Bilge Coating Shortcut

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by Flumixt, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. Flumixt
    Joined: Oct 2006
    Posts: 38
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    Location: California

    Flumixt Junior Member

    Got a 42 year old Y-Flyer, wood, but glassed on the outside. Problem is the inside gets quite wet and rots. Now I'm digging out rot under the keelson to be replaced with epoxy and chopped glass. Have to do this every now and then.

    The boat is a fast sailboat which takes on lots of spray water which sloshes around in the bilge up to maybe 4 hours.

    Consequently the wood thats left gets soaked and the water wicks down under and around the repaired places. Problem is the wood thats left is coated with what looks like high quality gray bilge paint, cracked of course, which is extremely tough to remove. I'm thinking of sanding it smooth then coating over that with an elastomeric roof coating just for a couple sections. Object here is to keep the wood from getting soaked and the water wicking down under and around the repaired places.

    This seems like a good short cut to me. The boat is old, I am old and if I can get another 3-5 years max out of it that would be just fine. All I need to do is keep this boat going awhile - its not for the Concourse de Elegance or the Smithsonian.

    Will my fix work?
     
  2. Richard Hillsid
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Scandinavia

    Richard Hillsid Senior Member

    I don’t see the problem being the wood getting wet when in use, its the period in between use, when the interior is wet, and cant dry out properly, with wood its either keep it wet or dry, in a boat like yours it almost impossible.

    Using a an elastomeric roof coating, could probably do more harm than good as it will trap in the water that is trying to evaporate out, in a humid situation this is catastrophe.

    If you have it in you to sand all the paint of why not try some old school remedies, I know kreosite is out but tar, linseed oil and some breathable wood preservative mixed in at about 1/3rd each with a bit of some nice forbidden old time preservative would stop the microbes attacking your wood and let it dry out as it can breathe.

    Make sure if you use a tarp over your boat when its not in use, like say to keep the rain out that it can breathe, ie you have ample ventilation, a tightly fitted non ventilated cover over your boat witch is slightly moist after you dry it out will be a absolute haven for rot to develop.

    You sailing in salt or lake water?
     
  3. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Richard is correct, wet and dry cycling is normal for boats.

    You've already noticed that the damaged areas are trapping moisture under them. This is typical of plastic and rubber like coatings over wood. The moisture will find a way in, it's a matter of time, but it will get in, regardless of the coating, unless it's a museum piece and purely a static display. Little nicks, scratches and other defects and blemishes in the surface coatings will permit moisture to get in. It has to be able to get out when the boat has a dry cycle. Plastic and similar coatings will trap moisture.

    I know it's a pain in the elbow, but remove all the surface coatings that are in need of renewal and hack out all the hard plastic repairs. Stuffing some epoxy and 'glass into places where drainage and ventilation is poor, is just an open invitation to future problems. The same is true with the new super coatings, like roofing coatings or cement. If an area needs repair, it should to be fixed in a way that will allow drainage of pooling water and can't trap moisture inside or around other parts of the boat. This usually means a "Dutchman" or other repair to bad spots should be done, clean out the weep holes, or install some if you don't think she drains well enough and coating the raw wood pieces with a preservative, paint or varnish. Good care after that will make her last (proper ventilation, keeping her dry, and covered, etc.)

    The only time epoxy should be employed, in a boat of traditional construction methods is when the piece can be completely removed, encapsulated then re-installed as a plastic embalmed part. If the part isn't completely coated (every side, screw hole, etc.) then moisture will get in with limited avenues of escape, so rot is going to form. Epoxy can be used as an adhesive in traditional construction, but care must be made to insure that the structure wasn't relying on the joint's flexibility. A good rule of thumb when trying to figure this out is; if the joint wasn't glued before and just had a single fastener, then it was expected to move a little.
     
  4. Flumixt
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: California

    Flumixt Junior Member

    I almost totally agree with everything you guys say. I have sailed for 60 years so wet goes with the territory. When tarped, its loose so it breaths etc. It gets sponged dry and sun dried after every sail (every 3 days).

    Well several years ago I dug out the then rotted part, painted the dugout places with penetrating epoxy then shot in spray-on foam. Figured I was cutting a fat hog. :) Well it got wet under the foam. I didn't know that till this summer. Boat sat for 3 years and, of course, rotted while I thought it was drying to a crisp.

    Perhaps I should change my thinking on the coating. Lets try it this way:

    Picture a 10º V-bottom with a centerboard trunk and the keelson under that trunk rotted away for about 3 feet and even open from side to side in places ahead of the centerboard opening. The gap varies from 1/2" to 2" high. Lets say I just let the original wood bottom or whats left of it set open to get wet and dry out as its used. In places the wood is gone clear down to the epoxy lay up.

    BUT! I have to fill in under the keelson for 2 reasons. 1) it needs the support and 2) I take on as much as 20 gallons of water occasionally and simply must not let it all drain to the low side. Gotta keep 1/2 on the high side. Its an 18 foot scow. Heels mostly 15º to 30º but up to 50º to 60º when it gets away from me.

    So my solution is to fill with the epoxy/chopped glass combo. If not the epoxy what might you suggest?

    Along part of the distance it will be applied directly to the epoxy bottom. The only place to rot would then be above my fill. Seems to me then I should try to seal just where the epoxy and wood meet.


    =======================
    Don't forget; this boat is doomed. Any action is a delaying action. I'm still strong enough to sail it but at 71 that won't last. That's why 2-5 years is all I really set my sights on.

    I'm in California, sail in fresh water, boats been sitting for 3 weeks in 100ºF+, with the cockpit rotated to the sun. Its about as dry as it will ever be. Removing the paint is not an option. Sure am long winded ain't I?
     

  5. Flumixt
    Joined: Oct 2006
    Posts: 38
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: California

    Flumixt Junior Member

    I started fixing the sailboat. Got some epoxy with chopped glass into it. Ran out of chopped glass and thixotropic powder and had to order some as nobody in town has any or even knows what those things are. I tracked the order on the net. It took 2.33 hours from the Big City to My Small Town about 170 miles. Thats what it shows - comes out 73 mph! Left the distribution center at 8:18 am which is 3.8 miles from my house and got to my house at 6:40 pm. About 10.5 hours to go 3.8 miles. Not too bad. I spose it sort of made up for the wild ride on the freeway. If the local driver hadn't been hustling no telling when it woulda got there. :)

    Anyway back to Plan A except the roofing covering outfits don't recommend elastomeric roof covering for wood. So I switched to elastomeric house paint which will be applied over oil based primer among other things.
    Cheers :)
     

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