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Old 23-04-2012, 11:58   #1
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Wet core

Water has been seeping in from the bolts which mount the jib tracks of my J/27 and it finally started dripping so I had to do something about it (having built a new cabinet below the leak). There is no headliner so everything is visible. I removed the jib tracks and when I pried off the interior fender washers there was a little gusher of water. I drilled a 3/4 inch hole through the interior fiberglass and exposed wet balsa core. I put a bent nail on the end of my drill bit and have now removed core in a 2 inch diameter circle. Still finding wet core. If I fill the spaces I have created wtih epoxy and redrill for my jib tracks, will it be difficult to do a more complete repair/removal of wet core in the future? Will the epoxy cure next to the wet core? I wish these had been mounted properly to begin with, but it was not my boat then. Now it is the beginning of our sailing season here in Minnesota and this might be an extensive project.
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Old 23-04-2012, 12:56   #2
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Re: Wet core

Filling the 2" diameter void with epoxy is a short term solution. The epoxy will cure.

The remaining wet core will continue to rot, but the rot may not spread any further given that the water source has been blocked. You may be ok forever.

But the real solution as I am sure that you realize is to dig out all wet core. It sounds like you can do so from below which avoids having to match non skid, which is something best left to the pros, albeit not cheap. If it is not too extensive then fill with microballon thickened epoxy. If extensive then replace the core and fiberglass over.

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Old 23-04-2012, 13:30   #3
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Re: Wet core

First thing I would want to know is just how much of my core was wet. Maybe you could drill a few holes up from the cabin into the wet area and see if you can figure out just how much of the balsa is wet. It may just be a small area and you could let that dry out before mounting your hardware back and you would be golden!

If it's to large of an are then it probably should be repaired. Someone else will know better what to do when you find out how much of your core is wet.
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Old 23-04-2012, 13:54   #4
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Re: Wet core

What David said.
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Old 23-04-2012, 14:10   #5
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Re: Wet core

Good read.
Repacing Rotten Deck Core, Part I | Sail Feed
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Old 24-04-2012, 12:14   #6
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Re: Wet core

Thanks for the suggestions and the link. The balsa core was very wet and not rotten. I might try some exploratory core samples to figure out how far the water has gone. When I tap on the cabin top the damage seems to be an area of 3'x1'. I will try removing the entire section later this summer. For now I am going to try and put things back together so I can go sailing. It will be hotter for drying later in the summer and I will be less desperate to get out on the water. To put it back together I have created a plastic core with a hole saw and will slide that and a lot of elastomeric into the hole I created. I will use a piece of jib track on the inside of the cabin top to distribute the load. I am feeling less overwhelmed by the problem now. I am certainly pleased that I am encountering this issue on my smaller boat before I buy my bigger boat.
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Old 24-04-2012, 12:24   #7
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Re: Wet core

Your fix should work for now and who knows how long.... For exploring the extent of wetness... try just a 3/16 drill bit +/-. when you pull it out, remove the balsa from the drill spirals and squeze it between your thumb and finger.... if wet it will squeeze out a few drops of water.
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Old 24-04-2012, 15:56   #8
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Re: Wet core

Would there be any value in drilling a bunch of holes through the cabin layer in hopes of it drying out?
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Old 24-04-2012, 16:23   #9
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Re: Wet core

Quote:
Originally Posted by FecklessDolphin View Post
Water has been seeping in from the bolts which mount the jib tracks of my J/27 and it finally started dripping so I had to do something about it (having built a new cabinet below the leak). There is no headliner so everything is visible. I removed the jib tracks and when I pried off the interior fender washers there was a little gusher of water. I drilled a 3/4 inch hole through the interior fiberglass and exposed wet balsa core. I put a bent nail on the end of my drill bit and have now removed core in a 2 inch diameter circle. Still finding wet core. If I fill the spaces I have created wtih epoxy and redrill for my jib tracks, will it be difficult to do a more complete repair/removal of wet core in the future? Will the epoxy cure next to the wet core? I wish these had been mounted properly to begin with, but it was not my boat then. Now it is the beginning of our sailing season here in Minnesota and this might be an extensive project.

It will be A LOT harder to do it right later if you fill all the holes in a sheet track with thickened epoxy now. That will be a lot of thickened epoxy if you have removed a 2" diameter of core around all of the holes in even a fairly short sheet track. You will have to cut around the holes when removing skins and then chisel out all of the filler you put in without damaging the thin and delicate inner skin, which can be very difficult to do. I have had to do this many times and each time I have heartily cursed the person who used the epoxy. Go sailing on a friends boat this season and take the time now to open up your deck and fix it right. A "gusher" of any sort is a bad sign. Use a moisture meter to determine extent of saturation without drilling holes you will need to grind and fiberglass later. There is much information here and many other places on this subject. JMHO, and good luck!
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Old 24-04-2012, 16:29   #10
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Re: Wet core

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Originally Posted by FecklessDolphin View Post
Thanks for the suggestions and the link. The balsa core was very wet and not rotten. I might try some exploratory core samples to figure out how far the water has gone. When I tap on the cabin top the damage seems to be an area of 3'x1'. I will try removing the entire section later this summer. For now I am going to try and put things back together so I can go sailing. It will be hotter for drying later in the summer and I will be less desperate to get out on the water. To put it back together I have created a plastic core with a hole saw and will slide that and a lot of elastomeric into the hole I created. I will use a piece of jib track on the inside of the cabin top to distribute the load. I am feeling less overwhelmed by the problem now. I am certainly pleased that I am encountering this issue on my smaller boat before I buy my bigger boat.

Sorry just noticed this. Elasto should be much easier to remove than epoxy down the line. Strange but probably effective temporary fix, as long as the core is just wet and not rotten. Should get you through a season without too much trouble later. Don't sail it too hard and rip out your track! And good luck on the repair. I got carried away because I absolutely hate it when I have to chisel out epoxy on someones temporary deck scab.
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Old 24-04-2012, 19:37   #11
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Re: Wet core

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Originally Posted by Blue Crab View Post
Would there be any value in drilling a bunch of holes through the cabin layer in hopes of it drying out?
Possibly... once the area that is wet is determined, if the core isnt rotten yet... maybe it would dry out over time if it's not too extensive an area.... if it does dry maybe could inject epoxy in somehow..... over head work though.... inject in one hole until it comes out the other, plug holes with something as you go....?
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Old 24-04-2012, 20:23   #12
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Re: Wet core

The project is not that formidable. Cut away the inside or outside depending on which is easier to work on. Most likely the outside. Replace all the wet core. Reskin. Racers can do a good-enough job in a day. Full finish match takes a few more cure cycles. Use all the proper materials in the proper way.
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