Delaminated Deck and Hull...

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by Granitize, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. Granitize

    Granitize New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hi all.
    I was all excited to get a laser again... and that my daughter was interested ...
    So... I bought an old laser BEFORE looking up how to buy a used laser tips... Stupid!
    Pretty big POS... AND I paid way too much for it.

    Anywhoo!!!

    I'm pretty handy, so though I'd ask what's involved to fix it myself.
    I haven't cut any inspection ports yet - but spring is coming.

    1) The deck is soft and has a lot of flex. A small crack exists as well.
    2) The mast step doesn't hold water. I can probably open up a couple of inspection ports and fix that up so it's water tight and structurally sound.
    3) The hull is really soft... pretty much everywhere.... transom too!

    Are the deck and hull similar in construction? A layer of foam between two fibre layers?
    Or is that just the deck?

    Can I separate the deck from the hull, scrape and reapply the foam sandwich?
    Can I tighten up the deck?

    Any pointers or recomendations to write it off as a stupid mistake are welcome.
    Feeling like it might be a lost cause but willing to do some work too.
    Thanks...
     
  2. Bungo Pete

    Bungo Pete Member

    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Welcome aboard. In the words of Albert Einstein, "The only source of knowledge is experience." We have all at one time or another done exactly what you have done. That being said, you still have a Laser, and without looking at it, I would say that it is probably salvageable for a rec boat but you may not want to take it out in heavy air. Post some pics - everyone likes pics.

    You will find the search tool to be your best tool in this forum. There is also a very basic "how to" pamphlet put out by West System which is a great primer for the types of repairs your going to have to do. Hope this helps.
     
  3. Rob Hair

    Rob Hair Member

    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Granitize, the deck is of sandwich construction, the hull is not.

    Not having seen the boat my assessment could be off, but I think your best bet may be to just reinforce the mast step. If the hull and deck are solid enough to not fall apart when sailing, you will have a recreational use boat. In this forum you will find, if you have not already, instructions for installing a port and fixing the mast step. I would fix this because its easy to do and if the mast step breaks loose, you will have a real mess. The port will also help you get the inside dry. Freezing water inside probably contributed to the damage in your boat.

    Good luck and keep us informed about your project.
     
  4. 49208

    49208 Tentmaker

    Likes Received:
    33
    Trophy Points:
    48
    Deck is cored with pvc foam. Hull is basically just a 'glass laminate with a few strips of foam along the hull bottom for additional stiffening.

    You can separate them, but's it can be pia. Older the hull and number of hours of sailing tend to make it easier to do.
    -however-
    Depending on what you want to do with this one, it may be enough to fix the mast step, fix any other leaks and just so sailing. Soft deck and hull won't matter for just rec sailing..

    As BP says above, ton of info on fixing your issues already posted, search on mast step deck repair for example and you'll get some good info on ways to approach each job
     
  5. Granitize

    Granitize New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thanks folks,
    Yes - Rec boat only to be sure.

    Found the threads on mast step and inspection ports...
    Not too concerned about putting in the inspection ports, and fixing the mast step...

    But the hull bothers me. Alot!

    I sailed a lasar in the 70's, early 80's, as rec/race and envision good blow's and lot's of planning again. :)

    Is it safe if the hull "pushes in"? .. can I, do I need to "reinforce the transome?
    Guess I'll open it up and capture some images when I can get it into a garage. Maybe today.

    Like doing reno's on an old house... once you open it up the fear is gone! :) Just the pain left.

    FEAR BELOW...

    Is there some kind of "spray foam" that can be used to stiffen the hull once I clean it?
    Or might the fibreglass layers be separated b/c of water... Ah West System how to phamplet... searching for that now.
     
  6. Bungo Pete

    Bungo Pete Member

    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    18
    The fact that you can deflect the hull from the outside is certainly cause for concern. The location(s) of where you can do this will determine if the hull can be stiffened. As Tentmaker mentioned, the hull gets its stiffness from the layers of glass and the two foam cores which run parallel to the centerline of the hull. A fellow from Scotland posted some pics on this forum of his hull and deck separated so you can see how it is constructed. I have never seen a soft transom in a Laser, so I don't know how to address this problem. It will probably be the same as you would with a soft deck. Again, the West System book will have a champter on fixing delaminated cores. I do know that the transom and the aft bulkhead of the cockpit each have a plywood doubler in order to anchor the gudgeons and the hiking strap padeyes respectively. They both may be wet and rotted.

    It sounds like this boat has taken on a lot of water and it has remained inside the hull for a considerable length of time. This was probably from the mast step or the cockpit/hull joint leaking, and the previous owner never fixed it or drained the hull. Therefore, the first thing you'll need to do is get it opened and completely dried out to really see where you're at.

    Regarding the use of foam, I would advise against it. Two-part polyeurethane foam is used to provide flotation in larger vessels, but will only be a structural member when it is part of a lamination with something stiffer such as glass, polyester, or wood. If you put foam in the hull and it gets wet (which it will), then all you will have is a very heavy Laser.
     
  7. mw1670

    mw1670 Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I buy and fix a lot of Lasers used for teaching kids to sail during the summer. The structural conditions you have described are fatal, and you'll spend lots of time and effort attempting to make the hull usable, and it will still fail. The sail, spars, boom, rudder, rudderhead, tiller and centerboard are still valuable. I'd start searching to buy a used hull that doesn't have the problems you have described. Occassionally you will find one that doesn't have any of the equipment you have, so that is how you can make this work out. Otherwise, sell what you have and start over. The parts are valuable and in demand.
     
  8. Bungo Pete

    Bungo Pete Member

    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    18
    MW1670:
    I am curious about the soft hull. Does this indicate that delamination between the longitudinal foam cores and the hull? I have not seen this before. How does it occur?
     
