Lesson learned

  • November 05, 2011 6:20 AM
    Message # 742854
    Someone mentioned in another thread they had a couple portholes leaking for years... 

    I learned the hard way... Never never ever put off re-bedding your portholes.

    I just had my decks/cabin top painted.  After also having what I thought was a couple portholes leaking for years I decided that since my portholes were out now would be the time to repair the dry rot underneath them.  The more I dug into it the more dry rot I discovered (including a couple portholes I didn't know were leaking), extending to the plywood 'fascia' covering the underside of the fiberglass deck. 

    While I knew I had some soft spots underneath the portholes the only visible evidence underneath the fascia was the mahogany veneer starting to peel away in a couple places. Actually I just thought it might be cosmetic... the veneer glue failing after all these years. 

    What I discovered was the original 3/4" plywood fascia had virtually completely delaminated, nay disintegrated, coming out in 1/16" thick pieces, only held together and in place by the fasteners holding it to the underside of the deck and the handrail running the length of the cabin.

    In researching what to use to rebed my portholes I came across this website (see 'installing new portlights').


    He makes a strong case for NOT sealing anything from the interior side, just the exterior. Doing so may trap water (or divert it somewhere else) because it can't escape out the back. With my portholes being sealed on both the exterior & interior sides I think that is what happened in my case:

    After years of leaking, water found a channel in the dry rot underneath a porthole and 'wicked' onto the fascia in the space between the deck and the plywood rotting it from the top down and thus no real visible evidence underneath. I'm not sure how but even my handrails still felt solid. 

    As well as scarfing new wood underneath the offending portholes I just had to have the entire fascia replaced with new 3/4" mahogany (veneer) plywood all the way from the aft (companionway) bulkhead to the V-berth, port & starboard. Fortunately, the bottom 1/8" or so was intact enough so as to serve as a pattern for the new replacement fascia.  I have to say, it's looking good though :)
  • November 05, 2011 11:45 AM
    Reply # 742979 on 742854


    Great title for the thread, this is a little off subject but involves rot. I'm sure I learned the lesson long ago about leaving gaps between surfaces that wick water if you don't want rot, but managed to forget that lesson when installing my new tiller a little over three years ago. The previous tiller fit just snugly enough to hold it's position vertically(horizontal to about 45 degrees). Without thinking about it I copied that design and now realize that may have been a flawed design. So before I get it wrong again how best to install the tiller into the box. I'd like to retain the feature of the tiller holding position as opposed to dropping to the deck when not held.


    I think we need an entire topic labeled 'Lessons Learned'.


  • November 05, 2011 2:37 PM
    Reply # 743033 on 742854
    To fix my tiller from being loose & 'wobbly' I made two shims from some Formica shaped like the end of the tiller, extending to the forward edge of the box (I almost used some plastic from a flat sided gallon jug before Formica fell into my lap).

    I 'glued' the Formica to the tiller using some lifecaulk to keep it in place (it has to be 'stuffed' into the box now) and to prevent standing water collecting/wicking in that area.

    It stays where I put it now.  I would also highly recommend a 'waterproof' (i.e. Sunbrella) tiller/rudder cover.
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