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Repairing Hunter 40 damage from Hurricane Matthew

Discussion in 'Big Boats' started by B757Captain, Nov 30, 2016. Add this thread to a FAQ

  1. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    Hi guys,

    My 1986 Hunter 40 Legend took some damage (possible understatement!) from Hurricane Matthew. a couple of holes in the side, some damage to the bow, and the interior was ruined from a partial submerging. This will be a long running thread showing repairs to get her back in the water and in better shape than ever.

    A little history: I bought the boat in 2004, was a live-aboard in Miami for a few years before moving to Beaufort, SC (ironically I picked this area due to its lower hurricane threat level!). I've been doing upgrades to the boat for years including a redesigned interior and pretty much new everything over the years.

    I'll start with a short summary of pre-Matthew prep, post-storm discovery and recovery, damage assessment and repairs to date, then repairs and upgrades as I do them.

    Hurricane Prep: One of the supposed benefits of the marina I am at is it's the only marina in town with a boat yard. So the storm plan has always been to haul when necessary. Didn't work this time though for several reasons. Matthew meandered around the Carribean for quite a while before heading north and until the Tuesday before it looked to miss us. The haulout plan got complicated quickly due to two factors: The mid-day tide was a low tide and sailboats can't get into the slipway for the travellift at low tide, so sailboats got the short straw. Also, we had several days of persistent northerly winds at 20 to 30, right angle to slipway entry as well.

    The marina crew moved heaven and earth, got a bunch of boats out but when the evacuation was called for Wednesday, all haulouts stopped. I was on the list for Thursday. Rats! Anchoring out (my second choice) when out the window with the weather we had too. That left staying in the marina - me and 30 other boats. I decided to move from my normal slip (good choice, all the boats around that slip were destroyed) and tied up on the inside face dock.

    [​IMG]

    Tripled up the lines, pulled the head sail and all the canvas. As a final idea, I deployed both anchors towards the shore line, the idea being that if the docks came apart, maybe I could break free and swing to shore, away from the docks. This actually worked in a way since I convinced the two sailboats in front of me to do the same. They survived and landed in the mud (more on why it didn't work for me in the next installment).

    [​IMG]

    So the boat is prepped and I got the house, the wife and kittycats ready for the storm.

    Next chapter: Hurricane Matthew

    Cheers,

    Mark
     


    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
    Puesta del sol likes this.
  2. Captn Scotty

    Captn Scotty

    Joined Mar 15, 2013
    190 posts, 35 likes
    Islander 32 mkll
    Ca Comox Hrb.
    Thanks for that Mark, looking forward to the next segment!
     


  3. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    The hurricane:

    Basically, I slept though it! Our house is about a quarter mile from the marina but pretty sheltered surrounded by trees. We did have two trees come down on the house but both were rotted in the middle and they came down early with 40 mph winds. A few days later a NWS team came to the island to take measurements and the word was we got the eye-wall of a strong Cat 1 to weak Cat 2 and storm surge of 5 feet.

    So, at daybreak next morning first stop was the marina. Heartbreaking:

    [​IMG]

    Docks destroyed. So, where's the boat?

    [​IMG]

    Laying on her side at the water's edge. Now how to get closer:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This was at low tide but we still had near hurricane force winds so access was impossible. I went out later at high tide and was initially hopeful - she was upright, keel in the mud, but still too rough to try to get on the boat. She righted the next tide cycle but every time she laid on her side (the side with the holes) she took on a little more water until finally she stayed on her side. This is what that looked like:

    [​IMG]

    Notice the lines from the bow to the dock - the dock cleat pulled completely out and stayed with the boat. I kept it as a souvenir.

    A few shots of the other boats:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    This was the boat next to my normal slip - totalled, so if I had not moved I would have been too. Take all the small victories you can considering the circumstances.

    Next chapter, the recovery!

    Cheers,

    Mark
     


    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  4. Jackdaw

    Jackdaw

    Joined Nov 8, 2010
    7,338 posts, 1,203 likes
    Beneteau First 36.7 & 260
    US Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
    Wow. Thats heartbreaking, and I admire your determination to get her back on her feet again.

    But I do sense a bit a blindness to what's happened... you describe that as a 'partial submersion' and that the other boats were 'totaled'. Yours was fully submersed and I'm guessing any insurance company would have totaled it as well. Were you under or un-insured?
     


  5. DayDreamer41

    DayDreamer41

    Joined Oct 29, 2016
    507 posts, 146 likes
    Hunter 41 DS
    Un Michigan Port Huron
    Man those pictures are hard to look at, I have to say you are taking on a big project, looks like yours was completely submersed, sad, very sad to see.
     


  6. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    I might be using the term "partially submerged" a little loosely, but considering that 5 boats were sunk (and 2 still not raised) I figure that since the stern was still above the water, I'll go with "partially". Small victories.

