Cleaning the Bilge, Removing the Floor

So this week we did a few things…

Got in and cleaned out the bilge as best as possible. There must have been about an inch of mud in the bilge. Scooped most of that out. Actually found the bottom of the bilge!

Tore out the forward floor joists/compression post step. These are the joists with the 3 foot steel I-beam. First I took a sawzall to the joists to cut out as much as I could. Most of the joists were three sandwiched 1/2 inch plywood. Most of the plywood at the base close to the hull was rotted. The sawzall went through them like butter. Once the joist tabbing was cut away, the plywood simply fell out. The adhesion there was very poor. After all the joists were out there was a pile of rotted plywood in the bilge! We need to get a beefy shop-vac since we will probably see more of this.

This left the remnants of the tabbing attached to the hull. This was done with a couple layers of heavy fiberglass roving. I was hoping that these bonds were as poor as the ones we found in the aft cabin area. I REALLY did not want to grind this. Well. I took an old medium size chisel and wedged it under the fillets where the tabbing was bonded to the hull. Whacked it a few times. Lo and behold, it starts delaminating! Whacking it a few more times, and waiting a few minutes allowed the stress of the wedge to finish the delamination of the entire tab! All tabbing came out relatively easy! No power tools were needed! In the end, the hull underneath the tabbing was clean and shiny. No evidence of prep sanding. Furthermore, there was no dried dirty resin (of where there is a lot around the bilge). It appears all the dirt came off with the tab! Which leads me to believe that either the lack of sanding and/or the dirty environment made it very easy to pull out the tabbing! COOL!

The current idea for this area is to replace the joists with PVC foam and glass them in using vacuum bagging techniques. We will do away with the steel I-beam for the compression post step. We figure it was there to make construction easy between the ketch, cutter and yawl rigs as they require a different placement of the mast. Since we will be going with a ketch rig, we know where the mast should be, so we will step the post all the way down to the keel. This should eliminate the need for beefy joists to bear the compression weight. Therefore, the joists are only there to support the floor.

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