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Old 21-01-2011, 10:22   #1
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Unhappy Termites ! What to Do ?

Hello everyone! We have some horrible news... Our Westsail 43 has termites in her core. We are totally at a loss as to what to do so any insight at all would help.
The main question is:
This boat was built in 1978 as is extremely strong. Does that layer of wood on the deck really matter that much? Could the boat be strong enough with all that glass and be okay with termite damage?
We are planning on tenting it to kill all bugs but are hoping we do not have to re-construct the entire cabin top.
Thanks in advance.

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Old 21-01-2011, 11:55   #2
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Yes, tent it as quick as you can. Then after that, take soundings on your cabin top and sides using the tap method with a screwdriver handle. Walk all over the cabin top and feel for spongy spots. If there are no really spongy areas I'd just use a bit of epoxy to fill any dead sounding areas and call it fixed. Keep an eye out for further termite damage. Those bugs are hard to get rid of.
Good luck in your repairs and I think you have a dandy boat there.
kind regards,

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Old 21-01-2011, 12:32   #3
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Cavalo --

Are you really sure that there are termites in your deck coring??

How in the world does a termite get into there... a place that most folks seal up tight enough that water can't get in?

Is the core plywood or balsa? If balsa (more common as deck coring), it is usually in the form of smallish blocks with gaps between them. Gaps are filled with resin. Termites have a hard time chewing through the resin, and so it seems difficult for them to spread through the deck coring, even if they could somehow find an entrance portal. Just seems unlikely to me...

But, termites in the interior furniture, blocking, floors, etc... that is all too possible, and an allout war is required to rid yourself of this sort of infestation. Nasty situation, so good luck.


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Towlers Bay, NSW, Oz
Jim and Ann
s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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Old 21-01-2011, 12:56   #4
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I've had termite woes, but not in the core...that's a new one on me so I can't help you there. One thing I would do is make sure you spray the rest of the boat (interior) for termites and inspect for any infestation there as well.

I am curious, how did you discover you have termites in the core?
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Old 21-01-2011, 14:05   #5
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Cavalo, sounds like a joke!
Im no termite expert, but have worked in the construction industry for many years & find it hard to believe that termites can attack a timber boat, let alone any boat (thats in the water). If the boat is on land then is very possible.
Not sure about US termites but aussie termites (the ones that do damage to timber) live under ground & need mud to make their tell-tale "mud tracks", so unless you have half a tonne of soil in the bilge??

You sure their termites? or some type of worm?? or beetle??

Of course i could be wrong!
'Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though chequered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live their lives in the grey twilight that knows not victory or defeat' Theodore Roosevelt
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Old 21-01-2011, 14:28   #6
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we get termites here because of lumber yards near places to slip boats...on west coast 2would they gwt into your core, however, is beyond me unless you have a space into which they can traverse..... do you see trails or piles of sawdust stuff under the deck o=anywhwere or see any termites?? might have a adifferent comoany come to exterminate just in case was a goof onthe part of the inspector.... good luck. orange oil; wd40 killem dead i hear......they usually hang out in mast tracks and that kind of place...
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Old 21-01-2011, 16:07   #7
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Termites do attack boats, at least here in Hawaii. Looked at a Westsail 39 that had a terrible infestation in the interior furniture. In some areas the teak skin was about the only thing left of the plywood. We also had a small infestation in our W32. Is this a Westsail thing???

On our boat, spot treating took care of the termites. It was limited to a very small area of the rubrail and had no conduit to the interior. Regularly see boats tented here, even in the water. They use nerve gas ala the Western Front in WWI so not something to do on a whim. Like others, question the termites getting into your deck core. Hopefully your deck is totally waterproof which would make termite ingress impossible. Plywood decks are prone to rot. Are you sure it's not rot that you're seeing??
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Old 22-01-2011, 12:32   #8
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There is more than one brand of termite. Some start infestations by flying and that's the kind we get in our boats here in Hawaii. The ground termites are here too and attack homes from the ground up. Droppings look like fine sand and are perfectly round. That's how you can tell if you have them.
I've had them in main bulkheads in boats and cabin tops and sides. I've also had carpenter bees (look like bumblebees) attack the edge of plywood cabin tops that weren't treated properly.
kind regards,
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Old 22-01-2011, 13:24   #9
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If they are in the deck core gassing them will be hard as there is not much of an air exchange, if you can find an entery point you may want to add a few small holes around where they are so the gas can get in better, then pump epoxy in after its done.

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