36 responses

  1. Steve Yoder
    March 9, 2013

    Holy crap, Dani! Actually removing a chunk of caprail! I am truly impressed. I hope to never ever have to do that. We opted for the path of shooting some 4200 up around the bottom of the caprail/boat joint and hope that’s all we ever need. Maybe as long as we stay down here in dry Baja, we’ll be OK. Something you might want to get for removing those tough screws is a hammer-driven impact driver. You can get them cheap at Harbor Freight and they actually work pretty darn well for getting a recalcitrant screw started.

    • Dani
      March 10, 2013

      Yeah! It’s really really hard for me to not do certain things when I feel I have the ability. It’s a thin line to cross. I really went slow at first just to gage how difficult it was going to be. I figured if the screws didn’t want to come up or if the teak didn’t want to come I could just screw it back down and I’d only have to redo the bungs, which I had to do anyways since there were dry rotted ones.

      I’m not sure I would have gone this route if we hadn’t seen silicone under the caprail, as well as if the caulk seam near the chainplates wasn’t approaching 1/2 in some places (a large gap to fill effectively). As it is the caulk is kinda expensive just for the caulk seam. I was hoping by redoing the joint itself we can put that money we would have spent on the seam in the joint.

      Tate and I were both wishing we had an impact driver yesterday, but at this point we are too cheap/lazy to go buy anything since we are still able to move forward, albeit slow. We still have 22 months so we have time to spare. Famous last words?

      If the 4200 has held up so far I’m sure you’ll be just fine. At one time the bulkhead in Sundowner shifted or became dislodged and we suspect the boat flexed and put pressure on the hull to deck seam at the starboard chainplates. This probably broke whatever seal was there forcing them to remove that section to fix leaks, and there were alot.

  2. Daniel
    March 9, 2013

    Dani, You’re starting to remind me of myself. When I was younger, I would see how many electronic items (usually electronic games) I could take apart and put back together. They usually worked afterwards too ;-)

    Very nice job on the caprail. Does look like it was a good idea. Seems like jobs like this get really intimidating until you actually do it and doesn’t seem all that bad.

    • Dani
      March 10, 2013

      OH! Atari and Nintendo games?? I used to take apart VCR’s, clocks and any toys that had moving parts. I didn’t get too much into actual electronics. You could say I favored mechanical over electrical engineering.

      Yes it’s liberating to say the least to get out there and fix things with your own elbow grease. I really don’t like being at the mercy of other people (experts in boat repair) when you can just do it yourself.

  3. Tate
    March 9, 2013

    Def picked the right wife.

    • David F.
      March 10, 2013

      Does she have a sister?

    • Daniel
      March 10, 2013

      Yeah, You did. Good job ;-)

  4. Cidnie Carroll (@SVCeolMor)
    March 10, 2013

    Dani, you are full of awesome sauce. You go girl!!!

    • Dani
      March 10, 2013

      mmm, awesome sauce! Thanks Cid. I thought about you saying “Roto-boat” with no leaks. It helped me move forward. I’m on the proverbial warpath to all the leaks in the living areas of the boat.

      Next project is to finish painting the cabinets and the bulkhead down below once it’s all had time to really dry out!

  5. Ken
    March 10, 2013

    If the bungs are tight but you still need to remove them a “brad bit point” is used. You can get them at Home Depot. You usually have to find them yourself because most of the help never heard of one. It drills out the bung without damaging the head of the screw. BTW, are you busy next Tuesday? I need help to fix the roof on the shop and a few other things…..

    • Dani
      March 10, 2013

      Might have to get one of these Brad bit points to add to the tool collection. I’m not free next Tuesday, but maybe the Tuesday after ;)

  6. robert
    March 10, 2013

    Very nice. Great work in that you kept the piece intact during removal!

    The original bedding was probably this stuff called “Dolphinite”. Every boat builder used it back in the seventies. Polyeurethanes (3M 5200 stuff) were not yet around, and polysulfides (3M 101 stuff) we just coming out. Compared to these new compounds, Dolphinite has no adhesive and poor sealing qualities. And it gets brittle with age. There are still applications for the stuff, and it is still around, but certainly NOT suited for caprails.

    I would use a polysulfide at least. If you found silicone in there, be sure to clean it out thoroughly. Silicone has no place on a boat IMHO (nothing sticks to it and it is hard to remove).

    • Dani
      March 10, 2013

      Keeping the pieces intake has made this a delightful process. We are thinking a polysulfide also. I wonder if there is anything better? If possible we’d like to use the best stuff to avoid ever having to do this again.

      Someone on the Westsail forum said they would use Sikaflex. Any experience with it?

      • robert
        March 10, 2013

        Sikaflex should work too. It is less of an adhesive compared to a polysilfide. More sealing which is what you want. And it stays flexible with age. They have anti-UV formulas too, should there be any exposed areas (doubtful in your project).

