A sailboat is only as good as two things: the people sailing
it, and the materials keeping it afloat. And though you may be an expert
navigator and sailor, sometimes, the latter can disappoint you. That’s when
it’s time to dust off the work gloves and consider handling some light repairs
yourself. But how can you do a sailboat deck repair your own—and is it worth
the extra time and labor? Here are a few tips for handling your sailboat deck
and keeping it in tip-top shape.
Know Your Sailboat
Deck—And How to Repair It
It starts with a basic understanding of your sailboat deck. According
to Sail Magazine, many “decks are cored with end-grain balsa or plywood
with a fiberglass laminate on each side.” If this is the case for you, you
might notice that moisture can work its way into the core of the deck, which
tends to rot the quality of the wood over time.
When the plywood core of the deck goes bad, it will
generally be better to replace this plywood rather than work around the issues.
However, try to get a second opinion before you start tearing out old decking.
For example, you might be able to use:
- The Git-Rot Kit uses a
two-part liquid epoxy system to saturate wood and restore dry-rotted wood to
its original strength. If you’re sure you’re dealing with dry rot, this can be
a strong and valid alternative to a complete replacement. And it will likely be
much less expensive, too.
- If you have issues with leaks but haven’t
noticed any wood damage yet, try to see if you can seal them off. Look through
our Boat Caulks and Sealants
to get a sense of what you might be able to accomplish by locking out water and
giving your wood a chance to perform at its best.
Once you have an idea of whether you can handle the repairs
yourself or you need to replace some decking entirely, you’ll stand a far
greater chance of doing what’s right for your deck—and ultimately, what’s right
for your sailboat.
If you’ve noticed leaks causing problems, there might be an
issue you’re not aware of—a peripheral deck issue that’s leaking onto the deck but isn’t actually
embedded in the deck itself.
In these cases, you’ll want to make sure that you have the
proper caulks and sealants for the rest of your boat materials. For example,
if there’s a problem with fiberglass, you’ll want to make sure that the sealant
you work with adheres properly to fiberglass.
The best way to do that is by browsing through our list of
caulks and sealants, reading the labels, and better understanding which
products will handle your peripheral deck issues with a long-lasting cure. This
cure can be the difference between a waterproof deck seal and a poor fix that
will need new repairs in just a few short weeks.
Find Sailboat Repair Products
To keep your sailboat deck in top shape, make sure to browse all the boat
cleaning & maintenance products here at BoatLIFE today.