Replacing Rotten Deck Core and Repainting the Non-Skid on a Sabre 42 Sailboat

I have to start this by saying that we 100% knew we were buying a project boat, and some strange twisted part of us was really looking forward to digging into this particular project.

With the benefit of hindsight, air conditioning, a lot of wine, and 3/4 of the deck still ahead of us… I can say that I’m glad we chose to tackle this project 🙂

Brio II was a very, very leaky boat. We spent our first Thanksgiving onboard running around trying to put pots and pans under the real streamers, while consolidating books and other treasures to the few confirmed “dry” places we could find. I don’t remember a thing about the turkey, but I definitely remember the pots and pans 🙂

Which is why we decided to start at the top with the deck rot, tackling the cabintop, and working our way “down” (ie – to the sidedecks and cockpit) over time. I’d hoped we might get to the sidedecks this summer, but it turns out July-August in South Carolina are HOT and HUMID and FULL of thunderstorms (shocker?) so we’re calling it a win with the cabintop complete, and we’ll pick this project back up a little later.

This doesn’t do the “after” justice, but it’s the only pic I managed to grab from the same angle with everything actually installed again. SO happy with how it turned out!

We’ve since moved Brio II to St Mary’s Boatyard, in Georgia, and are enjoying a bit of time with my family in BC while we wait out hurricane season.

While I can’t say I’m “excited” to continue the deck core replacement, I *am* excited to continue making progress towards a dry, solid, pretty boat! Which is a good thing, given we’ve now finished about 25% of this project 😉


Replacing Rotten Deck Core and Repainting the Non-Skid on a Sabre 42 Sailboat — 8 Comments

    • Thanks Rosemary! Jon is a perfectionist so it turned out *beautifully* — I’m lucky to have him!! Very happy to be in BC for a bit 🙂

    • Ha, very good question and very hard to answer… mostly because we ended up adding in a dozen additional jobs that made sense to do at the same time, like replacing the hatch lenses, adding the stainless handrail, redoing our running rigging, etc.

      But to give you a rough idea, we worked on this for roughly three months worth of weekends (May-Jul), minus the weekends that we went to the beach of just hid inside with the toddler trying to cool down 🙂 So somewhere around 20 “days”?

      We’re not quick, but slow and steady gets you somewhere, right?

      • Absolutely, and thanks for the reply. It looks great, and you guys have a great boat. I am looking to tackle a similar project on my boat, with similar time constraints, minus the toddler aged kids (ours are college aged).

        • Ah that’s awesome – it’s super satisfying when it’s done! What kind of boat do you have? Where are you located geographically? We struggled with the weather a LOT, so in hindsight starting this project in better weather would help facilitate a faster finish. That’s our hope for the side decks (which actually have more rot than the cabintop did) and cockpit (which doesn’t seem to have much rot but does need new non-skid). Super happy with how the full coverage nonskid turned out, as compared to the original deck texture too.

          • Our weather is similar. Home port is Rock Hall, MD. I have been following you guys since you have been blogging. I have a 1990 Hunter legend 37.5, and have some areas of soft spots. I don’t want to give up sailing season to do work, though. The spots aren’t bad, I just know they are there. How did you guys learn how to do the epoxy and fiberglass work? I have no leaks, I just want the boat to be perfect. Also, the topsides needs to be repainted, and I am contemplating painting the hull, too. The hull I would leave to the professionals, but the topsides I could attempt.

  1. Hi Leah! Wow! Huge work you have taken on but completely understand your buying a fixer upper and doing it yourselves. Then you know it’s done right. You may remember our old sailboat Harmonie II? Our nextdoor neighbour bought her and ended up taking the whole plywood deck up as well as removing the aft cabin! He is now replacing stuff and doing a fabulous job. We bought a 1981 CHB Trawler which had already had the plywood decks replaced and fibreglassed professionally. The previous owner spent a lot but we are glad. Hope you have enjoyed September in BC. Would love to see you if you make it up to the Sunshine Coast.

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