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Old 07-08-2019, 11:17   #1
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Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

Several years ago I cracked my deck at my lower shroud chain plate with a hard jibe. Though I had a little experience with fiberglass design and construction I had essentially no experience with fiberglass repair, so I asked a bunch of fellow cruisers in the area if they could recommend any place to get it repaired. One shop's name and their fiberglass guy came up several times so I went there and got it "repaired". The repair consisted of patching the crack at the surface and putting an epoxy board backing on the inside to reinforce the entire area behind the chain plate and spread the load out further as this area of the deck was subject to flexing as the chain plate was bolted directly to the deck. The area to which it was bolted was solid glass with an embedded aluminum plate as well as a backing plate on the inside, but no further reinforcing. This rant is not to debate the design of the original build as it was obviously inadequate. The deck has cracked again at the repair and I decided to study numerous fiberglass repair videos on Youtube to educate my self on proper techniques before having it repaired again. Having done so I examined the original repair and found that it was crap and that is putting it mildly. The so called epoxy board backing is bonded to the skin of the cored deck forward of the chain plate but has a 1/4" space between it and the solid glass where the chain plate is mounted and is not bonded to the cored deck at all behind the chain plate. Neither is it tabbed into the bulkhead to which it abuts at the rear. I was able to stick a sheet of paper between the Epoxy board and the deck with no trouble. This added no reinforcing whatsoever to the deck where it needed it and where the crack reappeared.



Now that I've detailed the poor repair job. I would point out that I, as a know nothing, asked the advice of other know nothings about fiberglass repair. Though several of them had had repairs done by this individual at this shop they actually did not know enough to evaluate whether the repair was done well or not. When asking for recommendations first determine if the person you are asking is actually qualified to evaluate the work of the person they are recommending.



Now that I have educated myself, I will be making the repair myself this time as I have been burned too many times by so called professionals in the boating industry. I know that there's a difference between Youtube education and experience so I've purchased a bunch of material for me to practice with before attempting the actual repair. I'm pretty sure I can get the structural part right, the challenge will be the cosmetic part.



Rant over
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:20   #2
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

Not the first time I have heard of or have personally seen this kind of situation, which is one reason why I choose to do the great majority of repairs and installations myself. I might have to do a lot of research and reading and will undoubtedly take longer to do the job that a pro but when it's done I know it will be done right.
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:30   #3
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

Ditto. Only thing worse than a crap repair is paying for a crap repair. DIY at least gives me some quality control. Many boat repairs are not mass production, commonly each boat is unique, so there is always a learning curve even for the pros, might as well own it. At least I know how much the guy fixing it drank last night.
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:52   #4
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

boat profession = a person who is paid to try to learn how to do things by trying it on your boat

In the past 10 years I've paid 1, a rigger. Later after I fixed what they did I let them know how to do right it the next time to help in their education.
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:30   #5
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

I would suggest talking to several boat "builders", not repair, in your local area. Inspect some of their recent work and you will probably get a good education for free. Most builders love to talk about their "above average" construction.
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:40   #6
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

Don't base your decisions on the advice of those who don't have to deal with the results.
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:22   #7
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

Similar experience but with diesel mechanic. I was getting no compression. Had two highly recommended diesel mechanics come for a look see. Neither got within 3 ft of the engine but they knew it needed replacement to the tune of $15K. Called BS and a friend and I did a top end overhaul. Outrageous parts cost but it cost around $1K total! Been running like a champ from then on.
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:34   #8
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

In some cases a good surveyor who has a record of working with your insurance company will be beneficial when hiring someone to do repair work.
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:35   #9
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

the worst work i ever had done was 2 talurite eyes in my standing rigging.it took the guy three weeks to do them.he charged 95 dollars,and they were so bad i could move the eyes they were so loose.that was the sailmaker in st gorges bermuda,even considering prices in bermuda the work was rubbish and way overpriced.my advice dont have rigging problems in bermuda.
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Old 08-08-2019, 11:53   #10
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

I feel your pain, Bill.


