Aug 26, 2009, 8:54 AM
Post #2 of 6
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.
Re: [S.Smith] Lightning repairs
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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.