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Thread: Glassed or bolted/screwed?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
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    Eastern, CT
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    Glassed or bolted/screwed?

    I'm a new owner and recently was checking my scupper drain hoses and noticed the floor/plywood covering the aft bilge is in bad shape. (rot) I haven't removed the lazarette pegboard to get a closer look yet.

    My question: Is the floor glassed in or bolted/screwed in?

    Any comments on replacing the floor are appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    San Rafael, CA
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    Commander or Ariel

    post a photo?

  3. #3
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    Jul 2015
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    Commander. Hull 266. I don't have a photo of the aft bilge cover.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    Have to wait til a Commander replies.

    All I can say is that if the nomenclature is correct, no scupper is ever
    drained into the bilge. Cockpit drains may drain via hose to fiberglass
    THRUHULL pipes glued into the 'bilge'. Ariels had no seacocks for
    these drains that were well below the waterline, but cracks in the
    glassing or in old hose would of course be serious. This flawed system
    should always be wide open for visual inspection. The connection of
    hose to hull fitting should be completely visible and accessible.
    It's also possible that leakage could begin at the fitting-to-hose just
    under the cockpit.

    Some boats have glassed in or separate hose leading deck scuppers
    from drains in the side decks by the cockpit. Scuppers are in the deck
    next to the toerail. They lead inside the hull and exit at the boottop
    just above the waterline.
    The Ariel I have were all fiberglass and polyester, no hose, no
    discernable thruhulls. They were built-in and part of the hull.

    The rot you mention in the aft bilge of what I assume is the cockpit
    sole, might be a separate problem from your thruhull scupper
    drains. There could be other sources of leaks. Former owners
    might have attempted to fix them??
    A Commander skipper will have to answer.
    Assume rot can only happen if fresh water in quantity was left high
    enough in the bilge over time to soak the cabin deck causing it to rot.

    In the Ariel the cabin deck was tabbed in plywood. Fiberglass in
    strips was pasted on top of the wood at the hull. If you have no
    cabin furniture built onto this deck, which I believe you should not
    have, it would not be too much of a problem to replace the old with
    a new piece. The best LEAST MESSY tool for that would be a Fein
    occilating Multitool using a bimetal dogleg blade.
    If you haven't got an extra $750 for the tool, HarborFreight has a
    decent one for $39 (?). It's the quality of the blade that's important.

    Imperial Universal (fit any occilating tool) BM coated StormBlades:
    Iboat 330 and 340 are the only bimetal I used to find. That old
    polyester can be plenty tough -- but you can carve off most of the
    tabbing Pearson used to paste the plywood deck onto the hull
    without having to use a grinder. imco

    Best of luck...

    .
    Last edited by ebb; 07-16-2016 at 08:10 AM.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2015
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    Eastern, CT
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    I think I may have been unclear. my scupper drains and thru hulls appear to be fine. I did not mean to imply my scuppers are draining to my bilge.

    While crawling around inspecting my scuppers I simply noticed the plywood covering the aft bill underneath the cockpit (Cockpit sole?) was rotted. It looks like 1"or 3/4" plywood and I can see the sides of the plywood. This makes me think it may not be glassed in and easily replaced.

    The previous owner had extended the boot stripe near the stern of the boat up to and including part of the motor well. This makes me think that for an extended period of time the boat was stern heavy which may lend credence to your comment about water in large quantities over an extended period of time. But you make the point of saying freshwater. Is freshwater more damaging than salt water?

    And finally my original question do you have any knowledge if that plywood covering the aft bilge is screwed or glassed? Did it exist on an Ariel? I poured through the owners manual and could find nothing.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    cabin deck

    roythomas, Let's see... if the deck down in the cabin is a single layer from the mast to
    the companionway -- without a buildup -- as it is in the Ariel -- it is 3/4" fir plywood
    that is tabbed onto the hull with strips of fiberglass mat, cloth or roving. If you see
    indications of mechanical screws or furniture like construction than it may have been
    added by the DFO. Dreaded Former Owner.

    Since the cabin deck bears on the hull, there is no opportunity for mechanical fasteners.
    The deck may have cross pieces, separating the bilge into compartments. Cross pieces
    that would act as support. They may have a cleat to which the cross piece, assuming
    it's plywood, is attached. There you will find screws. The furniture in the cabin, if you
    look inside it, probably is framed with cleats. A shelf will probably be held in a cabinet
    with a couple cleats* on either side of the suspended shelf. Common construction.
    *Cleat is a woodworker's term for projecting strips in casework to support panels and
    shelving. Versus the mariner's cleat which is a projecting device for attaching line.

    There is no way of knowing what you got there without a photo. DFO could have
    changed everything with his own constructions.

    If you want to remove the rotted wood, cut out the wood with a short blade, keeping
    away from the hull. Once you can see what you got, you can use the oscillating tool
    to pare back the remaining wood upto the plastic tabbing (the build-out that glued the
    plywood down.) There probably is no tabbing under the plywood deck, making it easy
    to guide your dogleg blade, up along the hull from the bilge, to cut the frozen snot
    away. If you are able, first make a stiff white paper pattern of what you are removing,
    before you dig in, so that you can cut the replacement and chamfer it into where it
    originally was. After you've removed the offending plywood and the tabbing, Before
    you start any grinding or smoothing, it's a good idea to solvent clean the area first.
    So that you're not creating mini grooves to collect oil, and who knows what other
    gunge, ground into the hull surface.
    Once you've got the new piece to fit, cover both sides and all edges with epoxy.
    Let it set, then tab it into place with thickened epoxy. Imco.
    (least lethal solvent: 91% isopropyl alcohol -- from drugstore.)
    You want a single level, no obstruction, 'deck' in the cabin that takes water directly
    and straight to the bilge, where it gets pumped out. Never leave water in the bilge.

