December 06, 2000

Seawind II Owners, I am casting about for input from an (specific experience) owner of type. The eawind II I'm considering for purchase has "excessive moisture in the forward deck."(according to a 3 year old survey) I know it is balsa core and that apparently because of the moisture insurance may not be available. Any insight on a fix or someone who might know? Comments on the structural significance of the problem would be appreciated. Thanks, Zac Zorn PS - Time is important now so a speedy reply would be of most help, that's why I've emailed the entire available owners association. Please respond. Thanks , Zac Zorn>> Dear Zac: Some years ago I had a "balsa-core ectomy" performed on the forward deck areas of my Seawind II. It was performed by a high-quality boat yard, listed below. I highly suggest you contact George Darling in Vermont and chat with him about the process. It is caused (we think) from a couple of things: water seeping in from the poorly engineered rub-rail to deck detail (he also fixed this properly), and seepage from improperly caulked stanchions. There may be other reason's I can't recall. Contact: George Darling Darling Boat Works 821 Ferry Road Charlotte, Vermont 05445 Tel: (802) 425-2004. As I recall, George Darling utilized a moisture meter to carefully detect where the moisture exsited below the deck, both the extent and the severity. This somewhat reduced the amount of old deck which had to be removed. The GOOD news, after a fairly extensive "operation", was that I ended up with a better deck (using a sand-filled paint), with far better skid protection than the original "waffle" pattern on the Seawind IIs. I've been completely satisfied with the my balsa core-ectomy.

Mar 1, 2001

What did you do for the wet core on side decks?

Jul 26, 2001

Indeed the cockpit sole is a balsa sandwich. I have cut out the sole twice. Once to remove the old iron fuel tank for repairs and again a year later to fit a new aluminum tank.

Sep 28, 2001

When you drill into a wood-laminated deck such as that of the SWII, I realize that it is prudent to epoxy any holes made, no matter what the size. My question is about the application of epoxy to a big hole such as the one used for the cabin heater. My boat is missing the cabin heater, but the pipe is still there. The pipe leaks through the middle as well as around the edges. I am probably going to close it off with epoxy and a stainless steel plate. I understand that you can tape off the hole and fill it. I have heard two opinions on the process. One is that you should only fill the hole partially and give it a chance to cure somewhat, then add more later, otherwise it will crack due to the heat. The second opinion was that you could pour it all at once and let it cure without a problem. Any comments would be greatly appreciated. If anyone has the opinion that I should look into buying another cabin heater, I would be open to any suggestions as well. By the way, what kind did they put in the SWII?

Sep 29, 2001

After I installed a windlass with its own access to the chain well, I replaced the existing deck pipe with a thick flat plexiglass cover, whic provides good lighting inside the chain well, very useful when unsnarling the chain in daylight... Paul of Sea Quill saw and liked it. I used Life Caulk as sealant.

Oct 1, 2001


Yesterday, I removed the waste tank pumpout fitting, and sure enough, whoever installed it had not the knowledge for foresight to protect the balsa lamination with epoxy sealer.

I dug out the punky wood with a 90 degree awl, and used an aerosol dust remover (found at computer stores) to blow out the residue. I then tape the bottom with a couple of layers of heavy duty marine duct tape from Boat/US and prepared my mix of West System 205/105 epoxy/hardener. I mixed it in stages: 4 pumps, mix, wait a couple of minutes, pour, wait a minute or so, then repeat. After a certain point, I put tape across the low side of the opening, in order to fill the top side without having the mix spill out. What surprised me was the heat and expansion that developed after I put the last batch in. It blistered the tape on the top and oozed out of the screw holes on the top side and started oozing out of the tape on the bottom side. I quickly addressed the latter by laying a couple of more strips of tape. When I was mixing it in the bowl, there was very little heat generated even after waiting a few minutes. I suppose that it built up as the volume of mix increased. I will check on it when I get home from work today, and I hope it did not crack.

Oct 1, 2001

The balsa coring that has been compromised is easily replaced and quite accessible to injection with common insulation foam in a hole of the size you describe. I do not recommend this treatment for smaller, fastening size, breached holes. The expanding, excess foam will ooze from a large opening and not expand, forcing the deck and liner apart as it will with very small diameter holes. I suggest the 'low expansion' type as it is somewhat more dense and easily shaped once it has set.

I would suggest that if any other significantly sized holes must be filled that you cut a similar sized plug, even if slightly undersized, from scrap plywood using a hole saw. The plug can be positioned with tape after the edges are coated with a thick epoxy/filler mixture is applied to them. The previous treatment of insulation foam is quite compatible with the epoxy mix.

If the surface restoration of the non-skid is something you wish to address I have had some limited success with the following:

1. Lightly spray an area of your existing non-skid with PAM.

2. Form a dam with 3M Blue masking tape around an area approximately twice the apparent size of the area to be recovered.

3. Melt some beeswax carefully into the dam.

4. After cured thoroughly remove the beeswax 'male-mold'.

5. Spray some PAM over the cured wax male-mold.

6. Use the PAM lubricated wax 'plug' and place it into a shallow layer of Plaster of Paris, to be used as a 'female-mold', into a waxed, cardboard paint container (I prefer a mold releasing wax, found in any auto body or fiberglass supply shop).

7. Using a thickened epoxy or polystyrene mix brush over the cured, female plaster mold face until a layer just thicker than the depth of the hole you are covering is attained.

