C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Re-installing Deck Hardware on the Cabin

Anne and I spent the day re-installing the hand rails, turtle, and dodger on C'est la Vie's freshly painted cabin.

Previously all C'est la Vie's deck hardware was affixed via wood screws into the cabin top.  The construction of C'est la Vie's cabin top varies from solid fiberglass, to cored wood, to layers of fiberglass with a void in between.  I feel relying on wood screws into a varied fiberglass buildup is a bad idea.  While stripping the hardware off the deck I decided to use through bolts when re-installing the deck hardware (the snaps and dot fasteners on the dodger went back in with wood screws.)

This process began prior to painting the decks.  I drilled out and filled each hole through the cabin top with thicken epoxy.

prepared to fill bolt holes for the turtle, handrails, and dodger.
This process had the added benefit of marking the location of each fastener from below.

We began today with simplest task - re-attach the handrails.  With only two fasteners per rail.  These gave us a good practice for working onward to the turtle and dodger.

I operated below decks and Anne stayed topside.  I began each install by drilling pilot holes through the old screw location.  Anne then confirmed the fit and give me the ok to drill out the holes to the proper diameter.  

We used butyl tape to seal the holes.  This required Anne to slightly countersink the exterior of the bolt hole, before wrapping the bolt in butyl tape and setting it in place.

Anne countersinking holes for the port forward hand rail. Note roll of butyl tape at her feet.
Once in place we worked as a team to tighten down the hardware.

Anne using a combination of  a large phillips head and a box end wrench to tighten down the through bolts.
Using this system the handrails went in place relatively quickly.  The turtle, with 12 fasteners to hold it in place took more time and effort, but the system was largely the same.  

Looking aft from forward right to back - hand rail, turtle (raised area resting on wood strip), and dodger (raised canvas that serves as windshield in foul weather, the "glass" is covered to prevent UV damage when not in use.)
 We through bolted the two primary hinge points of the dodger frame.  Each hinge plate requiring two bolts.  The rest of the cabin top dodger attachment points are either dot fasteners of snaps on which we did revert back to wood screws into the fiberglass.

Below decks the backing plates, washers, and nuts from the deck hardware are visible.  This seems a small price to pay for peace of mind when standing atop the turtle to furl the main, white knuckling onto the dodger frame in breaking waves, or placing one foot against the hand rail to coil the main halyard as C'est la Vie heels over making 6 knots in a good breeze.  We do have plans to incorporate the fasteners along the starboard  side turtle into a wooden grab rail below decks, but the will have to wait.  Currently we are looking forward to shoving off the dock and enjoying the view out across the freshly painted cabin top.

Looking out across the cabin from the cockpit.
The fresh paint and non-skid on the cabin trunk highlight the poor state of our decks.  Hopefully by the end of hurricane season 2013 we will have the deck refinished.  

Photos documenting the entire process can be found at...  Painting the Cabin Trunk - Spring 2013

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