06 December, 2009

Under Cockpit Foatation

On a Newport 16 the area under the cockpit can be a black hole. Equipment stored in the stbd locker drifts to port when sailing. Any water that leaks into the boat stays in this area. The Newport has a drain plug in the stern to drain this water. I consider this area unusable. My solution was to fill this space with flotation foam and encapsulate the area with fiberglass.

The first step was to remove the drain plug and seal the hole. Then I cut the original Styrofoam blocks to fit tightly into the space. Due to the V – shape in the hull this was done in two layers. The gaps around the block were filled with household expanding foam. This foam also acts like glue. I spread a layer on the hull before setting the Styrofoam blocks. Once the foam expanded the fit was very tight.

To seal the foam in fiberglass I had two choices. Either lay fiberglass cloth directly on the foam or use rigid panels as bulkheads. Polystyrene insulation that comes in 4x8’ sheets from Home Depot can be laminated. Working under the seats of this small boat can be very tight. Any fabrication outside the boat is preferred. Using a cardboard template I cut the styrene and laminated a glass cloth on one side. These were glued in using the spray insulation to the side of the Styrofoam blocks so that the vertical line is flush with the cockpit side. Using glass tape it was bonded to the hull and cockpit. Added benefit is the additional hull strength. The original half pipe stiffeners can be removed.

You have to work from the stern forward. This is why the rear is painted and finished off. Note: The hull deck joint is faired with epoxy filler and glass tape. Cockpit coaming is also filled with foam and glassed. Once the space was finished I installed a transverse bulkhead creating two watertight storage spaces.

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