Category Archives: Boat Mods

Jeffrey C. Wright aboard FUNKTIONAL with first mate, Chamfer.

Using Google SketchUp to Design a New Cooler

By Jeff Wright — Vice President of Technical Services

Above: Captain and first mate contemplate ways to free up the swim platform and keep the drinks cold aboard the 1986 242 LS, FUNKTIONAL.

My personal boat is a 1986 Formula 242 LS. With a soft riding deep V hull, good performance, and a small but well-appointed cuddy cabin, it is a great boat for me, my wife, and our dog to use for a whole weekend. One shortcoming, besides not having standing headroom in the cabin, is the built-in cooler located in the cuddy cabin. The cooler had a side door and was styled to look like a refrigerator. This may have looked “cool” in the mid-1980s but was impractical. We couldn’t put ice in the cooler without having the water leak out through the door. For any trip longer than one night, I had to use a standard cooler strapped to the swim platform. This was inconvenient and limited the use of the platform at the beach. Continue reading

Mary aboard her 12.3 kayak

Turning a Gougeon 12.3 into a Kayak

by Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

Above: Tom’s wife Mary paddles aboard her Gougeon 12.3 kayak on the Rifle River Recreation area in Lupton, Michigan.

I recently modified the deck of my wife Mary’s fiberglass canoe (one of dozens built from the Gougeon 12.3 mold) to make it more seaworthy and to facilitate a spray skirt. More like a kayak. Previously, the decks covered only the ends of the boat, leaving the middle 40% wide open. I’m fairly pleased with how it turned out.

Continue reading

Kayak Lessons Learned

by Captain James R. Watson—GBI Technical Advisor

Above: Captain James R. Watson in his kayak. Note how the kayak rides at anchor from the bow.

Kayaks are versatile craft. I’m a lucky guy who has had decades of pleasure cruising, exploring, fishing, and simply relaxing on many different streams and lakes throughout Michigan and Canada in my stripper kayak. Comparing the investment dollar per pleasure derived, my kayak wins hands down over all the other watercraft I’ve owned. In her wake, I’ve been taught many lessons, albeit some the hard way. Here are a few I thought worth sharing. Continue reading

pouring an air-free transducer base when installing a depth sounder

Depth Sounder Installation

Above: Pouring an air-free transducer base for installing a depth sounder. Draining neat (unthickened) epoxy through a hole in the bottom of the mixing cup will leave the air bubbles behind on the surface. A putty dam on the hull ensures the correct size and shape for the depth sounder base.

Jim Costello of Dallas, Texas, asked the Gougeon Tech Staff about a depth sounder installation that called for mounting a transducer to the hull of his 1983 Bayliner Capri Classic.

“The user manual for my new Hummingbird fish finder says that the transducer can be installed in the hull with a slow curing epoxy. It says to try to eliminate all bubbles. I have WEST SYSTEM 105 Resin, 206 Slow Hardener, 404 High-Density Filler, and 406 Colloidal Silica on hand. What if I just mix up some peanut butter thick epoxy paste and use that? Or do you have any other suggestions? I can mount the transducer on a part of the hull that is thin enough for the application, according to Hummingbird. Thanks.” Continue reading

8—The finished hatch.

Installing a Removable Hatch

by Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

Above: Meade’s removable hatch, installed on the Gougmaran.

Meade Gougeon installed the original hatches on his Gougmaran, but he wasn’t convinced he had selected the ideal locations. Prior to installation, he thought about how difficult it would be to remove and relocate them if he used one of the flexible adhesive/ sealants made for this purpose. There had to be a better way, one that would allow hardware to be easily removed yet seal out water. Continue reading

non-skid catalyzed gelcoat

Repair Your Non-Skid Surface

With a flexible non-skid mold

by Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

If the patterned non-skid on your production-built fiberglass boat needs repair, you may be interested to know that flexible molds are available for making professional-looking repairs. Continue reading

repairing machined holes in fiberglass

Repairing Machined Holes in Fiberglass

Technical Staff Report

Above: When repairing machined holes in fiberglass, whether screw or a through-hull fitting like the one for the pictured seacock, your strategy will depend on the size, purpose, and location of the hole.

First, we will classify the types of holes we are discussing as ones that are round and have been machined, probably with a drill, as opposed to punctures and cracks incurred from damage. The reasons they may need to be repaired are numerous: refitting, resizing, removing obsolete equipment, or mistakes. When repairing machined holes in fiberglass boats, the challenge is to determine an appropriate repair strategy. You want a repair that is safe and adequate, but also realistic. You want to ensure that the repair is strong enough for the anticipated worst-case load and err on the side of being conservative. Other things to consider include the costs in time and money and the skill required to perform the repair. Continue reading

Bottom paint is applied to the exterior after the fairing material is sealed with epoxy.

Installing a Bow Thruster

Above: After installing the bow thruster, the fairing compound is sealed with epoxy, and bottom paint is applied to the boat’s exterior.

Island Heights, New Jersey architect, John B. Wilson, needed to install a bow thruster in his 26′ Albermarle sport fisherman, using WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy products. The toughest part of the job was cutting through the 1″ solid hull laminate. After trying several tools, he had success with a Roto Zip™ with a ½” carbide bit by making two ½” deep passes. The only other difficult job was cutting away a portion of the floor in the storage area under the V-berth to make room for the 5″ diameter thrust tube. Continue reading

Building a Leeboard Bracket

By Robert Monroe

Dave Hatton and I had a January trip planned to the Everglades and the Florida Keys. We decided to use a Feathercraft™ double folding kayak with a sailing rig, but were not very happy with its sailing performance to weather. It has a simple reaching/downwind sail and no effective lateral resistance to give it any bite in the water. It’s a neat boat, but we decided we could improve its performance without too much effort. We would start with a leeboard and look at the rig later. Continue reading

Evolving the Sailing Canoe Rig for Cruising

By Meade Gougeon — GBI Founder

The original sailing rigs on both Serendipity and Puffin are Hugh Horton’s sophisticated version of the old, but efficient sliding gunter rig (Figure 1). Hugh had put a lot of thought into sailing rigs for canoes and had chosen the gunter because it best fit several needs that he considered mandatory for a cruising canoe. Continue reading