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Hi everyone,

I have a glass-over-ply boat with stringers running under the cockpit floor to support it. One of the stringers was cracked, so yesterday I filled the crack with epoxy and went to screw it together. At that point, I learned that the screws I'd chosen were too big in diameter and have now split the stringer. I'm thinking of replacing it. It measures 661x45x20mm, but I can't see how it's attached to anything, so I'm not sure how to remove or replace it. I assume it's been screwed in somewhere, but there is nothing visible. The cockpit floor is in great shape, and all of the tutorials I've found online have been people cutting out the plywood flooring and replacing everything.

 

Alternatively, could (should?) I just load the new crack up with more epoxy? This is right at the entrance to the companionway, so pretty high traffic.

 

Thanks!

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If it is easy to remove with chisel/angle grinder/ renovater tool then cut it out and epoxy a new bigger one in. If that's too difficult bog up what's there and epoxy a new piece over or alongside till it is stronger than original.

I assume it is out of sight so doesn't have to be pretty?

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You can use pine. My boat is made of it. Just be sure it is well sealed with epoxy. Other timbers will be stronger for same dimensions but harder to source. Fijian kauri is good.

The original failed so make the repair stronger than the original.

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Sand well down the side of the busted bit. Cut a bit of nice timber, as BP said nice pine is fine, or 12mm ply or something similar to the same size as the side you're going to glue to. Epoxy glue that into place, a few screws sideways or SS brads (small nails) to hold them in place, clamps work as well. Put a nice cove in to top corner and make it look pretty. That should make that stringer strong again with minimal fuss.

 

Even better would be to strap a nice 6mm ply, cut to match the shape down both sides.

 

Coat the finished job in epoxy or similar to seal any bear timber.

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Thanks KM. I've decided to layer over it with carbon-reinforced glass for two reasons:

1) it'll never, EVER break again.

2) my mate's offered me materials and a lesson. I've got some other fibreglass repairs to make, so it will be nice to be able to practice where no one will see it, under the guidance of someone who knows what they're doing. The woodworking stuff seems a lot less daunting to do on my own (says the woman who didn't know what diameter screws to buy...)

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Thanks KM. I've decided to layer over it with carbon-reinforced glass for two reasons:

1) it'll never, EVER break again.

2) my mate's offered me materials and a lesson. I've got some other fibreglass repairs to make, so it will be nice to be able to practice where no one will see it, under the guidance of someone who knows what they're doing. The woodworking stuff seems a lot less daunting to do on my own (says the woman who didn't know what diameter screws to buy...)

Good stuff, learning as you go and that can only be a good thing.

 

And as FYI, I was in M10 just last week looking for SS screws and was caught wondering 'WTF does that mean??' to some labels.

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Another question... The stringer that I repaired supports the forward, port quarter of the cockpit. I stepped into the cockpit yesterday and heard another crack, so just had a look underneath, and now the stringer that supports the port, aft quarter of the cockpit is cracked. Pretty much identical break as the first one. Will be easy enough to fix now that I know how, but should I be concerned that they cracked in sequence like that? Is this potentially indicative of a larger issue? The floorboards seem fine...

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Possibly, the plywood that forms your cockpit floor is too light.

If standing in one particular spot cracks the bearer beneath then all your weight is being transferred onto that bearer, indicating that the ply floor is not thick enough to transfer the load over several bearers. Ex seafarers here will no doubt recall the endless arguments with stevedores over loading cargoes like steel coils onto lower hold tank tops- point load versus distributed load. A steel coil loaded on its bilge will exceed the permissible loading on the tank top. Put a couple of decent bearers under the coil to spread the weight and it will be ok. Perhaps the same applies to your cockpit floor?

If this is the case then options - sand back and glue down an extra piece of ply, put down a couple of layers of double bias cloth, build a nice teak removable duck board in a solid frame and lay it down over the existing floor. This is what i did on the Cav 39. Worked well, and even with a little water in the cockpit the duckboard floor kept your feet dry.

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