    Polyester hulls absorb water, constant bilge water helps with that, and water captured
    in the encapsulated ballast add to the weight of the boat. Over time boot-tops rise.
    If the DFO left water in the bilge under the cockpit, and then changed the WL...
    can't get a handle on that!
    Sounds like you have an OB motor well, maybe DFO had a short shaft OB and had
    to weigh the stern down?? Don't want to go there either! Motor well should be well
    above the waterline, otherwise it becomes a scoop. Ariel & Commander drawings
    in the Manual are not clear, but seem to show the lower edge of the well about
    5" above the WL.

    Look around the Forum here. There are dozens of Commanders worthy of every
    page and every post. Gorgeous restorations and upgrades. There may be clues to
    find and ways to approach your problem. There must be a photo or two in their
    pages you can refer us to.

    If you are new to plastic classics and 2-part epoxy, the only way is to start, and
    get your little ship fixed up! Why not look over what other Commander guys
    have pulled off!
    (ebb's extremely opinionated and probably the wrong nut to offer advice for the
    Commander...)
    Last edited by ebb; 07-16-2016 at 09:06 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    ONTARIO
    Posts
    1
    The bilge cover is in my Ariel. It is glassed in; no mechanical fasteners at all. Looking at mine it appears anytime there is water in the cockpit lockers, it would flow over and through an opening in the cover and wick into the plywood fastened to the underside of the fiberglass. It doesn't appear to be too big of a job to cut it out if you have the pegboard removed and out of the way. And can fit into the cockpit locker.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Lutherville, Maryland (near Baltimore)
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    Without pictures its hard to imagine exactly what your problem is. I know, one of the more difficult tasks of boat ownership is sharing pictures with fellow owners but its worth the learning curve. There are few problems we haven't seen.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Eastern, CT
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    Photo

    Finally took a photo. How do you guys get in there to look? I am 6'5" and could barely wedge myself close enough to see the bilge with my own eyes. I was actually worried about getting stuck and friends finding my body days later.

    Name:  bilgeCover.jpg
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
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    tabbing

    That's tabbing alright!
    They even short changed you on that. Any liquid goes
    immediately to the bilge.

    Wow, thought I was big!

    Drug store has 6" to 10" plastic mirrors (pink with handles)
    that I use to look into and behind things on the boat.
    Plastic stores sometimes have plastic mirror sheet that also
    can be used, cut to size, or create a widescreen view
    --but expensive.

    Looks like cutting with a multitool will be no problem, except
    where you can't squeeze (or bend) into...

    Where the lid goes over the bilge, those are 'cleats' that hold
    the lid. Cleats can be used under plywood replacements. they
    might go from side to side glued to the hull. A cleat could
    share old and new plywood deck, easy repair.

    As suggested above, I've used white cardboard of different
    thickness to make full size patterns that are traced on to wood
    or sheet. Office supply. Use blue tape and small pieces of card-
    board to indicate curves on the pattern. Thick stuff gives some
    stiffness.

    If you are just repairing, ie not restoring, you have completely
    different approaches. Removing old paint is a PITA. I would
    hire it out if you are going to restore. If you are going to take
    the time to restore, you have to buy a Festool vacuum with a
    HEPA filter and a sanding/grinding tool that sucks up what you
    are removing THROUGH the tool, so that you can work without
    a mask, and not get dust into every nook and cranny.
    It'll cost ya plenty.

    If you're just going sailing, quick-n-dirty is the only way. And
    can be done shipshape without changing the original boat too
    much, which will aid in its resale later.

    One of the other first things I would do is put in seacocks or
    their equivalent. Bronze Grocco are the shortest.
    Last edited by ebb; 07-18-2016 at 11:28 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Eastern, CT
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    How does one install a bilge pump down there? Can I just bolt it to the bottom of the bilge? Will a 1" screw mess up the watertight integrity of my keel? This all assumes I can fit somehow to do the work!

  12. #12
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    bilge pump

    The pump(s) lift water out of the bilge to another location.
    Sometimes to the cockpit, sometimes the deck, sometimes to
    a thruhull on the side or stern.

    No holes under water. Unless you are bringing seawater in
    for some purpose. Underwater holes are always, or should
    always have a manual shutoff, called a seacock. Which
    makes them expensive.


    You might get a copy of Don Casey's Inspecting the Aging
    Sailboat, International Marine. Very basic.
    More useful,more $$$, is Casey's This Old Boat, Turn a
    rundown fiberglass boat into a first-class yacht on a
    shoestring budget. Same publisher.
    This may be your best bet at this juncture.



    There are as many ways to install bilge pumps as there are
    bilge pumps and skippers. My way is to install them on a
    board you can lift out of the bilge for cleaning and maintenance.
    Some will just have them on the end of a hose lowered
    and clipped somehow into the bilge. Again, check out
    what other Commander's have done, either in the Gallery
    or Technical pages here on the pearsonariel.org website.
    Last edited by ebb; 07-18-2016 at 04:39 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Lutherville, Maryland (near Baltimore)
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    197
    I don't understand from your photo where the rotted plywood is. I do know that I'd double up on stainless steel clamps on those hoses.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Eastern, CT
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    The rot

    The rot is limited to the forward most section of the board. Right near where it meet cabin wall. I may just use GITROT or something. Not sure.

    Name:  IMG_1177.JPG
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  15. #15
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    Nov 2002
    Location
    Lutherville, Maryland (near Baltimore)
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    I've attached a rough sketch of where I think you've located the rotted area. If I'm right that's an unusual location. My guess is that someone let this boat sit with the bilge filled from either leakage or a storm and the wood got soaked. Am I close?
    Attached Images  

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