        (In case you were considering, I would avoid Boatlife Life-Caulk too. Have not had good luck with that stuff.)

      • Dani
        March 10, 2013

        You are second person that gave Life Caulk the thumbs down. We have a thread going on in Cruiser’s Forum asking for advice on Caulk choice and we are getting every answer under the sun.

        Well except for silicone. It seems a slim majority is voting for 5200, what is your take on that for this application?

      • robert
        March 10, 2013

        5200 would work just fine, but it is quite agressive on adhesion.

        Meaning, it will be really hard to remove in the future, if needed. I know you never want to do this again, but “never” does not exists in the boat maintenance lexicon LOL.

        I think you are relying on the screws to keep the caprail in place, right?

        If so, then 5200 would be a bit overkill.

        My vote is for Sikaflex (291 or 292). Seals well, has a faster set time and is less messy than 5200.

      • robert
        March 11, 2013

        Wait, a little confusion on my part.

        Yes, on filling the hull/deck joint, use 5200. Trowel it in and level it out. Let it cure.

        When re-bedding the caprail use something less aggressive like Sikaflex. Which would be also good for bedding the new chainplates.

      • Dani
        March 11, 2013

        Robert, Thanks so much for offering your advice! You, being the great boat builder you are, have an opinion we value when it comes to stuff like this. I’m going to try to find in your blog what you used in the hull to deck joint. There are a lot of votes for 5200 actually in the joint and in the little Valley on the side. Should we go ahead and put the 5200 on top of the part where the bolts go through as well? This would cover all of the bolt heads and screw holes for the caprail itself. I wonder if there are any issues with Sikaflex sticking to cured 5200 when we rebed the caprail.

        Also, what I’m assuming is the Dolphinite, is still pliable (moist) when you go digging up under the joint. Like around the bolts going through the joint. We don’t know if we should take a hook of some sort and try to dig all of the old Dolphinite and then refill with 5200 or if we should leave what is there in place and fill with 5200.

        The Sikaflex and 5200 are polyurethanes. I’m assuming you are recommending them over a polysulfide because polyurethane has more adhesive properties?

      • Dani
        March 11, 2013

        For anyone reading these comments you can find a really good write up here where “From a Bare Hull: Westsail 42″ bonds the hull to deck joint of their Westsail 42 with 5200.

      • robert
        March 11, 2013

        oh, and this thread is getting long!

        Feel free to email me if you have more questions.

        You guys are doing great. Wish I had all that energy!

      • robert
        March 11, 2013

        If the goal is to plug leaks, I might leave the old dolphinite up inside the bullwark and just deal with the topside.

        How do the fasteners look at the hull/deck joint (under the caprail). Are they through bolts or tapping screws. If they are tapping screws or badly corroded, consider replacing them with through bolts. If you do that, then certainly try and clean out the old goop from the joint as much as possible. If you can get the joint screws out, you may be able to open things up enough to squirt more 5200 in there. Clean it with solvent as best you can before hand.

        In the end, yes, fill any place atop where water could get in.

        I used Sikaflex UV-291 to bed chainplates and fittings on the deck. The nice thing about it is it will start setting up in about an hour, whereupon you can use a razor blade to neatly trim the excess. This is very hard to do with 5200. Use the UV stuff. Otherwise it will discolor in the sun.

        Sikaflex on top of 5200 should be ok. Just be sure the 5200 is completely cured.

      • Dani
        March 11, 2013

        I like the idea of leaving the dolphinite inside the bullwark. The hull to deck joint is through bolted. I can see the bottom of the bolts inside the boat. Alot of them are rusted completely. Hopefully they will be fine enough to leave in place. Your photos form your post about the hull to deck joint are a gem.

  7. Melissa
    March 10, 2013

    Excellent job, Dani! I am so glad you removed that caprail. After reading your post on those leaks, all I could think was ‘hull to deck joint’. Like anything else, going to the real source of the problem is usually the best solution. Take good care of your poor hands, and do try to be easy on them by using good tools whenever possible. I speak from years of experience remodeling houses. This kind of think does a job on the hands over time. Yes, Tate, you done good. And so did Dani, by the way. What a team! You need shirts that say ‘Team Sundowner’.

    • Dani
      March 10, 2013

      Thanks. Yes me too! Things took a drastic turn after finding so many leaks on the starboard side. I got some mechanics gloves today. I sit at a desk job and type on a keyboard about 40% of the time. Other than that the only workout my hands get is around the house and at the gym. I keep telling myself this type of work is good for hands. Hopefully it will make them stronger. And believe me when I say this work won’t last.

      I am very very much looking forward to completing the major projects and taking off on our trip.

