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  #1  
Old 10-24-2010
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pearson 31 moisture in deck

Hi
My wife and I are looking at purchasing our first cruising boat and have come across a 1987 pearson31 in good overall shape and at a very reasonable price. After looking at it we talked to the boatyard manager who knew allot of the story on the boat. It was sold for nearly twice the asking price but the deal fell through due to a bad survey that indicated moisture in the deck around the out side rim of the boat, he said some areas had 30% and it extended in from the toe rail about 8 in around the boat. When walking on the boat on the hard, the deck did not feel "soft" and the stantions seemed to be sturdy.
My question is; how big of a concern is this issue and what will/can eventually happen, worst case scenario. Also in what time period? Would this issue hinder one from sailing in heavier conditions? They stated that two years ago it had a clean survey???
Any help/info would be appreciated.
Thanks!
Chris
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Old 10-24-2010
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It means the coring is wet and is or will rot. If in a freezing climate it can lead to delamination quickly. Strength is lost wherever you are. The solution is to cut the top skin out and remove any wet core, replace with new and glass over with epoxy and biaxial cloth, fair, and paint. A big job to do yourself and very expensive if hired out.
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  #3  
Old 10-24-2010
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The toe rail and stanchions on that particular model have been and can be problematic. Pearson in all their infinite wisdom thought it a good idea to punch out gaskets for the stanchion bases and push pits, really bad idea.

While it no-doubt saved them a ton of money in labor, rags, and chemicals it has cost a lot of owners huge $$$ to repair. If you find ANY Pearson that still has gaskets there is a very, very high probability that the deck is wet. Furthermore if you find one that still has gaskets it is a strong indicator that it has likely never been re-bedded or well cared for.

While this boat may still be structurally sound only a survey by a COMPETENT surveyor can shed light on it to a level that will allow the vessel to be insured or not. Depending upon the level of wetness and delam it may or may not even be insurable. Deck repairs can run 10-30K+ to the extent you describe. Our local boat yard has done a ton of the 303's, 31's 33's and 36-2's all due to the gasket debacle...


Here's why they are a problem..

Why Gaskets Leak (VIDEO LINK)
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Old 10-24-2010
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I have a quick question related to this. If the core is a little damp, is it possible to dry it out somehow? Will it inevitably rot if it gets damp?

The reason I ask is that I've been rebedding everything on deck lately. I remove the hardware, drill the hole slightly bigger, dig out as much damp core as I can (if it seems damp), fill the larger hole with epoxy, redrill the correct size hole, and then reattach the hardware while sealing it with 5200.

My concern is that while this will stopping leaky hardware it's not doing anything to fix the already damp core.
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I suppose you could dry core by drilling many holes and letting it air out over time but the best way is to cut and remove it, recore and glass over.

Also best not to use 5200. The only item I would ever use it on is a keel, and maybe not even that. When (not if) that hardware is removed in the future the 5200 will pull gelcoat with it. Adhesive strength is not needed to that extent if fastenings are used. Better choices would be 3M 4200, Sikaflex 291, or best of all butyl which is also the least expensive. Here's a link that might help.
Sealing Deck Penetrations to Prevent Core Rot Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com

And here's a pic of what happens when 5200 is used. The gelcoat has been pulled off with the hardware.
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pearson 31 moisture in deck-1.jpg  
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Old 10-25-2010
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I'd point out that the best sealant for general above the water line use for through-bolted hardware is BUTYL TAPE. Unless you need the adhesion characteristics and strength of a different sealant or the area is subject to exposure to fuel spillage on a regular basis, using butyl tape is often the most effective and inexpensive way to seal it.
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I too have a Pearson 31-2 1987 I got it for 1/2 price because of wet decks. I just bought it this spring - sailed it a lot and love it. Yesterday I removed the stanchions, drilled a 1" hole and dug out as much core as I could. I could dig out an area a little larger then the base of the stanchion. Some were rot [dark fibers] others firm but wet balsa wood. I plan on covering the boat but leaving the stanchions off hoping to dry the deck out.

Then in the spring use butyl tape to put them back on.

I'm new to this -- and not sure.
Please give recomondations and advise
What do you think -Mainesail ?
everyone?
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If there is much moisture in the decks and if it extends beyond the stanchion bases just leaving the stanchion bases off will not dry it in 20 years.

The solution is to determine how far the moisture extends, either by moisture meter (first choice) or drilling holes/removing top skin and remove all of it. Replace it with new core (balsa preferred) and glass over it, the new glass equal to the original skin thickness.
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Old 10-25-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingWebGuy View Post
I have a quick question related to this. If the core is a little damp, is it possible to dry it out somehow? Will it inevitably rot if it gets damp?

The reason I ask is that I've been rebedding everything on deck lately. I remove the hardware, drill the hole slightly bigger, dig out as much damp core as I can (if it seems damp), fill the larger hole with epoxy, redrill the correct size hole, and then reattach the hardware while sealing it with 5200.

My concern is that while this will stopping leaky hardware it's not doing anything to fix the already damp core.
Once water enters a wooden/balsa core it will activate the fungal spores that either were there when the coring was manufactured or spores that entered with the water. There is only a teeny percent chance that injecting anti-fungal compounds (tin-compounds such as athletes foot remedies, a mix of ethylene Glycol and borax, etc.) will keep the fungals in check. Other than that the only way to stop the fungal growth is gamma radiation. Sorry but the only way to be sure that the rot isnt spreading/worsening is to open the core and replace it, etc. .... and the sooner you do this the less work you will ultimately do. If your boat is a Pearson, it is possible to do the core replacement 'from underneath' so you dont destroy the deck's non-skid; but, this 'from underdeck' repair is chancy/difficult for the DIYer.

Last edited by RichH; 10-25-2010 at 03:02 PM.
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In looking at pearsons we found the problem to be as widespread as reported in otherwise pretty good boats

The problem is compounded by two issues the Hull liner greatly complicates and inside repiar and the models with and aluminum toerail it greatly complicates and outside skin repiar

In repiaring the C&C stanchions which have the same problem with the aluminum toerail being so close to the stanchion base and the hull liner getting in the way on the inside
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