    My slipmate's Beneteau had 5 holes in the hull big enough to drive a truck through and the keel was compromised, thus totalled. The tally so far of boats written off and scrapped so far is 26 of the 30 that remained in the water.

    I carry only liability insurance (plus fuel/oil spill coverage). I made that decision years ago for a number of reasons. Primary is the cost/benefit ratio. My estimates for repairs will be the equivalent of about 8 years or so of hull coverage (assuming I do most of the work myself - which I will be doing), but the damages would definitely resulted in a write-off if left to an insurance adjuster. I hold a special disdain for insurance companies (all forms, not just boats) and try to keep them out of my wallet as much as possible. In this case there is no way an insurance company would have (or could have) "made me whole" and replacing the boat would have cost me more out of pocket than repairs will be. Plus I groove on doing this kind of work.

    "Blindness"? Hell, yeah! It's my boat!

    Cheers,

    Mark
     


  7. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    Off to lay up more glass. Later tonite, the recovery and if I have the energy, a tally of the damage.

    Mark
     


  8. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    Hi all,

    Continuing the saga:

    The recovery:

    An update on the timeline - the storm hit Fri nite/Sat morning and the weather didn't calm down until Saturday nite. We spent the rest of the weekend cleaning up. Access to the island was impossible at first due to downed trees, so no one made it to the marina until Monday. I had already worked out a plan with a local diver to float the boat but his boat needed launching - unfortunately it was buried in the yard so Monday was re-shuffling to get him in the water. Lots of confusion all around. I had had 3 days to absorb all that had happened, most others were in shock.

    Tuesday: The cluster (you know what) continued so I didn't get to the boat until the afternoon where we deployed the gas-powered pump and started looking for holes.Not much progress at first but a little investigating revealed that the Nico solar vents on deck (which were still underwater) were letting in a ton of water. Got those plugged and things started improving. Meanwhile the diver got a couple of flotation bags attached and inflated.

    [​IMG]

    The bow surfaced about sundown and we kept going. After a few false alarms we finally found the hole, got it plugged and up she came. The incoming water was down to the point of only having to run the pump about once an hour. We towed her around to the one remaining dock section and tied off. Finished at midnight but the night was definitely not over - I still had to man the pump so I camped out in the cockpit and ran the pump once an hour until the next morning. A friend brought me a couple of batteries, I hooked up the bilge pump and emptied the rest of the water. The bilge pump kept up with the inflow so I finally got some rest!

    I had to wait an extra day until a spot for me opened up in the yard so finally got hauled Thursday. Now it was time to look things over and see what I was up against!

    Next, damage assessment.

    Cheers,

    Mark
     


    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  9. Captmayhem

    Captmayhem

    Joined Mar 31, 2013
    133 posts, 14 likes
    O'day 23
    US eastern PA Pa
    those pictures tell an expensive story! I wish you lots of luck with the project, I think we're all going to be on a learning curve with this rebuild.
     


  10. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    Hi guys,

    Next chapter -

    Damage and Assessment, Pt. 1:

    Ok, now she's out of the water, I went home and got some much needed sleep, and now to look things over. Most obvious is the hole(s) in the port side, slightly forward of midships:

    [​IMG]

    another angle:

    [​IMG]

    The big hole is about 7 in. by 3 in. There is some undamaged glass between the three punctures but the entire area has to be assumed compromised (the final affected area is an oval about 30 in. by 20 in.). There was evidence of a prior repair here. I will rant about this later.

    Next is a spot in the port stern quarter:

    [​IMG]

    This one took some investigating to verify. My first assumption (correct) was that this was a previous repair that took an impact and delaminated. And, as I have found in a few other areas to be talked about later, an extremely poor repair!

    Next is some damage to the bow:

    [​IMG]

    No penetration here but the core is exposed in a small area. The toe rail was damaged too, and the anchor rollers are twisted and mangled. What I think happened here is that the cruiser at the head of the line broke loose as the docks came apart and bounced off all three sailboats behind it. It fouled my anchor lines and tore them loose which is why I drifted farther down the shoreline than the other sailboats. This and the rub marks in the next pics are the only damage to the starboard side:

    [​IMG]

    This is the worst of the external damage. Some scratches, most not past the gelcoat and one or two gouges.

    Now to the interior:

    First impressions:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Obviously looks bad but I knew even before this what to expect, and that I would have to build a new interior for her. What still remained was damage behind and underneath, so the interior had to come out. I made some room, got to the engine and pickled it. I pumped about 1 1/2 gallons of water and the oil out, pulled the injectors and cleaned out the cylinders, then filled the crankcase to the fill cap in the valve cover with diesel, did the same with the trans, then started deconstructing the interior.

    At this point I still hadn't decided yes or no on rebuilding. Next up is the second half of the damage and assessment.

