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jarcher 05-13-2009 10:16 PM

Rotted core around baby stay tang :(
Hi All...

The prior owner of my boat decided that the best way to fix a leaking baby stay tang was to smear a pile of silicon around the cover and call it a day. Too bad it leaked like a sieve.

Today, I removed the tang. It mounts right below the deck and protrudes upward through a 2 inch by 1/2 inch slot cut for it. Removing it was relatively easy.

There was no epoxy surrounding the inside edges of the slot. Using an alan wrench, I dug a small mountain of rotted core material out of that slot and I am not sure I got it all. It was moist and as I dug deeper I was getting larger chunks of core material as opposed to the fertalizer I got when I started. It also got harder to dig, as the alan wrench only goes in so far.

The void in the deck now extends about 2.25 inches in each direction from the slot.

To repair this do I need to cut open the deck, recore, and reglass? I am really hoping there is a way that does not require that. Aside from it being a big project I have no idea how to do, it will probably be next to impossible to match the color and non-skid surface.

This has really ruined my week, but I would appreciate any suggestions. I snapped a few pictures and will post them tonight or tomorrow, but they don't show much more than a 2 in by 1/2 in hole in the deck. Oh, and the pile of rotted wood :mad:

arf145 05-13-2009 10:29 PM

If this baby stay tang is anything like a chainplate, I found some moist balsa and rot around my chainplate slot last fall. I dug it out with a succession of tools (pieces of clothes hanger wire mainly) until I got what felt like all of it. Amounted to an inch to inch and a half gap around the slot. I filled it all up with thickened epoxy and then redrilled out the slot.

You might want to get some longer probes than an allen wrench to see the extent of your problem. If you've pretty much got it all, maybe filling from the slot will do. We'll see what others say.

jarcher 05-13-2009 10:32 PM


Originally Posted by arf145 (Post 485679)
You might want to get some longer probes than an allen wrench to see the extent of your problem. If you've pretty much got it all, maybe filling from the slot will do. We'll see what others say.

Yeah I guess that is the thrust of my question - how deep does it go before a recore is needed. Someone told me I could dry it out with a light bulb, but that was before he knew the extent of the rot.

When you filled your void, did you do it from the edge or did you drill a hole through the deck into it? I am guessing the former?

Gary M 05-13-2009 10:40 PM

Try tapping the hull adjacent to the opening. If the balsa very wet or rotted you will hear a softer sound so you will get some idea of how extensive it is.. A moisture meter is a better indication. Also you can drill into the core (possibly from underneath) to see how bad the balsa is.

Is it possible to repair from the bottom. I just cut out the inner skin and removed balsa in a section around my port chain plate today. Starboard was redone with very good results 2 years ago.

A good surveryor might take a look for free.


mitiempo 05-14-2009 12:48 AM

If the area is small and you're sure you have removed all of the wet balsa core you can seal the slot from the bottom and epoxy from the top. Use epoxy thickened with colloidal silica. After it has set recut the slot. You can drill exploratory holes from the bottom to check the extent of the wet core and to make sure you have removed all of it.

jarcher 05-14-2009 01:02 AM

Actually, access from the bottom is very limited because there is a fiberglass rib of some type that is molded in and extends down, so the tang assembly can bolt to it. Drilling holes is doable but opening a section is not...

zz4gta 05-14-2009 08:35 AM

Just recored a huge section of deck on my boat over the winter. If there is a structural rib that the stay bolts to under the deck, then I'd say go from the top. Cut out a section of decking twice as big as you think you need, remover the outer skin and then the bad core. Recore with balsa or thickened epoxy, then epoxy the skin back over and redrill/cut out your slot for the tang. Fair and paint/non-skid.

These pics are from going from inside, but my boat is pretty stripped out of any interior contours.

JimsCAL 05-14-2009 09:49 AM

I had some balsa core rot at my port shroud attachment point a number of years ago. Yard removed the top layer of fiberglass and the rotted core until they got back to solid balsa. New balsa was installed, the deck reglassed and gelcoated. The color and nonskid pattern match to the original is close, but its easy to see a repair was made.

If you can get all the rotted core out as you have been doing, filling with epoxy and redrilling is fine. My bad area was over 1 square foot.

arf145 05-14-2009 09:53 AM


Originally Posted by jarcher (Post 485682)
When you filled your void, did you do it from the edge or did you drill a hole through the deck into it? I am guessing the former?

You guess right, but a small hole might have been better since the deck was slightly slanted in the area in question. I think what I did was block the slot from below, fill the whole "lower" part of the cavity up to a point that left a small gap for access to the upper part, let that solidify some, then injected the thickened (with colloidal silica) epoxy into the remaining "upper" side using a syringe. A small hole at the highest point of the upper part would have allowed me to just pump epoxy into the upper chamber until it came back out the hole.

If it were me I'd go with filling if I thought I had gotten all the rot out and could reach the whole gap with my filler. You might not have such a depressing situation there.

idontwantanaccount 05-14-2009 10:42 AM

possible approaches
If you can remove the headliner you can drill holes from the bottom to check the extent of the damage. If the core is wet to a small distance out, but not rotted or delaminated from the skins, mount a heat lamp below to dry out the core. Then refill the area you have already dug out with epoxy. My approach would be to seal all the holes/slot with tape from below and fill the slot with some epoxy to wet things out (probe with a long nail to make sure everything gets covered) . Remove the tape from the slot to drain the epoxy, then mix a batch of thickened epoxy (colloidal silica) and pack the deck taking care to eliminate voids as best you can. Small voids are not a big deal unless they are pervasive. Use a slow hardener. Finally fill the drill holes from below with thickened epoxy and add a layer of fiberglass to strengthen and seal things up.
If the damaged area is not too large you could also consider replacing the slot coverplate with a larger stainless steel plate to cover a repair done from the top. Should look okay. If the rotted area is large you will be faced a recore job from the top or bottom.


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