What an ugly sight it was! This area hasn’t seen daylight since the boat was built. The drainage holes on both sides of the floor timber were the very rough. Oily sludge collected on fallen debris, run away nuts and engine enamel flakes that were caught by fibreglass strands and hard spikes. Only a small amount of water could seep over the top of this dam. Any spill that happened at an oil filter or diesel filter change ended up floating on top of the “reservoir” behind the blockage. I figure this puddle never had a chance to dry up, so it froze there every winter. In the summer, the floating oil covered the walls of this chamber. On the keel-bolt side, at the exit hole and behind the steel cross piece, there was a hollow area with no drainage. Unfortunately, the exit hole reached down to the bottom of this pit.
After cleaning up the area, I found the steel cross piece in perfect shape. I will get rid of the rust and put some Tremclad on it. I don’t think it would be smart to glass it in. With the drainage problem resolved, and the floor hatch coming off every winter for ventilation, that steel piece should be much happier.
The close up of the hole shows the oily, wet fibreglass mess at the bottom of the tunnel. The hollow inside of the floor timber extends toward the stove area and toward the nav table on the other side. It is impossible to clean it out.
I allowed the tunnel to dry out, and slightly enlarged the holes on both sides to fit a 2″ PVC pipe. With a little epoxy and glass, I sealed the gap around the pipe. Once this seal was done, I started to pour in epoxy to create a new and level bottom that will ensure good drainage. On the stern side, the epoxy has not reached the pipe. I will have to pour in about 200ml of the stuff.
Between the glassed in steel piece and the floor timber the pit is filled in with epoxy. The water will drain on both sides.
The rest is cosmetics. I have to put polyurethane around the new hatch area and then give the entire floor a top coat. Once the stern side epoxy puddle is level with the pipe, I’ll paint the repair area with grey bilge paint.
Written by by Zsolt Kecskemeti