4.08.2009

Scupper Repair Replacement Westsail 32

For my land lubber friends and relatives that follow this blog, the nautical definition of scupper is simply an opening in the side of a ship at deck level to allow water to run off.

Mary Rose still had the original scuppers that drained the deck on each side of the hull through the bulwark. If they leak the water goes inside the boat through the gap in the bulwark. We only have three rules on Mary Rose. 1. Keep the people in the boat. 2. Keep the water out of the boat. 3. Do not hit any hard stuff. So the repair of the scuppers falls in line with the keeping of rule #2. We regularly noticed small traces of water in the galley locker after hard rain or when we shipped a lot of water on the port side when sailing. The original scuppers were thin, round, bronze, two piece pipe that sealed the span through the gap in the bulwark. The bronze had deteriorated over the years and the previous owners dealt with this problem by applying regular thin coats of a Marine Tex type of epoxy inside of the scuppers to seal them up and stop the leaks. This product is not flexible and it cracks and pulls away from the bronze scupper material. I contacted Bud Taplin to purchase a product to replace the worn out scuppers. Bud suggested that I remove the old scuppers and fill the gap with one and one half inch fiberglass round tubing. Bud Taplin was the first general manager of Westsail Corporation, and developed the manufacturing methods and put into production the original Westsail 32 in 1972, and built the tooling for the Westsail 42. In 1974 he left Westsail to start his own boat-building company, Worldcruiser, specializing in custom construction of sailboats. Since 1974 at Worldcruiser, he has designed and built many W-32's, W-42's and W-43's, all with different interior and exterior layouts. Visit Bud's web site to learn more. http://www.westsail.com/ Bud is our Westsail guru! The process to polish, seal and replace the scuppers is outlined below with photos for most of the steps.
1. Remove the teak planking covering the depression where the deck scuppers are located. The deck scuppers are located on each side of the boat just forward of the aft edge of the cabin top about 2 -3 inches below the level of the deck. The for and aft decks drain to these scuppers and exits the boat through the bulwark. So the first thing we had to do was drill out the wood plugs that cover the screws that fastens the teak plank to the deck. The teak plank covers the depression where the scuppers are located.

2. Remove epoxy in the depression. The original depression was a bit lower than the bottom of the original bronze scuppers. Previous owners poured epoxy in the bottom of the depression to prevent water from standing in the depression and holding debris. This was easily removed with a hammer and chisel.




3. Remove old bronze scuppers. We remove three screws form each side of the scuppers and then used a stout flat blade screw driver and hammer to beat them out of the hole where they had nested since April of 1975.





4. Clean and sand. We cleaned all surfaces. We used very coarse material to clean the area where we would later pour epoxy to build up the depression to meet the level of the bottom lip of new fiberglass supper. We used a round grinding stone to clean the inner edge of each hole in the fiberglass of the hull and deck through the bulwark. We cleaned the rest of the area with mineral spirits, wet/dry sand paper (1000 grit), and buffing material.
5. Cut new scuppers. We cut the 1 1/2 inch fiberglass tubing so that it extended past each side of the bulwark approximately 3/8 to 1/2 inch. The outboard end was cut at an angle so that the bottom was a bit longer than the top. The reason we extended the bottom outboard side was to help keep the water from draining on the hull and causing stains. We cut a small groove on the bottom of the outboard edge o help keep morning dew from dripping on the hull and causing stains.

6. Replace scuppers. We used 3M 5200 to replace the scuppers. I think Bud Taplin recommends using epoxy but we felt the flexibility of the 3M product would help prevent future cracking due to independent flexing of the hull and deck. Time will tell if our hunch is correct. Perhaps Bud will leave a comment as to his opinion of using 3M 5200 for this application??? We used copious amounts of 3M 5200 so that it was well sealed. We cleaned up the excess with mineral spirits and lots of paper towels. We dipped our gloved finger in mineral spirits and smoothed the final application to give the 3M 5200 a smooth finished look. We also reached inside the bulwark from inside the boat to make sure the adhesive covered the area well.
7. Replace epoxy. We mixed West System two part epoxy and added a filler to thicken and strengthen it. We then poured this mixture into the depression to fill the gap in the bottom up to the bottom lip of the new scupper pipe.
We taped a clean line on the inboard side that represented the spot on the depression that was the same level as the bottom of the scupper. After the epoxy set up, we painted it as well as the rest of the bottom and sides of the depression.
8. Replace teak planking. We replaced the teak planking and caulked the seams of the teak with SIS440. SIS440 is manufactured by Teak Decking Systems and is a great product. http://www.teakdecking.com/ Check out there web site for tips on teak deck repair and maintenance. It is a great site.




This whole process took less than one half of a day per side. We are very happy with the initial result and look forward to a dry rainy season in Florida. Please leave us your comments, questions and suggestions.

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