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I finally started a project that I put on my list in 2012. Yeah I know no point in rushing into these things. On my way back from Bermuda that year I had lots of leak issues from the hull deck joint and I knew it was time to do something. I think this project just was one of those that I knew needed doing but I kept talking myself out of starting thinking it would take a long time to do. The more I thought about it though the less intimidating it was and I knew I could only put it off so long.

The way Irwin did their hull deck joints was not the best I have seen. The joint is a simple flange that the deck sits on. They used Butyl tape to seal the joint and then simply screwed the deck to the flange. This works but the Butyl dried out and was no longer sealing and the screws did not rigidly hold the deck to the hull. The result a leaky flexible joint.

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My thinking was to remove all the screws open the join enough to shoot some methacrylate adhesive into the opening to bond the deck to the flange and then thru bolt every foot or so to add even more strength.  The methacrylate is strong enough to hold it on its own but the bolts would make me feel better. I thought I would also glass over the edge to make an additional seal.

I decided to start on the port side and do one side at a time. The first part was to remove the aluminum toe rail which although was not easy was not that bad. All of the screws came out without much of a fight and with the help of my Fien tool to help cut away the 5200 holding it down it moved along okay. It took about 5-6 hours total to get the rail off which I will leave on deck for now. It would have been easier if I have a floating dock to work off but my slip is a fixed dock so all the work was done from the deck. My back was not happy about all that bending over but I keep telling myself it is good for me.

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With the rail off I removed all the screws holding the deck down. These came out a bit too easy if you ask me and it is clear some were working and loose. I could also see areas where it was clear water was getting in. I then cleaned things up a bit removing old sealant and opened the joint a bit in one location to see what I was up against. It looks like the builder filled the outside gap with a thickened resin putty and this is cracked and breaking away in many places so should not be too hard to clean out.

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Next weekend I will clean the join out as best I can. I will make a bunch or wood wedges to help open the joint along its length as I go. This will allow it to dry and let me get the nozzle of the adhesive in deep enough to get a good bead into the joint. The plan is to push the adhesive in and then remove the wedges followed by replacing the screws to hold the joint as the adhesive sets. I will then install the bolts and replace the toe rail.

The fun never stops!

Capt Wayne

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