Customer Projects

Subject: Sailboat Transom Repair
Date: March 2011

This is a picture profile of a transom repair on a centerboard sailboat. Our compliments go to the family that made this repair, both for the quality of their procedures and the detailed pictures which make it possible for us to pass this information along to you. What prompted the repair procedure was the owner’s observation that the fiberglass was delaminating from the wood core, and cracks in the fiberglass. A little additional digging revealed that the wood core was compromised.

Click on photos to see larger.
Picture 1 Picture 2 Picture 3
Pics 1 & 2: This is the boat, outside and inside, before the repair began. Pic 3: The fiberglass has been removed and the bad wood is torn away.
Picture 4 Picture 5 Pic 5: With the foam removed, more transom wood is exposed, and the inside laminate of the hull. This section of the seating on both sides will remain removed, since it was not an area where anyone ever sat.
Pic 4: The back of the seats have been removed, exposing the flotation-foam.  
Picture 6 Picture 7 Picture 8
Pic 6: The tear-out continues . . . Pic 7: A wedge is used to break away the wood core. Pic 8: The main piece of transom wood came out in one piece, but a thin veneer of plywood remained attached to the outer fiberglss skin.
Picture 9 Picture 10 Picture 11
Pics 9 & 10: Inside views after the main part of the wood core has been removed, leaving only the veneer attached to the transom fiberglass. Pic 11: Cardboard is taped in place to make a template for the new wood piece.
Picture 12 Picture 13 Picture 14
Pic 12: Holes were drilled in the new wood so that all thru-hull penetrations would be through epoxy and not through wood. Our customer reported that the challenge was keeping track of these holes through the fiberglassing part of the repair. Pic 13: The new piece is placed for fitment. Pic 14: Both sides of the new transom were heavily treated with CPES. Holes were filled with Layup & Laminating Resin and West System 406 Colloidal Silica. Duct tape was placed under the holes and peeled off after the resin cured.
Picture 15 Picture 16 Picture 17
Pic 15: Voids and pocks are filled with L&L resin and silica filler before installing the new transom piece. Pic 16: A heavy coat of L&L resin and silica (as a thickener to hold the resin in place on vertical surface and to help fill the voids) is applied. A heavy coat of L&L (without silica) filler was also applied to the transom piece to make sure there would be no starving of the bond. Pic 17: The new transom piece being bonded in place using L&L resin. One needs to be careful not to permanently bond the bracing piece to the transom. Waxed paper should be used wherever feasible to prevent bonding.
Picture 18 Picture 19 Picture 20
Pic 18: Outer view of bracing for the bonding process. Pic 19: The new transom core is in place. Pic 20: The outer skin had issues, including dents on each side where there were structural through-bolts. The bolts were removed, the dents filled, and then additional glass added to the outer shell for support.
Picture 21 Picture 22 Picture 23
Pic 21: A very heavy filet of L&L resin and 406 silica filler was applied all along the border of the transom and hull to increase the strenght of the corner and to provide a smooth surface for the new fiberglass. Pic 22: Before installing the fiberglass sheet shown here, two four inch strips of fiberglass (one over the other) were laminated over the filets shown in the prior picture. L&L resin was used for all of this fiberglassing, and our customer commented that it was great resin because of its long work time and gradual set up. Pic 23: Two additional layers of fiberglass were installed over the transom. Note that the glass cloth virtually disappears after the L&L Resin is applied.
Picture 24 Picture 25 Picture 26
Pic 24: The fiberglass trim strip is bonded back in place. Pic 25: The outer skin was filled and smoothed, using L&L resin thickened with filler where appropriate. Pic 26: Building up low spots and indentations in the outer skin before glassing over it.
Picture 27 Picture 28 Picture 29
Pic 27: Sizing the outside pieces of glass. The second piece overlapped the first by about a half inch all around, so precise placement of each was critical. Pic 28: Temporary seat plugs for areas where the seating was removed. Pic 29: The inside of the transom after sanding the faring coat.
Picture 30 Picture 31 Picture 32
Pic 30: Hardware is re-installed. Pic 31: Inside transom hardware in place. Pic 32: Our customer commented: “The clean-up crew”.

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