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Old 12-04-2016, 09:23   #1
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Unhappy Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

So, I asked about bowsprit replacement and I got some great suggestions, and I learned a lot. I bought an older boat on a trailer I thought would be sound enough to get home on. I was just plain wrong. The trailer made it less than 100 miles before splitting where the winch attached. I was planning on cutting that out and replacing it.

In any case, the boat ended up with a 20" long hole in the port side, under the waterline. I want to do the repair myself. I plan on making an inner support out of something, maybe wax paper covered Formica or wax paper covered styrofoam or even foam in a can. Then I plan on building up alternating pattern and random cloth, pushing it into thick epoxy. Finally, I will cover it in epoxy filler and then gelcoat.

I have not done epoxy since I was 13 or 14 and my father decided to increase the water resistance of his wooden hulled boat by coating it with a layer of fiberglass cloth and resin. It was not real successful since he didn't smooth it.

Under the waterline means I will be working sideways/up. I presume I can use thick epoxy to stop it from dripping. Or sagging, I guess.

If anyone has any tips, please share. I have not bought materials so this is the right time for me to adjust things.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:31   #2
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brasshopper View Post
So, I asked about bowsprit replacement and I got some great suggestions, and I learned a lot. I bought an older boat on a trailer I thought would be sound enough to get home on. I was just plain wrong. The trailer made it less than 100 miles before splitting where the winch attached. I was planning on cutting that out and replacing it.

In any case, the boat ended up with a 20" long hole in the port side, under the waterline. I want to do the repair myself. I plan on making an inner support out of something, maybe wax paper covered Formica or wax paper covered styrofoam or even foam in a can. Then I plan on building up alternating pattern and random cloth, pushing it into thick epoxy. Finally, I will cover it in epoxy filler and then gelcoat.

I have not done epoxy since I was 13 or 14 and my father decided to increase the water resistance of his wooden hulled boat by coating it with a layer of fiberglass cloth and resin. It was not real successful since he didn't smooth it.

Under the waterline means I will be working sideways/up. I presume I can use thick epoxy to stop it from dripping. Or sagging, I guess.

If anyone has any tips, please share. I have not bought materials so this is the right time for me to adjust things.
Unless you are a really good swimmer, I would advise hole professionally repaired. This is not a good project to learn on.

West Systems has a DVD and books on hull repairs but they are intended for fiberglass boats.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:37   #3
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

As a shipwright I have to agree with Ron on this one hire it repaired this is not the time to learn how to repair glass boats if it was above the waterline then learn away but below is not good to learn on.
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Old 12-04-2016, 09:52   #4
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

This area of the hull is all fiberglass. Given the hole size, what do you think a professional repair would cost? An order of magnitude estimate would help if nothing else.

I actually am a good swimmer, I used to be a scuba instructor. Not that I'd want my boat sinking under me....but I don't think I'd freak if I had to wait six hours for a rescue while wearing a life jacket. So long as I had an epirb, my wife has already made "epirb connected to life jacket" as a condition for me solo sailing, at some point in the future. But all in all, well, if it is too much, the job may exceed the value of the boat and it might be time to scrap it.
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:06   #5
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

Whilst I agree with the others that this job might be too much for a relative beginner, if you decide to tackle it yourself, consider this; Repairs of this kind are often done from the outside in. Having ground away and sanded all loose stuff, cover the hole with formica with the shiny side facing the hull. Then start building up the layers of cloth working back into the boat. This way, the job doesn't need to be neat, it's easier to work with the materials as gravity is working with you and you end up with an almost perfect surface when you remove the formica. Also, from the inside you will need to overlap the areas which are cracked, filling them in will not suffice. You will not be able to do this from outside the boat. I would also use polyester (boat yard) resin. It will work well on your hull, it's easier to use and it will be a whole lot cheaper than epoxy. Good luck.
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:06   #6
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

If I were still doing that work I would estimate between $1,000 and $1,500 for the repair.
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:09   #7
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

I think your plan is pretty solid. Make a form for the inside. Formica with wax on it might work. Anything flexible with wax on it, or they sell sheet wax that is good for making forms. Brace it in place.
Of course first you need to grind the edges feathering/tapering them out for a good long bond area of overlap. I think 12:1 is the number often used.... so a 1/4" thick hull would be tapered out about 3".
Overhead epoxy glass work wont be that difficult. You are going to need to grind it fair and probably fill with filler here and there to make it nice anyway... so if some drips sag and harden... no big deal.
Finally, remove your form and glass the inside also in the same manner. Or as noted above, do the inside first.
It aint rocket science, Hal Roth did it on a beach in Chile!
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:30   #8
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

Remember the area that will actually need patching will be about twice the size as we see in the picture . There will be cracks in the interior glass you will need to grind out as well . Use a laminating filler So the epoxy is the consistency of mayo. Have fun and take your time
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Old 12-04-2016, 10:57   #9
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

I would not introduce wax into the layup. I would dewax using acetone before any sanding/grinding, taper back inside and out with grinder, acetone wipe rolling cloth, keeping out any wax/contaminates. Lay in a saturated mat or light cloth using polyester, build out from that when kicked, grind out the first mat and build in, all with polyester. Over build slightly and fair with 7-8" softpad. Gelcoat will not adhere to epoxy.


