Poop deck repair and stern locker rebuild on a Cape Dory Typhoon sailboat - part 1

The boat came to me with extensive core rot on the deck, cabin top, cockpit seats and cockpit bulkhead and especially on the poop deck at the stern of the boat. Here, there were multiple penetrations for deckplates, the traveler, cleats etc which had not been sealed properly letting in a lot of moisture. In addition, the camber on the deck top had been flattened down by the traveler, so it collected standing water with inadequate drainage which only added to the deck rot. Basically all the core was gone, and both remaining fiberglass layers had to be cut so  I cou l d easily access the area below the poop deck to build a stern locker to store a portable gas tank.

Honestly I am not a fan of two design points on these Cape Dory yachts: 1- the inaccessible bilge and 2- this very large space under the poop deck which is only accessible by a vertical deck plate with a 4" hole fitted behind and over the rudder post, just enough space to fit a hand but not much else. Since the original Typhoons were designed with fittings like sheet blocks or travelers on top of the poop deck, not to mention the backstay chainplate and the engine mount, there was no space for a bigger, horizontal opening hatch on top of the poop deck, so this space is wasted.

I intend to use the full capacity of the space under the poop deck, to store life vests, lines and most importantly a 6 gal. plastic outboard fuel tank plus whatever else fits. This would require a top opening hatch at least large enough to remove the portable outboard engine fuel tank for fill -ups.  And that in turn means I have to clear space on the poop deck top, by removing the traveler and instead using a split backstay. The engine mount can't be moved but it doesn't get in the way of a hatch where it is located,  nor do the other fittings. 

The rot between the two fiberglass layers was extensive, leaving no intact balsa core, and a giant gap instead. I decided to cut out the entire poop deck top, to get better access to the locker which had years of accumulated dirt and leaf litter that had gotten in through the giant holes in the deck. Cutting around the deck top about 1-2" from the edges, made it easy to scrape out the crud, wash the locker interior with a pressure washer, and then sand the locker hull interior in prep for painting. 

Interestingly,  I found the gap where the balsa coring had been, was full of aluminum plate and wood pieces that someone had shoved into the gap, as well as poor glasswork, in a sad effort to strengthen the rotted deck.

My plan is to primarily use this stern locker space to store the 6 gal fuel tank, which requires a watertight bulkhead between the locker space and the rest of the boat interior because I don't want wafted gas fumes inside the boat, and to contain any spills. The space will be vented with two  decktop clamshell vents, through one of which the fuel hose for the outboard will pass.

I used strips of cardboard and construction tape to make a template of the area to cut out a bulkhead from 1/2" PVC board, which was tabbed into place with fiberglass matting all the way around. I like PVC boards over plywood since PVC never can rot and epoxy sticks to it well if slightly sanded first and wiped down with acetone.

Next I drilled a limber hole and glassed-in a short piece of 3/4" PVC tube in the lowest section of the bulkhead, to be able to drain the compartment from outside; this acts as a barb over which I can slip a 1" hose and clamp. 

I generally separate interior spaces in a boat into as many watertight compartments as possible, each with a latching  gasketed lid and drain or limber holes that have hose barbs, so all these drain holes can be connected together by hose to a pump inlet and then either  pumped overboard with an automatic pump such as the Whale Gulper IC with manifold attachment, or as in the case of Cantaora to be connected to the cockpit scupper thruhulls. This plumbing arrangement inside sailboats is better than allowing water to find its own way to a bilge sump, wetting everything along the way.

Then, I built a platform to hold the gas tank and epoxied it into place in the center of the locker, right over the drain hole. I will add straps to hold the tank on the platform later. 

Finally it was time to seal the locker back up. I used the old bottom layer of fiberglass  deck material I had previously cut out as a base to support the new glasswork, and glassed it back into its original place using strips of fiberglass tape. Then, I covered it with two layers of 1708 fiberglass cloth. Next it was time to install the foam core but the surface was too uneven to install flat foam board. Instead I pour expanding marine foam over the area to fill in the uneven patches, and once the foam had cured I sanded the surface flat and even.

Part 2 of the sailboat restoration project will involve additional foam core installation along; shaping the decktop to give it a little camber for drainage, followed by a more layer of fiberglass and the construction of a hatch to access the new stern locker.

I intend to prime and paint the interior later, along with the rest of the boat, and afte

r I cut a hatch on top of the poop deck.


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