Most production fiberglass boats are made with polyester resin. WEST SYSTEM® epoxy is a wonderful material for repairing polyester fiberglass boats. One reason for this is the ability of epoxy to form a stronger mechanical bond to a damaged laminate than polyester resin. Epoxy also provides a better moisture barrier than polyester resin. Continue reading →
Vessels used by the Bureau of Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) can be subjected to severe conditions during law enforcement operations. Occasionally, the intense interaction between law enforcement vessel and suspect violators can result in unwanted vessel damage. The damage on this ICE interceptor was the result of intentional impact by a suspect vessel (Photos 1 and 2). Continue reading →
During a recent inspirational hardware store visit, I discovered a rotary wire brush made by Norton™ called the Rapid Strip Brush™. It is used with an electric drill and produces results comparable to bead blasting or a needle scaler. The package says it can be used to abrade metal, masonry and fiberglass. I immediately thought of a fiberglass application that I wanted to try it on. Continue reading →
First, we will classify the types of holes we are discussing as ones that are round and have been machined, probably with a drill, as opposed to punctures and cracks incurred from damage. The reasons they may need to be repaired are numerous: refitting, resizing, removing obsolete equipment, or mistakes. When repairing fiberglass boats, the challenge is to determine an appropriate repair strategy. You want a repair that is safe and adequate, but also realistic. You want to ensure that the repair is strong enough for the anticipated worst-case load and err on the side of being conservative. Continue reading →
Making Practical Decisions when Repairing Machined Holes in Fiberglass
Technical Staff Report
Custom fiberglass boat repair First, we will classify the types of holes we are discussing as ones that are round and have been machined, probably with a drill, as opposed to punctures and cracks incurred from damage. The reasons they may need to be repaired are numerous: refitting, resizing, removing obsolete equipment, or mistakes. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: The intricate plank layout of ZATARA’s finished teak-covered cockpit, before the hardware was reinstalled.
The Zatara refit project began two years ago when my partner Steve Gallo (a mortgage banker) and myself, Ken Newell (a materials engineer), decided that we wanted something to do with our spare time and money. What we didn’t realize was the level to which the refit project would absorb every weekend and every non-critical dollar we had and cause our significant others to chastise us for our obsessive behavior. Continue reading →
This racing season onboard Triple Threat has been filled with the usual mix of tedium, laughs, and excitement. It’s a good thing when the exciting part is due to close racing and fast downwind surfing-it’s a bad thing if the excitement occurs when the foredeck crew nearly goes overboard because the deck is wet and the non-skid has the texture of a slip n’ slide! I’m happy to report no instances of skidding off the foredeck this year, as there had been in years past, because this year the non-skid was brand new. Continue reading →
The port bulkhead with the chainplate still attached.
If you race a sailboat long and hard enough, it eventually will reveal its weaknesses, sometimes violently. My friends and I race an Evelyn 32-2 called Rush. Less than a month before the 2002 Mackinaw races, we were competing in the Saginaw Bay Yacht Racing Association, Gravelly Shoals race. Throughout the race the wind had been building and we were a little overpowered with a full main and 150% head sail. We had completed about 45 miles of the 50-mile race when the starboard chainplate decided it had enough and pulled out of the bulkhead. Continue reading →
I love my boat. I love to spend time with it-sailing it, working on it, improving it.
I think I need my head examined.
Seriously, there’s got to be something wrong with me! I actually expected that applying a new non-skid deck to TRIPLE THREAT, our 1981 Pearson Flyer, would be a fairly straightforward project. I always think like that before I get started. One would think I might know better by now, but that type of learning apparently requires some protein sequence that’s missing from my DNA. Continue reading →
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 →