Above: The legendary commuter yacht THUNDERBIRD, underway on Lake Tahoe. She was built at Huskins Boat Works in Bay City, Michigan, which later became the manufacturing site of WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy.
A little history lesson. Last year a cousin of the Gougeon Brothers, David Huskins and his family, visited the Thunderbird Lodge on Lake Tahoe. He sent us a couple of photos of Thunderbird, the legendary commuter yacht designed by John L. Hacker in 1939. It was commissioned by George Whittell and built by Huskins Boat Works in Bay City, Michigan. Continue reading →
Above: Robert Patenaude performs emergency rudder repairs with G/flex so he can get back into the regatta and take first place.
Robert Patenaude had ten miles left to reach the finish line in the Bermuda One-Two offshore race when a 30-ton whale hit Perseverance, his C&C 41, seriously damaging the rudder. Not content to drop out of the competition, he called on his racer friends to help him remove the 160 lb, 9′-long rudder from the boat while it was still in the water. He reasoned that if the contenders in the Puma or Vendee Globe races could make major repairs without dropping out of a race, he could too. Continue reading →
Above: Stan and Glenda Bradshaw in the Mad River Freedom 16′ Royalex canoe repaired with G/flex Epoxy in August 2007 on the Blackfoot River near Ovando, Montana a couple of miles downstream of the Roundup Bar.
The wooden gunwales of Royalex canoes can rip a hull apart if left out in bitter cold temperatures. Somewhere south of freezing, the plastic body of the canoe shrinks while the dampish wooden gunwales expand. Unless the screws affixing the inwale and outwale are backed out, they pin a shrinking hull to an expanding gunwale, and something will give. That something is always the hull. Continue reading →
D-ring pads are often attached to flexible surfaces with urethane adhesives to gain load-carrying capacity where there otherwise wouldn’t be any. They are used on waterproof fabric cargo bags, heavy tarpaulins, and inflatable boats. They are also sometimes used on the decks of canoes and kayaks to hold cargo in place on long trips. D-rings are not typically used on polyethylene canoes and kayaks because the urethane glues are not recommended for use on HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic. We experimented with gluing D-ring pads with G/flex 655 Thickened Epoxy Adhesive to HDPE plastic with that end-use in mind. Continue reading →
Above: 12oz fiberglass is used to patch holes in an aluminum boat. Fiberglass patches for both the inside and outside of the hull were wet out with G/Flex 650.
When we started testing G/flex Epoxy as a solution to leaky seams and rivets in aluminum boats, we put out a company-wide call for test boats. John Kennedy offered his old 15′ Michi-Craft canoe, saying he would bring it down from his cabin at the end of hunting season. Not smiling, he asked a few weeks later “just how big a repair we could handle.” It turned out John jack-knifed his utility trailer on an icy road, punching a fist-sized hole in the stern quarter of the canoe. Ouch. Continue reading →
We wanted to experiment with using G/flex to fix leaking aluminum boats. I was quite surprised to find that every aluminum boat owner I talked to said they had some sort of leak. Within three hours, I had several co-workers volunteer their aluminum boats for the experimental fix using G/flex. Continue reading →
Above: Tom’s transom saving tip is to epoxy conveyor belt material into place, protecting the transom wood from getting crushed by the motor mount screws.
Ten years ago, I replaced the plywood transom in my 16′ aluminum fishing boat. It had gone bad due to the motor mount screw pads crushing the wood from over-tightening, and from shock loads involved in hanging a motor off the back of a boat and traveling down the road at 70 mph. Continue reading →
Above: Appledore IV makes her way upriver after a cruise on the Saginaw Bay with her repaired topmasts in place.
The Appledore IV is an 85′ LOA topsail schooner owned by the non-profit organization BaySail, based here in Bay City, Michigan. She is licensed to carry 52, including a captain and crew of three, on educational tours of the Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. The main topmast and the fore topmast on Appledore IV were found to have rotted wood when they were inspected in the spring of 2006. Once the topmasts were taken down from the boat, they were brought into the Gougeon boat shop for paint removal and further inspection. Continue reading →
Above: Tim’s International 110 sailboat. After winning the National championships, he gave her a new coat of paint.
I first got into International 110 sailing 15 years ago and soon bought an old fixer-upper boat. After sailing it for a couple of years in a decrepit state, I made the decision to fix it right. I had worked with WEST SYSTEM® products before, and I was pretty familiar with the product line. I had done significant repairs on a 1965 plywood Thunderbird and a 1950s vintage Flying Dutchman, which incidentally was one of the original test boats when Jan and Meade Gougeon first came out with the product. I had never tackled anything on the scale of the 110 project, and at the time it was the only boat I had. Continue reading →
Above: The 65′ strip-planked Bounty Hunter after sheathing with fiberglass and WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. After 5 years, she still looks as good as she did then. In addition, her new fiberglass skin quickly paid for itself through increased performance.
Five years ago, Captain Glenn James decided it was time to make improvements to his Coast Guard-inspected charter fishing boat operating out of Edgewater and Solomon’s Island on the Chesapeake Bay. Bounty Hunter is a 65′ cedar-strip planked hull, a one-off Davis™ hull that was built in 1967 at Harkers Island, North Carolina. The planks are fastened to frames on 16″ centers with monel fasteners. The cedar strips are narrow, less than 2″ wide, and are edge nailed with monel nails and edge-glued. Continue reading →