Wednesday, October 29, 2014

So, I need some fiberglass and....Squirrel!

I've been feeling a bit like Dug from the movie Up a lot since we bought the boat.  I don't remember being so scatter-brained, but recently it sure seems I have been. (By the way, if you haven't seen this Pixar film, it is definitely worth it).

Today I put kettle of water to boil, then...squirrel... forgot about it and did some tasks on the outside of the boat.  By the time I got back, the kettle had turned the bridge deck into a steam sauna dispersing 5 of the 7 cups of water into the air.  So much for the automatic off feature of the kettle...but I never trusted it anyway and that is why I usually don't leave it unattended.  The big black electric Aroma kettle is handy to have on the boat, just don't leave it alone.  Another 30 minutes spent opening all the hatches and wiping down the walls...and ceiling...and to work on more projects for the day.

Anyway, lots of projects are ongoing as I try to push to get the boat in the water and headed south.  One was the hole in the bottom of the boat I mentioned in this post. My wife and I decided that we really didn't need the secondary head discharge since we already had one as well as the pump out option.  I also decided that my very first marine fiberglass work should probably not be in one so prone to quickly sink the boat should it fail, so I had the "fiberglass guy" in the yard do the work and hopefully learn a thing or two as there will likely be one more of these to deal with in the future.

I understand the basics of patching a hole, that you need the patch to be wider than the hole on both sides so it makes a good seal and can't accidentally be knocked out.  Since the hull is over a half inch thick solid fiberglass at the bottom, I wasn't exactly sure the best way of filling it.

Mark, the "fiberglass guy", started by sanding and cleaning around the inside of the hole.  Then he laid in some biaxial fiberglass mat to seal the hole from the inside.

Next, he mixed up some vinyl ester resin (boat fiberglass resin) with some chopped fiberglass strands to make a filler and filled the hole.

Once all of that cured, he ground down a fair amount of the filler, feathering into the existing hull fiberglass to make that "larger than the hole patch" for the outside of the boat.

More fiberglass was applied to the now saucer shaped hole and then fairing compound (Bondo for boats) was applied over that so it could be sanded to create a smooth, even finished result.

Finally, a barrier coat was applied for added protection against salt water, the inside painted, and the hole was no more.  Now I just need to put a few coats of bottom paint on and this task will be complete.

While he was working, I noticed a few other small voids in the bottom of the boat where the keels and skegs attach and had him fair over and barrier coat them as well.  It may have been a bit of overkill, but small holes going through the gelcoat seemed like a bad thing to me and since he had most of the materials handy, it made sense to me to get them done too.

With all the little patches, I'm debating putting one coat of bottom paint over everything after adding a few coats to the patches even though the existing bottom paint is in pretty good shape outside of the repair areas and a few chips.  I hope that Rover appreciates the care and work going into her.

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