One thing that has been irking me for a while on Sundowner is the dished down deck around the carriage bolts that hold the deck beams to the cabin top. I didn’t know why they dished down, but they have corroded some that I can see due to rust stains. Could they have been over tightened? Could the deck core have rotted beneath them? Or could it just be the intense strain that has been put on the boat during its long voyages. Sundowner is no spring chicken. She has more miles under her keel than most boats.
Today I finally decided it was time to investigate a bit. We pulled one of the bungs in the underside of the deck beam. Surprisingly, the bolt looked perfect. I took the nut off and found… No rot. No water. No leaks. Everything looked dry as a bone in there. So maybe it is just the time and stress that has done it.
I decided discretion is the better part of valor and left well enough alone for now. So what to do with a day when your project in mind gets derailed? Well in our case it was time to rebed some more portlights. The two in the V-berth were prime candidates because we know they leak. Disassembly began soon after.
It was pretty ominous to see those white rings of old caulk around the heads of the bolts but no caulk underneath the trim ring. And the nuts on the bolts were all loose. We pulled the trim rings off and found that they hadn’t even been caulked underneath. No wonder they were leaking!
The process of rebedding went much the same as the first port light we rebedded. Remove, sand, scrub, clean, etc.
But now a novelty. After much pondering about our first butyl portlight experience I decided that it would have been better to use a countersink around the holes. So we broke out the drill and I countersunk not only the fiberglass but ALSO the bronze trim rings themselves. Blasphemy I know.
And instead of putting a ring of butyl around the holes then inserting the trim ring I put the bolts into the trim ring first and inserted the entire assembly into place.
I’m pleased with the results. It was a bit harder to tighten the rings down as the butyl kept the bolts from coming all the way out in the interior. So I got one bolt through by tapping it with a hammer, got a nut on it and tightened until I could get the next on, and so forth. After we tightened them we left them alone for a bit and came back a while later and repeated the process, giving the butyl plenty of time to compress and smoosh out where ever it might.
And finally as promised, we epoxied some holes. This time the old holes that held the teak grates over the scuppers. Dani and I have decided to just leave the teak grates off of the boat to increase drainage and give water washing down the side decks a better place to go instead of the cockpit.
After this epoxy is all setup we’ll come back, sand it out and put some topside paint over it. Another day in the books.