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Old 26-05-2022, 20:30   #1
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Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

I just bought a 1970 Kittiwake 23 for only $700. My friend and I just sailed it 50 miles up the Chesapeake Bay to get it home, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Can't wait to take it out again.

The only major problem with it is that a large portion of the deck on the bow flexes when you step on it. It doesn't feel mushy, but it flexes. It also bends when you push up on it laying on the V-berth. I've been told that the core is still good, and that I need to cut out the deck with an oscillating tool, lay down some epoxy, put the deck back, and set some sandbags on top so that it bonds well. Since it bends from underneath, however, I don't think this is true: it seems like the core is probably rotten. After looking online, it seems that there are so many ideas on how to fix this. I'm hoping someone can give me a concrete course of action. Any help is greatly appreciated!!
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Old 26-05-2022, 20:53   #2
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Re: Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

WElcome to the forum.

QUOTE; " the core is probably rotten."

Yep. OK, here goes.

For a small area, drilling holes,draining, and squeezing in epoxy might work. You don't appear to be talking about a small area.

For a large area, define the edges and then cut the LOWER layer, in the cubby, from the under side. You may not be able to get the lower layer off in one piece. Then remove all the rotten soaking wet core. You do it from the V-berth so you don't mess up the deck.

Now, you need to make the cut out area as stiff as the rest of the deck. Applying layers of fiberglass from underneath could be very messy. Consider replacing it with plywood of the same stiffness or thickness. Glue in a patch, holding it in place with 2x4 struts up from the sole of the cubby. Consider whether bolting it through to the deck is needed. Cover the patch with whatever lines the cubby at present,or install a new ceiling.

Be sure in this process to find and plug the way the water got into the core in the first place.

Thee are other approaches that other forum members may be able to suggest. Think through what approach is best for you and your boat.

Congratulations on your boat and your new-found passion.
Never let anything mechanical know that you are in a hurry.
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Old 26-05-2022, 21:25   #3
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Re: Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

I did a full re-core on my foredeck a couple of years ago ...

I couldn't access from below so had to cut from the top, so there is an obvious change in the non-skid where I made the repair.
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Old 26-05-2022, 23:57   #4
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Re: Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

Are u sure there is a core - it's a smallish boat.
In my first boat (22 ') there was no core in the deck or elsewhere.
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Old 27-05-2022, 11:56   #5
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Re: Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

Many yours ago I repaired a rotted transom core with a product called Git Rot. Before proceeding, cut a small hole to be sure that you have a rotted core. If not, this procedure is not the cure you need. If the core has rotted, this will work. Use a hole saw to cut several holes 2-3” diameter in the underside of the deck in the problem area. Be sure to use a short center drill to avoid drilling through the deck. Use a fan to circulate the air to dry the core which may take a month or more. When it has dried, drill small holes between those cut with the hole saw. to fit a syringe tip. You will need several large syringes to inject the Git Rot into the core material. These are available at many body shop supply stores. Keep injecting until it oozes out of the holes. When it has completely saturated the dried rotted material, wait for it to set then install the pieces removed with the hole saw then glass over them. If the rotted area is not completely saturated, you will have weak spots. You’re done.
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Old 27-05-2022, 12:04   #6
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Re: Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

The only one I ever saw opwned up had a plywood core.
Long time ago and I'm guessing ... maybe 3/8" thick.

Injecting epoxy into delaminated, degraded plywood will not work.
Your doubt does not negate my experience.
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Old 27-05-2022, 12:26   #7
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Re: Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

Welcome to the forum Edemario. It sounds like you need some wisdom from Andy at Boat Works Today.
No affiliation but a fan of his videos. Please consider supporting his efforts, he is very knowledgeable and a good teacher.

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Old 28-05-2022, 21:19   #8
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Re: Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

I like watching Andy, too. If the deck is your main issue, you got a great deal. Now you will learn some more about your boat. All good advice here.
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Old 29-05-2022, 02:12   #9
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Re: Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

Depending on how long you plan to keep the boat will affect method chosen.
Drying out a wet or rotten core will take months and only work if you can prevent further water entry while the drying process is carried out.
If you can see it flex when pushing from below that shows a lot more weakness the flex when standing on it.
Consider cutting out fro either side and replacing core with Cousa board. Bonds extremely well to polyester,vinyl ester or epoxy. And will never rot. Lighter weight than plywood. Especially wet.
Also a couple of 1 or 2 inch strips bonded to the underside would strengthen greatly.
Bed it in to the deck on one side and cover with fiberglass on the underside. Never have to deal with it again.
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Old 29-05-2022, 07:00   #10
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Re: Soft Spot on deck over V-Berth

For the money you paid for the boat, why worry about spending weeks or months working on the deck. Go sailing instead.
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