Moving Deck Fittings on Cored Decks
Another Schroth Fiberglass Primer
Every sailor has his own way of organizing the fittings and control lines on his sailboat. This means that there are always old holes that need to be sealed. To that end we finally decided to publish our solutions. This way we can hand sailors the piece of paper and avoid viewing their pained expressions we would otherwise endure as reality settles in.
We can make the old holes go away for you. This is a simple process. It involves removing all the fittings and hardware, making a proper repair to each hole, priming your entire deck, and painting the entire deck. On a typical 24 foot boat this costs about $5000 to $10,000.
ANYTHING ELSE IS A SHORTCUT!!!!
Shortcuts are rarely if ever satisfying to all involved.
Now that we have established the reality, we can offer some alternative solutions.
1. Cheapest and best is to put a nut and bolt with plenty of silicone right back in the old fitting holes. The positive pressure offered by this fastener system will keep the core dry for years to come.
2. You could fill the holes with epoxy and, when the epoxy cracks in a few weeks, Mother Nature can get about the business of rotting the core out of your deck. Leaving the holes open is preferable to filling the holes with epoxy. With the holes empty water can evaporate or drip through to the interior of the cabin. Epoxy holds the water and keeps the core wet. If you want to rot your deck, fill the holes with epoxy.
3. You can fill the holes and hide them with some gelcoat. This system can temporarily work but it is extremely labor intensive. A typical "bunch" of holes left over from re rigging a racing sailboat (to be just like the diagram in Sailing World) takes about $500 in labor and materials minimum. This price does not include addressing the cosmetics on the interior of the boat.
a. The holes must be filled with a substance that
will be compatible with the core
b. an area the size and depth of a quarter must be
excavated around each hole
c. the area must be filled with a fiberglass
d. A color matched gelcoat must be created
e. the gelcoat must be applied and blended with
the surrounding area. (in the case of patterned
nonskid surfaces this blending is accomplished
with Dremel tools and knives or tiny molds. The repairs usually show..)
The final truth
The repairs will show. Every single repair will stick out like a sore thumb. It may not be too bad the first week, or even the first year. The repairs will look like there used to be fittings in some different places but there was an effort made to hide that fact.
Every time you drill a hole in your deck: IT IS FOREVER A HOLE IN YOUR DECK. Plan ahead.
Every repair to your boat will eventually show up and look bad. Think before drilling.
At Schroth Fiberglass we refuse to steal customer's money attempting to accomplish tasks we feel are a waste of your sailing dollars. We also will not spend our money attempting to placate the disappointed owner of a deck with a bunch of ugly splotches.
If the holes or the crappy repairs are going to bother you, do not move the fittings or spend the $10,000 it takes to make the holes disappear. There are no other options.
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