The Rot Doctor


Subject: (glass transom repair)
Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999

I own a Classic Santa Ana Trophi flat bottom boat. The boat is a 1965 with a Merc650 and it looks like I am going to have to work on the transom a bit. Here are some pics of the boat for reference.

I just bought the boat about a month ago and went out on a few trips. After the last trip I noticed that we were taking on a little bit more water than the usual splash-over from stopping quickly. Upon getting back I noticed that the there was a 1/4 gap between the left side of the transom and the top cover of the boat. This also caused a 1/4 gap between the splash-back bilge hole in the top fiberglass and the one on the left side of the transom.
I was a bit concerned and I went to a boat yard. They quoted me $2200 to replace the transom because they would have to partially unrivet the rear portion of the top to be able to access the transom. You can access the front of the wood on the transom from inside the boat. The guy that quoted me stuck a knife into dry rot on the left side to support his claim.
Does all the wood on the transom have to be replaced or is this guy just over quoting? If it does not have to be replaced what can I do to fix it? I noticed on the webpage you were telling some to fill the wood with epoxy. Can I do that here? If you need some more pictures I can supply all you need to asses this situation. I bought the boat for $1700 and the motor is in outstanding shape so I don't want to get rid of it. ANY help you could give me would be appreciated and held in the highest regard.
Thank you in advance for taking the time to consider my little predicament.


Kieran C.


Your problem here is a bit more complicated than normal because of the 1/4" gaps. Without being there to look closely at the boat (thanks for the jpeg images -- they were helpful), and push and pull on the transom, I can't tell if the gap is related to the rot or whether it's an independent factor.

So let's take the problems one by one:

1) The gaps. Try and determine if the gapping is related to the bad wood in the transom. Push and pull on the transom and see if the gap opens or closes. From your pictures, I would guess that the sides of the hull are fastened to the transom and the bad wood is allowing things to come loose.

This is a problem that will have to be solved. Otherwise that motor may take the whole transom off and that's no fun.

2) The wood. No, I don't think the yard was over-quoting, although you'll get widely different quotes depending on which yard and when. It is a steep number for a small boat, but we all have to make a living.

If you can get at the wood from inside the boat, it is possible to pull/cut, rip out the bad and replace it with new wood, with everything being stuck together with epoxy. But you really need to determine how the hull sides are held to the transom, and whether that area is accessible without tearing the whole transom off the boat.

Why don't you think about what I've said, take a longer, closer look at the boat construction, send me some more jpeg images of things a bit closer in, and we can discuss your options in more detail. It is always possible to fix things yourself, but we'd want to be sure you were doing it the right way.

Come on back with more info and we'll discuss again.