Category Archives: Fiberglass Boat Repair

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

A Club 420 dinghy getting some TLC

Kids Rescue a Pair of Club 420 Dinghies

By Brett Langolf

The prep crew recently rescued and restored two Club 420 sailing dinghies using a combination of their own tenacity and West System® Epoxy. They achieved this through our youth sailing organization, More Kids On Sailboats (MKOS). At MKOS, we strive to let the kids lead, make mistakes, and learn how to do better the next time. The Club 420 project allowed them to do just that. Continue reading

Takara, an Irwin 30 Competition

Tackling Thru-Hull Repairs on TAKARA

By Jeff Mueller

Upgrading our sailboat’s navigation instruments called for eliminating one thru-hull fitting and reducing the diameter of another by 1/8″. Takara, a 1974 Irwin 30 Competition, has a one-piece molded fiberglass and polyester hull with alternating layers of hand-laid mat and 24 oz. woven roving. Her original instrument set included a pair of 2 1/8″-diameter transducer thru-hulls in the bow. Upgrading to modern instrumentation standards required installing an NMEA 2000 network instrument that was 2″ diameter. Continue reading

Repairing Gelcoat Stress Cracks

By Terry Monville – GBI Technical Advisor

Knowing how or why your boat’s gelcoat cracks occurred in the first place is the key to a successful repair. For example, if hitting a seawall or dropping a champagne bottle on deck is what caused the cracks, after fixing them you will know how to prevent them in the future: Don’t drink the champagne causing you to hit the seawall and drop the bottle. Continue reading

Choosing the Right Wood for Your Boat Repair

Why pressure-treated plywood is a poor choice

By Terry Monville — GBI Technical Advisor

A very high percentage of boats in the U.S. are at least 30 years old. It doesn’t surprise me when a boat’s plywood components fail due to water intrusion. In my experience, the transom is the first area to rot out in most trailerable boats. That’s not to say the first thing to rot couldn’t be the cockpit floor, stringers, or motor mounts. Continue reading

average multiple layers applied by hand lay-up

Laminate Repair: Infusion vs. Wet-Bag

By Rachael Geerts – GBI Composites Materials Engineer

Many products, especially boats, are now being manufactured with a process called Vacuum Assisted Resin Transfer Molding (VARTM), also frequently referred to as infusion. The main topics of this article are: what infusion is, how to repair an infused part with vacuum bagging vs. infusion, and the results of our study comparing a vacuum-bagged repaired laminate and an infused repaired laminate. Continue reading

THIS LITTLE PIGGY racing on Tawas Bay, Michigan

Sea Hood Repair

By Terry Monville — GBI Technical Advisor

After a few years of racing on the J22 This Little Piggy, the owner was ready to take a step back and gave me the first option to purchase it. I took advantage of the opportunity. As with many boats I’ve owned over the years, the first couple winters I plan on spending money upgrading and doing repairs. Not that a lot has to be done, but a few changes in hardware placement and re-bedding the deck hardware are at the top of my list. Continue reading