What's holding your roof down?

Sean Eamon Kennedy

I’ve had persistent leaks where the pilot house cabin top (roof) joins the cabin sides. While I already knew the sides and top weren’t well attached in places, I’ve discovered the problem doesn’t just occur in places. It’s true all the way round both the pilot house and salon cabin tops.

For both decks, the 'glass of the cabin sides turns inward to form a shelf that the tops sit on. 

There are big problems with the construction:
  1. The ‘glass itself includes very little fiberglass - it’s almost all resin. The resin is uneven and chips flake off easily.
  2. The curve of the shelf isn’t fair and doesn’t match the curve of the top. There are ½” gaps or more in places.
  3. There’s no adhesive. The caulk in between isn’t 5200, that’s for sure. Once I was able to grab an end it was easy to pull the caulking out. And it was only a bead at the outside edge, not a full gasket over the width of the shelf.
  4. The only attachment is a series of undersize 1¼” screws, coming up from the underside into the plywood of the top. There were no thru-bolts. The screws had bugle heads even though the resin of the shelf wasn’t counter sunk to take them. Many of them were stripped out in the wet plywood

My fix was to clean out the gap and fill it as best I could from inside and out with 5200, and then replace all the screws with a larger diameter and larger sheet metal flat head. I doubled where the existing screws were already stripped. Also, at the forward corners I replaced the chain plates with pad eyes that bolted through the top and the shelf. I’m thinking about adding similar through-bolted pad eyes to the back corners and to all four corners of the salon cabin top as well.

Moonlight, Vega Voyager

This photo is looking at the aft starboard corner, without a headliner. You can see the shelf and the screws. You can also see how unfair the shelf is and how it doesn’t follow the curve of the top.

Here’s a shot from the same angle  but a higher elevation, showing the gap between the shelf and the top.

Sean Eamon Kennedy
Vega Voyager “Moonlight”