    Cheers,

    Mark
     


    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  11. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    Damage and Assessment, Pt.2:

    Interior coming out:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Just selected pics of removing the interior. I tried to save as much of the cabinetry as possible to use as patterns for new pieces. I had already redesigned the main cabin, galley, forward head and vee-berth but I'm going to change a few things with the new configuration.

    With the interior out I could get a good look at the grid and liner, keel bolts and bilge, compression post and all the other nooks and crannies. I cut a few holes for access, plugged in my borescope and looked behind, around and inside everywhere I could shove the probe. The diagnosis was promising. There were only two cracks in the grid/liner directly attributable to this incident. However, I found several areas that were obviously from previous damage before I bought the boat. Some liner damage had been poorly repaired, some covered up (sloppily), and one area ignored completely. That's the bad news. The good news - no damage seen to the keel, keel bolts or other structural components.

    Now I decided to assess my options in two parts. One, can the boat be repaired. Two, how much will it cost!

    Can it be repaired? Answer: Yes. I looked at the core components that make the boat a boat.

    1. The keel: No evidence at all that the keel was compromised.
    2. The rudder: No damage, straight, turns freely, rudder post good, steering quadrant and pedestal all ok.
    3. Mast and rigging: No apparent damage, rigging is proper tension, mast is straight. I'll have a rigger check things out or I might have the mast pulled at some time.
    4. Engine/shaft/prop: Looked salvageable. (I have since un-pickled the engine and it runs great!) The prop strut got bent from having the lift bags hooked onto the shaft so I'll have to straighten it and check the shaft. Prop ok.
    5. Deck: No damage, no soft spots detected. There are two stanchions that need replacement plus new lifelines and the bow pulpit needs straightening.
    6. Hull: I sounded the entire hull and it's good except for the damage areas.

    Our yards has some of the best boat mechs in the area. I relied on their opinions, not just mine! My built-in bias could have colored my judgement!

    Then I had to ask myself, can I do the repairs? Answer: I have the experience with glassing, finishing, painting and I can definitely do a better job on this repair than the gorilla who did the previous ones!

    So I can make it float and move under it's own power, but what about all the rest: electrical, plumbing, cabinetry, etc.? Stay tuned for the next installment!

    Cheers,

    Mark
     


    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  12. Bill Roosa

    Bill Roosa

    Joined Jun 6, 2006
    6,871 posts, 103 likes
    Hunter 40.5
    US Harrington Harbor North, MD
    Keep the faith brother. We will keep you in our prayers and good luck!
     


  13. whatfiero

    whatfiero

    Joined Oct 30, 2011
    542 posts, 42 likes
    klidescope 30t
    US norfolk
    Real cool to see the all fiberglass grid system with floor opened up should make it easy to fix just block hole from below and lay glass in grid . Also to straighten strut get piece 2" heavy WALL steel pipe hold to as if to get leverage to straighten mark slash cut pipe 1/2 way thru and wide enough to fit on bronze tang and use as a pinch bar to straighten. Then re bed mount and tighten hall mt . I did it under water and just tighten and held fine till hallout. Sorry about you're loss but seems you got it under control
     


  14. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    Thanks Bill!
     


  15. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    Some areas of the grid are easy to fix but most times it's not quite that simple. Murphy's Law seems to have afflicted me because most of the grid damage is in corners or otherwise harder to get to areas. Getting to the back side has been easier said than done. I'm doing one spot now (pics and description soon) where the easiest way to repair the area was to cut out the damage area, reconstruct it and use it as a pattern to make a patch piece. Grid repair is equally as important as the hull because in modern boat construction the grid/liner shares the loads with the hull. The engineer in me says that I also have to balance the repair area by not making them too strong since I'm patching areas with dissimilar materials - i.e., different weights and layering of cloths and epoxy vs. polyester resin.

    At least I don't have to straighten my strut under water like you did! I'm going to remove it and find a hydraulic press. Hopefully easier than what you had to do.

    Mark
     


  16. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    Damage and Assessment, Pt. 3: Damage to my bank account!

    Ok, now I had to catalog the ruined bits and pieces and figure out replacement or repair costs. For all practical purposes I assumed that everything on the inside of the boat was a total loss. That has been pretty much validated, though I have found a few things that can be refurbished. So I factored the costs of a total electrical system replacement, all the cabinetry, plumbing, air conditioning, galley items, entertainment systems, electronics, fittings, lighting, etc.

    I also took a look at items I had on the list for replacement and upgrade anyway. I had intended to replace the radar for example, so I didn't factor that as a repair cost. I also got some good news on a few fronts like the air conditioner. A big endorsement for Flagship Marine here: I bought an 18,500 btu A/C unit form them 11 years ago and have been pretty happy with it. So I called them and described what had happened - they said ship it to them, they would see if it was repairable (up to a limit) and if not economically repairable they would give me a credit on a new unit!

