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Old 13-03-2006, 08:56   #1
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Fiberglass Repair - Cleat Mounting

The highlight of our first trip was lying DIW with plugged fuel lines in 5 - 7ft seas near the Belle Pass LA breakwater. I accepted a tow from an oil rig crew boat and this cleat lasted about 5 minutes before it sailed overboard. Now I get to repair the hole.. photo here:
http://cruisersforum.com/photopost//...t=7&thecat=500

Newbie to FG repairs, so many questions. I have good access behind the hole as it's in the chain locker. I assume the process will be to apply FG mat to the underside of the hole and build up from there.

- what do I use to fill the considerable thickness? Do I chop up mat and fill it in via multiple layers?

- I want to replace the cleat, but should I reposition it to avoid the repaired area since it will be weaker than the rest of the deck?

- thinking it may be best to hire a professional to do this one... Opinions on that?



Thanks in advance for your replies.
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Old 13-03-2006, 10:25   #2
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While others will suggest optimal fiberglass rebuilding techniques, I'll add that you should put one monster of a backing plate on the other side of anything you do to fix this cleat. Make sure the backing plate is substantially larger than the hole you now have.

But before that... somone else will have an ideal fiberglass repair technique. I've only done a few fiberglass repairs so... I'm less qualified than some on here when it comes to that.
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Old 13-03-2006, 10:58   #3
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Adding to Sean's input

No question that when you follow an expert's advice as to the proper material and layup for repair you will ABSOULTELY be able to make a fix much stronger than the original condition.

As Sean said, a backing plate, as large an area a feasible, needs to be stiff (metal, wood, or even high-density plastic) and properly bedded so that the stress transmitted by the cleat to the deck is distributed over as large an area as possible. The stiffness helps to force line tension transmitted to the cleat to be "held" in the plane of the deck as much as possible wherein lies the strength of the fiberglass (as opposed to a vector perpindicular to the deck which is what "pulled" a hole in your deck).
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Old 13-03-2006, 11:54   #4
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I suggest you get a proffesional. He will or should be able to do a repair that will be very hard to see (if he is good). Good advice by the others. I would ensure a SST plate is placed under the deck and fix the new cleat through it. Do the same to the otherside.
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Old 13-03-2006, 23:08   #5
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In the photo, it looks like you have a bulkhead right below the break? Access could be a real issue. You can do this yourself, but if access is as big a problem as it looks like, I would hire out the work. This is not a cheap repair. Not what you wanted to hear I am sure. If you do this yourself, you will need to remove the toe rail, and grind back several inches past any damaged glass. Inside and out. Glass the inside first, as this area is probably covered, so it will give you a good chance to learn technic. The glass should cover no less than 2" beyond the hole, all the way around. Matching the gelcoat is another earned talent. If this is your first repair, expect to see it. Invisible repairs take real skill. A solid backing plate for the new installaton is a must. Not to reinforce the repair, but to insure this does not happen again.
If you can live with minor cosmetic blemishes on your deck, go for it. If you like your boat bristol, pay the man.
All of this is assuming you are not an expert at fiberglass work.
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Old 14-03-2006, 07:48   #6
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I'm certainly no expert, so I'll hunt down one who is and watch & learn. (I know, they charge more for owner-assisted repairs)

One recurring theme is a mystery to me, that repairs will be stronger than the original fiberglass work if done correctly. Anyone care to explain why that would be so? It's typically not true working with other materials...

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Old 14-03-2006, 08:24   #7
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I do the odd repair and reinforcement job myself, but for this one would get somebody else.

If this happens again, you will realise the need to use a strong point for a tow in bad conditions. I would connect directly to ropes wrapped around the tabernakle and then take to the centre-line cleat, so that the stress is shared. You also need to have a tow line that has some form of shock absorbancy in it, either by adding chain (and even the anchor) to the end of the tow, or having a long and stretchy rope.
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Old 14-03-2006, 09:05   #8
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Talbot - points well taken. I know I need a towing bridle arrangement for use in a pinch. First voyage on a new boat - none of that was available to me. My bad.

Size of the tow passed from the crew boat was too big a line and too short a length. Add sloppy sea conditions and I'm not surprised at all by the result.

Refit should help insure that I won't need a tow again anytime soon.

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Old 14-03-2006, 11:41   #9
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Talbot, what do you mean "end of the tow"? I place a weight mid tow line. Here is what I do,
1: use a good long length of rope. It is good to have the length so as to have both vessels placed at the same point of the wave length. At least two wavelengths ahead for the towing vessel is good, (if achievable)The line needs to be heavy enough to take the load, but not too heavey as to have little stretch.
2: The towing boat should use a bridle, attached to both aft cleats. This helps spread the load, but even moreimportantly, helps to steady the boat when under strain.
3: The towed vessel should have the same. This stops the vessel from wandering from side to side, which a single line from the centre can cause the bow to "carve" and lose control.
4: Keep as much weight from the bow as possible. Once the line is connected, move away fromt he bow. This is to stop the bow sinking down toomuch and having the same result as No.3.
5: Place a weight mid length of line. This acts as a shock absorber and also helps to keep a constant tension on the line. As the towed boat runs down a wave face, it may over run the towing vessel speed and the line will go slack. Once the towed vessel slows down again, the line is quickly drawn taught and will place a shock load on it's connection points. This is also whyit is good to get the same wave spacing between boats. Both reach a wave face at the same time and both surf at the same time. However, don't expect both to have the same speed coming down a wave, hence the line weight and it's length to ease shock loading.
6:Once the tow has been established, make sure EVERYONE is kept away from the line and any trajectory the line could take. A cleat being ripped out of a deck while attached to a long stretch line can become a lethal missel and CAN KILL. Just the line itself can lead to a very nasty and painful injury.

