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  1. #1
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    Charlie's Superboat resto

    Just a project introduction for now. I picked up a 1980 21' Superboat project.
    The primary issue with this one is the front deck has collapsed. Issue causing this was none of the bow wire fasteners had sealant on them allowing years of water to soak the balsa core resulting in delamination.

    As I work my way around learning this hull the very top of the plywood transom is wet but the moisture has not penetrated very far. It does have one small area of delamination outboard of the starboard upper mount bolt to address. This was apparent when peeling off the aluminum plate from the stern. At this time I have removed the spashwell and expect to make some changes to the upper part of the transom as I move forward.

    One thing that looks like it will be a big PIA is getting to the gas tank for a proper inspection. The front bilge was holding water due to the deck issues so I really want to look around at the bottom of the tank and if good then epoxy coat it for it's next phase of life. So far a quick visual inside the tank shows no corrosion on the bottom inside. During this process I will install tubes along the keel to allow the front bilge to drain back and will be a great time to lower the seat mounts.

    Pictures will come later
    Regards,
    Charlie North
    If it ain't broke, modify it.
    80 21' Superboat with Yamaha 225 Excel power
    76 Glastron to be powered by a 6.2 L92 with surface drive
    87 Glastron CVX20 Hull

  2. #2
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    For some reason for the past two weeks I can not connect to my FTP site to get my pictures up there, so I need to upload them here.

    My first step here was to access the transom structure which entailed removal of the splashwell to clear the way for future changes. I started with the initial cut around the well followed by removal of the aluminum back plate,
    Once the tiebars were removed and the through bolts holding the plate were removed I used a few prybars to load the adhesive and let the plate slowly loose its grip.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Once the plate popped off I then worked at separating the inner skin of the well
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Realizing the skin was pretty dang integral to the inner face of the hull I chose to cut along the bottom of the well to remove it, nice now I can get in to work.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Now I was able to properly get a feel of the condition of the transom, at first it appeared wet up top but it turns out there is a 1" strip of ply laid across the top was wet but the two main vertical plys under that have no visual sign of excess moisture. This I like.
    Last edited by CharlieN; 11-12-2014 at 08:50 AM.
    Regards,
    Charlie North
    If it ain't broke, modify it.
    80 21' Superboat with Yamaha 225 Excel power
    76 Glastron to be powered by a 6.2 L92 with surface drive
    87 Glastron CVX20 Hull

  3. #3
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    Happy with my initial learning in the stern I move up front where I know there are issues. Where the true problem lies is the balsa core up on top, I used a utility knife to cut the inner skin out to pull a sample of the core, just with the first knife cut water poured out, pretty decisive what the issue is here. This image is looking up under the deck. The bow of this boat was carpeted as well.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    What truly worried me was looking under the floor in the bow where there were 3 previously drilled inspection holes, I found deep standing water in the center bilge. This to me is bothersome, I used a siphon to get out all I could since our evenings are below freezing up here.
    A few days ago I got some time to cut out a section of floor up in the bow, the plywood is saturated and the skin is delaminated. In time it will be removed fully.
    With the hatch I could completely dry this area and looking around it does not look as if the water has permeated the hull core. Once the gas tank has been pulled I will install a drain tube from this bilge to the aft section.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    When time allows I will wash out the inside of the hull, I expected this to be my first chore but things were directing my attention to other tasks.
    Regards,
    Charlie North
    If it ain't broke, modify it.
    80 21' Superboat with Yamaha 225 Excel power
    76 Glastron to be powered by a 6.2 L92 with surface drive
    87 Glastron CVX20 Hull

  4. #4
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    You can just leave that front subfloor out, no need to replace it unless you want it there. It also scrubs some speed
    You will want to remove the tank, the tank itself may not be terrible but the bulkhead for and aft are usually rotted. They were partially glassed and years of water and moisture in the tank compartment rot them out. Its also the only way to run a drain from the front.
    Remember if you are set on that drain tube idea to design the replacement tank around it cant use the same tank design over again
    Its also a good idea to core the pad area while you have the tank out it is sometimes a hinge point for the hull. We have used balsa core and even pourable transom compound to do that.

  5. #5
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    Thank you Rob,
    I expect the front floor will be left out. It is possible I will recore the deck with the cap on the hull so the workroom will be of use during that phase. If this is how I go about that it will be done with the hull inverted.
    The rear bulkhead has open holes from some previous fasteners, kind of dark looking around there, I have not probed the bulheads yet.
    Pad Core, I noticed a thread a few years back you added core, is this just bridging what exists or is the original core thinner forward of the aft section?

    I also have not decided how to get to the tank, whether I cut a strip out or remove the full floor. I will be removing the seat boxes as well.
    If I need to lift off the cap to do the front deck then I expect I would then remove the liner to work under it.
    Regards,
    Charlie North
    If it ain't broke, modify it.
    80 21' Superboat with Yamaha 225 Excel power
    76 Glastron to be powered by a 6.2 L92 with surface drive
    87 Glastron CVX20 Hull

  6. #6
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    if my memory is right there is no core in that area, we do it to the superboats, my friend john's progression, and the activator we did as well. Its a good thing to do while everything is open.

    converting to a flat deck is nice but you definitely need new seats and shells if you do

    good idea on the floor up front, give you a place to lay down and rest your materials as well as a place to jack the deck up to maintain the proper crown

  7. #7
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    Interesting about the core under the tank, I do want to improve on that.

