Fortier 26 foredeck crack repair

sealaw

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My uncle and I recently purchased a 1982 Fortier 26 that had taken some damage as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The major portion of the damage was reportedly caused by another boat in dry storage coming off of her stands and rolling over onto the end of the pulpit of the Fortier (also on the hard at the time). The leveraging action caused the cored fiberglass of the foredeck to tear and crack alongside and behind the pulpit, extending aft as far as the rise of the trunk. I am fortunate enough to be good friends with one of Long Island's premier marine carpentry and fiberglass technicians, who is very graciously providing advice and labor on the repair. When I saw this forum on the website, I though it might be a good place to chronicle the repair as we go through it step by step. Here are a few warmup pics to set the stage:

Here is the bow just prior to removing the pulpit (the duct tape is covering the cracked areas):

0324131440.jpg

Pulpit and duct tape removed, the full extent of damage can be seen:

0324131444.jpg

The worst portion of the crack from side-on, showing exposed core material:

0324131444b.jpg

The damage from belowdecks, looking forward into rope locker forward of bulkhead:

DSCI0287.jpg

Separation of foredeck from bulkhead due to upward leveraging force, showing exposed deck-to-bulkhead tabbing:

DSCI0290.jpg

I will post a few more pics of prep stage in a future post, and will attempt to photo document the entire process to completion.

Comments, questions, ideas all welcome.

0324131440.jpg

0324131444.jpg

0324131444b.jpg

DSCI0287.jpg

DSCI0290.jpg
 

blackdiamond296

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My father was the previous owner of this boat and as hard as it was watching her go, we were happy to see it going to someone with a passion for the boat and the downeast style.

As mentioned above, it was another boat putting pressure on the pulpit that caused the damage after Sandy. Attached are some pictures from before anything was cleaned up:

IMG_0096.jpg
IMG_0907.jpg

Best of luck on project, I'm hopeful that we'll have some news of our own to post soon!

IMG_0096.jpg

IMG_0907.jpg
 

sealaw

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Wow! What a chilling sight! Knowing the TLC you guys gave her, you must have been devastated to find the damage...although given the severity of damage around the tri-state area I suppose things could have been much worse. Thanks for those pics - very instructive and now part of "the record." ;)

Also - I wrote to Fortier, and Rod Fortier was kind enough to provide info on the brand and color of gelcoat used on the foredeck, so hopefully we will get a close match on the repair.

Stay tuned - more to come.
 

captainlarry84

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Good luck with your project. I saw the boat up close & personnel. When the tide can down a larger boat sat on the pulpit and slowly crack the foredeck. There was no impact damage just the weight of the boat as is slowly defeated the deck. This is important to know. Because the only damage is what you see. I believe this to be an easy repair based on how it happened.
My method of repair:
#1 I would get a circular saw. Set at & cut the foredeck top layer of glass out approximately 2 from the toe rail.
#2 Remove all of the coring.
#3 Re-enforce the lower skin on fiberglass with plywood.
#4 Grind and step the lower layer of glass wafer thin.
#5 Lay new glass on the lower layer of skin.
#6 Remove the plywood and step the inside lower skin of glass.
#7 R- glass the interior lower skin.
#8 Cut and fit new coring into the damaged area & bed the coring in hull and deck puddy.
#9 Step the 2 of glass around the toe rail and layer your new glass on top.
#10 Sand & fare the job and add non skin to the top coat.
The one thing you will lose is the factory non-skid look.
This job could be done for under 2K without labor.
You bought a diamond of a vessel with a repair that is within reach.
 

sealaw

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Good luck with your project. I saw the boat up close & personnel. When the tide can down a larger boat sat on the pulpit and slowly crack the foredeck. There was no impact damage just the weight of the boat as is slowly defeated the deck. This is important to know. Because the only damage is what you see. I believe this to be an easy repair based on how it happened.
My method of repair:
#1 I would get a circular saw. Set at & cut the foredeck top layer of glass out approximately 2 from the toe rail.
#2 Remove all of the coring.
#3 Re-enforce the lower skin on fiberglass with plywood.
#4 Grind and step the lower layer of glass wafer thin.
#5 Lay new glass on the lower layer of skin.
#6 Remove the plywood and step the inside lower skin of glass.
#7 R- glass the interior lower skin.
#8 Cut and fit new coring into the damaged area & bed the coring in hull and deck puddy.
#9 Step the 2 of glass around the toe rail and layer your new glass on top.
#10 Sand & fare the job and add non skin to the top coat.
The one thing you will lose is the factory non-skid look.
This job could be done for under 2K without labor.
You bought a diamond of a vessel with a repair that is within reach.

