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 →
Above: The two foam halves of the rebuilt rudder, with the plywood core, are dry fit around the post before bonding.
What started out to be a relatively easy job of replacing the motor mounts and cutlass bearing on my 1983 Nelson/Marek 36 turned into building a completely new rudder. Once I removed the rudder, I had planned on fairing it and applying a WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy with 422 Barrier Coat Additive. barrier coat. However, upon closer inspection, I noticed that the rudder appeared to be bent.
Above: Epoxy vs. polyester in a typical fiberglass boat repair cross-section.
Even though we’ve been promoting the use of WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy for repairing fiberglass boats (boats made with polyester resin) in our manuals and Epoxyworks for many years, we continue to receive inquiries asking whether it is appropriate to use epoxy for polyester boat repair. Because of the misinformation still prevalent in marinas, local yacht clubs and on the Internet, we felt it was time to restate the case for epoxy. Continue reading →
Most production fiberglass boats are made with polyester resin, and we’re often asked if it’s appropriate to use polyester gelcoat over epoxy. 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 →
Above: The US Customs fiberglass boat that was damaged while interacting with suspect violators and repaired with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy.
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 an intentional impact by a suspect vessel (Photos 1 and 2). Continue reading →
Above: The Rapid Strip Brush™ is a great tool when you want to prepare fiberglass laminates for epoxy adhesion.
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 →
Above: When repairing machined holes in fiberglass, whether screw or a through-hull fitting like the one for the pictured seacock, your strategy will depend on the size, purpose, and location of the hole.
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 machined holes in 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. Other things to consider include the costs in time and money and the skill required to perform the repair. 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 →
Above: We mixed and applied a third coat thickened with 406 Colloidal Silica Filler to create the texture for the non-skid finish on the deck.
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 finish 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 finish was brand new. Continue reading →
Above: With her damaged bulkheads replaced, the Evelyn 32-2 sailboat RUSH is back in action. Several weeks later, the new bulkheads proved they could handle the stress of a heavy knockdown and a major storm during the infamous 2002 Chicago to Mackinac race.
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% headsail. 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 →