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Old 12-04-2016, 11:51   #10
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

Go online or call West Systems (aka Gougeon Bros.) they have online PDF files that give explicit instructions on all type of frp repairs. And they'll walk you through it on the phone, for free, including estimates for detailed bills of materials. Of course they'd like you to buy their products, which are competitive, but there's no charge or obligation.
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Old 12-04-2016, 14:39   #11
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

Big project for an amateur. The suggestions given above are good. Dont use west systems epoxy use polyvinyl or similar for the repair. Gel coat doesn't chemically adhere to west epoxy in 2 years you will be seeing fiberglass where the gel coat wore off.

Also as suggested, the damage is probably much worse than what is in the picture. You have to grind out and flare all the cracks. Back fill with cloth and a mixter of fiberglass strands. The stands will give extra strength to the crack repairs.

Good luck. Its actually not that difficult but to do it right will take time.
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Old 12-04-2016, 15:01   #12
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

Your tear on the left side of pic with tape actually looks to go about 6-7 inches longer than 27! I did a hull repair on 5/8 hull thickness, using layers of stitch mat with nonwaxed polyester resin. As stated grind 12/1 ! The big question is can you get at the inside to lay up there. I layed up my repair a layer at a time to full 5/16 +- on the outside, used polyethylene to cover, then used a semisoft foam sheet 1" thick, to hold up patch, and take the curve of the hull. I then went inside and did te same on the inside followed same routine. Note the resin had just started to kick/get warm in outside lay up. So inside and outside became chemically bonded!
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Old 12-04-2016, 15:09   #13
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

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Originally Posted by Brasshopper View Post
..........I actually am a good swimmer,.......
My comment about swimming was a joke. My comment about this not being a job for a first timer was not.

Most people who do these repairs professionally will give you a quote for free. Don't ask here, find two or three pros in your area and give them a call.
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Old 12-04-2016, 17:40   #14
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

I've done a lot of fixing holes in boats over the years, while your plan is solid I strongly suggest you hire a professional.

If you are going to do it yourself you are going to have to enlarge this hole as you remove damaged material, the reason being it is likely that the damage extends further than what is visible.

You don't want to spend a bunch of time repairing this hole, painting your bottom, putting the boat back in the water only to find out the sea pressure opens up and unseen crack right next to the repair and you start taking on water.

a piece of wax paper that has been prepped with mold release wax wrapped around a piece of melamine will work as a backing form. make sure it is tight against the hull all the way around, you can brace it in place with sticks cut to length or sand bags.

When I cut the hole out bigger id use a hole saw in the corners, a large hole saw like a 4-6" that way you have a nice long radius around the corners, no sharp corners, then take a flap wheel and put a long bevel on the edge so you can blend the glass in, id want at least a 4"-8" overlap between the hull and the repair.

Also you have to consider once the fiberglass has been repaired you need to re-Jel coat the area. If you fail to do this correctly you can get water into any area of the fiberglass that is porous.

I think learning how to do all of this would be a much better thing to learn above the water line.
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Old 12-04-2016, 17:51   #15
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Re: Large hole in fiberglass hull. Need to repair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brasshopper View Post
So, I asked about bowsprit replacement and I got some great suggestions, and I learned a lot. I bought an older boat on a trailer I thought would be sound enough to get home on. I was just plain wrong. The trailer made it less than 100 miles before splitting where the winch attached. I was planning on cutting that out and replacing it.

In any case, the boat ended up with a 20" long hole in the port side, under the waterline. I want to do the repair myself. I plan on making an inner support out of something, maybe wax paper covered Formica or wax paper covered styrofoam or even foam in a can. Then I plan on building up alternating pattern and random cloth, pushing it into thick epoxy. Finally, I will cover it in epoxy filler and then gelcoat.

I have not done epoxy since I was 13 or 14 and my father decided to increase the water resistance of his wooden hulled boat by coating it with a layer of fiberglass cloth and resin. It was not real successful since he didn't smooth it.

Under the waterline means I will be working sideways/up. I presume I can use thick epoxy to stop it from dripping. Or sagging, I guess.

If anyone has any tips, please share. I have not bought materials so this is the right time for me to adjust things.


Piece of cake, just follow Gougeon Bros manual.
Tips: * feather area and remove broken s& stressed glass. Inside as well if poss.
* paint a tack coat (thin) to area first and allow to kick. (become tacky)
*pre wet your glass on plastic film on your work bench.
* drape by presenting to top first and work downward.
* Roll out bubbles. allow to kick then do other side so old hull feather edges are
sandwiched. If you are getting voids a little bog there and then relay glass.
* if its hot use super slow hardner.
* remember "the person that didn't make a mistake didn't make anything."
* there IS an easy way to do everthing so get organised.
* follow west manual & check u-tube
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