It is my usual point of view that I don't need to hire repair professionals because I can **** up the job all by myself. Sometimes that isn't feasible


In my opinion asking for a referral/reference will easily answer these questions:
- Is the contractor interested in the kind of work you want done?
- Do they usually complete the work in a timely fashion?
- Are the charges usually fair?
- Does the contractor usually perform the work in the fashion agreed upon? i.e. does the whole job but does not add on unnecessary or unrelated items
- Is the contractor communicative when dealing with problems and changes?


Repairing a structural crack in a high-stress area in the fiberglass that was insufficiently strong as built is a tall order. They should have bedded the backer board in thickened epoxy and possibly have dug out some of the deck core first. Round the corners on the backer board to avoid point loads. Possibly more than one layer of backer board. Whether tabbing it to the bulkhead is a good thing depends on the overall design the problem being that tabbing is relatively weak and a tab no larger than the repair may be insufficient. A strong joint would involve a gradually tapered cut into the bulkhead that is deeper at the deck then shallows out and multiple layers of cloth. The backer board would have to be tapered too. Makes for some messy grinding and may not be necessary or may be better accomplished some other way
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Old 08-08-2019, 15:34   #11
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

All too common I'm afraid Cap'n Bill,
We do our own repairs 'coz we have to but those that get their's done are often complaining.
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Old 08-08-2019, 16:03   #12
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Bill View Post
...I will be making the repair myself this time as I have been burned too many times by so called professionals in the boating industry...
Always the best way, you might not always/often/ever be the very 'best' person in the world to be making that repair, but you will always be the person who cares most about achieving the best end result.

With regard to Marine/Yacht Industry 'professionals', I concede that I can no longer say honestly that: "I can count on one hand those that I've used and would recommend." as I'm finally onto the second hand and we've only been sailing sixteen years; just a pity that all but one of those good'uns are many miles astern of us now.
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Old 08-08-2019, 19:46   #13
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post


Repairing a structural crack in a high-stress area in the fiberglass that was insufficiently strong as built is a tall order. They should have bedded the backer board in thickened epoxy and possibly have dug out some of the deck core first. Round the corners on the backer board to avoid point loads. Possibly more than one layer of backer board. Whether tabbing it to the bulkhead is a good thing depends on the overall design the problem being that tabbing is relatively weak and a tab no larger than the repair may be insufficient. A strong joint would involve a gradually tapered cut into the bulkhead that is deeper at the deck then shallows out and multiple layers of cloth. The backer board would have to be tapered too. Makes for some messy grinding and may not be necessary or may be better accomplished some other way

I discussed the design with a couple of engineer friends and determined that the structure failed because the embedded aluminum plate had square edges which provided a hard point for the glass to work against as the deck flexed eventually casing a fatigue crack in the composite. The jibe was just the straw that broke the camel's back. The solution was to remove as much flex as possible from the structure by reinforcing the deck and designing a new chain plate that transferred the load directly to the vertical cabin side and to add stiffness to the deck itself. This actually worked forward of the chain plate where the epoxyglass sheet is adhered to the bottom of the deck. The recurrence of the crack was to the rear of the chain plate where the epoxyglass stiffener is not attached to anything as far as I can tell. I think that properly building up the support of the deck will take care of the flexing problem. I plan to fill the "indentation" of the non-cored deck area with 1708 and epoxy until it is flush with the cored deck and then put at least three layers of 1708 across the cored deck and solid deck and wrapping up the inside of the cabin wall about 3-4 inches and tabbed into the vertical bulkhead to the rear. I have about 2 inches to work with above the headliner so I even have the option of adding small stringers if I don't think the layup is stiff enough. The other thing I plan to do is use Gflex epoxy instead of 105 to repair the external crack as it is not as brittle and can take more flex without cracking. I think this will make the external repair a little more forgiving of flex.
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Old 08-08-2019, 20:11   #14
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Re: Beware reccomendations from the Unqualified

And the guy who did the work thinks it is great and is planning on doing the next one that way as well, because he never got to see the results.


Doing it yourself also helps for a reality check when you get a big bill for a small job. Took me two hours this evening to rotate the elbow on a seacock 15 degrees. When I tell my wife I only have to put in 3 screws before heading home, she says, "so about an hour?" Often right.
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