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Split deck cap and leaking hull/deck joint
On my recently purchased 1977 46-foot sailboat there is an 3-4 foot section of the teak cap rail adjacent to the mid cockpit which has multiple long standing (~12 years) longitudinal cracks measuring up to 3/16 inch wide. The previous owner did nothing to repair it. This also causes the deck-hull joint under this area to leak rainwater into the boat along a 3-4 foot area, but no water on the inside ceiling under the deck. This may be because of frozen water causing additional separation of the joint. No hull damage is apparent. The deck cap probably needs to be removed (but how?) and the joint needs to be repaired/closed (again, how?). A friend of mine suggested I buy new teak and make a new curved deck cap rather than try to repair the old piece. I was thinking about closing the up to 3/16 inch separation by putting resin in the cracks and then clamping the spaces closed and then drill dowel holes and gluing dowels in place but this maybe more work than it worth. After fixing the cracks I would remove the cap and fix the joint leak, again, how?.
I’ve searched this and several other sailing website archives and found only a few recommendations for repair which I copied below.
One site said “I've used penetrating epoxy, but not for this purpose. It's very expensive and it doesn't fill a crack, it soaks into the surrounding wood. I've tried filling a crack in the teak cap rail with a thicker epoxy resin, but it tends to deteriorate in the sun. Possibly you might have better luck if you thicken epoxy resin with teak sawdust. The previous owner of my boat filled some lengthy cap rail cracks with clear sealant. It held up well and, while it doesn't disguise the crack, it's not all that obvious. I had a damaged piece that actually split (a wake pushed the boat hard against a piling), and I fixed that with epoxy and a screw put in from the side of the board and set deep enough for a teak bung to cover it. Doesn't sound like the cracks you have are as bad as that one, though.”
Someone else had sustained some damage during the storm in the panhandle and was told, “I used west epoxy and their extended time hardener. Measure the amount of epoxy and thin with acetone to a very thin consistency. Add the hardener and stir well. It should be very thin so that it penetrates and is absorbed by the wood. It may take 2 or 3 coats before you see a buildup that you can use thickened epoxy on. Successive coats should applied before the previous coat sets hard. 24 hrs or so are probably about right but not successive week ends. Once epoxy sets it will not bond to the next coat unless it is sanded or wiped w/ acetone and you will not be able to get in the cracks for either. It will probably be a good idea to use aluminum tape for masking. The acetone will penetrate normal tape.”
Anyone with experience dealing with this problem? Sorry this is so long.