Monday, 13 April 2015

Two steps forward and one giant leap backwards

Argh!  This sailing lark is like a slippery game of snakes and ladders.   Just when I was starting to feel like I was making progress I 've made a shocking discovery.

Fitting held with 6 bolts and 2 screws
 I had a look at the stem head fitting which I knew needed bedding down.   I had assumed that the nuts on the forward two bolts were loose in the GRP and would not start on the thread or were maybe just spinning in the GRP.  Before ripping into the GRP with a Dremel I decided to take the bolts out, just incase they were very short and needed swapping with another pair.  That was clearly wishful thinking.    The bolts turned out to be screws which made me think that maybe the encapsulated pad had rotted.

Plywood pad just a soggy mess
 Had it ever... I'd expected to see a soggy hard wood block, Oh no; A super soggy plywood backing pad which is a bugger to get out.  I say 'is' because I still have a load of clearing out to do.

Difficult to access

One of the problems is where this piece is.  It is in the most awkward part of the boat to get to.  It means that while working my arms are out stretched, I can't see and swinging a hammer is nigh on impossible.  As I wielded the crowbar I had Rory Gallagher's 'Brute Force & Ignorance' going through my head.
In terms of learnings I guess a little tip I could pass on is how I broke this out.  It's too confind to get into with an angle grinder and the Dremel is not man enough.  I was able to cut across the front edge (or is that rear?) with a thin cutting disc in the angle grinder but after trying allsorts of ways to cut along the edges I found a sharp 10mm drillused like a mill, running back and forth along the fillet eventually weakened it enough to knock it out with the crowbar.
I need to clear all the debris out before committing to a plan to put it back together, I have a few thoughts how to go about it... One of my earlier darker thoughts involved some thinners and a zippo :)


  1. Damn that is hard... best wishes, mate.. :o(

  2. Could you use a piece of heavy duty (Nylon) 13mm sheet instead of wood and nuts/bolts? Never rot again!

    1. +1 on that, or how about my new favourite material of the moment, HDPE?? Nice thick chopping board cut down to shape..

  3. Good ideas chaps, I was speaking to a guy from Sunseeker, they don't use wood pads for seacocks anymore. They lay up a good think pad of GRP then machine it. As the two forward points are wood screws some kind of plastic would work as it would accept the screw thread with out crumbling the material. I have heard that chopping board material swells quite alarmingly so will do a bit of investigating first.
    In terms of cleaning out the old debris, I have been recommended to use a Multi-tool so will be picking one of those up today.

  4. Oh, and for belt and braces I'll have a tang welded to the fitting which will drop down and bolt through ther leading edge of the hull.