8. Allow to cure.

9. Remove the mold from the cardboard container.

10. Sand and shape the depth and diameter to fit trying to align the pattern with the existing non-skid surface.

Coloring to match is difficult but I have been able to have a quart of two-part epoxy paint spectra-graphed from a removable hatch, or even sanding dust, in the past, but it is expensive and the base color will deteriorate in the can after about a month or so.

Nov 13, 2001

If it is just the backing plate thats not lining up, obtain a new piece of aluminum and cut it to fit and drill new holes in it slightly larger than the original bolts and install it. Likely the backing plates are corroded some anyway.

Nov 14, 2001

I was able to file out one of the holes in each of the port and starboard backing plates to get the third bolt through. By the way, I opted to have 316l stainless backing plates made to avoid galvanic corrosion. The original plates were quite corroded. Thank you for your response.

Nov 14, 2001

During my chain plate replacement process, I found that the core surrounding the openings in the deck was not protected and wet in places. I opened the first four with a drill and a rotary rasp, but would recommend using a bastard file for the straight edges and a rat-tailed file for the ends since one may take off too more material than is needed with a drill. I would also recommend taking out enough material for the width of two chain plates--this allows leeway for your epoxy/filler mix with room for caulk to fill in the seams. You should also remove some material from the ends, I estimate that I remove about a quarter of an inch on each end. !!SUGGESTION!! Mark the original positions of the chain plates before you remove them!!! This will guide you when drilling out the space for the epoxy after it has set up.

I am using the west system 205 and 105 mixtures with 303 filler mixed to a consistency slightly thicker than pancake batter. This allows for it to flow into the voids while providing more support than straight epoxy. I have been pouring it in stages of about 1/2 in. thick and allowing to cure before adding another batch in order to avoid excessive heat from the exothermic reaction of the two parts. My favorite rotten core digging tool came with the boat. It is a combination right angle screwdriver with a right angle awl on the other end instead of a phillips.

Another suggestion is to buy your both your 205 and 105 in the gallon size containers if you plan on doing more than occasional small jobs. You can buy the C size pumps. You can get an extension for the hardener pump. With the large capacity, you don't have to worry about your hardener running out for a long time. Recently I had problems with my small size hardener when I got near the end. Although I was able to pump the proper amount of epoxy, the hardener would not come out of its spout at the proper ratio since it was low. The proper amount was there, but spread across the bottom of the can. I had to throw the mixture away because I could not insure that I had the proper ratio with several half-full squirts. The gallon size hardener will prevent this if you keep a reserve can. You just switch cans when it starts getting low and add the remainder to the new can after it gets used down a little. If anyone has suggestions or comments, I would be happy to hear them.

Nov 17, 2001

During my chain plate replacement process, I have found wet core at the opening of the port aft chain plate opening. A week ago I dug some out around the opening that was wet, and sealed the top of the opening to prevent further moisture from getting in while living the bottom open in the cabin. Today I looked at it and dug out more wet balsa. Should I try leaving the top open for it to dry out, or do I need to drill the surrounding area and use a vacuum or heat gun? I have never done any of the latter before.

Nov 25, 2001

With the help of some friends I have installed three of the four lower main chains after drilling and filing out the epoxy for the right fit. The fourth one's balsa core is mostly dry, and I anticipate getting it epoxied, re-drilled, and fitted by next weekend. I will be drilling out and fitting my forward mizzen chains early next week. After that, it will be the upper and aft main and aft mizzen chains. Next will be installing the golf cart batteries.......

Nov 26, 2001

While you are at it you might want to check your bow cleats. While running the same routine on my boat I found saturated balsa core around my forward bow cleats and the aftmost bow pulpit pads...

1444 Jan 30, 2002


As I was inspecting some items on my boat Miss Wendy I have noticed a large area of deck delamination. This area is on the port side deck and is about 3 feet long. I have been researching how to take care of this problem but would like to ask the group if they have any experience or advice on how to fix this problem. I do plan to repaint the non-skid on the decks so this is probably how I will get to the rotten core. Any help in this problem would be greatly appreciated, as I am sure this is going to be a big job. On another note I too would like to contribute to the group money fund for the website.

Thanks for the help,


S/V Miss Wendy, Allied Seawind II #16

1445 Jan 30, 2002

Tom- I feel your pain! I too have some bad spots on my hull #113. Check out the rot doctor website ( They have a pretty good method on repairing cored deck problems. I havenít tried it yet - keep putting it off as I have more pressing problems, like blisters, bad rudder etc.

Bill S. k113

1447 Jan 31, 2002


I redid both of my side decks from the forward chainplates aft to the deck drains. I didnít want to deal with redoing the topsides so I went in from the bottom with a holesaw and dugout all the rotten core. I replaced the core with an epoxy/glass microsphere mixture. It was a messy, dirty job. If you are planning to redo the topsides anyway, that would be the easiest way.

When I did mine 6 years ago, the only good reference was Allan Vautsesís The Fiberglass Boat Repair Manual, and a couple of short Cursing World articles. Since then, both BoatBuilder and Good Old Boat have had such article. In both these cases the couples opted to remove the topsides and replace the core. A year or so ago, a guy who had just bought a Southern Cross 31 wrote the newsgroup asking advice on a repair similar in scope to yours. He eventually had the yard do the work over the winter for about $1200. In my mind thatís well worth it (NB: if you have ever read my post to this newsgroup you know how cheap I am). If you want any details feel free to call. My number is 440 248 3566.

Good luck

Jim Rendt

s/v Galadriel SWII 12K