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Old 30-06-2015, 20:17   #1
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How Do I fix this fiberglass?

The fiberglass on the hull (not the deck) a few inches beneath the forward mooring line chock has cracked/fractured, apparently due to the pressure against the glass from the line when the boat swings (I tried to attach a pic but I don't know if it posted). The glass is fully cracked and soft there. Questions:

1). Is this a critical time-sensitive fix (ie if I don't fix it quick, will water get in and do something awful like delaminate the whle hull, etc, or can I wait till after season to fix?).

2). How do I fix (I've never fixed fiberglass before...is this an easy, medium or hard job?). As you can tell, I'm not very experienced.

3). What can I do to prevent this from happening again (ie some type of metal fixture to protect the glass?).

Thanks!
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Old 30-06-2015, 21:54   #2
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

Can't really see the problem in your photo.
Temporary fix is to tape with a good holding watertight tape. It should last several months if the hull isn't flexing.
What I think you are showing is hull separation from hull flexing caused by downward pressure of the chock. If so, the builder assumed the wood trim would stiffen the hull enough. The hull/deck needs to be re-enforced or the repaired cracking will come back. From a shipwrights point of view, yachts from most builders are made to be pretty for the lowest possible cost. Most don't hold up to heavy use.
The fiberglass part would be easy for me. Grind out the crack and bevel the hole edges (so there is a larger bonding area). Get reinforcing behind the hole. Re-enforcing could be layers of RSM and cloth or wood epoxied in place, with screws or bolts if possible would be better.
I only use epoxy resin. Polyester resin doesn't stick well to anything including itself. I use West System epoxy, but there are many good epoxys. If it's a small hole I would fill it with epoxy, mixed with fiberglass fibers and a filler to thicken. A big hole - layers of RSM and cloth well saturated and blended into whatever re-enforcing you do. Sand to fit and gelcoat or paint. If the blue is a gelcoat, the builder may have the color formula. They may even sell gelcoat.
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Old 30-06-2015, 22:08   #3
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

Thanks Lepke. I'm sorry about the pic quality, I'm going to try to post a better pic here. Looking at the mooring lines, I doubt it's from downward pressure on the chock so much as direct contact/compression of the mooring lines against the fiberglass hull when the boat swings. Once I repair with West system, is there a piece of hardware you can think of that I can install that will prevent contact between the lines and the fiberglass?
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Old 01-07-2015, 06:27   #4
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

It looks like the problem may have been caused because the chock was recessed in the toe rail. If you fill in that recess and remount the chock on top of the toe rail, the line may never reach the fiberglass.

Another option is to move the chock more outboard, if that is possible.

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Old 01-07-2015, 07:17   #5
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, jakmedic.
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Old 01-07-2015, 07:26   #6
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

jakmedic, if you have a stainless fabricator near you, he can make a base plate for your cleat that rolls over the sheer line, in the area of the abrasion/pressure. If it's a neat job, and polished, it will look like it was an original part. It will also cover whatever repair you make to the hull and save you some work trying to cover up the original damage.
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:31   #7
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

It looks like the area is pure fiberglass. As long as you don't see wood core, your repair can wait.

Best bet would be to use epoxy and a filler blended with the epoxy to form a paste. Then file and sand until it looks like the original glass and paint. Maybe put a but of sacrificial wood there to keep it from eating the hull in the future.

I would also worry about chafe on the mooring pendant. If you put something there that will chafe the line, you may be in for more problems, if it parts.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:19   #8
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

Based on the wear on the wood cap rail fwd of the chock it looks like the fiberglass has been damaged by the dock line. After repairing you can use SS 1/2 round, cut to about 3" past the ends of the cleat with tapered ends screwed into the edge of the hull. Chaff guarding like this is a common way to protect both the line and hull. Since your chocks aren't proud enough to protecr the cap rail you could also put short pieces of the above on the cap rail corners near the chock exits. JMHO
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:58   #9
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