    Two other items that were on the list for repair/upgrade were the bulkheads and forward water tank. I had intended to replace the bulkheads anyway (would have done them piecemeal). The bulkheads weren't in bad shape but a few had some soft spots, plus 30 years of drilling holes in them by previous owners - and me - made me decide it was time. Now it will be a whole lot easier! I also had intended to change the fresh water system. One of the things I always disliked about this boat was the forward water tank. It's 110 gallons. And aluminum. With no access holes. So, impossible to properly clean and sanitize, plus that's 800+ pounds of water forward and when full it affects the trim and reduces the ability to carry decent ground tackle. My idea was to build water tanks to fill the grid voids under the floor, distributing the weight closer the center and putting it below the waterline. I figure I can move about 50 gallons by doing this. I'll build the tanks from polypropylene - watch soon for this.

    About the only thing that really frosted me during all this was that I had just done a major upgrade to the DC electrical system. 4 brand new Firefly house batteries, Sterling charger plus all the cabling, fusing, etc., all ruined! I never even got to use them. Installed 2 months before the storm. Rats.

    So, after tallying the replacement items and costs, I came up with a total repair cost of about $21,000. Allowing for a 20% fudge factor I still should come in around the 25K area. And have a better boat for it.

    Next will be the cost/benefit analysis, spending this amount on repairs vs. getting a new boat.

    Cheers,

    Mark
     


  17. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    Final Assessment: Repair or Replace?

    So now I have an idea of what I'm up against, both in time and money, it's decision time.

    Replacing what I had would involve lots of searching, looking at various boats, surveys, etc. I can't nor do I want to buy new, and any boat more than ten years old will by definition need maintenance, upgrades and additional work and money to bring it to a "like new" condition. And since I absolutely refuse to ever sit in front of a loan officer again (debt free for 13 years, never to go into debt again!) any boat I can pay cash for will be slightly more than 10 years old. And I will still have to put money into it.

    On the other hand, with my boat I'm starting with a clean slate. By definition when it's finished it will be as close to a new boat as any old boat can possibly be. Plus I can incorporate most of the ideas I've had as to what the perfect cruising boat should be.

    Time factor: A new boat can get me back in the water sooner. Problem is, there is no marina to put it in. All the open spots around here are taken and slips anywhere close are going to be in short supply for quite a while. On the other hand, I should be close to finishing repairs just about the time we have a new marina here (hopefully).

    I spent quite a few days agonizing over all this, looking over what I had left, searching the interwebs for boats and commiserating with my friends here who lost their boats.

    Decision: Repair it! Let's get started!

    Cheers,

    Mark
     


  18. B757Captain

    B757Captain

    Joined May 8, 2013
    167 posts, 75 likes
    Hunter 40
    US Dataw Island, SC
    First things to do are to finish emptying out the interior and clean it up. One of the last big things to remove was the forward water tank. Of course it's huge! Too big to fit through the companionway so it needs to be cut out:

    [​IMG]

    It did not give up easily! My sawzall broke early on - actually broke in half! Had to buy a new one. The baffles were tough to figure out at first until I got enough of the tank out to see where I was going:

    [​IMG]

    Almost gone:

    [​IMG]

    And gone!

    I finished removing everything except the doghouse - not ready to deal with the engine yet - put on my bunny suit (Tyvex coveralls) and blasted the interior top to bottom with a pressure washer. I tried to get into every nook and cranny and I swear I washed out 20 pounds of mud! Next was the deck, then hull. Took hours and talk about sore afterward!

    Mark
     


    Last edited: Aug 5, 2017
  19. Captmayhem

    Captmayhem

    Joined Mar 31, 2013
    133 posts, 14 likes
    O'day 23
    US eastern PA Pa
    That's a heck of a marina that's letting you do all this in their yard.
    I'm curious how you came up with your costs.
    there's at least $5k just in cushions and mattresses for that vessel. $25k seems very low,
    Looks like one heck of a project though,
     


  20. Daveinet

    Daveinet

    Joined Sep 20, 2014
    708 posts, 67 likes
    Rob Legg RL24
    US Chain O'Lakes
    Comment about the marina - no doubt is in shambles, and the mess he is making is completely masked by the busted up boats and garbage from the storm. I'd bet they don't even notice him. As long as he can stay ahead of them, he shouldn't run into a problem. Of course that brings up a point. He should probably keep in contact with the marina schedule, and use their time frame as a way to set personal goals to his project. Its very easy to burn out on a project this size. Having goals and deadlines helps to prevent that. First and foremost will be to get the boat to the floatable stage. Then make it sail-able. Lastly the interior. Something tells me he sees this as an excuse to build a custom interior - something he's wanted to do for a long time, but never had the excuse.
     



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