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Fiberglass repair

May 5, 2017
27
Catalina C30 PA
Hello owners. Looking for your experienced advice how to approach this project. First of all how the water is getting inside this area. Second, looks like there is a steel pipe that is expanding with rust causing the crack to grow. What is this pipe (pipes) for, what is the purpose for being there. And finally how to approach this repair. I'm quite comfortable working with fibreglass. Any suggestions and pointers greatly appreciated.
pzmaria.
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Oct 22, 2014
10,150
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
@pzmaria You have a leak in your salon hood. Hard to pinpoint but it has been going on for some time. You need to look on the top to start to sort out the cause. The area around the hatch cover would be the first place to look. Any holes with screws, or perhaps hand rails. The rust is not likely a pipe but water that is sitting in the space between the top and bottom skin that makes up your deck and in contact with a metal screw or bolt.

Being in PA I would guess that the water was inside the deck core when you put the boat up for winter. The harsh winter gave the water a chance to freeze and thaw and freeze. Thus the cracking you are seeing.

This is a project to get after. Drying out the deck core. Then removing and rotted wood between the top and bottom skins. Re filling the area of rotten deck then sealing the area and refinishing the outside gel.
Here are a couple of links to help explain the issue.
https://www.sailfeed.com/2012/02/repacing-rotten-deck-core-part-i/
https://www.sailfeed.com/2012/02/repacing-rotten-deck-core-part-ii/
http://www.pcmarinesurveys.com/Balsa core rot wet.htm
http://epoxyworks.com/index.php/replacing-damaged-balsa-core/

Then once you have the deck solid again here is how to protect your deck from one of the most common assaults. Poor installation of deck fittings.
https://marinehowto.com/sealing-deck-penetrations-to-prevent-core-rot/
 
May 5, 2017
27
Catalina C30 PA
Strange but it is definitely a steel pipe. I even checked it with the magnet so it is carbon steel and the rust on the pipe is spreading fibreglass. Is it there for reinforcement of the opening? Just trying to get as much info as possible before I open this disaster.
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Nov 1, 2017
560
Catalina 25 Tall Rig Valiant Watergate Marina, Kemah, TX
@pzmaria ,

Good morning! That looks pretty darn nasty...if I were you, I'd prepare myself for one heck of a project. That steel pipe is installed in between the fiberglass and wood sandwich makeup of the deck to support any weight that someone/something may place on the cabin-top. Now, as for the extent of the damage, you'll probably have to end up drilling a lot of holes and feeling with a hammer for soft spots to see just how far this damage has spread. Rust is extremely hostile, and if water has been let in between those layers, it has more than likely rotted the wood core underneath the fiberglass layers.
I hate to sound so pessimistic, but if I were in this situation, I'd honestly either replace the entire upper-deck in the area, or just get rid of the boat all in all, depending on the extent of the damage. Keep us posted on how things go!

God Bless,
S.S.
 
May 5, 2017
27
Catalina C30 PA
Do you think there is only one pipe on the edge like on the picture? Or many pipes placed parallel thru the entire deck? That would complicate the repair which I intend to make. Thanks for your input about the pipe purpose.
 
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Oct 22, 2014
10,150
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
@pzmaria A pipe is a surprise to me. Maybe a Catalina C30 owner can speak to this.
Maybe one pipe but unlikely that there are multiple pipes. What ever it is you need to stop the water intrusion and seal up the area.
Perhaps you can take pictures of the top of the cabin from outside and inside to give us all a better image of what is going on. The images so far are great but they are not telling the whole story.
 
Nov 1, 2017
560
Catalina 25 Tall Rig Valiant Watergate Marina, Kemah, TX
Do you think there is only one pipe on the edge like on the picture? Or many pipes placed parallel thru the entire deck? That would complicate the repair which I intend to make. Thanks for your input about the pipe purpose.
I believe it was laid out underneath the fiberglass only in the cabin-top area behind the companionway to support extra weight, as the fiberglass core is thinner in that area for weight reduction.
 
May 5, 2017
27
Catalina C30 PA
Decided to make this repair. Just opened the hood over the hatch. Found tons of silicone and dirt. Started to clean all areas and open all existing screw holes to fill them with mixed epoxy/fibreglass and re-drill them later. Next will be drilling small holes away from the damage to establish damaged area under fibreglass.
It's the first time I'm doing that extensive repair so, if there is anything that I'm doing wrong please don't hesitate or feel bad to make a comment.
 
Apr 26, 2018
136
Catalina Catalina 30 Bayview
I once owned a Day DS1 17 that had a similar problem. What year is the boat? In the DS, the original builders used re-bar to reinforce the cabin top edge and encapsulated with fiberglass. This was to support the edge of the cabin top. It had water intrusion and blew out the edge of the glass similar in appearance. I ended up cutting it out, making a plywood bulkhead to support cabin top. Not sure that is realistic in this case. It was a huge PITA attempting a full repair on a much smaller boat.

Man that is tough. Hope someone can give you some ideas. If it was me, laminating wood deck beams, corner posts, and scarfing marine plywood in to to create a new cabin top?

Good luck.