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Hunter 23 Core

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Sep 24, 2010
Beneteau 321 Edgewater, MD
I have steadily been working on getting my Hunter 23 back in the water this coming spring, but have come across a few unexpected problems.

My basic question is:

Does anyone know exactly where Hunter used deck core on the Hunter 23?

To my knowledge, they used core material in the transom, mast step area, and where the chain plates attach to the hull. I'd like to know if it is anywhere else.

The reason for my question is that I had the normal leak around the bottom rudder attachment point on the transom. The wood was wet, but I dug around until I got to what I thought was solid good wood. Then I filled in the the holes with epoxy and re drilled them and attached the rudder support.

A few days ago, I removed the deck connectors near the mast with the intention of replacing them. What I found was depressing. I think the entire core around the mast is wet, definitely more than I can dig out with the existing holes. The core area appears to be approximately a 2x2 square, but I don't really have a firm idea.

I am going to leave the hole open the rest of the winter and try and let it dry out as much as possible, but I am not confident that it will really improve. Ultimately, I am unsure what to do to fix the core area. No where on the boat is the deck soft and that was one of the main reasons I bought the boat.

If there are other possible area I need to check, I'd like to know.

The area around the mast is really thick. From what I can tell starting from the top and going down there is:

3/4 to 1in of solid fiberglass
1/2 to 3/4 plywood
1/8 in thin layer of glass

Given that there is not any flex in the deck around the mast, do you think that I should just let it dry out, fill it, and let it go?

I don't want the deck to collapse around the mast while I am sailing. But given the mast support from the deck to the sole is solid, I doubt that would happen. On the other hand, Hunter obviously saw a need to strengthen the area from the factory.

Overall, I have put so much time, energy, and money into getting the boat ready for the water that I am a little discouraged that I will ever get there. This was just icing on that cake I suppose.

Let me know your thoughts.
Dec 2, 1999
Hunter Vision-36 Rio Vista, CA.
I believe that you analysis is correct based on other models. The typical coring is plywood for the deck area.

One of the best ways to repair this area is to cut out the bad area with a skill saw and saving the fiberglass to reinsert after the core is replaced.
Jun 28, 2009
hunter 23 Lake Hefner
The gunwale is cored as well as the foredeck (at least 2" from the toe rail) on my 1985. I wouldn't be suprise if the entire foredeck is cored.

I wonder, if the water intrusion is not too extensive, if you could put dessicated silica in the "hole" and seal it up to expedite the drying process. I also wonder if you would be able to do the repair from the bottom. Esthetically, it would certainly be better. Only problem would be working around the compression post. I suppose you could "layer" the plywood and glue the layers once in place. :confused: Good luck and take some pics for us.
May 16, 2007
Boatless ! 26 Ottawa, Ontario
I think doing the repair from below is the right idea. I would remove the compression post and slowly start to open this area testing for wet core. The final repair would be a nice piece of wood epoxied in place, (or perhaps a piece of stainless depending on what you like to work with and space available) between the compression post and the deck above. Leaving the deck intact and not having to replace any liner inside should make the repair quick and inexpensive.
On my 04 260 all the coring I have seen so far are 2"x2"x1/2" squares of balsa sealed with resin.
good luck with your project, let us know how it goes, Bob


Oct 8, 2006
Hunter 23 Winter Park, Fl. h23
Is there any further news on this??
There used to be a penetrating epoxy on the market that infused into the wood. That is all I remember about it. Maybe it was too good to be true.
If you have the desire for a ventilator, a good place would be right beside the mast base. The hole would give plenty of working room to dig out rot. And maybe consider a 16# injected foam core to stiffen it up.
I would like to hear more about this repair because I also have a wet/rot core. Mine is at the starboard chainplate.

Another thought is to ask Mark Major about it. He took his entire deck off to replace the hull deck joint Search for him in the members list. I think he has project pictures too.

After having heaters and ventilation for a month,
and interminable digging with coat hanger wire and a shop vac,
I am now looking for a suitable foam to fill the core.
The existing plywood core seems to be non-continuous so I don't want to start pouring epoxy that seeps all the way to the transom.
I am looking at U.S.Composites 8# per cu.ft. pourable foam. for $20 per 1/2 cu.ft.
1. Will I need a mixer / gun to do it correctly because of the 45 second working time before foaming starts.
2. Should I drill holes at the furthest points to check for expansion?
3. Is it the proper solution or do you have a better idea?
4. What is the best product to reseal the chainplate? The old silicone was in place but not secure.
I am posting this as a new topic also cause I would like to get some consensus before moving forward.
Jun 28, 2009
hunter 23 Lake Hefner
Perhaps you could use an epoxy thickener if your worried about migration. Use microbubbles or a cellulose filler.
Oct 14, 2009
Hunter H23 Barnegat NJ
To RichB - Wet core near chainplate

Since you re-opened up the thread recently, I had the same problem with a wet side deck core with the chainplate area beingthe source so I can tell you that the side deck area from the rear stanchion forward to the bow is cored with plywood. It is not one solid piece but a parquet of somewhere between 2"-3" square pieces of about 1/2 plywood with possibly a little resin between each square. I found out it doesn't dry out easily if a large area is affected, because the squares are semi isolated/insulated and treatment by injecting epoxy would also be difficult for that reason as it wont flow past the drilled square. The side deck cores are discontinuous with the core on the main deck. That may be a solid piece of plywood

BTW - the product you are thinking about is called Git-rot and is carried by West Marine and other stores.

I ripped out mine from below, but would reconsider. Its hard to epoxy a board to a surface from below - I drilled holes every 5"-6" and used 3/8" bolts through the deck To hold it in place. I think I would do it again from the top as I suspected the top glass was compromised anyway from freeze thaw cycles.
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