After the nuts were removed I went back to the topside and started to pull up on the starboard toe rail form the bow. It was really easy to lift the bolts with the toe rail and as I lifted, the rail began to straighten out. Apparently extruded aluminum does not have a memory and even after 34 years of being bent to the shape of the hull it went right back to being straight as an arrow. I now had half of the rail removed and realized that I needed help to get it completely removed without damaging the toe rail, my boat, or the boat next to mine. I gave my Father-in-law a call and he was nearby running errands and was willing to swing by the boat yard to lend a hand. Since the bow end of the toe rail was too high for him to reach I started to lift the stern end and he held it from the ground while I went forward and pulled up the toe rail from the bow end. After it was removed he set the stern end of the ground and walked forward lowing the rail until it was safely on the ground. We repeated this for the starboard side, removed the bolts and put the toe rail under the boat.
|Half of the toe rail removed and it is straightening out quickly.|
|This view shows how far it moved away from the bow as I removed it.|
|Nice and straight and stored until ready to re-bed them on the new deck.|
I also noticed that the screws that were holding the toe rail went all the way through the fiberglass and into the cabin. I will replace these with thru bolts and bed the toe rails with butyl tape instead of polysulfide caulking. That should give me a lot more protection from leaks than what was there. This boat was leaking though nearly EVERY hole on the deck. In fact the duct tape I covered the holes with kept the interior more dry than when the hardware was installed.
I cleaned up the dirt that was under the toe rails and put some Gorilla Tape over the holes until I can get to the real work of repairing the deck core and the gelcoat cracks that radiate from almost every hole that was drilled into the boat. I plan to paint the deck, cabin sides from the toe rails up with AwlGrip after the repairs so most of the gelcoat cracks on the top will be filled with epoxy mixed with fairing compound and gelcoat will be used for the parts that go below the toe rail on the sides of the hull.
I also began to find the delaminated and rotten section of core by tapping the deck with a hammer. I also drilled holes in some of the areas that had a dull "thud" sound to see what was going on with the core. Some of the core that the drill bit took up towards the front of the delaminated section was dry but as I moved aft it was damp to the touch. So the prognosis is that I will have to replace almost all of the core on the foredeck, half of the deck above the saloon, and a section around the port and starboard chainplates. It seems that I am building a new boat on top of this one. At least the time and money I am spending now, if done right, will give me a few more decades at least before anything as major as this will have to be done again.
|Holes drilled into the core on the starboard side of the deck above the saloon.|
|If I don't die from exposure to this mold I will likely live forever. (One can hope.)|