Repairs & Upgrades begin! Cabin top strengthening first up.

I am coming to an exciting milestone in the rebuilding of Windsong: deconstruction is nearly complete and now repairs and upgrades can begin!  The only things left on the boat is everything attached to the caprails on deck; old wiring and plumbing that I will either re-use or use as guides for new ones; and lots of old dirt, adhesive, paint and grunge.  I will start to work on removing the caprails and everything attached to them soon, and the interior surfaces will be cleaned in due time.  But for now, I will begin to focus on repairs and necessary upgrades.  If anyone has done similar projects or has some good advice for this, please chyme in. I need to get my plan in line for the following projects before I start painting the decks:

  • Cabin top stiffeners/supports
  • Bulkhead repair/replacements
  • Compression post repair/replacements
  • Plans for the large windows
  • Healiner replacement

First off is to improve the cabin tops and get them secure before I start painting the decks.  In the process of deconstruction I removed all of the old stiffeners on the cabin tops, all of the old compression posts, and windows.  With all of those gone, the cabin top sagged alarmingly and flexes a bunch when walked on (which I try to avoid).  I've put up some temporary compression posts to support it while I am working and they seem to do a decent job.  I want these repairs finished before priming and painting the decks since extra flexing would probably distort a good paint job.

The old stiffeners were molded and gelcoated fiberglass "box" shaped stringers with a teak beam as trim and molded in bases for dome lights.  These were screwed into the cabin top and glued with some thickened resin.  Once the screws were removed, the glue separated pretty easily and removal wasn't much of an issue.  These pictures show what the stiffeners looked like before I tore everything apart.  I don't have many pictures of just the ceiling, so just look at the top to figure out what I'm talking about.

I may re-use the old ones since they are already sized for the boat, but would add a few layers of glass on the edges to permanently secure them to the cabin top.  However, I am not too keen on the molded light bases, which would make my headliner paneling difficult to cut.  An alternative would be to glass in some lower profile stiffeners in the same spots as the old ones, using something like cardboard tube or shaped foam as a base then glassing them in.  Then I could attach my overhead panels to these and use the old teak trim from the original stiffeners to hide the seams of the panels.

Here is what the cabin top looks like now, bare: