April 2, 2020
Picking up where I left off, I attacked the remains of the wooden mast beam. Based on the small sections I’d removed last time, I expected a difficult time ahead. I used a saw to cut a series of kerfs lengthwise through the wood, which was how the saw fit; there wasn’t really room to cut across the narrow dimension, but I added a few diagonal cuts where I could. To my pleasure and surprise, this made the final removal startlingly quick: I found that in short order I could remove large slivers of the wood, which then released the rest from the edges, so in no time at all I’d removed all the wood, leaving behind a nearly clean trough in the deck. The wood may once have been secured in place by the laminate (I suspected the laminate was built up right over the wood once it was in place), and there were some minor ghosts of wood stuck to the laminate, but whatever bonding had been there originally had long ago failed as the wood became saturated, and because any bonding of this nature would have been minimal and weak to begin with.
With all the core and beam removal complete, I cleaned out some additional core remnants from around the edges of the openings, scraping out the final bits of core with a variety of tools. Then, I ground a tapered area around the entire repair, removing gelcoat and laminate at a slight angle from the inside of the opening. At the edges of the coachroof, I used some tape to mark the absolute outside edge of the grinding, as I wanted to leave just a bit of the original nonskid outside of the repair to allow me to properly fair in the new work, as well as maintain the nonskid line without getting into the smooth gelcoat of the cabin sides. At the same time, I sanded the exposed inner skin, and cleaned up the edges of the mast beam trough as needed to remove any overhanging laminate and so forth.
For the moment, I left the short after end of the old mast step platform untouched, as I planned to use it as a reference point for building up the new platform. Once I’d done that, I would prepare the after end and laminate the new top skin over the entire area.
After cleaning up the worst of the mess, I finished up the prep work with some detail sanding as needed, getting by hand into tight corners, edges, and within the overhang around the edges as needed. I ordered some solid fiberglass sheeting with which to build the replacement mast beam, but for now I’d done about all I could till the new materials arrived.
Total time billed on this job today: 5 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 35°, light rain. Forecast for the day: Rain, 44°