  8. Darrian Gourdine
    March 10, 2013

    Been following your blog for a while and loving it.
    I appreciate the wherewithal of both of you to get out there and cruise.
    There is a gentleman by the name of Eric Forsyth who has a Westsail 42.
    He built it himself-all that he purchased was the hull,deck and engine back in 1975. Took him eight years to build and he has been sailing ever since. He has done a circumnavigation once and is planning another one later this year. He is a wealth of knowledge; has sailed over 260,000 nm so far in his life with that same Westsail (Fiona).
    Here is is website: http://yachtfiona.com/index.htm
    Also, Here is a youtube production by Drake Paragon (Also a Westsail owner) of his sailing with Capt Forsyth and a interview on FIONA

    • Dani
      March 10, 2013

      Welcome Darrian! Glad you are enjoying the blog. We keep trudging along. I told Tate the other day, “Can you believe that when we leave it will have been 5 years of prep and refit, followed by 3-5 years of world cruising.” He said “Yeah, hell of a way to spend a decade!”

      I have heard about Eric Forsyth on Fiona. The W42 are such beautiful, large boats. Robert Sutton over at From a Bare Hull: Building a Westsail 42 is in the process of building one and cruising as well.

      Thanks for that link and video. This is an amazing lifestyle choice.

  9. Jay Bietz
    March 10, 2013

    Dani: great job on the removal and write up – I’ll second Melissa comments — gloves and eye protection all the time when doing this work – pieces can / will fly off from your work and land anywhere. (says the old shop teacher).

    I recommend the cool to OK looking safety glasses found at your favorite home center – polorized/dark and clear lenses – for every occasion. Cheaper then having stuff picked out of your eye. The sell gloves also:)

    Waiting to see the clean up and replacement.

    Jay

    • Dani
      March 10, 2013

      Thanks!! I actually did get some gloves today but haven’t progressed on the eye protection. It’s funny (or not funny) but my Dad, who is very handy, wears safety glasses now after he almost lost an eye during routine yard work. Thanks for reminding me it’s important. I’m not quite ready for the glass eye look.

  10. Mark and Anna Mills
    March 10, 2013

    We have a great source for teak at very good prices, Let us know if you need some and we will get you to the right people. We helped our friend Gil replace his cap rail about a year and a half ago. A big job, but not rocket science. We may have to do ours also if we can’t stop the leaks.

    • Dani
      March 10, 2013

      We will definitely do that. Thanks for the offer, that’s a fantastic find. The caprails honestly weren’t that hard to take off. I estimate removal of all bungs, the caprail and scraping out the old caulk 70%(as shown in photos) took 15 hours for both sides right in front of the genoa to up to the curved part. I imagine it will take another 10-15 to really get it clean, caulk it, reseat the caprails and redo the bungs.

      30 hours to me is nothing compared to the amount of time I’ve pondered (fretted about) other methods to fix the leaks and the time spent repairing water damage down below. If I knew it would stop the leaks for sure I would spend 60 hours fixing it.

  11. John C
    March 10, 2013

    Ahoy T&D Downer!
    I removed all my caprails on Thursday and found this lil tool to be indispensable! Well worth the price of $25……..http://youtu.be/I40wIyiuOCw

  12. SabreKai
    March 10, 2013

    Bully for you Dani, I think you are doing the right thing. Pull them up, clean up the glass, and the rails and re bed them. Then you are done with it once and for all. In all my years of messing about with boats, its the only way I’ve ever found to make sure getting rid of leaks. Different varietys of gunk, silicon and other assorted messes may hold for a while but will give out at some point, usually when you are sleeping under the place where the water gets through. My second boat leaked like a sieve from bad toerails and I remember with some amusement my friend Neil placing a bucket on his chest while laying in the quarter berth one dark and rainy night. It poured all weekend long, and eventually all the bunks were soaked. That is what led to the great Toerail R&R weekend. But they never leaked again.

    Carry on, you’re doing a marvelous job.

    But….. Didn’t we decide that wearing shoes might just be a good idea on the boat? Or was that just me dreaming?

    • Dani
      March 11, 2013

      haha, funny story. This is exactly the type of thing I’m trying to prevent.

      And shoes…I thought we agreed only when the boat was moving?

  13. Don Eckert
    March 14, 2013

    A good while back the crew of “S/V Fluid Motion” tackled the caprail project and did a bang-up job on the caprail and hull/deck join. I don’t know if they’re still active,but their web-site still lives.

    http://www.geocities.com/fluidmotion2/home_frame.html

    It wouldn’t hurt to look.

    • Dani
      March 15, 2013

      Don,
      Thanks for the link to Fluid Motion! We actually saw their procedure about 2 years ago when thinking about the caprails. Theirs came out GREAT. We aren’t that handy with wood so are hoping our option of in front of the Geona track and aft of the curved pieces will be good enough.

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