Damian McLaughlin, custom boatbuilder from North Falmouth, Massachusetts, has been designing, repairing and building boats for more than thirty years. Recently, he finished the reconstruction of Arion, heralded at its launch in 1951 as “the first auxiliary sailboat built in fiberglass” and “the largest one piece hull of reinforced plastic in the world.” In 1950, Sidney Herreshoff, son of the famous Nathaniel, designed the 42′ Arion to be built using what was then an innovative new material: plastic resin reinforced with glass fibers, otherwise known as fiberglass. Continue reading →
Gelcoat blisters can be a serious problem if left unattended. At some point, your hull may need extensive repair, including gelcoat removal and epoxy barrier coats as described in Gelcoat Blisters: Diagnosis, Repair & Prevention. However, if you have isolated blisters and a manageable number to repair individually, we often recommend that you patch individual blisters and continue to use the boat until you determine the cause and extent of the problem.Continue reading →
Editor’s note: this article was written in 2000, years before we formulated G/Flex 655 epoxy which has superior performance with plastics. The basic plastic boat repair methods described here still represent best practices, but for optimal results use these methods with G/flex 655 epoxy on plastics.
Molded plastic canoes and kayaks are incredibly tough and durable. Occasionally though people damage them and call us for repair recommendations. Considering that plastic film is often used as a mold release for epoxy, you can see what we’re up against when we try to bond to it. Continue reading →
Editor’s note: this article was written in 2000, years before we formulated G/Flex 655 epoxy which has superior performance with plastics. The basic plastic boat bonding methods described here still represent best practices, but for optimal results use these methods with G/flex 655 epoxy on plastics.
The hull shape of a white water kayak is not designed for tracking well in open water. Since I do most of my kayaking on open water and flatter rivers, I decided to mount a skeg on the hull to make it track better. This is pretty simple if you own a wood or fiberglass boat, but can be more challenging on a polyethylene kayak. Continue reading →
The beauty of a wooden boat is undeniable. It doesn’t matter whether it’s sail or power. When I see one, my response is both cerebral and primal, and I know I’m not alone. I began racing sailboats in the late 1970’s and, without exception, it has always been aboard FRP production boats. In 1980, I was invited to crew on my first long distance race, hosted by the Buffalo Yacht Club near the northern end of Lake Erie. Continue reading →
The gaff-rigged sloop REEB (Beer spelled backwards) was one of three wooden day sailers built in 1922 for a resort in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. My father purchased it in 1953 and raced and day sailed it for several years along the Door Peninsula. In 1958, he obtained a job at the Defoe Shipyard in Bay City, Michigan; with no means of trailering the REEB, he decided to sail it to Bay City. Continue reading →
Some people just have a knack for things. We commonly say that someone may have an “eye” for beauty, an “ear” for music, or a “taste” for art, and now you can have a…“nose” for speed. Nose cones on outboard and sterndrive lower units are common in the world of boat racing. Whether it be outboard hydroplane racing, outboard performance craft (tunnel hulls), offshore powerboats, or customized recreational boats, all have factory built “speedo” lower units, which are very fast, but expensive. However, adding a nose cone to your existing lower unit is affordable, quick, and fun to do. Continue reading →
To prep our 30-year-old Allied Seabreeze 35 for a paint job, we had to remove the window frames. These frames were cast aluminum and original equipment. The outer frames were thicker and had not been broken. However, once we began to remove the inner frames, it was obvious that they had been removed for previous paint jobs. The aluminum castings had been broken and repaired by simply gluing them back together with an unidentifiable filled adhesive. Continue reading →
Keeping your boat dry for livability and longevity
By Joe Parker
You decide to head down to your boat to take advantage of a beautiful Saturday afternoon in late August. You haven’t had a chance to use your boat in about three or four weeks, and you are really looking forward to catching up with your friends at the harbor. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: “The last thing I needed to worry about was whether or not my boat would stay intact.
Tiptoeing on the edge of danger, I was crouched down on my knees in the cockpit of my ten-and-a-half foot “sheet of plywood” hydroplane, screaming across the water at speeds reaching 65 mph. Crossing the start line with wide open throttle, I, along with eleven other boats, aimed for the first turn pin. Who will make it there first? With just inches between boats, whitewater from the roostertails engulfed my boat and hammered against my helmet’s visor. These roostertails, which extended thirty feet behind the engine and turn fin, were difficult, almost impossible, to avoid. During this moment of frenzy, I prayed that another hydroplane had not stalled in front of me, or worse . . . flipped.Continue reading →