It appears you already have good advice about the cause and fixes. I just thought I'd add that youtube has videos about "how to" fiberglass. I just repaired my boat floor with fiberglass and plywood and fiberglassed the hull of my dinghy. You need the resin which comes with hardener as well as fiberglass mat or cloth. I prefer the cloth. Mix up the amount of resin with the hardener that you need for the area and that you can apply in about 10 minutes, which shoudn't be hard for the area you have. You can use a plastic milk jug with the top cut out or something similar that's disposable. Likewise use a cheap disposable brush to apply it. After reinforcing the hole from the inside, as was wisely recommended, apply a coat of resin to the surface, then the cloth, then another coat of resin over it. Smooth it so there's no bubbles, wrinkles, etc and let it dry. For added strength you can repeat the process as many times as needed within reason. When it's dry you can sand it smooth, use bondo to perfect a smooth surface, if needed, and paint. I hope this helps.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:05   #10
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy M View Post
jakmedic, if you have a stainless fabricator near you, he can make a base plate for your cleat that rolls over the sheer line, in the area of the abrasion/pressure. If it's a neat job, and polished, it will look like it was an original part. It will also cover whatever repair you make to the hull and save you some work trying to cover up the original damage.
+1, except that Roy said cleat when he mean chock.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:43   #11
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

It looks like there was just filler under the gel coat during layup.
It probably is the same all along the boat as it is just about impossible to get glass fiber to bend over that tight radius. You can tell by the long cracks as only filler or gelcoat has the long cracks, reinforced polyester has more of a look of a ripping process with little stubs of the glass fiber sticking out. Looks like a very old boat that is a keeper. Get a fiberglass man to fix it as it is small and should be cheap to fix. A do it yourself repair will probably blow out due to the stress it gets there. Put the stainless rubbing strips in front of all chocks and problem solved.
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Old 01-07-2015, 13:33   #12
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jakmedic View Post
The fiberglass on the hull (not the deck) a few inches beneath the forward mooring line chock has cracked/fractured, apparently due to the pressure against the glass from the line when the boat swings (I tried to attach a pic but I don't know if it posted). The glass is fully cracked and soft there. Questions:

1). Is this a critical time-sensitive fix (ie if I don't fix it quick, will water get in and do something awful like delaminate the whle hull, etc, or can I wait till after season to fix?).

2). How do I fix (I've never fixed fiberglass before...is this an easy, medium or hard job?). As you can tell, I'm not very experienced.

3). What can I do to prevent this from happening again (ie some type of metal fixture to protect the glass?).

Thanks!
Go online and find "Fibreglass Boat Repair and Maintenance- using West System to repair and prolong your boats life" Its a very helpful booklet which even though I'm now experienced with fibreglass repair I still refer to. Don't be afraid to do the job properly, and consider removing a section of the wooden rubbing strip to allow access. Then replace it with the same or a new piece of wood. Check inside under deck and remove any lining for access. Also check the same spot on the other side of the boat. You should consider why the damage occurred and try to stop it happening again. As already mentioned, use epoxy resin. I know West system myself. ( I have saved the PDF of the manual in Kindle) Wear a dust mask and safety glasses!
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Old 01-07-2015, 14:18   #13
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

It's really hard to tell form one picture if that is just the gel coat damaged by impact or abrasion or if you have a more serious problem caused by flexing of underlying fiberglass. If you are not sure of cause and correct way to repair it, I would think a professional opinion would be well worth the the few minutes of his or her time.

If it is just gel coat the repair is straight forward as several have written however the cause must be determined or it could lead to further damage.
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Old 01-07-2015, 14:39   #14
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mkriley View Post
It looks like there was just filler under the gel coat during layup.
It probably is the same all along the boat as it is just about impossible to get glass fiber to bend over that tight radius. You can tell by the long cracks as only filler or gelcoat has the long cracks, reinforced polyester has more of a look of a ripping process with little stubs of the glass fiber sticking out. Looks like a very old boat that is a keeper. Get a fiberglass man to fix it as it is small and should be cheap to fix. A do it yourself repair will probably blow out due to the stress it gets there. Put the stainless rubbing strips in front of all chocks and problem solved.
mike


+1. I'd also hazard a guess that the cracking is actually caused by all the fasteners tapped into the glass in the immediate vicinity. I count three likely fasteners going into what looks like mostly filler. I'd pull the fitting and the section of rail underneath, then repair as needed. Once you pull the rail the cracks going underneath it will be obvious. Grinding them out will reveal exactly what the problem is and it's extent. But if you don't go under the rail it will come back. Then when you refasten go with one size larger pilot hole into the glass and/or a tap to prevent the same problem reoccuring.
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Old 01-07-2015, 18:36   #15
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Re: How Do I fix this fiberglass?

donradcliffe, You are absolutely correct, but being the irresponsible fellow I am, I blame it all on dockhead, because I had been imbibing my second gin & tonic, so it wasn't my fault. Bad dockhead!
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