Originally Posted by RotorWashout
I'm not at allinterested in racing this boat. The origin is the Calgary Parks and Recreation department, so although it was not built to race, I can expect it was built at the very least to be strong. Again, the hull is in fantastic shape, it is only the top deck and assortment of plywood gussets that need some attention. I know what I'm getting into, I'm familiar with building up Fiberglass and finishing properly, but separating is new to me. I just want to know if it is even possible to separate the two sections, I can break apart the surrounding edge but my concern lies with the internals and if they are somehow fixed together.
I have very goos rememberings of the Fireball. It's was the first boat I made when teenager. I made the hull, and I got all the material used. And it's a fun boat.
A set of plans from the Class association will help you so you'll be able to control the dimensions.
To check the upper deck and the gussets will be some work. Do not try to separate the deck from the hull by the joint deck/hull that will probably make to much damage, and the hull will become flimsy..
A suggestion which has to be adapted to the real situation.
First brace the boat with a light jig outside around the deck line and 3 supports where the hull will be firmly resting so the Fire will keep its shape when you will open the deck. Otherwise the hull may open easily of more than 1/4 of a inch, old polyester is pretty soft, and you'll have to struggle to "reshape" the boat to its dimensions.
After you cut the deck at 2 inches inside from the line hull/deck. Thus you won't destroy the junction. Make a nice cut, as you are going to reuse the deck. Do not forget to make position marks. That will leave a flange.
You'll have to remake all the gussets.
The very thin ( 1mm only) 4" disks for cutting stainless steel on a 4" grinder and a good jib saw will do the job. A saber saw also.
After changing the gussets (glue et protect them with epoxy), prepare 4 inches wide lamination pieces of the shape of the cut on a table. You will glue them under the 2 inches flange. Prepare well the surfaces to glue, let it cure.
After adjusting, you can now repose the deck carefully on the "super flange"following the position marks made before on a rather thick paste of epoxy, colloidal silica and a bit of chopped 3 mm 1/8 chopped glass fiber, it will remain the gap from the cut. Probably you will need screws and weighs to keep all that in place. Let it cure and take out the screws.
Sand a "scarf" wide 6 times the thickness of the lamination of the deck each side of the gap. The total width is 12 times. Use a 4" flap sanding disk on a grinder. Use only 80 grit. These things are eaters, have a light hand.
Now you can stratify with straps of 6 oz satin cloth. until filling all. Sand. It's a lot of work but very strong.
Use only epoxy that will glue flawlessly. Polyester is cheaper but there are bad surprises specially with very old polyester laminations. Choose an epoxy rather slow to have time.