That's how I do it. Any comments or other techniques?????
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Old 14-03-2006, 14:28   #10
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Synthetic line snap back can kill or maim a person.

While in the US Navy. We were taught about the dangers of synthetic line snap back.

Those lines could snap back and take a limb or leg off? I wouldn't want to be in a hosptial under those conditions?
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Old 14-03-2006, 19:08   #11
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Since it appears that there was no backing plate to start with, I'd suggest you check all your other cleets as well!!!!! You never know when you may need those in a pinch too............_/)
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Old 15-03-2006, 05:17   #12
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End of tow - take the tow line passed to you and shackle it to your chain and ease out a wadge of chain. leaving the anchor on the end of the chain is a good idea in deep water, but perhaps not so good in shallow if you allow the tow line to go slack
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Old 15-03-2006, 11:27   #13
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I love the synthetic line snap-back training video - very cool. the key is to keep a catenary in the tow-line. It's the weight of the tow-line that propels the towed vessel, and it should never be pulled taught. Depending on your anchoring arrangements, agree that attaching the tow-line to your anchor cable can offer the most robust attachment point. If the attachment to the towed vessel is on the centreline forward of the pivot point, a bridle is not necessary unless needed to "spread the load".

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Old 15-03-2006, 12:47   #14
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fibreglass repair

Back to the original topic. I don't see why you can't DIY. Get a quote before you commit - you may find it more expensive than you want, to get a pro job. It's already been asked - is that a bulkhead on the other side of the hole?

If I was doing this repair, I'd do it with epoxy and paint it. If gelcoat finish is important to you, then you have to use compatible resin. Plenty of good guides/books available to help you sort that out.

You might be able to make a mould a few inches up from the hole, using wood frame and casting resin. This is your best bet if gelcoating. It looks like original was chopper gun lay-up. To get the best strength the patch will have to extend well beyond the hole on the inside - say 5 or 6 inches. That area needs to be cleaned and abraded. On topside, I'd remove loose chunks or shattered bits, but wouldn't necessarily grind back to solid material - I would leave a loose fibrous edge to saturate with resin. I would grind off the gelcoat about half to one inch around the hole and taper inwards.

Pre-cut all your cloth before you start. You'll need to cut out enough layers of CSM (chopped strand mat) to approximate the thickness of the original material. Cut them to the size and shape of the hole. Over this I would put at least two layers of fibreglass cloth (finishing cloth) cut to extend into the tapered area of the original, with top layer slightly larger than the one below it and so on. If there's no bulkhead behind, then you patch over the hole with several layers of coarse fibreglass cloth out to the already mentioned 5 or 6 inches. If there is a bulkhead, then you'll have to patch fore and aft of it, with the patches extending the equivalent distance down the bulkhead. That means you'll need to radius the corners with an appropriate filler. I'd mix a filler medium into the same resin you use for the fix.

If going the gelcoat route, I'd put some alignment marks (masking tape) on the hull and trace out the area that needs to be filled on tracing paper - transfer that to the mould. Use the specific directions for the material you're working with, but I think it should be release agent and gelcoat on mould, then saturate the rough edge of the hole with resin - don't be shy with the resin; saturate the CSM with resin and put it in the hole - you may need a temporary backing. Cloth on top and work the resin in, getting rid of any air bubbles. Slap the mould in place and clamp it, weight it down, whatever. Then go inside and finish off the patch.

A caveat - I am by no means an expert, and would myself consult a good fibreglass repair book before attempting this, just to make sure I haven't omitted something or given duff info somewhere. Definitely follow (very carefully) the directions applicable to the material you use. A good chandler or specialty plastics store will have all the tools and material (and likely, advice) you will need. If it sounds too intimidating, go with the pro, but isn't half the fun in owning a boat the opportunities to get sticky?

All the other advice re. backing plates - agree completely.

Good luck.

Kevin
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Old 15-03-2006, 15:54   #15
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Kevin - thanks for the input. There is NOT a bulkhead behind the hole as some have asked - what you see there is actually a piece of one remaining layer of fiberglass.

Since I didn't want to venture out with a hole in the bow - even though it leads to a (supposedly) self-bailing chain locker - I made an emergency repair. This second photo shows my improvised release paper (sandwich wrap from a local truckstop Cafe) still in place over a single layer of fiberglass cloth. You can also see that I cut out that last strand of fiberglass on the inside of the hole. The 'release' paper almost did - there is some left in the middle of the patch after I pulled it off.
http://cruisersforum.com/photopost/d...epair1-med.JPG

Not at all pretty but it kept the water out.

I'm going to spend some more time in the chain locker evaluating whether or not I should attempt this. I'm up for it but why have a sloppy looking foredeck on an otherwise nice boat if I can avoid it? I'd rather practice on someone else's boat first - just like the yard guys do!! I'll get an estimate and decide from there...

Many thanks for all the replies.


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