Friday, January 13, 2012
A Corroded Aluminum Toerail is No Fun
I've got three bloody knuckles, sore fingers and cuticles that may never be the same. It's been several days of picking aged caulk out from underneath the our toerail, and I'm starting to feel the effects. Vlad looks better (his cuticles are like iron!), but we are both ready for this particular part of boat maintenance to end. Seriously ready.
So why are we putting ourselves through this quasi Spanish Inquisition style torture - I woke up this morning wondering if I still had fingernails - with a 5-in-1? Well, our massive aluminum toerail has some corrosion in some spots. In most places it looks lovely and solid, the kind of giant metal hunk you could really hang your shrouds on, but in other spots it needs some love - namely a way to stop water from getting underneath it and corroding it away.
Some would argue that we should take the whole thing off, clean it and rebed it, but here's the kicker. It doesn't leak. The toerail sits over the hull-to-deck joint and is screwed into the deck, and though water gets under the toerail, it hasn't yet weaseled its way into the boat. If we take the toerail off, it could inadvertently cause the leaking we are trying to prevent. We just want to stop the toerail from getting gobbled up and to prevent the water from potentially doing its weasel thing.
So after many days of scraping and cleaning, we are going to stem the tide with a bead of 5200 marine grade sealant underneath the toerail and 4000 UV along the edge of the toerail. That should happen this weekend. My fingers are really looking forward to it.