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510datsun 07-29-2011 05:22 AM

New Islander 28 Owner needs help on floor replacement
Hi, I have recently purchased a 1976 Islander 28, my first sailboat. I noticed the engine bilge was holding water and not draining in to the keel bilge where the bilge pump is located. I noticed the water would not pass through the hole going from the engine bilge to the keel bilge because the bilge pump hose and wiring were going through the hole, plugging it. The hose and wiring have been there a long time resulting in the water building up enough in the engine bilge to then seep between the teak laminate and the floor plywood, and then in to the keel bilge.

I re-routed the bilge pump wiring and managed to get the water to drain down to the keel bilge. So, now the floor is finally drying out after years of being wet. I would still like to route the bilge pump hose another way to free up the drain hole completely.

I just don't see this being part of the original design, the boat appears to be well built and thought out. The current set up has cost me the floor of the boat. The teak has delaminated and the sub floor plywood is rotten in places.:eek:

Can anyone tell me how the bilge hose was run originally?

Can the plywood floor be removed and replaced?

If so, how do you remove it? You obviously have to be careful with sawing to remove the plywood floor and not damage stringers and runners.

Has anyone replaced the plywood floor?
Any help would be appreciated, Thanks

downeast450 08-08-2011 08:44 AM

Hi 510,

I have a 76 I-28 also that I have been working on for a few years now. I am retired but one of my former lives was a boat builder and might be able to offer you some suggestions. It is a very comfortable little boat to start on. Perry considers it one of his best designs and is worth the investment in time if the boat is generally sound. The cabin soles (floors) are easily removable. The frames on my boat were and still are encapsulated in fiberglass. Running a drill through them reveals punky wood that I will probably replace at some point but there is so much glass over them the glass has effectively become the frame. The center floor boards should be loose and removable anyway for bilge access.

In my bilge the engine space connects via two 1/2 inch tubes running on either side of the space below the floors just aft of the main bilge. I suspect this is a rebuilt version of the original design. My emergency bilge hose is stored under the galley storage drawers and only gets deployed if needed. I added a bilge pump hose to the original set up that connects to the A-4s raw water intake plumbing. If I need an engine driven bilge pump I can shut the seacock and open a second valve so the raw water pump sucks from the bilge. I routed this hose beside the existing electric bilge pump hose. The existing hose passes aft through a frame near the floor and along with the new hose exits the bilge space near the base of the port settee and then is routed through the bulkhead that supports the stove counter. It then passes through a hidden bulkhead and back under the sink then aft under the battery shelf along the fuel tank support bulkhead. The new hose exits the space under the sink into the engine space where it connects to the raw water plumbing. I did not have enough room to conceal the new hose along this path so I simply let it show where the cabin sole joins the settee frame. If you want any suggestions about how and what i have done send me a pm and I will be glad to give you a hand. I have sailed many small, up to 60') sailboats along the Maine coast over the past 35 years and the I-28 is one of the best. Congtats.


SailKing1 08-08-2011 11:39 AM

The sub floor on my Islander was actually glassed to the hull under the settees and screwed to the ribs. I had to remove the settees (which I rebuilt) to get the floor out. This is a tough job as the sub floor was installed, on my Islander anyway, before all the remaining interior and bulkheads. I ended up gutting the boat and doing a complete refit.

Great sailing boats the Islander so it was well worth the time and education.

downeast450 08-08-2011 01:28 PM

The perimeter sub floor on my boat is glassed to the hull, too. If replacing that is the issue I would have to remove the settees to do it. Ugh!


Paul Comte 08-09-2011 12:51 PM

I used the excellent FEIN Multimaster w/ their black saw blades to cut the cabin sole out on a 45 degree bevel. When I replaced the rotten floors and a soft hull section, I used thickened West System epoxy and bedded the original sole back in. You might make a cardboard template of yours before cutting it out to aid in fitting its replacement.

If I was faced with your problem I'd explore the condition of the sole around its perimeter with hopes of the same strategy. If the perimeter is serviceable, I would just replace the defective area. It took us about 6 work hours to cut out the sole.

