Category Archives: Fiberglass Boat Repair

Repairing Bow Damage on a Lightning Sailboat, by GBI Technical Advisor Terry Monville. Featured in Epoxyworks #58.

Repairing Bow Damage on a Lightning Sailboat

By Terry Monville – GBI Technical Advisor

Getting started on any project is half the battle. This could not be truer when it comes to an unexpected fiberglass repair. Every crashed boat is different; making every repair a bit different. Some repairs are straightforward, textbook repairs. The damage occurs on a flat area of the hull that is a solid fiberglass laminate. A little grinding, a little fiberglass and you’re done. What happens when the repair is not so simple though?

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Replacing the Wet Core in Another Spade's Rudder, by GBI Technical Advisor Don Gutzmer. Featured in Epoxyworks #58.

Replacing the Wet Core in Another Spade’s Rudder

By Don Gutzmer – GBI Technical Advisor

What happens when the core of a water-damaged rudder can’t be saved? Completely replacing the core of a rudder may need to happen for a variety of reasons. There may be an inability to dry the core and still maintain the structural integrity, or the repair may need to be completed in less time than just letting it dry. The rudder from Another Spade, a C&C 32 sailboat, had a wet foam core that is beyond saving. Here are the steps I used to restore this rudder.

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Patching up Shenanigans with Fiberglass

By Ray McCarthy

A friend gave me his well-used 1980 Sunfish sailboat, Stinkin’ Tuna. He and his brother had learned how to turn the boat (tacking) by ricocheting off rocks on Long Island Sound. Over the years they had kept the wreckage floatable with the application of non-hydrodynamic fiberglass patches. Though they made the boat functional, they hindered the boat’s performance. Time to get to work.

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Calculating Laminate Thickness

By Rachael Geerts – GBI Composite Materials Engineer

Have you ever wondered how laminate thickness can be determined without breaking out the epoxy and reinforcement fabric? The answer is simple—use math. While some of you may have just lost interest because you think math is too difficult, I can assure you that this math requires nothing more than some basic multiplication, addition, and division. Let’s get to it.

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Preparing to Fair

By Greg Bull – GBI Technical Advisor

Those new to the process of fairing a boat’s hull or deck are quick to mix up a batch of fairing compound, WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy with a low-density filler, and apply it to the surface, so they can start sanding right away. My experience in boat repair and construction has taught me the importance of making a fairing plan and selecting the correct materials before any epoxy is mixed.

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Swim Platform Rebuild

 By Don Gutzmer – GBI Technical Advisor

If your swim platform is experiencing water penetration, a repair or even a rebuild could be in your near future. We’ll show you how to measure the damage, and perform a successful repair that will last for years to come.

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Measuring the 4 core replacement samples.

Balsa Core Alternatives

By Greg Bull—GBI Technical Advisor

When you need to repair your fiberglass boat’s balsa core but don’t have any replacement core material on hand, what can you use as an alternative? I tested some different replacement core options to see how they’d perform in flexibility and strength alongside original balsa core in a fiberglass laminate. Continue reading

This Cal 33 underwent a wet rudder repair

Wet Rudder Repair

By Terry Monville—GBI Technical Advisor

My friend Chris bought a 33′ fiberglass sailboat, a Cal 33, to use as his family cruiser. Because it was an older boat, he knew he had a few projects ahead—including drying out the wet rudder. Here in Michigan, we haul our boats out of the water for the winter and it gives us a chance to do repairs and inspect under the waterline. Continue reading

Nelda Ray under sail

Aluminum Mast Step Repair

On a Farrier Trimaran

By Don Gutzmer—GBI Technical Advisor

Epoxyworks #54 cover featuring the NELDA RAY, a Farrier folding trimaran

Cover photo: The Farrier folding trimaran Nelda Ray under sail following Don Gutzmer’s aluminum mast step repair.

I received a call from a friend of mine who owns a 2004 Farrier F33RX folding trimaran, the 33′ Nelda Ray. This sailboat is a frequent competitor in regattas on the Great Lakes. The aluminum mast step was compressing the deck and causing laminate failure. I told my friend I’d figure out what went wrong and then fix it so it would never happen again. I’ll outline the process I used to make this successful repair. Continue reading

The completed Chris Craft transom painted with marine bilge paint.

Chris-Craft Transom Repair

By Don Gutzmer — GBI Technical Advisor

Here’s how we recently repaired a rotted Chris-Craft transom. The boat* had rotted stringers, transom, cockpit sole, and other problems common in fiberglass boats. I’ll explain the process we used for replacing the transom to provide some direction on tackling similar projects. Continue reading