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Sailboat KnowledgeBase

Bulkhead rot repair

Author
Bob Malone
Article
During the survey of Triple Play, the surveyor noted significant rot in the port bulkhead and less significant rot in the starboard bulkhead. Both were the result of leaky chain plates. Estimates for professional repair high and the owner, Dennis, wished to take it on himself. I asked my surveyor, a sailor and small boatbuilder who had historically worked for Cape Dory, to write up exactly how the work should be done. I also requested that Dennis make a photo journal of his work for review by the surveyor before I would consider going through with the purchase. He did so, and the surveyor was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the work he did.

Luckily, the 9.2A bulkhead design includes sacrificial panels sistered to the main bulkhead. On the starboard side, damage was really limited to just replacing that piece, a fairly easy task. The tabbing was cut and the wood panel was removed, the new piece was cut, dry fit then the edges of the new piece were sealed with epoxy. The area behind the panel was cleaned and treated with epoxy. The new panel was installed with some stainless screws to hold the panel in place to allow Dennis to move right onto tabbing the piece into place.

Steps were similar for the port side, only a damaged section of the main bulkhead was cut out with a piece tabbed into place to the hull and the existing bulkhead. That cut-out section was entirely behind the sistered panel and the surveyor felt that the design made the repair sufficiently strong without replacing the whole bulkhead.
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