If you have a problem buying marine plywood in your area, see if there is a highway sign company near you. Around here they sometimes use marine plywood and seconds may be available for little or no cost.

If you decide there is no way to save the edges and insist the sole has to be one piece, then you will have to remove almost the entire interior. Frankly, I think that is un-necessary as long as you tie your replacement parts back into the serviceable remains
of the original sole. The salon faces just stand on the outer edge and you should be able to epoxy on to that almost as strong as the original (now old) plywood...

These are not problems designed in by Bob Perry. His design was purchased by Islander Yachts and their people did the engineering we bought.

Paul Comte
I28 Milwaukee, WI
Not a marine engineer - just what I did to repair our boat...

510datsun 08-14-2011 06:52 PM

Hi, Thanks for your replies! Just as I thought, no easy job, and a big task ahead of me. I will most likely tear up the sole, cut out the bad, epoxy in the new, and put in a new sole. I will use Paul's suggestion using cardboard as templates when removing rotten areas. When I get the sole up and see how much rotten plywood, I will most likely use Paul's idea on removing as much as I can without doing the complete refit route. I just don't have the time or money for that. This is my first boat and I want to sail vs a complete restoration on the hard.

If any of you have pictures of removing the plywood floor, It would be great to see your projects, and where to be careful when sawing.

ilikerust 08-14-2011 09:39 PM

The plywood sole of my 1968 Pearson Wanderer 30 was rotten in places and overall pretty well thrashed.

So a few months ago, I tore it out.

I used a reciprocating saw (a/k/a "Sawzall" or "saber saw") to take it out in chunks. It had been held down with a thick fiberglass and resin tab all the way around the perimeter, and bedded in a thick resin bed.

So after I tore out the floor, I was left with that thick tab all the way around the perimeter. I used a chisel to remove most of it:

Then I used an angle grinder with coarse sandpaper to grind down what was left:

ilikerust 08-14-2011 09:49 PM

I was surprised to find that what passed for "floor timbers" installed by the factory were little more than a few miscellaneous scraps of oak placed seemingly randomly here and there. They were not attached to the hull anywhere - they were just laid in the hull and the sole laid down over them and screwed to them.

I decided to make new, properly fitted floor timbers, to be epoxied and glassed into the hull.

I used the old "ticking stick" method to make templates for new floor timbers:

I took the templates home and cut out the timbers on the bandsaw. I used spokeshaves to fine-tune the fit to the hull, then used thickened epoxy to bed them down into the hull.

Before epoxying, I used a twisted wire wheel on the angle grinder to go over the entire bilge to clean it to try to ensure good adhesion of not only the epoxy, but also the bilge paint that I would be using. That operation made a huge mess and blew fiberglass dust everywhere. My arms were itchy for days afterwards, and every time I visited the boat, I'd get it again. I finally hosed out the inside of the boat, which helped a lot.

I coated all the surfaces of the new timbers with unthickened epoxy, then used colloidal silica to thicken up a batch and stick them to the hull and make some nice fillets. Here are the new floor timbers after epoxying:

I also went over the fillets with fiberglass and epoxy.

ilikerust 08-14-2011 09:50 PM

I then painted the whole mess with three coats of Bilgekote. This is the first coat:

ilikerust 08-14-2011 10:06 PM

I am not going to use the standard "teak and holly" plywood for the new sole. Instead, I am going to make a varnished plank floor.

I'm working on giving the cabin more of an old-fashioned, classic wooden boat feel. I've been working on a few interior woodworking projects along those lines, including replacing a non-structural interior bulkhead with a frame and raised panel assembly.

Check out this cabin sole:

That's pretty much the look I'm going for.

That sole is simply varnished planks of solid wood, butted together. I will use Southern Yellow Pine, ripped into about 4-1/2" wide planks, resawed and thicknessed to 7/8". I will oil and varnish all surfaces, then screw them down to the new floor timbers. I will countersink the screws and plug the holes with black walnut plugs for a nice contrast.

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