For some sailors, there is a common maintenance ritual that occurs every spring—repairing the ballast-hull crack or cracks where the leading edge of the ballast keel meets the hull. This annually reoccurring crack is sometimes referred to as a “Catalina Smile” because it often occurs on Catalina sailboats. But we’re not here to pick on Catalinas because ballast-hull cracks are hardly exclusive to them.
The crack can form due to a number of causes but probably the most common reason is the hull isn’t as stiff as when it was new. Continue reading →
Surcease is a late ’50s International Flying Dutchman Class sailboat. The Mahogany hull was cold-molded in Holland and imported by Paul Rimoldi of Miami Florida. Mr Rimoldi made everything else, including many pieces of hardware. He raced the boat on Biscayne Bay into the ’60s and sailed it for many years. He rebuilt the boat in the late ’80s but died before he finished. We bought the boat in August 1992 from his widow and sailed it for almost a season before we discovered that the hull was in very poor condition; the Urea-resin glue between the veneers had begun to turn to dust. We stored the boat and bought another Flying Dutchman. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: A good overview of Port Townsend’s busy harbor on a gorgeous September day.
If you are interested in US Maritime history and heritage, you owe it to yourself to visit Port Townsend, Washington. Port Townsend is located 56 miles NNW from Seattle and sits on the waterfront of Port Townsend Bay in Puget Sound. This unique village is known for its sense of community and a lifestyle of “salt water hippies” focused on boats and the sea. Port Townsend is also the home of the oldest and largest Wooden Boat Festival in the Pacific Northwest, perhaps in the US. Truly an international event, Continue reading →
While fairing the bottom of your boat may seem beyond your reach, it is a project that novices and experienced boaters alike can accomplish with a few simple tools and a love of a little manual labor. Most seasoned sailors would agree that a clean bottom leads to faster sailing. Sometimes it may be necessary to do more than scrub away the algae and zebra mussels, though. In the case of Adagio, 44 years of sailing was starting to ripple the bottom of the boat. Simply put, it was time to fair the bottom. Continue reading →
This is the story of the Norway boat, a 20′ sailboat manufactured in Norway in 1956 by the Ejvinds Company. This boat sailed from Iceland to the east coast of Canada, then down to Miami. From Miami, it sailed south to St. Croix and the Virgin Islands. After a few years in St. Croix it was brought to the Florida Keys 1967 and had two or three different owners. I purchased the Norway boat in the Florida Keys in 2003 and brought it to my home in Murray, Kentucky for restoration. Continue reading →
While most of our customers are successful when using WEST SYSTEM Epoxy to repair a damaged fiberglass laminate, we have become familiar with some common errors that are easily preventable. These mistakes are made by both professionals and amateurs. The information discussed in this article is available in our Fiberglass Boat Repair Manual and WEST SYSTEM User Manual, and on the WEST SYSTEM website. Continue reading →
The advantage of repairing a keel with G/flex Epoxy is that it is a toughened system that has a tensile elongation of more than 30 percent, which would prevent cracks from reappearing in the fairing compound. A local boat owner called our technical line and asked about repairing his cast-iron wing keel with WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy. He asked if a technical advisor would be willing to take a look at the cracks on his keel and recommend the best way to repair it. After looking at the boat I gave the customer a callback and recommended using G/flex® Epoxy. He asked if I knew of anyone in the area that could do the repair. I told him that I would be willing to take on the job and thought it would be a good opportunity to write an article about repairing a keel with G/flex Epoxy. Continue reading →
The amount of wood used in a production fiberglass boat is significant; it is used for many things such as stringers, bulkheads, floors, and backers. Higher quality production boats often use marine grade plywood for these applications but it can still be damaged by long-term exposure to water. Continue reading →
I believe we have many customers who, like me, use WEST SYSTEM Epoxy simply to keep an older fiberglass boat in good repair. The following are examples of repairs and small projects that I have completed on my personal boat, a Formula 242 LS, over the last ten years. These would apply to many aging production fiberglass boats. Since WEST SYSTEM Epoxy has a shelf life measured in years, it is easy to keep it on your shelf and tackle these tasks when it’s convenient. Continue reading →
Built in 1957, my 15′ Larson Thunderhawk Jr. is a fiberglass runabout reborn. I launched her into the waters of Grass Lake, in Fox Lake, Illinois in late August 2010. But before this happened, the boat underwent a major restoration. I purchased this boat in August of 2009, after it sat idle for several years, collecting dirt, rainwater, leaves and snow. All that remained was its shell,
I purchased this boat in August of 2009, after it sat idle for several years, collecting dirt, rainwater, leaves and snow. All that remained was its shell, motor, and a rusted trailer. I found a group of Larsen enthusiasts who helped me locate my boat’s original specs, drawings, and