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Helms 24 core repair under mast, need advice
I have a 1982 Helms 24 that I am working on and trying to get in the water next year. My next task is to replace the core on the cabin top under the mast. Water was leaking into the boat through some holes drilled for cables and under the mast step. Since the mast is off, now is a good time to fix all of this. I drilled some test holes to try to determine how far the wet core went and how thick the core is. I found a few things that lead to some questions that I am hoping someone here can help with.
First, the core thickness does not seem to be uniform across the cabin top. Mainly the area under the mast step. When I drilled here, I found the fiberglass to be thin and the core to be thinner than other places that I drilled. I tried to take some pictures, not sure how good of a job I did though. I do have one picture of the difference in fiberglass thickness and the coring is probably half as thick in this area. I also noticed, and you can tell from the pictures, that the piece that the mast attaches too has fiberglass stuck to the bottom of it and it was formed to make the mast level, but it did not really attached itself well to the cabin top. When I unbolted everything, it just came apart. So maybe this is why the fiberglass and the core that is left on the cabin top is thinner than the rest? They expected to put more fiberglass on top and did not need as much coring? Is this normal to have less wood coring and build up the step with fiberglass like this? Is it factory of did someone attempt a repair?
Not sure if you can see from the pictures, but there is a slight crack running in a U shape about 1.5 feet on either side of the mast and about the same distance towards the front. It looks like simple cracks in the gel-coat, but I am assuming this is stress from the whole roof being soft and the core being bad. I plan to cut about two inches past this and try to reuse the top piece of fiberglass. I will cut this out, remove the core, replace the core, then put it back and fiberglass the edges. Does anyone have any other different ways that they would approach this repair?
What about under the mast, should I go with the thinner coring like it has or would it be good to go all fiberglass in this area or maybe G10? I am not a fan of having any coring in a place that I know is going to have bolts through it and cables, but wood coring is what the manufacture put there and it has lasted this long, so maybe it is ok? Any suggestions?