Pearson 26 - Deck seam and rub rails

There are places along the deck seam where the rub rail attaches that look like they came down on a dock rather hard and repeatedly. In these areas the lip that is formed by the seam of the deck and hull has been either cracked or completely broken off. I am not sure how to repair these areas and have placed the images below to hopefully get some feedback on how to go about it. If you have an idea on how to repair these areas, please drop me an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and let me know. I am in no way a professional fiberglass guy. I guess I would qualify as a rank amature.

Let me qualify the problem by stating that my intensions are to paint the hull so gelcoating is not mandatory or even required that I can tell. Having said that, on idea that I had was to completely grind the lip off in the broken areas flush to where the deck and hull meet. At that point grind the deck and hull back from the seam and lay layers of cloth and mat until the area was flush and built out. This would solve the question of the bond between the deck and hull. Next, I would take some fiberglass rectangle bar, 1/4" x 3/4" and epoxy it to the where the seam would have originally been, then layer a couple of layers of cloth around this stock to the hull and deck to give it some more support. This would allow me to hand the rubber rub rail back on the boat.

Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts on the above process? Will it work? Is the idea flawed somehow?

Below are pictures of some of the damaged area. You can click on them for a larger version. If you need more images or larger versions yet, please let me know and I will be happy to provide them.

Seam and rail damage.Seam and rail damage.Seam and rail damage.

Richard Usen from the Pearson mailing list has graciously pointed out an error in my plan for fixing the deck to hull seams and rub rail. Richard noted that more strength could be had for the rub rail if a lip was made by layering fiberglass against a form. In this case I will take his suggestion and bondo a form (a strip of wood) to the hull after the deck and hull have been glassed together. This will allow me to lay glass on top of the form and the side of the deck to recreate the upper half of the lip. After setting up, the strip will be removed and the bottom lip formed against the hull and new upper lip. I only at this point need to figure how many layers it will take to build the original thickness of the lip. I have to make sure it is thick enough to hold the "T" channel that the rub rail pulls over. Thanks again Richard for your help.

Today, I erected some scaffolding and thought I would attack some of the rub rail problems.  I started the project on the port side with the first broken section closest to the back of the boat.  The picture below tell the story.

Area ground outThe plan was simple.  I would cut the rubrail off somewhere past the broken edge so i would get into good fiberglass.  Then I would grind the remaining bits of rail down so that the deck and hull were flush.  Next I would cut back the lower half of the rail on each side by an inch and a half and then taper the lower half an additional one and a half inches.

The lower rub rail was 1/8" thick so I would taper the hull from 1.5" and down to a depth of an 1/8" at the seam.  From there well I will wait for you to see what I do.

Unfortunately, I had some delaminated fiberglass and had to grind it out.  What I discovered is that the hull is only about 1/4" thick at the seam and the cloth that was used to bond the deck to the hull was not saturated very well and only what looked like one layer thick.  I would have thought it to be better built than that.  The result is what you see on the left side of the photo.  I am ground all the way through and will need to add some backing.  I can get to these areas from the inside the cabin and under the cockpit lockers.  Although I will need to remove some trim and panels to get to it all.

Look at that hole!!!Look at this hole!!!  My next step will be to lay up some 4 inch by 24 inch patches made with two layers of CSM.  I will place these behind the hole and along the seam on the inside with some thickened epoxy. After it gets tacky, I will lay a strip of 6 inch wide cloth over that.  From there I should be able to turn my attention back to the deck seam on the outside.

My intension is to make a 2 inch wide two layer thick piece the length of the repair.  In this case about 48 inches long and epoxy it to the hull and to the underside of the top lip.  I will hold it in place if need be with a few plugs of clay.  I will use this piece to lay up the hull and lower lip.  With a little luck, and some fairing I should end up with a decent repair to the lower half.  I will post pictures of my progress.