Some great advice there, captainlarry - thanks for the thoughtful post! I understand you were a close neighbor to the Four Bells for a number of years - it certainly helps to know the history of the boat and the nature of the incident when considering the approach to repairs and maintenance. Nice to be part of a close community! Thanks again, and stay tuned... ;)
 

sealaw

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OK, so - the next planned step was to cut off the top half of the forward bulkhead, in order to clear the entire crack for stepping, glassing etc. Here is the bulkhead with the intended cut lines scribed, angling upward from either side of the top corners of the rope locker door to the top corners of the bulkhead:

DSCI0305.jpg

The crack in the foredeck is clearly visible from underneath, in this photo running roughly perpendicular to the plane of the bulkhead.

As I was making the first cut through the bulkhead with a circular saw, I realized the the plywood was actually delaminated and was beginning to separate as I cut. I also noticed that the tabbing from the bulkhead to the hull sides had let go entirely, likely from the force of the accident. Given this, I decided to simply remove the molding, which was the only thing holding it in place, and easily I popped out the entire bulkkhead piece, leaving only the tabs from the hull and the foredeck overhead:

DSCI0309.jpg

So now we are replacing the entire bulkhead as part of the repair. No complaints, given that the hull is 30 years old it's really the right thing to do, and will stiffen and strengthen the foredeck repair and the hull. Next step was to grind down the existing tabs - we will re-tab the new bulkhead:

DSCI0327.jpg

DSCI0328.jpg

Next steps later this week. Naturally we will have to miter cut the sides of the new plywood bulkhead to match the narrowing hull profile, and also match the arch in the top so that it properly supports the "proud" foredeck.

DSCI0305.jpg

DSCI0309.jpg

DSCI0327.jpg

DSCI0328.jpg
 

PaulR

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Good stuff.

Hi, Larry. CaptPaul from NorEast here. I'm helping SeaLaw w the repair. I'm taking a different approach, adding about40-50 lbs to the boat.

We're going to relieve the fracture by running a saws all blade through it until the faces no longer touch when the camber is restored. Then we will secure the camber by securing one or two pieces of 2x stock on top of the deck, with the proper camber let into them. Then, after somebody lays on their back an prepares the bottom laminate of the deck for layup, we will apply a schedule yet to be determined, but tentatively set at:
-One layer of 13 oz. unidirectional fabric, oriented athwart ships to mitigate the failed fabrics.
-one layer of 13 oz. biaxial/mat (Possibly two layers)
-one layer 1/4" marine plywood. (Again, possibly two layers, in alternation with reinforcing fabrics.)

Then the temporary 2x stock will be removed after the above schedule has set, and the top laminate will be ground down past gel coat and fairing compound, the fracture will be filled with strands of fiberglas roving, cab o sil and milled fibers as necessary. Then it will receive one layer of biaxial, and one layer of ten ounce cloth.

There will be a mahogany six quarter frame let into the underside to accept the after bolt(s) for the bowsprit, and possibly a second forward. There will be the option of dropping in pieces of biaxial the shape of the existing nonskid areas, to give a sense of what was.

We will be using a high end epoxy, non blushing, so the option will be there to finish with the matching gel coat.

If another boat comes down on the bowsprit after this, he'll need a new steering wheel.
 
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sealaw

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Hi, Larry. CaptPaul from NorEast here. I'm helping SeaLaw w the repair. I'm taking a different approach, adding about40-50 lbs to the boat.

