Good Day Dr. Rot;

I have fiberglass over wood (mahogany plywood) cabin cruiser with visible leaks (at speed) along the transom to hull joint and below two of the stringers just forward of the transom (18"). The hull has exterior oak strakes screwed through the bottom planking and into the stringers above. I suspect the leaking along the stringers maybe coming through the screw holes holding on the strakes.

The boat is coming out of the water tomorrow and I need to deal with the situation. My approach was going to be to cut and remove the strakes until forward of the affected area, then grind away the area and define the scope of the rot to the plywood underneath. Then I thought I'd repair from below with epoxy or fiberglass (?), and then likely add another layer of epoxy soaked and glued plywood over the bottom of the bilge in the affected areas. (I suppose I may not get away with this and have to put in fresh plywood.)

That brings me to my biggest worry which is that I might be just at the tip of an iceberg and maybe scrap the boat. I have ground off glass sections on the 10" keel in the past and re-glassed these areas after the water dried up. How do I know the whole hull isn't rotting? On the other hand the boat is comfortable and good in a sea. The hull looks ok from the inside and had not been leaking (much) until about a month ago.

The boat is a 'Sabrecraft V2600', (Circa 1969), built in Oregon or Washington I believe. It is an express cruiser design with a single shaft drive 318 cu in V-8.

Can I expect a repair like this to succeed while working outdoors at this time of year? At best I will have a tarp over the boat while it is up on blocks. I am located in BC just across the border at Crescent Beach.

I would sure appreciate your suggestions and would then consider using your product(s).

Thank you in advance for your consideration of this request.

Charles P.
Surrey, BC


I wouldn't worry too much at this point. What ever your boat's problem is, it can probably be corrected with epoxy products. It's just a matter of how much time it's going to take you.

Your initial approach is correct -- remove the strakes, grind away the glass cover and take a look. If the plywood is badly rotted, you'll soon know. Punch it with a screwdriver and if it sinks in then you've got rot. Keep moving forward and sideways with your grinding until you hit clearly good, solid ply. Now you've defined the scope of your problem. You need also to take a look at the inside, especially the stringers to see if they show any of the softness and discoloration associated with bad wood. If you can get to the ply inside in the deteriorated area, take a look there and see if the wood is bad all the way through.

What you do will depend on what you find. Wood that is totally rotten through will have to be replaced. Wood that is just partially rotten, or generally poor condition, can be repaired with Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES), normal resin, epoxy putty, and a new glass cloth covering using epoxy resin for strength and bonding.

To repair bad wood, the wood should be as dry as possible. After that, it's just a matter of soaking in the CPES, several times in your case, Layup & Laminating Resin, and Fill-It epoxy putty if necessary. It would be quicker and easier if the boat were turned over, but this is not easily done with a large hull, I know.

I'm not going to get any more specific at this point on what you need to do. Once you start you can get back to me with what you discover, and we can take it from there.

Our products are designed to work down to 32 degrees F, which should be okay for your climate even in the winter. Things just go more slowly when it's cold. We have used 80,000 btu kerosene heater/blowers in cold weather to heat and dry wood. Down here the Rent-All shops rent them for about $20.00/day. They can be very handy in the cold wet weather. You will need to tarp the boat and keep it dry.

Find out what you're dealing with and then get back to me via e-mail. I check my mail every day all day, and then again on Sunday morning. I'll get back to you immediately.