View Full Version : Needing help with Deck and keel

03-14-2002, 12:44 AM
Dragonfly is now in her new home complete with shelter. So now I'm going through all the major problem areas to find the extent of damage. There are many of course, none that can't be repaired I'm sure. I am faced with two major issues right now.

The first one is that the deck has to be replaced. It was orginially made with mahogany frames, 3/4 inch ply and teak. The teak was not installed very well, the deck edges were not properly sealed so there is plenty of rot along the frames at the toe rail.

I'm not sure how to proceed with the deck. I have considered raising the deck three inches to gain a bit of head room and also to aid in sealing the deck to toerail problem. I would glass over the joint down to the rub rail and then install a new toe rail ontop of this. She doesn't have a lot of freeboard as it is now.

Here is a picture of the deck from the bow, showing the existing deck.

Here is a detail of the frames. So far I have seen the rot on all the rails against the hull. There is some rot in the hull at the toerail as well.

The next problem is the keel. There is some rot near the stern. The hull was fiberglassed but only to the edge of the ballast and is now lifting off the wood due to the wood being wet. Not soaking but wet non the less. Then to add to this ballast issue there is a very alarming amount of lead pigs under the v-berth inside just sitting loose. Apparently the builder got something wrong and had to add plenty-o-weight forward. This could be due to the engine being installed so far aft, which I would hate to relocate. There's issues with the lead too but that'll be for another day when I have pictures.

Basically I'm wondering if anyone has ever raised a deck before. Is this a bad idea? I can't see any negative points here to stop me yet. Guess that's lack of experience still. :D I also don't know what direction to take for the hull to deck joint to ensure it won't leak again.

What should I be thinking about all this inside loose ballast? It's definitely NOT in the building plans! :eek:

03-14-2002, 05:43 AM
nice boat. If I had known about it last week I would have gone with my wife to Raleigh just to get a look. Your questions are beyond me but good luck.


John R Smith
03-14-2002, 06:32 AM
Well, a very interesting post. And good photos, too, except they could be a little smaller so I can get it all on the screen ;)

The deck. What a tragedy, what a mess. Good lesson for us all here on the destructive power of fresh-water leaks.

If you really want more headroom (and increased windage as a downside) then yes, now is a very good time to make that choice, seeing as you have got to rebuild the beams, shelf and deck anyhow. However, I don't see that raising the deck will help in fixing the problem - which is getting a good waterproof join at the toe-rail. That join is going to move and flex, so whatever system you use must take account of that.

The ballast. If someone had to pile a heap of lead up forward, either she did not sit on her marks properly or she sailed like a pig (or both). A lot of weight forward might be used to counter bad lee helm problems, which might point to a problem with the rig rather than the hull.

Just my thoughts. Wishing you all the best with it.


03-14-2002, 09:46 AM
No doubt the joint at the toe rail went bad. In your photo I don't see any sign of any type of covering board. To me the deck should lay against a covering board with the toerail laid on top of that. I personally think a laid deck on top of plywood is a bad deal. If there is a leak, it's always nice to see it before it's too late, and your situation is a perfect example. So either a laid deck or plywood... If it was my boat, I'd pull the toerail, lay down 2 layers of 3/8" marine ply, epoxy and cloth down over the sheerline where the new guard will cover. Then put on new toe rails. Fiberglass over a wood hull?... I just think it's a bummer

Stephen Hutchins
03-14-2002, 10:06 AM
Paul Gartside drew a 24 foot double ender with a two layer glued cedar deck. Bottom layer planked for and aft with chamfered edges, top layer laid diagonally covered with dynel set in epoxy. Low maintenence, watertight, and at least pretty on the inside!

Ed Harrow
03-14-2002, 12:21 PM
Raising deck and, by extension, the house, will reduce clearance to boom, unless you make other changes. It will also have an effect on the center of gravity, the weight of the boat, her performance and, her appearance. None, I think, are issues to be tossed aside lightly.

What's the headroom now? The glass is over traditional planking? Ouch on the deck, another demo of why not to put teak over ply...

Nice shed, by the way. smile.gif

03-14-2002, 03:34 PM
Sorry about the huge pics, I reduced them some, always wonder about that.

I'm not too concerned about increased windage because she does sit low to begin with. The reason I was thinking of raising the deck is that the toe rail is actually part of the hull, ie it's not removable. I would think that a better deck would go to the edge overtop of the hull and a toe rail on top of that.

For the ballast controlling the bad lee helm, I doubt it. I found out that the boat was built by the infamous Harker Island boat builders. If you don't know about the sport fishing boats from there, here's an article on it. http://www.imra.net/links/articles29-Nov-99.htm Since these were fishing boat builders I have a feeling they didn't know much about sailing. If you look at the one picture of the deck you can see where they put the cowlings. The big holes near the chain plate, ya that's where they went. Is that a great place or what!?! The hull however is very solid and fair. That part they did well, except for the ballast :confused: Though the weight could have been added later I doubt that as well. The only other owner to my knowledge was my father who I know did not put it in the v-berth.

The construction of the boat is lapstrake, originally I thought it to be cold molded but since have figured that one out. I was thinking of something similar to what Stephen suggested, though I didn't think of the two layered cedar planks.

The hull was originally glassed over and the inside completely epoxied in West System. Since it has the goo on the inside it would not be right to not glass the outside. This would upset the balance of the wood moisture would it not?

It would be grand to put teak back on the deck but the maintenance and potential for leaking seem too daunting. Is there a way to still have teak decking and a good watertight deck? Or am I just on Pluto?

The head room now is not bad, guessing around 5 feet 9 inches. I have also considered deckstepping the mast. Guess I'll throw that in now too. The reason is that it's right in the middle of the v-berth and pretty much renders it useless to all but the small or very flexible person. It would be nice to have that removed and use knees and beams instead of a compression post. I'm not sure if that would even be a viable option. Thinking this might be asking too much. I haven't done too much research on this thought yet so I don't know what the ramifications would be. Anyone have a similar experience or know of any boats that have a deck stepped mast without the compression post inside?

That's a few mouths full of thoughts! Thanks for the replies and keep 'em coming. I need some help here as you can see.

Ed, Glad you liked the shed. Some people had their doubts if I could get it put up with PVC pipes, but it worked as you can see.

Stephen Hutchins
03-15-2002, 10:18 AM
Here's an idea (Not sure if it's can be done efficiently but here goes: Perhaps a great majority of the teak deck can be removed in sections-similar in shape to the sections created by a company called Teak Decking Systems, Inc.(An archive search on this forum will yield more info on them)these sections could be dissasembled, run thru a timesaver or planed, and reasembled. These shapes could be glued to a cold-molded deck in the same manner TDS would do it. Of course this is a good bit of work but it would save you alot of money in teak!