Lowering mast has gouged a whole in Deck - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 11-27-2011
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Question Lowering mast has gouged a hole in deck

Hello all, I have a 1985 U.S Yacht 25/Pearson 25 and the tang where the boom vang connects at the bottom of the mast has gouged a small hole in the deck aft of the mast after repeated mast lowerings. The plywood is visible through the 1" X .5" gouge and the PO had covered it with silicone caulk which pulled out easily when I was inspecting it. The deck seems to be solid and without any soft area around it so I'm not concerned that any rot has taken place. I wish to fill the area with some epoxy till such time when I can afford a better repair however I am also considering cutting out a 2" hole with a hole saw where the damage is being done and bedding in a 2" deck fill plate and cap with the fill tube cut down so that it isn't as thick as the deck. This way I can unscrew the cap providing a space for the vang connection tab to go down into the recess when lowering the mast. I would coat the inside of the hole with epoxy as well to keep the wood dry. There is no compression post as the main cabin bulkhead takes all the weight. Does anyone see any problem with this kind of fix? Secondly how can I dry the spot thoroughly without taking it inside. I thought about purchasing some kind of industrial desiccant and laying this over the hole and covering it with a plastic bowl sealed to the deck with tape and leaving it set for a couple of weeks. Again the deck doesn't seem soft and the wood does not seem rotted so I just want to prevent such from happening in the interim. Thanks for any ideas or tips.

Last edited by GalileoX; 11-27-2011 at 04:24 PM.
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Old 11-27-2011
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Can you modify the fitting so that it doesn't contact the deck at all anymore? Seems odd that the clearance is that tight for such a fitting.. As a deck stepped mast there really shouldn't be anything other than the mast tube contacting the deck area.

Photos would help...
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Old 11-27-2011
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Yeah I'll get a pic of it soon but perhaps you misunderstand. The tab doesn't touch the deck until I am lowering the mast. I use a stand or a ladder at the aft end of the boat to keep the mast at an upward angle when it is all the way down as far as I'll let it before I pull the aft pin out of the mast/deck plate but the amount of angle needed to keep the tab off the deck is excessive.

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OK... get it now. Good sketch.

I guess it won't work to lower forward? Your idea about a deck plate in that area makes sense now.
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Old 11-27-2011
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Second the motion for a removable deck plate. Better yet, you might place a block on your coachroof to keep the tab from applying undue pressure on the deck.

If you want to stabilize the plywood against rot, there are a number of low viscosity epoxies out there that you can inject into the plywood. System Three, WEST, Smiths, and Boatlife come to mind. I've used GitRot (Boatlife) with good results. The trick is to wick it into the end grain of the wood, usually by drilling 1/8" hole--trying hard not to drill all the way through the wood--and injecting it with a squeeze bottle or syringe. I have used this technique on a non-structural bulkhead and on various wood house parts. Generally I remove any punky wood and apply the GitRot to sound wood. It has worked on a mitre joint in a wood gutter for over 20 years to arrest further rot. You can use a filler like polyester body filler (Bondo or similar) for any voids and then overcoat with gel coat for a finished repair on your coachroof.
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Thanks for the input. Is the boom vang tab an issue on a lot of trailerable, ie 25 foot or so, boats? And again, how about drying out the wood with the method I described?
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I see what you're trying to do with the modified deck plate .... but would it be easier to modify the tang? I know mine would likely have the same issue but for the use of a bail attached to the sides of the mast instead of a tang on the aft side of the mast for the vang. The bail swings up and takes almost no space. I think similar issues are common on a lot of trailerables. For instance, I have to be careful to remember to slide my main hatch closed when dropping the mast, or I have the same problem with my gooseneck fitting.
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I'm not quite sure what a bail is. I have an idea but It's a guess.
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Ah I see, I looked up bail. It's like the ring on the boom that the sheet attaches too. I like it. I'll look into it. However the one thing I like about my idea is that the fill plate and cap wiil take the place of the hole that is already there but the bail idea is better. I'll just have to learn how to repair fiberglass now.
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If I decide to go with the bail I will cut the tab off. Is there anything I should bear in mind when doing this. I know that minor nicks can cause an aluminum small aircraft wing spar to fail. I would want to cut it off near flush and finish with a grinder and then sand and polish and repaint the area.
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