Lately I have been working on the aft deck. The whole thing is soggy as the back-stay chainplate is pretty large and was protruding through a hole with exposed core. There are also two cowl vents and these were installed with 6 screws each going right into the balsa core with no bedding at all. The result? Everything was sopping wet even though the boat has been under cover for months now.
I absolutely love 90% of the cockpit design of the A37 and one of the top reasons is because of this little aft deck. It may be personal preference more than anything else but I do not like most boats where the wheel is all the way aft and when you look back your looking straight into the ocean! I also like that in the bad case scenario of a boarding wave the cockpit is that much further forward and hopefully a little more out of danger – this includes the helmsperson. If the cockpit were swamped however it would be OK because of its relatively small size and substantial bridge-deck preventing water from entering the companionway. Full disclosure: the 10% I don’t like is that the engine panel is located on the aft side of this bridge-deck – We will be removing this feature this summer 😉
Anyhow, here is our little aft deck:
First the hatch was removed and then I went about removing all the hardware. This hatch is extremely thick solid fiberglass and very heavy.
When I checked with the moisture meter my suspicions were confirmed 100%. The meter is reading 36% out of 40% – soaking wet!
Using the hammer to sound out where the rotten core was I drew a cut line. Extending in 3 to 5 inches from the toe rail is solid fiberglass all around the boat. I say 3 to 5 because it is about 5 inches around on our boat the whole way around however I have heard from other owners that they have encountered areas of only 3 inches. I usually measure in 4 inches from the toe rail and cut there. The circular saw is set to cut just through the fiberglass and not any deeper.
After making the cut all the way around I carefully pried up the fiberglass skin. It may not look like I’m being careful with the hammer claw jabbed in there like that but trust me, it took an hour of gentle prying before the entire skin was removed.
And there you have it. Black and soggy. The parts that look white are areas that were not totally rotten out and still secured to the top skin. The dark areas are squishy, sopping, nasty, rotten wood. Its kind of hard to see but the moisture meter in the image below is reading 40% out of 40%.
And here you can see about 80% of the core has been removed. Once it all drys out I will remove the rest and sand everything down to the fiberglass. After that, new core and putting the skin back down!