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Project Log:  Sunday, December 5, 2010

One of the casualties of the boat's sinking and recovery was the forward mooring bitt.  According to the previous owner, this bit was ripped out of the deck during the recovery, perhaps when an air bladder was secured to it and the force overcame the bearing strength of the supporting washers, or something like that.  I didn't really know, and fortunately the bitt came with the boat (having been recovered at the end of the bladder's attachment line), but the foredeck was left with four ragged holes where the fasteners had pulled straight through; apparently there'd been no backing plate.


To remove the bad material, and otherwise prepare the holes for repair and eventual reattachment of the bitt sometime later in the project, I overbored the existing holes with a 1-1/2" bit, drilling through the raised plywood reinforcement and the main cored deck structure beneath, till all that remained was the inner skin.  Then, I used a small abrasive disc to ease the edges at the tops of the holes.


I like to fill all existing fastener holes during the surface and paint preparation process--even if it's likely that the same piece of hardware will end up going back in the same place after painting--as it provides me with a clean slate for hardware reattachment options when the time comes, and it's easier to redrill holes than it is to deal with an unwanted hole after the fact.  Starting completely fresh just makes the most sense, particularly when, over many years of previous ownership, the deck had become peppered with undesirable hardware and equipment holes, often for mountings that I'd no intention of reinstalling.

For most of the fastener holes, I used a large countersink to create a wider, angled and tapered opening at each location to better accept epoxy filler later.  I didn't bother counting the old fastener holes--a tiresome and pointless exercise--but there were many, many holes to bore out in this way.

With the myriad fastener holes thusly addressed, I next used a small abrasive disc to grind out small tapered bonding areas around some of the larger  (but still generally small) holes, and also to grind out any surface flaws in the gelcoat, such as chips, dings, and cracks.

Finally, I used a larger grinder equipped with an abrasive angle flap disc to grind appropriate tapered bonding areas around the larger holes in the deck that I planned to fill, including old deck fill locations and ventilator locations.





Inevitably, as I vacuumed up afterwards, I found a few holes and other places I'd missed, which I'd take care of in the near future.  I still needed to remove the mast step too, a job that I kept putting off for whatever reason.

Total Time Today:  2 hours

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