It was an extremely tedious task, starting with a scraper blade, adding solvent to soften the sealant, before moving on to progressively finer grades of wet-and-dry abrasive paper (400, then 800 then 1200 grit), applied by hand and wet. Finally rubbing compound was used to remove the final scratches and return the shine to the fibreglass. Oh, and a few bits of damage had to be repaired with gelcoat (mixed with pigment to match the off-white colour). Two solid days was how long that paragraph took to do. Aaargh!
Anyway the good news is that Richard the deck specialist returned yesterday to complete the trimming process and then began to weld and glue the deck into place. He makes it look easy but it clearly isn't!
|The two halves of the deck had to be joined at the central king plank on the foredeck. Gym weights hold one side in place and strips of polymer 'welding rod' are cut to size.|
|The polymer ready for welding|
With all this care to make the deck fully watertight, we are determined to avoid drilling holes into it wherever possible. One of the biggest causes of deck leaks on yachts is where the stanchion bases are drilled through - the stanchions hold the safety guard wires around the deck and can be subjected to some big forces on their three, 6mm bolts. If the stanchions get pulled on (by someone hauling themselves up from a dinghy, for example) or stressed by hitting a dock wall, the sealant gets damaged and leaks begin and, of course, being at the low side of the sloping deck, they get subjected to a lot of seawater and rainwater.
So we thought about an alternative option to make brackets to bolt the stanchions to the bulwarks (the little upstand of fibreglass hull above the deck). Graham spent many happy hours measuring and making plywood templates.
Naturally the angle and height of the bulwark changes as you move aft, so four different designs were required to make the 7 stanchions on each side fit
|One of the finished bases being checked for fit|
At last, we are able to leave Maunie for a couple of weeks. This morning she was moved into the Baltic Wharf Repairs workshop - her white hull will be lightly sanded down, the scars of her collision with a mooring buoy in Suva Harbour will be filled and she'll get a new gleaming coat of specialist Awlgrip paint (several actually). Then, after about 3 weeks (we hope), we'll move her back into 'our' shed to refit all the deck fittings and we'll apply four new coats of Coppercoat antifouling. So there's lots to do still but it's all positive now, adding things back rather than stripping things down.