transom?

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transom?

Postby DesertRat » Thu Sep 13, 2018 10:39 pm

I'm slowly looking over this new DS1 that landed in my lap. On the registration they're calling it a 1964, but from what I can tell from the DS1 design changes post, it's probably a 1960 model. No HIN to be found, no indication that it was ever mounted to the aft coaming.

As I was looking there for the hin, I noticed that the transom is only fiberglass. No wood. How on earth can that possibly hold up? Is this typical? Do people retro-fit some sort of insert to make it more substantial? Do fiberglass-only transoms experience catastrophic failures? The sun was shining on it just so through the aft compartment, and I could see the silhouettes of leaves on the other side. It scared me.

Please advise...
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Re: transom?

Postby GreenLake » Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:39 am

I'm a bit nonplussed: are you saying the inside of your transom is bare laminate (neither paint nor gelcoat)? Do you see the same thing in the cuddy when you look at the side of the hull there? My experience is that only after I made a repair (removing paint on the inside) did I get any amount of light to come through. Laminate, even if thick, is transparent, so if you only have the outer gelcoat you may see shadows through it in bright sunlight.

I don't know whether I should tell you to be worried or not.

Has your boat been sailed regularly since 1960? You could take those 58 years as evidence that the probability of sudden transom failure is perhaps lower than you think. :?

The actual strength depends on how thick the laminate is. You can't tell that from your observation, because the laminate itself is pretty good at conducting light. I'm tempted to speculate that adding wood in later model years was seen as a nice way to reduce the amount of laminate needed, because a sandwich is (much) stronger that pure laminate, even if it exceeds the combined skin thickness of the sandwich.

My 1963 seems to have wood only where it serves as backing for mounting the rudder gudgeons. I haven't measured, but since there is a "bump" running up in the middle of the transom roughly the size of a 1x4, that would be my guess as to the construction.

You could always check the area for soft laminate or tell-tale crack patters in the gelcoat and, if still worried, adding a bit of epoxy coated marine plywood under a few layers of glass would not be difficult. (Not completely covering the transom, but like a stringer). However, your boat may have been built with beefier laminate there than later models making that overkill.

Also, would be good to check that your transom is still as delivered, that is, nobody has cut off any reinforcements. In which case you might in good consciousness consider restoring what may have been removed.

Not a decision we can make for you, and certainly not remotely.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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