A reader's question about survey and corrosion gets answered by one of PBO's experts


I hope you can help with advice as regards repairing some damage on our Westerly Oceanranger.

We suffered one of the worst easterly storms on record at our home port of Holyhead in the early spring – a continuous Force 10 over the course of 2-3 days.

During these extreme conditions our boat suffered severe snatching of the bow lines, resulting in a damaged port bow fairlead.

One of the bolts has sheared while the other has bent, and though the fairlead itself is undamaged, the yard are not sure how to tackle the repairs.

I’ve contacted a man who has worked on deck fittings on Westerly yachts of all models when he was involved in building them.

He suggests we go into the chain locker and cut away the cosmetic glassfibre encapsulating the nuts and bolts under the deck. Only then can we extract the damaged parts, repair the decking damage and reinstall the fairlead.

Do you have any experience of this problem, and can you suggest any alternative ways to fix it?

Chris Russell
Kinnerley, Shropshire


I do have some experience of this kind of damage as the port forward fairlead was ripped out of our own boat in the January gale last year, where four boats sank in the marina and the lifeboat crew had to crawl along the pontoons to rescue people from their boats.

Your Westerly man is correct: you need to remove the glassfibre from the nuts as a first step to allow assessment of the damage.

It’s impossible to say from looking at the picture whether anystructural repair will be required, but the principles of carrying out the repair are the same regardless of the damage.

Cut away the covering glassfibre internally and remove the old bolts, and cut away any other damaged glassfibre. You may need to remove part of the teak decking to get proper access to the top of the bolt holes and you may also need to remove some of the linings below to allow full inspection.

You cannot rely on resin to soak into loose fibres in damaged glassfibre, so all damaged material must be removed before replacing any lost laminate thickness.

A dye penetrant crack detection kit could be used to check whether there has been any damage to the hull and deck.

Any cracking found should be raked out to see if it is just in the gel coat or whether it extends into the laminate. It can then be repaired or filled accordingly.

As the damage is close to the deck edge it is likely to be in solid laminate, but if cracks run into the cored part of the deck this should be exposed and dried before being resealed.

Any good repair should be stronger than the original component that has failed, so you may want to consider increasing the load-spreading arrangements for the bolts.

PBO’s free Ask the Experts service for readers calls on the help of 16 professionals, all with different specialisms.

To ask a question email pbo@timeinc.com and include your address. Pictures are helpful.