Category Archives: Fiberglass Boat Repair

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

Fiberglass Repair on a Yamaha WaveRunner

By Jordan Teddleton

I wanted to purchase a personal watercraft so I’d be able to join my friends at the local lake for some fun in the sin this summer.  Like most people on a budget, I searched Craigslist for the best deal.  I needed something low maintenance, so a WaveRunner™ felt like a good fit.  After a week of looking, I found a 2004 Yamaha GP1300r that appeared to be in decent shape; however, a strangely placed sticker on the top port side turned out to be covering a painful past. Continue reading

Triple Threat, 38 years old and counting

A case study in remediating gelcoat blisters

By Bruce Niederer — GBI Technical Advisor

My father, rest his soul, and I bought Triple Threat together sometime in the mid-’80s. We raced our ’81 Pearson Flyer hard together for the next 15 or so years, including 12 Port Huron to Mac races. The purchase date is lost to history, but the details surrounding how many times the boat needed a new bottom—meaning a new epoxy barrier coat—are forever etched in my psyche. It’s all the sanding that accompanies repairing gelcoat blisters that has addled my IPA soaked cranium. One just doesn’t forget those seemingly endless hours of self-imposed torture. Continue reading

WaveRunner repair

Fiberglass Repair on a Yamaha WaveRunner

By Jordan Teddleton

I wanted to purchase a personal watercraft so I’d be able to join my friends at the local lake for some fun in the sun this summer. Like most people on a budget, I searched Craigslist for the best deal. I needed something low maintenance, so a WaveRunner™ felt like a good fit. After a week of looking, I found a 2004 Yamaha GP1300r that appeared to be in decent shape; however, a strangely placed sticker on the top port side turned out to be covering a painful past. Continue reading

J22 Hog Tide at the Gougeon Brothers shop for her deck repair.

Hog Tide Deck Repair

By Greg Bull — GBI Technical Advisor

Hog Tide’s deck was spongy around the chainplates, so I decided to fix the core in the deck. Because the main bulkhead was being replaced, it made it easier to do the deck repair from the underside. I started by removing the inner laminate to get to the bad core. I determined the extent of the bad core by tapping on the laminate; a duller sound suggests deteriorated core. Another way of determining if the core is bad is to drill small holes to see where the bad core is by noticing if the balsa core is a dark color. Water may even drip from the drilled holes. To cut the inner laminate I used a high-speed oscillating cutter with a diamond grit blade (multitool). When cutting out the inner laminate, keep the area that is being opened up as small as possible. You can always make more cuts to make the area larger. Continue reading