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I'm in the middle of a big structural repair myself right now. The big question I have is, can you get down inside that locker with your whole body? If you can't that is going to be one tough ass repair.

Everything must come off. You'll find that the repair is SO much easier without everything in the way that you won't find the time it takes to be a problem at all. I'd cut the ends of the bolts off where the first nuts were. Trying to remove second nut over the galling left by the first really would be likely to fail. If you have the room under there, and you know someone with a nut cracker you might be able to get them off that way. I have one, I'll have to see it would do a 1/2" nut.

You are not doing a repair. It failed because it wasn't strong enough before. So it has to be reengineered as well, so it doesn't happen again. Sometimes you get lucky, and WHY it failed is obvious. That is the case with the keel on my ETAP 26. The problem is so obvious the designer should have been fired.

Get several people to look at it. If someone tells you how easy the fix is be very wary. A big part of the repair cost is prep work, like removing everything in the way, stripping off ALL the paint or gelcoat in the repair area etc. That kind of work you may be able to do yourself. I had to remove the holding tank, water tank, nav station, table, head door, all cabinet work on one side, and the main bulkhead to get to the repair area in my boat. I spent four days on my knees in a corner just grinding away gelcoat. The actual glassing repair is quite easy.

Take the digital camera and reach down inside and take lots more pictures for a better evaluation too. It'sa powerful tool fo this kind of thing.

Gary H. Lucas
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