  9. mw1670

    mw1670 Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    The soft hull issues that I have seen are typically the result of improper trailering and storage. Lasers should be transported suspended from their gunnels (style like the trailex trailers), or deck down. When the hull is trailered deck up, and then cinched down on an improper trailer, and then driven down the road and bounced like all small trailers do, the hull flexes repeatedly to the point it oilcans over time because the thin fiberglass shell becomes weakened. When it starts, you can usually see spider cracks in the gelcoat, and then it spreads out and inward to the rest of the outer shell layer. This also occurs from leaving the boat deck up sitting on the ground for long periods, or on some type of improper support.

    I've also seen it occur from water saturation or external damage that allows delamination from the inside out.

    The deck on the other hand gets soft when the core foam layer becomes delaminated from the inside of the deck surface and the inner glass layer that holds the core layer in place. This happens because the boat is stored upside down with water inside and subject to freezing and thawing.
     
  10. Granitize

    Granitize New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    So........ I'm on the East Coast of Canada.
    Any recomendation to find a Hull?

    If I can get one for a good price I will get it so we can sail this summer...
    We always need more projects right?!?
     
  11. John Pomer

    John Pomer New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I purchased my first Laser 18 months ago - ZFS64701M78J - manufactured in 1978. It had FIVE inspection ports and "collected" water when it rained. But the price was right so I bought it.

    I ended up separating the deck and hull using a putty knife at the gunnels. By suspending the deck after separating the ends, very little effort was needed to separate the hull at the cockpit drain and mast step (normally the only major points that are bonded together).

    Once separated, I could see the major repair internally done to the sides (and explaining the five inspection ports). At this point, I could remove the "patch" and properly make an epoxy repair. I replaced the internal stringers and added an extra layer of fiberglass. On the advice of Stuart Nickerson (a retired professional boat builder who rebuilds lasers as a hobby), I used thickened epoxy to seal the gunnels, mast step, cockpit support, and drain. Finally, I removed the layer of paint to get to the gel coat. Then I painted it using Interlux Perfection 2-part polyurethane (royal blue hull, Matterhorn white deck).

    So was it worth it? For me it was. I like doing the work and enjoyed trying out some different things using a smaller boat before doing it on a larger boat I am restoring. I have no intentions to sail this Laser in any fully regulated regatta. It is a training boat for me useable in our relaxed club racing and having fun on the water.

    If I was serious about racing, I would by a new one. But I focus on having fun...

    John
     
  12. CaptainAhab

    CaptainAhab Active Member

    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    28
    Those are the boats that could be Frankensteined. Find an old rig off of a 420. Maybe use an old top mast for for a bowsprit. Hop on the trap and away you go. There is a video online of somebody doing it.
     
  13. Granitize

    Granitize New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    John,
    This sounds about what I was expecting. 5 ports. Just got my first one and will open 'er up to take a look within the next couple of weeks.
    Maybe deck separation is the ticket. Just fun for me too...

    Did you need to "support" the hull from warping once you removed the deck? Or will it maintain it's shape?
    Got any pics?
     
  14. laserxd

    laserxd Member

    Likes Received:
    23
    Trophy Points:
    18
    somewhere on here there is at least one posting with pictures throughout the process of completely restoring an old laser, it should give you some good ideas

    I'll ask my local repair guy next time I'm down there, he's excellent, I've seen him do some incredible repair work
     
  15. John Pomer

    John Pomer New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Remember, my Laser will not be raced competitively. Rather it is a learning boat. I am 61 and much more rotund than I should be. My Laser sailing is for fun and exercise.

    The hull surface got new stringers (balsa) internally. I also placed another layer of fiberglass and epoxy internally on the hull. The deck had the five inspection ports (now only one) that were filled with balsa, fiberglass and epoxy (West System).

    The support between the cockpit and hull was replaced with Starboard. Same thing with the transom. All the internal plywood was wet and soft.

    The cockpit drain, mast step, and gunwales were all attached with thickened epoxy. These attachment points keep the whole assembly rigid when epoxied - especially the gunwales.

    Without skills in fiberglass repair, restoring an old boat is expensive. But if you enjoy (learning) the tasks, it is worth it.
    If I were sailing competitively, I would buy a new boat. I like my old one well enough.
     
  16. oztayls

    oztayls Member

    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    If it's too bad, cut off the bow and transom to make the perfect hiking bench. As a hiking bench it could be worth more than as an old boat!
     
  17. John Pomer

    John Pomer New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Why do you want to destroy a "functional" boat just because it is not "race ready"?

    There is much life left in my boat that will bring joy to several people.

    BESIDES, if you were to make a hiking bench, you would be cutting off significantly more than just the "bow" and "transom" to leave just the cockpit area. THEN you would have to reinforce the sections where you removed the ends and lost the structural strength. As a result, you would have to spend much time and money in your frivolous project suggestion.

    Remember, not everybody wants a Laser to race. Open your mind to other options!
     
  18. oztayls

    oztayls Member

    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    A sandpit?
     
  19. oztayls

    oztayls Member

    Likes Received:
    8
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Or a diving wreck?
     
  20. John Pomer

    John Pomer New Member

    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    oztayls,

    I just noticed you're an Aussie.
    I should have realized it earlier by your responses. <grin>

    Seriously, I do hope people will acknowledge that most fiberglass boats can be made "serviceable". It depends on the needs and desires of the individual. I enjoyed the work I did on my Laser. It taught me many things and it is fun to sail. Will I sail competitively? Maybe after I loose 60+ lbs.

    That is my only point in trying to respond to Granitize's original post.
    I notice that he is Canadian. That means he has even more time to work on his boat before the snow melts...

    John
     

Share This Page