I’ll cut right to the chase with this one. The good news? Well, we DO NOT have to re-core the side decks!!!!! My goodness this is good news if there ever was some!!! I’ve been stressing about the side decks for months.
The bad news you wonder? Wellllll, I cut a huge gaping hole in the starboard side deck!!!
This morning was spent giving the majority of the boat a once over with the ball-peen hammer sounding for delamination. Good, solid fiberglass gives a solid “ping” sound, delaminated fiberglass gives a very dull, lifeless thud. I had these huge areas that were in between sounds and I figured I better be safe rather than sorry later down the road. The sound was not the high pitched ping of solid fiberglass but it wasn’t quite dead sounding either, it was unmistakably hollow sounding. I figured hollow is not good and it must just be dry but rotten wood. We had some of this black wood in the fore deck mixed in with the sloppy wet wood.
I went around marking everything with an X or a √ and the decks ended up looking like this everywhere:
I figured I should start on the side decks first as if the winter enclosure were to fail with time these would be the first to get wet. I wanted to be a little more precise with my cuts this go round so I measured the depth of the fiberglass and set the circular saw for a little over 1/4 inch.
Then I geared up and made the first cuts:
I kid you not, it took me over an hour to get the first 12 inches or so of fiberglass up. I actually (and unintentionally) delaminated the layers of fiberglass while pulling off the majority of them, the bottom layer was left securely fastened to the balsa core. About 20 minutes into all this it dawned on me that this area might be just fine but at this point it was too late. Thankfully I had the idea to cut the glass and just peel up the section I was able to free instead of trying to get the entire piece up.
Its hard to tell because of the blue tarp but that little square is a nice light shade of perfectly intact and water free balsa with a layer of fiberglass still attached! While I had it open I did some more exploratory cuts with the multi tool and pulled out some of the balsa just to make sure.
So now we’re left with a hole to repair but I have to be honest, I’m quite relieved that the decks are not as bad as we thought!!