Category Archives: 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

1957 MG 15 Fiberglass Runabout with original mahogany transom.

The Restoration of a 1957 Fiberglass Runabout

By Bill Bauer

I acquired this 1957 MFG 15 fiberglass runabout with its original mahogany transom in 2017. The previous owner had started to restore it but did not finish. When I first got the boat it was just a hull and a bunch of parts. A neighbor, Kami, and I work on it on weekends at Black River Boat Shop when we both are available. 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

Water beading on a bright finish topcoat.

The Art of Choosing a Topcoat

By Rachael Geerts – GBI Composites Materials Engineer

You’ve just finished your epoxy project and it looks great! But you don’t want the sun’s UV rays to start degrading the epoxy. So, like the smart individual you are, you look into applying a UV stable topcoat over the epoxy so your project will last for years to come. You look at your options, go down a few rabbit holes, and come out much later asking why is it so difficult to select a UV stable topcoat for my epoxy project? Continue reading

Bill Wright, Ian Wright and Tony Riek, Norman R Wright with the hull of Saltash (Left to Right).

High-Tech Composites will Revive Champion Keelboat

Saltash gets a new lease on life

By ATL Composites

The nifty keelboat Saltash—an eight-time winner of Australia’s Brisbane to Gladstone Race—is getting a new lease on life from the craftspeople at Norman R. Wright & Sons using WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy and carbon fiber. Currently upturned in the yard at Norman R. Wright & Sons (and dwarfed by the carbon fiber bulk of the supermaxi Comanche) at the Rivergate complex, the hull and skeletal superstructure of Saltash belie her glorious past and pedigree. 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

gaff repair on Appledore IV and V

Gaff Repair

By Bill Bauer

In preparation for a thorough Coast Guard inspection, we’d stripped the masts, booms, and gaffs on the schooners Appledore IV and V of paint and varnish. This revealed several small rot areas, wear, and damage. Two of the gaff jaws (also called gaff saddles) had significant damage, including cracks in the jaws themselves, probably due to hard jibes and insufficient repairs. Gaffs are the angled spars from which the sails are hung. 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