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Ericson 38--Overdrilling Mount Holes, Anchor Lid Pin Repair

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The Eastport pram is 7 feet 9 inches long, weighs only about 65 pounds, and fits nicely on the foredeck.

I reshaped the transom to conform to the camber, and padded it at the two contact points. The Taylor bumper rail makes a permanent soft landing for the bow. Two stern lines tie pretty well to the dorade guard before the mast, but that is where tying pretty well ends.

What is needed for the bow is a folding padeye for a simple direct tie-down. Securing lines to either side interfere with movement on the side decks, let the dinghy wiggle, and look bad. A hard dinghy on the foredeck makes a good handhold for anyone going forward, and of an evening in the slip guests tend to gravitate there for a seat or a lean. It needs to be confidently secure.


I overdrilled the mount holes for the new padeye because a foredeck gets wet. Our decks are cored -- made with a top and bottom skin and something in between, probably balsa. Such a sandwich is very strong, but water must not intrude, and the likely cause of such intrusion are the many fittings installed. A saturated core makes for a spongy deck, and although repair is possible it's a messy job.

Overdrilling seals the holes. A preliminary hole is bored twice or more the diameter of the intended bolt or machine screw and filled with epoxy. Then the final hole is drilled through that, so no core is left exposed.

I used West System epoxy with fast hardener, adding enough colloidal silica to form a paste. Duct tape on the hole bottoms kept it from leaking through. Epoxy is a strong adhesive, and with silica added, rock hard. Here's the unused pot. The test drill holes are smooth and reliable.

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Always overdrill? I don't always myself, and the Ericson factory didn't. But one thing overdrilling does do is remind you to examine the sawdust that comes out. It should be dry, and overdrilling will keep it that way. If it's wet--well, that's another story.

The dinghy is now more secure, at the cost of one more fitting on the foredeck.

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For the record, the foredeck is 3/4" thick where the padeye mounts.

Also for the record, I forgot to bring vinegar, which cleans up epoxy. It is the cheapest chemical in the shop, at $4 a gallon. Hands stay sticky without it.

Anchor Lid Pin

Mine broke this week. I took it to the local welding shop, where the owner decided to just add an extension onto the existing piece. Why did the weld fail there? Not necessarily a bad weld 34 years ago, he said: dirt collects, holds chemicals from the air, and that gradually destroys the material.
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Note the rust in the lid mold that contains the sliding pin.

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Also note that Ericson just drilled through the lid and into the deck for the one-inch span of the hold-down pin.

The drill holes aren't sealed. That's another place for water incursion into the core, and upon reassembly of the pin I'll have to do something about that. Maybe inject some epoxy. Maybe just pack in some caulk, and figure the pin will press it into any openings.

Cost estimate for the weldment? Thirty bucks. Couldn't buy a new part for that.

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Updated 06-13-2018 at 03:20 PM by Christian Williams

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  1. Loren Beach's Avatar
    When I found that same problem with the hole that the EY guy drilled into the side of the anchor locker (and into the deck balsa coring), I over-drilled the hole and then filled it partly with thickened epoxy, and then run the ss rod into it hard with some 'saran' wrap around the rod.
    That was about 20 years ago and it sealed the hole completely. No more leaks on the inside of the boat from there, either.

    Ah, the nifty little improvements you can make, over time.

    Gotta say, that dinghy is really light weight!
    Updated 06-05-2018 at 09:29 PM by Loren Beach
  2. Christian Williams's Avatar
    When reinstalling the repaired pin, I found the holes in the lid to have direct opening to the innards of both lid and deck. Yikes! What worked to seal them for me was packing with marine epoxy putty -- that stuff you break off and roll in the hands-- and then drilling out a new hole for the pin.

    By the way, I have been bragging that the dinghy weighs 65 pounds since I built it. Stricken with doubt, I brought a bathroom scale. It weighs 69 pounds (probably the wet bumper rail adds four pounds). Then I went for a dinghy sail, lifting it off the deck, rigging, sailing, and replacing it without strain or assistance. Light is good! However, the Eastport pram carries only two adults and a dog. And to sail it you have to imitate a 10-year-old in flexibility and body mass.
    Updated 06-13-2018 at 03:36 PM by Christian Williams