    Getting the crown proper on the deck may be interesting. It is a gentle camber but the core is shot, or at least delaminated right back to the panel. It will be a few months before I can address this so my approach is far from locked down.
    Regards,
    Charlie North
    If it ain't broke, modify it.
    80 21' Superboat with Yamaha 225 Excel power
    76 Glastron to be powered by a 6.2 L92 with surface drive
    87 Glastron CVX20 Hull

  8. #8
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    Don't know about you but I can tell you for a fact that my 81' 21' Superboat has two layers of core underneath the tank area for added strength and protection. It came from Superboat this way to my knowledge. The tank in my boat was replaced in 87' so it is possible this second layer was put in then but from the looks of the way the glass is run to the strakes it appears to be original. Also if you are planning to run drainage from the front of the boat to the stern via underneath the tank yes you can use the exact same tank measurements for the new tank and still have a drainage tube under the tank. I used 3/4" PVC for mine. you have to remember that when Superboat put the tank in it was foamed in. When you foam in a tank you put cross members over the tank across the stringers so the foam doesn't push the tank out of place. When the foam starts to expand it will go under the tank and push it to the cross members. So the foam will go underneath the tank and create a layer in between the bottom of the tank and the boat. So instead of foam running down the center underneath the tank it will be PVC tube and will work fine.

  9. #9
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    Good info, I did talk with John Coen at SB a week ago and he did mention the earliest of boats they intended the tank to be a structural member but soon had a few crack the tanks. These boats were not fully cored under the tank. Mine being SN 11 might be one of the early ones but this boat looks to have been run hard.
    It will be spring time till I dig into this. I want to get in now just to answer some questions.
    John mentioned he used a flattened FG tube under some tanks, to me a " PVC should be plenty.

    Where the front deck is collapsed on this one John said the original mold is in to bad a shape to pull a deck from. He offered a new style but I want to keep this old school.
    Regards,
    Charlie North
    If it ain't broke, modify it.
    80 21' Superboat with Yamaha 225 Excel power
    76 Glastron to be powered by a 6.2 L92 with surface drive
    87 Glastron CVX20 Hull

  10. #10
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    Pulling the tank isn't that big a deal. I would rip the floor out of it. I would (and did on my boat) rip the whole inner-liner out of it. IMO it is pretty flimsy being that it is only attached at one point to the hull with one single weak piece of epoxied glass, and only riveted to the cap. Worst comes to worst pop the cap of it get all the balsa wood out till your down to the bottom layer of glass and re-core the whole thing. Your probably gonna have to re-glass the hull and deck together somewhere anyway. I would also check your boat closely to see what else may need to be done. I know on my boat the hull and deck weren't ever glassed together and the front of the front bulkhead in my boat had no glass on it whatsoever. it was bare wood.

  11. #11
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    Also by taking the inner-liner out it makes the boat feel a lot bigger and gives you more room and more options to do different things.

  12. #12
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    I have not looked at the front of the front bulkhead, not surprised there.

    There definitely are aspects of the liner I do not like, the seat boxes need to be cut down at a minimum and the side doors which could not be opened due to interference with the seats was not to my liking.
    The cap is not bonded on mine either excepting for the bulkheads and splashwell.
    Being that I have cut out the splashwell there is very little of the cap bonded on especially since the front half has delaminated which means I can free up most of the bulkheads with a utility knife.
    My hull has the floor up front, it is also delaminated and the plywood is saturated, pulling the cap will make that much easier to clean out.

    One of my main reasons for pulling the tank is to deal with a personal preference, I want the fuel fill on the front Port side so I can fill the boat and tow vehicle in one stop. I have no desire to reposition the rig to fill from the other side.
    I will also be installing proper fittings for the fuel pump and return line.
    Regards,
    Charlie North
    If it ain't broke, modify it.
    80 21' Superboat with Yamaha 225 Excel power
    76 Glastron to be powered by a 6.2 L92 with surface drive
    87 Glastron CVX20 Hull

  13. #13
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    If that's your personal preference and how you want the boat then by all means pull the tank. It just makes sense to me to rip the inner-liner out and put a new floor in when you do it. then the seats, storage, etc will be exactly how you want it. I ripped my inner-liner out took the foam out and the tank out all in 1 day. its not that bad. You may be surprised what you find when your in there. Most older boats like these had no drainage at all so if your floor say, had an access hole for the sending unit on the tank, over 30+ years imagine how much water got sown in the foam. then it saturates the foam which sits right up against the tank. And therefore you basically have water on that tank constantly. That's a bummer that you have floor up front. definitely not gonna be fun to take that out. My boat didn't have that, would be curious of how the stringers are up front. as well as the core. From the looks of your pic the core looks awful black but it could just be dirty.

  14. #14
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    Most of this boats life was just under a cockpit cover and recent years no cover at all, hence water soaking the balsa in the deck.
    Areas I have wiped I do not detect core issues and is why I got the splashwell out first so I could sample the transom.
    The bilges are filthy, I intended to pressure wash this but work and weather has not allowed this yet.

    I am scared of foamed in tanks, I prefer to set them on HDPE rails so no water is held to the aluminum.
    I am kind of in the mood to route some foam out from around the tank to see if I hit water, of course now it would be an iceburg up here.
    Allot more needs inspection on this one.
    Regards,
    Charlie North
    If it ain't broke, modify it.
    80 21' Superboat with Yamaha 225 Excel power
    76 Glastron to be powered by a 6.2 L92 with surface drive
    87 Glastron CVX20 Hull

  15. #15
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    I hear ya. I am surprised that in only the last few years the balsa on the deck got that destroyed. My boat sat outside for 5 yrs approx. with only a high build primer on it and no cover and the core on the deck was fine. ( the previous owner did replace rotten bits of core on the deck but for the most part it was solid) did the boat have holes left exposed from the lifeline or cleats, etc? Would like to see more pics of the boat. looks like it will be a good project!

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