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Cracked Deck

LAWilliams

New Member
Bought this Sunfish for $200 and it had these wooden pieces across the bow. We went ahead and removed the pieces to find a large crack. After extensive research on the net and reading a ton of your posts, we are still unsure how to attack this issue. Would we be better off installing a deck inspection port for access or cut out the damaged section and brace from the underside. We have loose foam in this area and need to address that issue as well. Any assistance will be appreciated.
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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Before proceeding, I'd want to know how such a crack was formed in the first place? :confused: (Of course, it can be repaired). :)

Any repairs in the same general area to the hull's bottom?

Would a second splashguard ($100) be desirable to help keep skipper and crew especially dry? ;)

Fill the mast step with water, check in the morning for leaks.
 

LAWilliams

New Member
L&VW, The hull is solid in this area and the mask step held water for 2 days with no problem. We are trying to dry out the hull after her maiden voyage , but the air test was only this area and a couple of small deck edge leaks. She doubled in weight after sailing on two consecutive days so now we are dealing with that issue. We are done for the season but want to get started with the repairs. Thanks for the response.
 

LAWilliams

New Member
The previous owner said they had stuck the mast in the mud on a local shallow lake, hence the covered up damage and the bent mask -- another issue to deal with later.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
“She doubled in weight after sailing on two consecutive days so now we are dealing with that issue.”

You should be able to drain out that weight from 2 days of sailing. It wouldn’t soak into the foam unless left over a period of time. Did you try removing water through the deck drain?
If that seller didn’t tell you about that crack they surely took advantage of you!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I figured it was a mast problem. This might have been an easier fix if the mast had broken! :confused:

Member Mixmkr will want you to cut access holes in the bottom. :eek:

That's what I would do, and add a thin core of wood (or Styrofoam) to the deck from underneath for strength, and several layers of 6-inch fiberglass tape.

Re-use the cutout [bottom] pieces to reseal the bottom, which will make it less flexible. (Good).
 

LAWilliams

New Member
Are there any videos / extensive explanations for Mixmkr's method. It sounds counterproductive to cut out holes in the hull (which shows no damage) to gain access to the deck. Pardon the ignorance.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
I'll chime in. I repair boats for a living and one particular boat of mine(69), I didn't want to cut up the deck with inspection ports. (In all honesty..inspection ports on high dollar boats are considered unsightly....and I'm viewing things along this mindset. If needed, you'd actually do the repair and glass it back up and do a professional, finish gelcote job, instead of leaving a $10 plastic lid. Yes....i realize some don't give a hoot.)
That said, holes in the bottom in a couple places allowed for new aluminum backing plates and the SLIGHTLY visible repairs are on the undersides. I've repaired holes in side decks of boats you could crawl thru..these bottom side holes were "minor flesh wounds!"
 

4cpus4me

Member
Can't you just cut along the cracked area, widening it so you can get those plywood pieces slipped in to the underside after resin-coating them, epoxy them in place, then do routine fiberglass repair topside?
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Are there any videos / extensive explanations for Mixmkr's method. It sounds counterproductive to cut out holes in the hull (which shows no damage) to gain access to the deck. Pardon the ignorance.
I'm not getting a roaring amount of support from member Mixmkr. :confused:

One of our members mentioned he was going to epoxy carbon-fiber stringers inside the bottom. (Presumably accessing the inside bottom through an inspection port). The reason? The hull flexes too much.

With my older Sunfish, I put "The Ultimate Inspection Port" into the forward bulkhead. With the port open, I can see an alarming amount of motion. :eek: (Paddles, cameras, canned beverages and sponges getting tossed around). :(

With your deck needing repair, this is an opportunity to have access to the underside of the repair (when finished, shouldn't show very much). A proper deck repair would be made much easier—when finished, you don't want a cracking sound when you kneel on it! :oops: You'd be repairing it with gravity on your side and doing the repair standing up.

Two pieces of pultruded fiberglass battens ($16) will reinforce the deck repair. (Styrofoam is also usable—anything that can "bulge" the repair). The "repatriation" of the bottom pieces can use the Shoreline method. The cut pieces need to be large enough to get a sander in there.

Once both repairs are completed, the deck and the bottom will be stronger than ever before. :cool:
 

LAWilliams

New Member
Thanks for the input mixmkr. My son really wants to avoid another inspection port on the front deck much like you are suggesting. As a rookie glass repair guy , I feel like we might be more comfortable trying the method mentioned by 4cpus4me ( Shoreline Sailboat video method). This would allow us more access to reset and brace the foam. We were thinking in terms of bracing and glassing over aluminum strips for stiffness and giving us a good base to reset the cut out portion. I will defer to you as you have been there and done that, but it seems reasonable. Please advise. Thanks
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Think of it this way....the way you might repair the top properly, will be the same as you would on the hull bottom. Thru the hull bottom, you can leave the topside surface intact the most...but it still looks like the crack will still need attention. But the underside of the top can be as reinforced as much as you want. This is common for decks with complex non - skid surfaces...

Lastly..and with a little more "nerve"...the boat can be split, as many have done here.

And Lastly, lastly....do the repair and repaint the deck....if matching gelcote is to be desired, but avoided for lack of quality.

There's no "one" right way as you can see.
Oh...heres a pat on the back to L&VW. !! :)
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
I'd remove the trim and split the deck/hull seam back to the forward edge of the cockpit on either side.

Save those wood boards and attach then under the deck with thickened epoxy. You might have to cut away excess expanding foam to fit them over the top of the port and starboard flotation blocks.

Reattach the blocks with new 2 part marine grade flotation foam, Fibreglast or TotalBoat brand. We used bits of paint stick and blue tape to keep them in place. Foam the bottom section of the block first, clamp the seam closed while the foam expands. A day later foam the top of the block, using blue tape to make a little dam around the top of the block, and clamp it closed again. A day later you can put a strip of 4 oz fiberglass embedded in thickened epoxy into the seam and clamp it closed for good, using paint sticks along the deck edge to help spread out clamp pressure.

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Clean up the seam and do a thickened epoxy repair on the topside crack. Gelcoat or paint. Put trim back on.

Straighten your boom while you're at it...


More info on seams, blocks and foam on our blog: http://smallboatrestoration.blogspot.com/2014/04/sunfish-pickin-columbus-ga-hoops-and.html

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