxy the crap out of the floor and call it a day? All I basically want is to strengthen the hull for a year or so....beyond that I don't care.
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Old 13-03-2013, 13:01   #2
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Re: Soggy Bottom

I used to sail Ray Greene Rebels but don't know how a Rascal is constructed so what I might tell you could be wrong.

What you are saying is that the cockpit sole is the inside layer of the hull and that the hull has a balsa core?

In that case I'd grind that cockpit sole, remove the soggy balsa and epoxy resin and glass over a couple layers of mat and glass where the balsa core was, i. e. 1 mat, 1 cloth, one more mat and finish with cloth. Once that's done I'd put a thin layer of plywood cut to fit but not necessarily glassed in. That ply is what you would walk on in the cockpit. If The hull is too flexible then I'd add another layer of mat and glass. I think that would be strong enough and keep the weight down.

Usually a balsa core was to add rigidity to a sandwich of layers of glass to keep weight to a minimum. Removing the balsa will make the hull flex more but adding double the thickness of the glass that you removed to get at the soggy balsa core should stiffen up up again. You could glass in some cardboard tubes to make light stringers and ribs but I don't know if you want to get that complicated.

Good luck with your repair.

I hope others here in the forum will give some guidance as well.
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Old 13-03-2013, 13:07   #3
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Re: Soggy Bottom

Thanks, you are correct. The cockpit sole is the top layer, above the balsa core and the base being the hull. I think your idea would work for what I have. The weather is getting great here in Texas so I need to get after it.
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