We're going to relieve the fracture by running a saws all blade through it until the faces no longer touch when the camber is restored. Then we will secure the camber by securing one or two pieces of 2x stock on top of the deck, with the proper camber let into them. Then, after somebody lays on their back an prepares the bottom laminate of the deck for layup, we will apply a schedule yet to be determined, but tentatively set at:
-One layer of 13 oz. unidirectional fabric, oriented athwart ships to mitigate the failed fabrics.
-one layer of 13 oz. biaxial/mat (Possibly two layers)
-one layer 1/4" marine plywood. (Again, possibly two layers, in alternation with reinforcing fabrics.)

Then the temporary 2x stock will be removed after the above schedule has set, and the top laminate will be ground down past gel coat and fairing compound, the fracture will be filled with strands of fiberglas roving, cab o sil and milled fibers as necessary. Then it will receive one layer of biaxial, and one layer of ten ounce cloth.

There will be a mahogany six quarter frame let into the underside to accept the after bolt(s) for the bowsprit, and possibly a second forward. There will be the option of dropping in pieces of biaxial the shape of the existing nonskid areas, to give a sense of what was.

We will be using a high end epoxy, non blushing, so the option will be there to finish with the matching gel coat.

If another boat comes down on the bowsprit after this, he'll need a new steering wheel.

Hey, Paul - welcome home! Thanks for explaining the plan better than I could... I know that "someone laying on his back" is me - will be doing that tomorrow or Friday - thanks again for the respirator mask! Going shopping tomorrow - picking up all the wood and adding some extra (will call you tomorrow).

This is a pic of the crack in the foredeck from underneath after cutting the relief as described above by PaulR:

DSCI0329.jpg

Here is the entire bulkhead after removal in one piece as described in an earlier post:

DSCI0330.jpg

And...this is the bulkhead from edge-on - showing the delamination in the plywood:

DSCI0336.jpg

DSCI0329.jpg

DSCI0330.jpg

DSCI0336.jpg
 
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captainlarry84

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My option is to save as much of the lower layer of glass as possible. This way you keep the crown of the deck in tack. Most of the lower layer of glass work can be done from the top inside by feathering the topside layer of the lower layer of the deck. Once done the inner bottom side will be easy. The key to a factory neat repair is that lower layer of glass, once that is done the rest a walk in the park.
 
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dino

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Without having viewed the repair you might be able to proceed as follows using epoxy laminating resin.

Line up the bottom laminate and tack in place with bondo or similar. Cut away all delaminated portions of upper laminate until sound laminate is reached. Cut out core from effected area. Replace core using filler/epoxy bog to bed in or just replace with syntactic foam (bog filler with silica to prevent running). Contour upper foam to desired shape.You may want to insert buttons of hard core like wood flour or cotton flox or milled fiber bog at fastener locations. Feather top laminate cut out borders at about 1" (20:1 slope). Lay up new upper laminate using previous lay up schedule (burn a cut out coupon noting orientation of layers or obtain lay up schedule from manufacturer). For the bottom laminate redo above but now work from inside. If working from the inside is to be avoided then splint bottom laminate to maintain tab and cut out upper laminate and core sufficiently to allow feathering bottom laminate from above. Prefab a bottom skin to shape. Feather and bond to bottom laminate with (cotton flox/epoxy resin mixed to peanut butter consistency). Proceed as above.

Dino
 

sealaw

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looks like a good time to put a hatch in

A hatch probably wouldn't work here for us. Taking that much structural material out of the already-weakened foredeck would likely create a bigger weak spot. I think the place for a hatch (if we were so inclined) would be on top of the trunk cabin, but honestly one of the reasons I like this boat is the absence of a forward hatch. Green water always manages to find a way in, and a bow hatch is (in my opinion) just another invitation for water. I don't personally like having to walk the wash rail in the rare need for going up on the bow (and as I get older the prospect becomes even less appealing!) but I would rather do that occasionally than potentially compromise the water-tightness and structural integrity of the foredeck.
 

blackdiamond296

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A hatch probably wouldn't work here for us. Taking that much structural material out of the already-weakened foredeck would likely create a bigger weak spot. I think the place for a hatch (if we were so inclined) would be on top of the trunk cabin, but honestly one of the reasons I like this boat is the absence of a forward hatch. Green water always manages to find a way in, and a bow hatch is (in my opinion) just another invitation for water. I don't personally like having to walk the wash rail in the rare need for going up on the bow (and as I get older the prospect becomes even less appealing!) but I would rather do that occasionally than potentially compromise the water-tightness and structural integrity of the foredeck.

