Leaky Genoa track caused wet core - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 03-28-2013
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Leaky Genoa track caused wet core

I have owned 1981 C&C 27 for 2 years. Based on survey and a moisture meter have found high readings all along genoa tracks -- and has become this winter's project.

At advice of local marine store, approach taken so far is to cut a series of rectangles (about 4 inches long by 1/2 in. wide) in the deck under where the G-track is to be re-bedded. Through these rectangles, and a variety of adhoc tools, i have been able to dig out old, wet, decayed balsa, in some cases leading me to excavate 4 inches or more from the track location.

see photo

I will spend more hours digging, and eventually plan to refill deck cavities with epoxy.

Questions for you are:
1) Is this approach "good enough"? I assume after refilling core, epoxy mixture will certainly be lots stronger than rotten balsa (or air). The C&C wont be used for high stress racing, but don't want G-track to go flapping in 15 knots of wind on weekend cruise. Cosmetics are not high priority.
2) Fishing through the rectangles to extract old balsa is not perfect. What is risk of leaving some wet/decayed balsa some inches from G-tracks. I assume highest forces will be near G-tracks, not inches away.

thanks for any pointers or others who have been through similar fun.
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Old 03-28-2013
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Re: Leaky Genoa track caused wet core

What the last surveyor told me:
- for wet panels where the core is not destroyed, stop the ingress of additional water and it should not get any worse.

Using solid epoxy seems to eliminate the leaking risk, but I am not sure epoxy makes a good core. Solid epoxy seems brittle, for example if you drill it, maybe you'd have to mix it with fg fibers for strength... I'd find knowledgeable advice from a materials engineer or equivalent (or at least call West Systems) before assuming this is a good tack to take.
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Old 03-28-2013
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Re: Leaky Genoa track caused wet core

One of the problems with leaving wet core in a repairs such as this is it will inhibit or completely stop the curring of the epoxy, turning it into a gooey mush. Now that you have it open try to get it dried out as much as possible. I have had to go back after others have injected epoxy into a wet core and I can tell you it is a real mess that only makes it worse to repair. Can you get at this from the underside at all? I am thinking the builder should never have left balsa in this area to start with so having a solid filler will not hurt. Use a high density filler with your epoxy. One of your biggest problems will be to avoid leaving voids in the filler. You could use a thinner mix to pour in and let it flow into all the voids. These of course are just some thoughts as I am not there to see it in person.

Capt. Wayne Canning, AMS
Project Boat Zen - Boat and Yacht Repair and Restoration
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Re: Leaky Genoa track caused wet core

Thanks much. i read a post in C&C forum where un-thickened epoxy was injected in, left for an hour to wet everything, and then sucked back out w a syringe. sounds tricky but may experiment w that approach. agree that i will have to start with thinner mixture, and then add more density to filler as i get closer to immediate G-track area.
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Old 03-28-2013
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Re: Leaky Genoa track caused wet core

Sorry but if you want to repair this properly filling it with epoxy will not be the solution. If you had access underneath it would have been easier to fix it from there but since you have already cut it out on top you need to do more.

A moisture meter will help you understand how far the wet balsa extends and tapping it with a plastic hammer or what I use is a big wrench and you will be able to define where the DE-laminated area is.
You will have to cut out the top layer, dig out the wet balsa and give it time to dry. Then grind down the gel coat and carry on with the repair, really a fair bit of work and I am heading down to my boat in the morning to do just that.

Good Luck
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Old 03-29-2013
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Re: Leaky Genoa track caused wet core

I agree with some of the other posts. You already made the cut so why not go a little wider, pull out the old wood and install new wood? For cutting the existing fiberglass you might want to consider a battery trim skill saw with a 7.5 inch blade diameter set to a quarter-inch cut depth. I have also used my makita 4-inch trim saw which easily cuts the existing glass deck, just don't cut to deep! Remove the old wood and replace. I have used the lower layer of fiberglass for supporting the new materials. I have also used screws to temporarily clamp the wood in place, after the resin or epoxy cures I remove the screws and then fill/coat the holes with epoxy (both thickened and unthickened). If the screws penetrate the headliner, tape the hole (I prefer gorilla tape) to insure no leaks into the cabin area, then repair the hole when finished. After the wood is set, use fiberglass and fair into the remaining decking. You will want to fair into the original deck to prevent cracks at the repair joint(s) in the future. Once the deck is complete and you are ready to reinstall the g-track, oversive the holes for the bolt and fill with thickened epoxy (collidial silica to peanut butter consistency). (Note: use gorilla tape or similar on the underside of the hole to support the epoxy until it is cured) Then drill a hole for the g track bolts in the center of the thickened epoxy. This will help to insure minimal water penetration back into the deck. You should also consider using 1/16th thick butyl tape under the track. Also on the underside of the bolt head (google Maine Sail website/Musings with Maine Sail) I found the west system website and information very helpful, too.

Last edited by ambianceack; 03-29-2013 at 05:48 AM.
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Re: Leaky Genoa track caused wet core

Thanks for advice.

I have limited time this spring so was looking for fast (and lazy) way out. I can appreciate I should be cutting away larger chunks of deck. By the way, the max distance between G-tracks and toe rail is about 12 inches -- and worst of moisture is about 4-6 inches from G-tracks - so there isnt a huge area of problems here.

Sounds like a tricky and time consuming act to get the glass and gelcoat reconstructed, particularly at the joints, and not make a cosmetic mess of it all. i can read up on steps in West system manuals.

Has anyone ever given up on pretty cosmetics and just glued down some form of anti-skid mat material over the work area? -- (note the quick and lazy approach again)

Thanks again
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Old 03-30-2013
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Re: Leaky Genoa track caused wet core

oh, and thanks for butyl tape advice. i have used that on other deck fittings, and works great.
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