Recently I discovered another delamination within the shell that will need attention. Currently it will be difficult to work on as it spreads under the base of the Nav Station Table. I have been considering the options available to get better access to this area. The surveyor recommended to cut away about 20 mm from the bottom section of the unit to provide better access. However I decided to dismantle the Nav Station to allow unhindered access to this section.
So far dismantling the interior had been fairly straightforwards, albeit time consuming. The Nav Station was a little more complex as the bottom of the unit had been bonded to shell with fibreglass tabbing. I would need to cut through the tabbing. The frame supporting the table consisted of a set of drawers; connected to a half bulkhead on one side. I spent an hour or so working out how the frame was assembled; the presence of plugs suggested it was fixed in place by screws alone. So far so good. Screws can be removed, fibreglass tabbing can be cut through and re-laid, but glued components aren’t so easy.
First the plugs were removed. A mallet and small screwdriver with a fine flat edge worked well for this. I have probably ruined the screwdriver; but it will be heavily valued in its new role as plug-remover… There will be many more plugs to be removed over the course of the refit. All of the screws came out easily, barring two that connected the drawer frame to the base of the foot rest. Both of these were spinning aimlessly. They would need to be drilled out.
After drilling out the two screws the bottom support for the foot rest came out. This was all pretty soft and rotten; seemingly a collection point for water ingress. The piece was also split. I will give it a chance to dry out and see if it can be rescued. Otherwise I will replace it.
Finally I had all of the screws around the frame removed. The moment of truth arrived and then departed quickly as I realised there were further unseen forces at play. The frame was not moving despite having nothing visible holding it in place. After a period of deep thought I remembered my Dad’s joinery teachings and came to the conclusion the top of the table must have some type of joinery to the frame. After some jiggling I could see the join.
So the top of the table would need to come up and off, to allow the frame to be freed once the fibreglass tabbing into the hull had been cutaway. The next step was to unscrew the lifting table top from the base. No joy with that. Then I found plugs in the half bulkhead that separates the nav station from the port side settee. I removed those, now anxious that I would not be able to restore the cosmetic finish as these plugs were in open view. The table then showed a few millimetres of movement. However the grand plan to lift up and remove the table top was spoiled; the corner of the table top was fibreglasses into the shell. It was not going anywhere.
In the End
Sometimes things don’t work out as cleanly as you like. Even with every screw and connection removed the entire unit could not be disassembled, thanks to the table top bonding to the shell. However, this did allow the table top enough wiggle movement to lift it up 10 mm. That was enough for the frame underneath to pull away. I cut away the bonding at the base of the frame, and finally the crack in the shell is now nicely accessible. I did however break the frame during the process… the bottom has rot in it and split during the removal. Oh well, just another job to add to the list!
Full drama of the 7 hour procedure can be witnessed below: