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Trying to waterproof the lifelines

lifelineStanchionLast weekend we decided to try to rebed the lifeline stanchions.  They have clearly not been rebedded since the day the boat rolled off the production line in 1987.  Consequently, they leak a little and need to be pulled up and reseated.  You can do this with quite a few things: silicon, marine sealants, etc but we decided to use butyl tape.  That stuff is almost magical for its ability to form a seal and stand up to harsh marine environments, avoid UV degradation and stay pliable.  My biggest fear was that we’d pull them up and thee deck core would have rotted requiring a little more effort to drill out the rotted core and epoxy it.

Little did I know.

There is no wooden core on the edges of the deck (at least not so far).  It’s fiberglass all the way through so things in that regard are great.  The problem is the stanchions are through-bolted.  This is great for strength of the mount and would be something I would prefer.  The problem is getting to those nuts underneath the deck.  We got the first one off because there’s a deck drain there and some of the underside of the deck is cut away to allow for the drain pipe.  If I forced my hand into the gap and pushed real hard, I could just get my fingertips onto the bolst and Amy unscrew them from above.

How hard did I push?  My left pectoral muscle was sore, as if bruised, the next day.  Amy says I may have pulled my nipple.  My hand looks like it hasn’t looked since my ultra dedicated martial arts days – all scraped and scabbed up on the knuckles.  Took 3 hours to do one stanchion; 11 more to go.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Why would it?  We did the aft most one but as you go froward that gap I pushed my hand in narrows down so much that it’s about a 16th of an inch wide at the bow.  No way I’m getting those off without cutting away parts of the deck inside the boat.  That would look terrible so I don’t want to do that.

My current idea is to remove what bolts I can, cut the rest off and get some stainless steel toggle bolts.  These will be 1/4 inch and I figure if one of these things can allow sheetrock to hold  445 pounds, then the 4 in each stanchion base bolted through a thick layer of fiberglass should do the job just fine.

Just gonna take a little longer than I wanted ….

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