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Lightning repairs



S.Smith
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Jul 26, 2009, 12:34 PM


Views: 23047
Lightning repairs

Hello,l have discovered some rot in the forward portion of the centerboard trunk on my lightning, and am looking for information on repairing it.
It's a fiberglass/balsa boat and l believe it's a Clark.



Blitzen
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Aug 26, 2009, 8:54 AM


Views: 22918
Re: [S.Smith] Lightning repairs

I know this is a pretty old post but in the interest of helping a fellow Lightning sailor.......If you're uncomfortable about how to proceed, I'd recommend getting some local advice from someone who can look at the boat. Pertinent issues are - the location and extent of the damage (i.e. cosmetic or structural), where did the water that caused the rot come from (i.e. boat being in the water or boat on trailer and filled with rain water), etc. Unfortunately, the centerboard trunk of some Lightnings is an Achilles Heel and the damage could be more extensive than you think.

If you determine that the damage can be reasonably repaired, there is a lot of helpful information on the West Systems website and you just may find what you need there - www.westsystem.com . There is also a lot of other help available on the web - Google something like "repair rotten fiberglass core."

The boat will need to be completely dry before any repairs can be made. Sometimes this involves drilling small holes into the space surrounding the rot for water to drain from saturated core (not rotten) and air to get in. All rot needs to be removed and then the space filled. The fiberglass encapsulating the rotten core could have lost its structural integrity and may need to go as well. The extent of the rot will dictate how you fill the space - resin only, resin with a filler, or resin with fiberglass cloth. If the area is larger than say 8" square it may be best to replace the core so as to avoid needing a lot of layers of cloth.

The good news is that this is not a hard task but it is important to do it right so you don't have to do it over. Once you finish the structural part you can either paint the area or use gelcoat.

Best of luck with this.


S.Smith
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Aug 30, 2009, 8:37 PM


Views: 22886
Re: [Blitzen] Lightning repairs

Thanks for the information on this repair. It doesn't seem to be a structural problem area,but the mast butt rests on top of the portion that is in need of attention so it's a must do.
I'm thinking that a piece of balsa wood protected by a few layers of fiberglas matt and resin, should do the job,that said l'm having trouble locating a block of balsa wood so may need to substitute a different type of wood.
I'll look into the suggested site and let you know what l come up with.
Thanks again.


Blitzen
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Aug 31, 2009, 5:49 AM


Views: 22881
Re: [S.Smith] Lightning repairs

Balsa should be fine as long as the resin has time to penetrate prior to kicking off. I'd use something else if you need it thicker than 1/8" (teak, oak, etc.) Starboard or other synthetic lumber would work as well. I'm asssuming that this "structure" is what the stainless steel mast step rests upon and will not be indirect contact with the mast butt, correct?


S.Smith
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Sep 1, 2009, 7:44 AM


Views: 22865
Re: [Blitzen] Lightning repairs

Correct,there is a mast butt step stainless bracket that mounts to the portion that is to be replaced.
It measures 2" W X 2' long and about 4.5" high.
I was thinking of Balsa to keep the weight down but maybe a cedar or hard wood would be better suited.


Blitzen
**

Sep 1, 2009, 11:02 AM


Views: 22862
Re: [S.Smith] Lightning repairs

Balsa should be fine as long as it's not too thick. Something I forgot to mention is to be careful about how much you build up the area - you don't want to exceed the range of your shrouds. On the other hand, if the turnbuckles were getting to the point where they could be almost completely tightened, you now have the opportunity to fix that with a little additional "build up."

Good luck!