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Old 15-03-2010, 19:33   #1
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Tough Questions About Hull Repair...

Hello all,

I am getting ready to do a couple of fiberglass jobs on my 1976 Pearson with my father. It's the first time I've done anything like this below the waterline and I want to get the materials right. My father has lots of experience with fiberglass but most of it was not boat related, while my own experience is limited.

The first job is just to replace two unused thru-hulls. (Although I may end up getting a new replacing the speed sensor and just fiberglass over one). I have Don Casey's book and I found some good stuff online, but I'm still at a loss for exactly what to buy. Can anyone recommend a good combination of materials for a good strong patch?

The second job is much trickier as well as harder to explain. At the beginning of last year I clipped a rock in Long Island Sound a jolted the keel. (sigh) I lucked out in general; the hull is undamaged and the keel bolts still solid, but I think that one thing I did do was crush the ribs slightly where they meet the inside of the hull. It's just barely visible, but you can feel how the perpendicular panel of fiberglass under the sink bench is a little soft now where it meets the hull. The guys at my marina looked at it and they insist it is not a big deal, but I would like to reinforce it to prevent any movement of the hull. I had little more movement of the keel-hull joint in the year since the impact and I think this could be the reason.

Can anyone advise me on this type of reinforcement? Will it be possible to reinforce the inside angle where the two panels meet? Can I put a shim in there to add strength to the softened rib?

Any and all advice you have is very much appreciated,

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Old 17-03-2010, 21:18   #2
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Jack- your concern about the soft part of the hull is a legitimate one. First you need to find out what the hull is made of there. If it is solid fiberglass( probably is) step two is to expose the area inside the hull and outside. The structure may have cracks going into the hull, waterlogging it and making it soft. If so it needs to be dried out, sealed from the outside and then a new rib placed in the inside. I would get a fiberglass man on it. At the very worse, and area of the hull may need to be replaced or if there is wood in a bilayer, then that wood may be saturated and it may need drying out or replacement. I would be careful about that area, it is under water and you don't want it giving away in a storm...
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Old 17-03-2010, 23:10   #3
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I got as bunch of free manuals from the following.

West System Epoxy
This is just an FYI for the BOC members. West System is running an ad in Soundings magazine where you can email them for a free fiberglass repair manual. West Marine sells this manual for $5. It's manual 002-550, 86 pages. I also received a pamphlet with household repair suggestions, a price list and a product guide (002-950). You email West System at and you have to provide your address as this is all paper copies, not electronic. No charge whatsoever - and I have no affiliation with West, just a tip to those interested.

The thread was posted over a year ago in the BOC.
They may still send you copies.
Doesn't hurt to ask!
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Old 17-03-2010, 23:34   #4

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A few things I've found out over the years, however thick the glass at least 12x that for the feather. On most layups I alternate pressmat and woven roving, although since fgci has had a bunch of stitchmat in scrap bin I've been using that with good results. For the very best patch I've found working both sides works best. Maybe unnecessary in some folks opinion but after cutting a boat up and reconfiguring it, then living with it for a dozen years I've found its the strongest. That is to grind back and lay up both sides of patch. Ie inside and outside.
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