There are Always Bumps…

in the road, but there are not supposed to be bumps on our cockpit floor!

Bulge in cockpit floor before the repair.

I noticed this about a year ago. It seemed like one day it was just there, as if it had appeared overnight.

After doing some research, I found out that this flaw is fairly common with the Super Maramu. The cockpit floor also serves as the engine room hatch. Located on the other side of this bump, is the bracket mount for the gas struts that support the hatch and keep it upright when it is in the open position.

During the manufacturing of the hatch, the shipyard opted to glass in place steel plates to bolt the brackets to. Somehow, moisture, salt air, salt water, or a combination of these, was able to penetrate the fiberglass and cause the metal to rust or “bloom” which caused the metal to expand as the iron was converted to iron oxide.

To rectify the situation, we had to remove the hatch, cut out the steel backing plate, and replace it with a stainless steel alternative. As I have absolutely zero experience dealing with fiberglass work, we hired a local expert (Roger) to handle the majority of the project. Although there was evidence that only the port side was blooming, we decided to replace the starboard side backing plate as well.

Step one was to run to Lowe’s and acquire a piece of 3/4 inch plywood. From this we cut a temporary cockpit floor/engine room hatch to take the real one’s place while it was being repaired.

Before we could remove the hatch, we had to remove the insulation from the underside, unbolt all the hardware, and rig a way to hoist the hatch out of the cockpit and onto the dock;

Layer of foam insulation removed (underside – tan/brown stuff is old adhesive).

Then we had to remove all the screws holding the rubber sound proofing insulation to the hatch. We decided to wait until the hatch was out of the boat before trying to separate the sound proofing from the fiberglass under layer. After removing the screws it was still adhered to the hatch with adhesive.

Look at Anna Marie attack those 86 screws.
Hatch ready for hoisting. The hoisting line was attached to the gas strut bracket (yellow circle).

We got the hatch out easily enough, and brought her up to the top of the dock and set it up on a couple of saw horses for Roger to start his magic. The soundproofing was adhered to the fiberglass quite strongly, so we opted to cut out and remove just enough to give us access to the areas we had to work on.

Roger doing the preliminary cutting of the fiberglass
Fiberglass cut and ready to be pried out.
Starboard side with backing plate removed. I don’t have a photo of the backing plate, but there was very little rust on this side.
Port side with backing plate removed. The circled area is where the metal was really “blooming” and causing the bulge on the deck side.

After the backing plates were removed, the areas were cleaned up, and the new stainless steel (SS) backing plates (grade 316) were epoxied into place. A single bar of stainless was purchased from McMaster Carr and a local machine shop performed the cutting, drilling, and tapping of the holes.

After allowing the epoxy to cure for 24 hours, positioning bolts were screwed into the backing plates with plastic sleeves added to provide an easy way to remove the bolts after the bondo and fiberglass were used to build back the balsa wood and gel coat that was removed.

New starboard side SS backing plate in place with epoxy bed.
Starboard side repair after filling the void with bondo.
Starboard side repair after fiberglass layer was added.

Next was just a matter of cleaning everything up, putting all the screws back in the rubber soundproofing, re-adhering the foam insulation, and re-installing the hatch.

Putting all the screws back with silicone sealer.

After taking out the rusted backing plate and removing the pressure it had created, the ‘bulge’ started to relax a bit and shrunk some. I believe if we had left some air space between the new SS plate and the underside of the hatch deck, it would have settled even more, but I didn’t want to take a chance and have the decking start to crack if unsupported. So I believe this is as good as it is going to get, but that is fine with us.

Bulge after repair was complete and hatch was re-installed.

6 responses to “There are Always Bumps…”

  1. Patrick and I just talking about boat repairs this evening and he was wondering how you have been able to manage them. He was very impressed with your detailed description of your “bump issue “ . So happy you and Anne Marie were able to share in the arrival of Bryan and Meaghan’s new gift Nora! Stay safe and hoping to see you both soon! Love Joanne, Charlie, Summer and Patrick

    • Thanks Joanne. Our time in with Bryan, Meaghan, and the kids was truly very special.

      Hugs all around.

      Love Paul and Anna Marie

  2. Dear Anna Marie and Paul, Lois and I are happy to hear about the upcoming grandchild’s birth and pray mom and child are well, along with the rest of the family. Your “bulge” was quite involved and reaffirmed my admiration for all the work and knowledge it takes to sail; homeownership is challenging at times, but it doesn’t compare to your adventures with the R/K. We’ve been quite involved with Lois’ health, which is why we could not respond to your past blogs. She had knee replacement surgery a year ago, and then this past Spring she had very involved spinal surgery due to disc compression on a major nerve root. Both surgeries came out of the blue (unlike my knee deterioration which has been in the works for about 3 years) and were most likely due to osteoporosis. I’ve been the major nurse, but not always too patient. But we’re getting through it all. No travel yet, though we have booked a Viking Cruise for January – 15 days from Ft Lauderdale through the Caribbean to the Panama Canal. Our last major travel was 2014, so we’re overdue! I’ve been serving as vacancy pastor for a church in Myrtle Beach for the past 2 years; a new pastor may be on the horizon and will bring an end to this long commitment. Of course, I don’t know what I will do after this – gotta keep busy. God bless you and your families.

    • Bob and Lois,

      So good to hear from you. We have been worried about you two as our last email was not answered. We have been meaning to call.

      Glad to hear that Lois is on the mend. Patience is something we never have too much of and one of the few things I ask our dear Lord for in my daily prayers.

      Mom and baby (Nora) are doing just fine. Nora arrived a week ago and Winston is doing great at adapting to his new role as big brother. This has really been a very special trip for us. Although we have been able to visit Winston many times since his birth, this time we have had the chance to spend almost 6 weeks with the little guy! It has been a blast.

      So glad to hear that your both have such a nice trip planned. I’m sure you are both looking forward to this well deserved break.

      Stay well and stay in touch.

      Love you both.

      Paul and Anna Marie

  3. Wow! That was quite a project, but well done. Hope you are both doing well, staying safe and healthy. Fred and I just got back from our “Voyage of the Vikings” on the Holland America Zaandam. After all this time, vaccinations, boosters and tests we both got COVID early in the cruise. After 10 days of isolation, life resumed and we had a great time. Thought of you guys and s/v Rita Kathryn often. Nothing beats life on the seas. Enjoy!

    • Great to hear from you Ken. Joanne told us recently you and Fred were on high seas. Glad to hear you both had a good time in spite of your early misfortune. We are both doing great thanks. We are currently on a land trip to VT to await the arrival of grandchild #2 (Nora) and having a blast spending time with grandchild #1 (Winston). You and Fred are always in our thoughts and prayers.

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