Wiskun's gunnels have been a big headache for us to maintain. Embedded in it is a steel T-frame bar which was exposed. When we left Vancouver, there was a beautiful mahogany strip covering the gunnels. It had several coats of varnish to protect the wood. By the time we reached New Zealand 15 months later, there were several rust stains on the hull from the T-bar.
Of course, to get into the T-bar, we have to remove the mahogany strip first. Painstakingly taking the strips out, grinding the rust away, coating the steel with iron coverting chemical, priming and painting it and putting the trimmings back takes a lot of time and effort; only to find the rust coming back after a few weeks. We have tried several types of paint, and everybody had given us all types of advices - all good, but not good enough. We decided not to install the mahogany strips in order to access the steel faster. In fact, we gave away all our wood trimmings in New Zealand as we didn't have room inside to store all of them. Anything that needed high maintenance, i.e. oiling and varnishing, we took out. They do not work well in the tropics at all.
Now that we have more time, Kjartan decided to cover the gunnels with bi-axial fibre strips and several layers of epoxy. It is a lot of work to do this and I was amazed when I saw the finished project. I couldn't tell that there was a fat layer of fibreglass on the gunnels. Hopefully this is now airtight and without oxygen, rust will not form. (The pink color is the priming coat).
The next project involved laying epoxy on the whole deck. Also a lot of work - sanding and smoothing. The above picture of the deck shows the epoxy layer - almost looks like a layer of glass. After sanding and roughing it, Kjartan painted 2-3 layers of white primer to protect the epoxy from the sun. Our plan is to put a 2-part epoxy paint on it with sand (non-skid). This will have to wait until we are ready.
While doing the deck, Kjartan found the source of a leak. At first, we thought the leak was following the electrical wires from the mast into the interior. But this wasn't the case. The previous builder of our housing on deck used sikaflex on the joints to the deck. Sikaflex breaks down after a while and moisture can seep in, causing dry rot. Luckily, Kjartan felt something soft and started digging into the wood. He scraped out all the dry rot until he reached the good wood. It isn't too bad (I hope). He is now laying epoxy on it. NO MORE SIKAFLEX!!