Well we’ve finally gone and done it. After a weekend packed with work we at last tackled the port side genoa track removal and caprail, just as the sun was setting on our Sunday. Β In the spring we removed a huge portion of the caprailsΒ but hemmed and hawed over removing the aft caprails that the genoa track sits on top of. We figured it would just be too much work…that is until we found them leaking…

As projects on a boat normally cascade into a big fiery snowball of death (or strawberry) we decided to remove the genoa tracks so soon due to a little leak I found on the port side in the vberth. Ever since I removed the foam backed headliner I noticed the teak slats damp with corroded screws on the bottom. I suspect the headliner was catching the leak and wicking it across the ceiling, causing wood to be wet 5 feet from the actual leak itself (sneaky little things aren’t they?) but now that it is removed the water flows straight down and onto the teak.
Vberth corroded screws

I had already planned to remove the teak slats in order to remove what I call the cancer carpet stuffed behind them. No really…this stuff is probably close to the age of the boat and falling apart into a terrible dust and had become a perfect “nest” area for those unspeakables, shudder. Now that I had a confirmed leak I couldn’t wait any longer and after some boat jenga into the salon the Vberth was free for some treatment.

It’s can be pretty hot these days and I had to keep the fan off to minimize the awful and mysterious dust wafting from the area. I was literally dripping in sweat.
Dani sweating

I have saved you from the closeups of just what is in those “dust hills” but it’s enough to make you want to tear out the walls in your boat I assure you.
Carpet exposed

The gently sloping hills continued underneath.
Vberth hull exposed

This carpet had some kind of rubber backing on it which I assume is why it was used as some kind of insulation, no doubt for the time Sundowner spent in Norfolk Virginia. I’m really glad to have this off of our boat.
Carpet on the dock

Next I used a hose on deck and a mirror in the anchor locker to determine that the leak was not coming from the totally inaccessible stanchion base and hawespipe (whew!), but rather from the top of the curved caprail we hadn’t yet removed. Well I can’t have our bed getting wet every time it rains so I cut it with a saw right aft of the metal rope guard, removed all the bungs and pulled it off to find wet, old and cracking caulk underneath.
Forward caprail removal

Cleaned and Sanded.
Caprail seam cleaned

The forecast this week calls for minimal rain so Tate, sensing my despair over a leak in the vberth, agreed to come tackle the port side genoa track removal and aft caprail. We found the genoa track only bolted through only 5 times, the rest were lag screws. Of course we figured that out after he difficulty drilled through one with a cobalt bit.
Drilling out bolts for genoa track removal

I tried to get the ratchet on the underside nuts I could reach but mainly all the the bolt heads simply broke off from being too corroded. Luckily most of the lag screws were easy enough for Tate to remove.
Screw for genoa track removal

Finally he broke out the saw and he cut the stubborn bolts left off in between the genoa track and caprail. This is definitely the easiest method if you don’t care about preserving the holes.
Tate sawalling the genoa track bolts

But we do care about the holes as we plan to use the same holes going back. Using a punch he carefully pushed the sawed or broken off bolts through the hull to deck joint, and finally at last the genoa track was free!
Dani with genoa track

This is where things get interesting. I was inside the lazerette with a mirror and light investigating whether removing the boom gallows and cleats was fleasible (which would allow us to remove all of the aft caprail) when a crazy shuffle ensued in the cockpit. “Don’t move Dani!” he said over and over again in a clearly frantic voice. “Be very very still”.

Oh my god Tate, what the hell is it? King Roach, a snake, a deadly spider?? Was it dangling over my head, mouth salivating? No, alternatively it was a nest of wasps about 2 feet from my face. Tate had disturbed them inside a canvas bag and all 15 or more emerged, buzzing about angrily. There I was, a sitting duck being still and unable to see what was happening. I could only hear Tate agonizing about how to save me.

“I might need to close you in there Dani, just stay still” he reasoned. IN HERE I thought? Where the unspeakables may be hiding, waiting to come out in the safety of dark? Still not moving and unable to see the fiasco on deck I replied “Uh…Ok…well I suppose whatever you think is best, but I’d really rather just jump out, you know, I’m pretty fast”.

The wasps seemingly regrouped back to their nest, so a quick plan was made for me to escape. I made it out alive without a single sting. Whew. A short detour for wasp spray and we were back at the caprails, trying to use as much daylight as was left. We managed to get most of caprail off and decided to not remove the boom gallows. We’ll cut the caprail just aft of the genoa track and call that good enough. The caulk underneath was also wet from a recent rain and in poor shape.
Aft caprail removal
Caprail closeup

We plan to have it all cleaned ready to caulk come this Saturday morning and are still devising a game plan to put the caprails back down. I think it will be a combination of countersunk holes, butly tape and perhaps some caulk, but Tate is the master on this. I am SOOO excited to have begun this project. Please don’t rain, please don’t rain, please don’t rain.