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J24 cabin sole repair

brandon mercer

New Member
Hey fellow J sailors! I am purchasing a 1979 J24 and it needs a repair to the cabin sole. Does anyone have any photos or diagrams of what the bilge looks like below the cabin sole?
The crack and hole are just six inches forward if the cooler.
I need to know if it’s hollow, solid Vermoculite or if there are stringers below it before I begin cutting out the damaged area.
Thank you for any help!


New Member
Unscrew the cabin sole. It comes out as one piece then you can inspect the buldge and answer most of your questions. It's also easier just to replace the cabin sole than try to fix it.


New Member
My sole was cracked end to end I figured it was bad vermiculite.
When I tore into it I discovered it was balsa core.
I cut it out leaving a lip all around the opening.
I acquired and stained a piece of 1/2" PT plywood.
The plywood does not cover the whole sole.
There is a gap at the back behind the cooler.
It looks great, but I should have chosen a better looking piece of PT plywood.
This can be anchored to the lip left around the cut out sole.
Then I cut a hole in the new sole with a coping saw.
The piece cut out fits snugly and never comes out.
I added a piece of wood each side of the opening attached to the underside of the plywood to support the plug.

As bad as it was the cabin sole may play a role in preventing lateral movement of the keel.
I made ropes of fiber glass and led these from the bottom of the keel sump through a hole and along the back face of the wooden berth end bulk head.
In retrospect I would do more.
I suggest adding a considerable layer of glass around the keel sump to the top of the existing vermiculite and extend this to the vertical faces of the nearby glass berth bulkheads, being certain to extend the glass down into the sump at least 2".

When I bought the 1979 boat in '85 a piece of gel coat smaller than 3" square had popped off the keel and water had run out of it.
Ever since I have drilled one or more holes into the keel just above the lead to let out the water while stored.
I also drill a 1/4" hole into the keel sump to let rain water out.
A 1/8" hole can be filled with caulk.
A 1/4" hole needs more.
My vermiculite damage after all these decades has been limited to the very trailing edge of the keel, perhaps 3/8" in cross section.
I dragged out the resulting mush with a long 3/8" drill bit.
And I have never looked back.