Reinforcing port bulkhead

Feeling confident now that the main bulkhead is strong, Mark decided to reinforce the port wing bulkhead.  This has been a concern for a while now, where a bulge could be felt at the top outboard corner of the doorway to the forward head (easier to feel than see).  Like the main bulkhead, Manta had sized up this bulkhead in later builds post-1998 when Reach was built.  

This wing bulkhead is a continuation of the main bulkhead amidships, part of the “H” cross beam.  The nidacore is 3/4” and the bulkhead was originally 1”.  Mark increased the total width of the wing bulkhead to 1.5” overall with a plywood core ring frame.

This involved work in two sections: 

 (1) glassing the wall inside the pantry (on right)

 (2) adding additional core and glassing/tabbing the door bulkhead in the port hull.

Since the pantry structure could not be removed without significant destruction, Mark emptied all contents and shelves and removed the inner walls (into the shower), closed it up with plastic, crawled in and started grinding.  Ugh, what a dirty job!  I know ~ I'm lucky he’s so dedicated.  My friend happened to be heading out on a road trip, so for my part I joined her and got the hell out of his way…  This area was reinforced with two layers of 1808 biaxial fiberglass and epoxied in place, now tied into the original main bulkhead tabbing.


Next came the forward doorway, where a 3/8" plywood core frame was cut to form and glassed over with two layers of biax, leaving a single layer around the inner edges so that the metal door frame would still fit.  


The original bulkhead was again ground down, the [ground] ring frame was glued with thickened reinforced epoxy to the doorway.  


The ring frame was screwed in and then the epoxy was allowed to kick using 2-by-4’s clamped on to re-straighten the buckled bulkhead. 

Before & After (looking up at the ceiling):



A third layer of glass was added in the form of wide tabbing.


With a thicker bulkhead, the shelves running the length of the hull and the ceiling panel in the walkway had to be shortened by about 1/2" for the finished product.  The aluminum doorframe was reinstalled, screwed and caulked in.  

By the time I returned from my road trip, you wouldn’t even know that any work had been done here… with the exception of a thin layer of dust all over everything.  The new bulkhead looks bulkier now and we’re looking forward to getting Reach out to sail on a stiff breeze.

© M&M 2019