Monday, May 28, 2012

What have you done to my rudder?!

Prior to the rudder getting barrier coated and painted, AJ thought that it was de-laminating, and had water trapped inside. AJ showed the guy doing the bottom paint - who also does fiberglass work, but he assured us it was fine. AJ went back Saturday to find massive rough holes cut into the side of the rudder with an angle grinder. I guess they decided there was water in it after all, and cut into it without telling us or asking. No one was there when we arrived. Sunday we came back to find a fully painted rudder with oozing water blisters around the repairs bubbling through the paint and barrier coat.

The rudder is a foam core sheathed in fiberglass.  AJ told them to open the rudder by cutting out a panel about an inch from the perimeter on one side, and pop it off. Drain the water from the foam, then fiberglass it back on.
Then we come back the next day to find this:

They had gouged two more holes. Didn't let it drain. Immediately patched the holes with fiberglass and epoxy.  And epoxied on top of the paint!  When we arrived it was bubbling and leaking. When you pushed on it, it squirted water from the edges of the repair.

What happened here has nothing to do with fiberglassing knowledge and everything to do with common sense. If you cut a hole to let water out, shouldn't you let it out before patching it?  And yes, epoxy does stick to any surface, even paint, but it is only as strong as what it's stuck to. And bottom paint is ablative. When the paint comes off the epoxy comes off - and you are left with a hole - because the structure wasn't repaired.   Does no one read the instructions on the bottle?

So we marched over and AJ pointed out the leaking patch. And told them again to drain it by popping off a panel. The next day we came back and it looked like this:

6 more holes cut - and already patched.  The epoxy repairs chipped off with the slightest nudge leaving the foam core and steel webbing exposed.

They did not let the water drain again, they did not grind off the paint, and each hole was leaking, again.  Why didn't they do what we asked? In his exact words "We thought we could get away with doing it this way."

At which point he was told to step away from the rudder and give us our money back.

Now that there are so many huge lumps of epoxy in the skin and foam, we can no longer pop the fiberglass sheathing off like a panel to repair it.  We're now going to have to drill holes, and actually let it drain. Then attach a vacuum pump to suck out the rest.   The new bottom paint and barrier coat needs to be ground off to bare fiberglass so we can repair all of the new and old holes properly.   The area will have to be tarped off to do it. Then re-barrier coated and re-painted. We'll have to order another gallon of bottom paint.  This should extend our stay by at least a week.

In other news it's raining again.  Rain has already taken about a week of our time.  The engine is still sitting in the boat with no hatch above. Story of our lives. We have the whole cockpit tarped off to protect it. But now that it's fitted it needs to come out and go someplace safe asap.   Tomorrow the sides of the boat are getting painted if it's not raining. They've been scuff sanding.

The black marks are where they lightly spraypaint before they sand. This lets them know where they have and haven't sanded.  The boot stripe is taped off, and the bottom finished.

Once the paint is done, we can get back to work on the boat with no interruptions but the rain.  Next up, sub-floors, windows and decks.


  1. Ouch... what a bunch of boneheads!!
    I had a few blisters on my windvane rudder. I opened them up with a drill and then some more and left to drain. I also shot some acetone in there.
    Don Casey has wonderful explanations how to do this kind of stuff.
    I've got his book "This Old Boat" but you can find lots of interesting info from the above sites.
    You guys are doing some great work! Scary stuff,eh. Makes my slavery look like kindergarden!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...