Balsa core at front plate repaired
Spent the last couple of days fixing some balsa rot where the forestay and jib halyard go through the deck on my 1974 Customflex Scot. I thought I spotted a small area of rot around the holes last year, and made a mental note to take care of it after the season.
I used a 1" hole saw to drill through the fiberglass on each hole from below deck. I found out the problem was a whole lot bigger than I thought. I dug out as much of the rotted balsa as I could. Then through the two 1" holes I stuffed about 2sq ft. of saturated fiberglass cloth cut into 1" strips. Then placed a piece of fiberglass cloth over the bottom of the hole and taped it up with duct tape.
From the top I then poured fiberglass resin into each of the jib halyard and forestay holes. I did it in three stages of 1-2 oz each, allowing it to firm up between each dose. The last ounce did the trick, and I had solid fiberglass in place of the balsa core. I then redrilled the holes and replaced the haylard and forestay ends.
It looks like a pretty solid job. I suspect that if I ever want to take the plate with the tow eye out that it won't come because the screws are now firmly fiberglassed in place. My hope was to eliminate the rot by sealing off with fiberglass, and give the area lots more strength. It appears that the sealing off was succesful as I drilled through solid fiberglass.
Since I am no fiberglass whiz, any suggestions on how I might have improved this job? Anyone else notice this problem on their boat? Seems like a design weakness, leaving balsa exposed to the elements. On my boat though, this area of balsa is limited to a 6"x6" area, so damage is also limited. Would love some input here. Thanks in advance.