Termites need water
and air. Now that the termites are gone, it is clear where their water
supply came from: Drilled holes and / or small wood
cracks in the bowsprit
. The rain we had and the subsequent heat from the space heater
I used to dry the bedding caused them to molt and swarm. With the damaged plywood
gone, I could see by the coloration of the fiberglass
that I had a complex problem. I have attached some images
with some notations.
show the affected area directly underneath my bowsprit
. To makes matters more fun, the fiberglass
is 90 degrees indented about two inches to make a raised, sloping, rectangular fiberglass bed
on the deck
for the bowsprit. No Don Casey book I have read has dealt with such an unholy marriage of rotten plywood
, dry rot
, delaminated fiberglass, and a bowsprit. I would have thought repairing a hole in the side of a boat
to be hell on earth and infinitely complicated. Not now.
I post these images for context for this post. I have read books
on sailboat repairs
– particularly Casey’s stuff. While have worked around my own house here, here is a problem I do not know how to approach. Here in a place where the entire boat
comes together, here as they say, something is “rotten in the state of Denmark
An infection usually has a discernable boundary between the infected and healthy. The bugaboo here in this bow is the levels of infection. I have drilled some fairly small and shallow core
samples. I go from white and tight wood
(under where the glass is pink) to dark and void wood. In other words, from dissolved wood to rotten wood to punky wood to dry crumbly wood to wet wood to damp wood to healthy wood. You can see the healthy and diseased tissue clearly in Image 3 (Image 3 was shot prior to removing the starboard plywood; the discoloration on the port side is even more pronounced.)
I have followed Casey’s book and he is right: Laying on my back and tapping the butt handle of a screwdriver on healthy looking (pink) fiberglass produces a “thack!” with a high bell-like tone. Hitting the darker areas produces a range from a “thuck” with a lower ring to a “thud” with no ring. I have mapped out what appears to be the affected area.
I am confident I can remove the rot
. Nonetheless, any moron can rip crud out. Proper installation
is another creature. My problem is in this small place I do not know how to marry the new good to the old good. For example, at the extreme end of the bow, if the rot truly goes that far, there physically does not seem to be enough room to attach new good wood to the old good wood or anyplace to attach new fiberglass to the old fiberglass. Does that make sense?
So please! If you are familiar with the process you are seeing in these images (and maybe has successful experience addressing fiberglass / wood repairs
that require bow load engineering??) it would be great to get input. I have to decide if this is a project
I can do. But first and foremost, I have to know what it is I am dealing with. This is some interesting stuff!