The crown in that trunk cabin would also make a hatch a much more complicated job than usual... and walking the gunnel to the bow isn't bad at all with the radar arch and handrails on the top.

What's your plan for the forward wall of the cabin that you removed? That delamination in your earlier picture makes it look like its not gonna make it back into the boat.
 

captainlarry84

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A hatch in the foredeck is out. There is not enough room for one. Putting a hatch in the cuddy top is also not advisable, you would have your hands full using it. The way to go is a Goode Windless. Once you have one you will never go up front again.

good.jpg
 

sealaw

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The crown in that trunk cabin would also make a hatch a much more complicated job than usual... and walking the gunnel to the bow isn't bad at all with the radar arch and handrails on the top.

What's your plan for the forward wall of the cabin that you removed? That delamination in your earlier picture makes it look like its not gonna make it back into the boat.

Hi Chris - yes the old bulkhead is headed for the museum. :) We are replacing it entirely - and will be tabbing it to the hull and overhead identical to the factory tabbing. This will restore the original factory strength and stiffness to the hull and foredeck.
 

sealaw

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A hatch in the foredeck is out. There is not enough room for one. Putting a hatch in the cuddy top is also not advisable, you would have your hands full using it. The way to go is a Goode Windless. Once you have one you will never go up front again.

Yes, Goode makes an excellent and reliable product...I had a Goode free-drop on my last boat and was very pleased with the performance. I actually had a new motor built with more windings on the armature so the pick-up speed and power were much better than factory. However, I always found it a disadvantage for precision anchoring with two hooks. For that reason we will be putting a two-anchor system on this boat - we intend to do a lot of precision bottom fishing and an anchor tree is the only way to go. It won't look EXACTLY like this...but this illustrates the general idea:

2 anchor tree.JPG

With two anchor lines running down the starboard side through a dual block-and-pulley system, we will be installing a hauler plate on the starboard wash rail just aft of the helm chair. However that will be a summer project ;)

2 anchor tree.JPG
 
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sealaw

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This past Saturday we had ideal weather for fiberglass work, so we began the major portions of the repair. First, using ripped-down strips of fir 2" x 6", we braced the topside of the foredeck to retain the existing "proud" camber:

DSCI0355.jpg

Next, we cut two pieces of 1/4" marine ply to fit into the underside (roughly trapezoidal). The plywood was pre seal-coated with thinned resin/hardener to assure a good bond with fabric:

DSCI0340.jpg

Then we pre-cut the fabrics to match the template of the plywood inserts. Two types of fabric are used; biaxial and unidirectional:

DSCI0342.jpg

DSCI0345.jpg

All pre-cut layers of plywood and cloth were then moved into the cabin, and the layers were laid up inside with West Systems Resin/Slow Hardener. The layers were "sandwiched" as follows - bottom layer of plywood covered with layer of biaxial cloth, then covered with another layer of plywood, covered with another layer of biaxial and topped with a layer of unidirectional with the "grain" of the cloth arranged across the plane of the original fracture to act strength, which layer was pressed againt the underside of the existing deck. The entire sandwich was then lifted into place, stapled and braced into place:

DSCI0357.jpg

After bracing, an oatmeal-thick mixture of resin/hardener and colloidal silica was pressed into the entire fracture from above using a plastic spreader. The entire structural repair is now curing and we will pull out the bracing in a few days. The bracing underneath was placed specifically to support the are underneath the fractures.

DSCI0355.jpg

DSCI0340.jpg

DSCI0342.jpg

DSCI0345.jpg

DSCI0357.jpg
 

PaulR

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Trapezoidal?
Sandwich?
Oatmeal?!

You need a nomenclature consultant.
 


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