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Old 27-05-2014, 15:41   #1
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Unhappy Epoxy Blues

Having just joined your Forum I am looking for ideas from the collective to resolve a problem with a boat I bought recently. Wouldn't be a boat if it didn't have problems!

Freyja is a 17' daysailer - gaff rigged, cedar strip planked and epoxy/glass fibre sheathed internally and externally. She was professionally built in 2000 by an experienced and respected boatyard using WEST materials and specification.

Only 1 previous owner who bought her at a boat show and apparently she had only been in the water twice over the last 14 years and sails etc suggested this may have been the case. She was borrowed by the boatyard in 2006 to use as a boat show model. Some evidence of water lying inside the boat for a period of time at some stage.

All well until I started to remove the antifouling to refinish with coppercoat when I discovered that the white paint on the hull (high build primer) beneath the antifouling was covered in a myriad of fine cracks. When this paint was removed I discovered that the cracks are actually in the outer epoxy layer. In a couple of test patches I found the woven glass is still properly bonded to the cedar strips and the cracks do not appear to extend into the epoxy glass matrix. Neither the boatyard nor WEST have encountered a similar problem. The sheathing regime was saturating the cedar with epoxy, applying Glass fibre sheathing, saturating the woven fabric and then a final layer of epoxy on top of that.

I am currently continuing to remove (slowly) the white paint and the outer epoxy layer without damaging the glass fibre. I am hoping that the initial test patches are representative and that the glass fibre sheathing is not compromised.

I am hoping to avoid having to remove the original sheathing, clean back to the cedar strips and re-sheath according to the prescribed WEST system.

I would be interested if anyone has come across such a problem, how it might have arisen and how it was rectified. I have attached a not very good photograph. Well I think I have attached it.
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Old 27-05-2014, 15:53   #2
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Re: Epoxy Blues

Welcome to the forum. I have not had any experience with West system epoxy. Lots with Systems 3. I have not seen anything like what you describe.
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Old 27-05-2014, 16:06   #3
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Re: Epoxy Blues

It sounds like the Hi Build is the problem but the photo is missing. I would think the Hi Build should have been coated with 2 pac before antifouling.

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Old 27-05-2014, 16:07   #4
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pirate Re: Epoxy Blues

If she's been outa the water and standing outside all those years could be something as simple as expansion and contraction summers and winters.. sand her back to the glass and do a moisture test.. if all good wipe down well with acetone and give her 3 coats of epoxy... wash/wipe of the wax well with soapy water then acetone between coats..
Minaret could advise you better..
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Old 27-05-2014, 16:28   #5
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Re: Epoxy Blues

It sounds like the final sheathing coat of epoxy has spider cracked much like gel coat does when it's applied to thickly. I haven't seen this before, but it is a somewhat weird way to finish a build anyway. My guess it they were cause by the delta between the flexibility of the hull, and the flexibility of the epoxy top coat.

I would try to sand off the cracks with a palm sander and see how deeply they penetrate. If it's just surface crazing then I wouldn't worry about it at all. Since the last layer of glass was layer with epoxy there is no need to barrier coat it (unless glass strands have been exposed). So just bottom paint it. If the glass strands have been exposed then barrier coat first then paint.
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Old 29-05-2014, 08:26   #6
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Thumbs up Re: Epoxy Blues

Thanks to one and all for your replies. Some good ideas and advice.

I will continue to remove the crazed outer epoxy layer and see if there are any exposed glass strands and then take a decision as to a remedial barrier coat before fairing and a new experience of long boarding. I will take a better photo once removal complete and find out how to attach it to the Thread.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

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ID:	82074  
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Old 29-05-2014, 09:03   #7
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Re: Epoxy Blues

I can't tell for sure from the picture, but it looks like the layer of neat epoxy is pretty thick there. And the whole mass is starting to deboned. This is not uncommon when you have two layers with substantially different flex rates. It would worry me that as the top layer of epoxy debonds the underlying glass will be exposed.

I thought we were talking about crazing, not what looks like a substantial amount of debonding.
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Old 31-05-2014, 16:50   #8
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Re: Epoxy Blues

I am trying to attach an other photoClick image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByCruisers Sailing Forum1401575678.727257.jpg
Views:	123
Size:	199.6 KB
ID:	82165 Click image for larger version

Name:	ImageUploadedByCruisers Sailing Forum1401575709.343887.jpg
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Size:	192.2 KB
ID:	82166

The first photo shows GRP woven sheathing properly bonded to the cedar strip planking beneath. I have removed the white primer paint which is quite hard and tough and a translucent layer of epoxy filler which I assume is the problem layer as it is badly crazed but the cracks don't extend beyond this layer into the GRP cloth. This translucent layer is also comparatively soft but it does not appear to match with the various WEST system filler products and may have been a non-standard variant used by the boat yard.

The second photo shows a small area where the sheathing has completely failed and de-bonded from the cedar strips. I can only see one other potential small area where this any sign of de-bonding.
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:38   #9
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Re: Epoxy Blues

In case this may be of use to others I have finally got to the bottom of the problem with the epoxy sheathing. WEST recommend that a fairing coat consisting of epoxy mixed with a filler material eg WEST 410, to make the coating easy to sand, is always covered with a barrier coat of at least 2 coats of epoxy resin. That barrier coat provides the waterproof layer and prevents damage to the softer resin filler mix from the solvents in paints. In my case the builder omitted the barrier coat stage and painted directly on to the fairing coat - type of paint unknown. Above the waterline this was then over coated with some form of gloss again type of paint unknown without any apparent problem. But below the waterline the solvents in the antifouling coating reacted with the fairing coat and caused the chemical crazing damaging the integrity of epoxy sheathing. Once this crazing occurred the more antifouling was applied to cover the cracks.

Difficult to detect until the antifouling was removed - let the buyer beware! Or get a proper survey?
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Old 28-08-2014, 13:30   #10
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Re: Epoxy Blues

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Lots of experts on glass here and it appears they've found you.
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