Ask SAIL: DIY Storm Damage Repairs - Sail Magazine

Ask SAIL: DIY Storm Damage Repairs

The after effects of Hurricane Sandy are still being felt here in the Northeast in that competent fiberglass repairmen are all booked up with jobs through the upcoming boating season. Many boatowners have therefore been forced to contemplate repairing their storm-damaged boats themselves.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

Simon Zorovich of Matawan, New Jersey asks:

The after effects of Hurricane Sandy are still being felt here in the Northeast in that competent fiberglass repairmen are all booked up with jobs through the upcoming boating season. Many boatowners have therefore been forced to contemplate repairing their storm-damaged boats themselves. I have read some informative articles by Don Casey on the subject, and my question is this: should I use a polyester resin or epoxy to repair an enormous gouge in my boat? As you can see in the photo (below), it's about 2ft by 6in and cuts well into the fiberglass cloth, but not all the way through the laminate.


Don Casey replies:

Two decades ago I found myself in a similar situation in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew and, like you, ended up doing the repairs myself. I’m happy to say they remain strong and undetectable to this day. The advantage of using epoxy for repair work is that the bond to the existing laminate will be about 20 percent stronger than when using polyester resin, which provides a welcome margin of error for the amateur worker. Professionals tend to view the extra adhesion as superfluous and not worth the high price of epoxy, which costs two or three times as much as polyester. Epoxy is also incompatible with gelcoat, so if you plan to finish the repair with gelcoat rather than paint, you should use polyester or perhaps vinlyester resin instead.

As for the layup process, in both cases you need to grind away all of the damaged laminate and create a 12:1 bevel around the perimeter. If you use polyester, you can lay down alternating layers of 1.5-ounce mat and 6-ounce cloth, unless you have reason to follow a different schedule. Epoxy repairs are usually made with woven fabrics only, as epoxy is incompatible with the binder in common fiberglass mat. Special epoxy-compatible mat can be obtained if you decide you need it. Your new laminate layers should go down in larger-to-smaller order, because laying down the largest piece first maximizes the area of the secondary bond between the old and new glass. The bond between subsequent layers will be chemical in nature and thus considerably stronger.

Because the perimeter bevel greatly enlarges the size of the repair, cutting out the damage and fashioning the repair from inside can be an attractive alternative, if you have interior access to the damaged area. Whatever method you use, if you grind well, mix the resin correctly, and compress all the air out of the laminate, your repair will be indistinguishable from the work done by a pro, cosmetic appearance excepted. If you fail cosmetically, you can always get professional help next season.

Related

PICTON CASTLE under sail with stunsls WV7 compressed

Picton Castle Seeks Crew

The Picton Castle is set to begin its eighth circumnavigation this spring under the command of Captain Daniel Moreland. A professional crew of 12 will guide up to 40 trainees at a time as they learn about all aspects of sailing the bark, from steering to lookout, ...read more

DSC_0013

Ask Sail: Keel Attachments

Q: I have an early ‘70s Catalina 27. The keel bolts look pretty good. My question is, why not glass over the keel to bond to the hull rather than changing the bolts if, or when the bolts are too far gone? I haven’t seen anything on this, so could you discuss? Full-keels are ...read more

04-GOPR0511

Book Review: Sailing Into Oblivion

Sailing Into Oblivion by Jerome Rand $15.99, available through Amazon As refreshing and inspiring as Jerome Rand’s 2017-18 solo-circumnavigation may have been, his account of the voyage in the book Sailing Into Oblivion: The Solo Non-Stop Voyage of the Mighty Sparrow may be even ...read more

01-1970-Dec

50 Years of SAIL

Back in early 1970, Bernie Goldhirsh and the recently founded “Institute for the Advancement of Sailing,” publisher of an annual sailboat and gear guide, launched something called SAIL. A half-century later, a look back at the magazine’s first few years provides a glimpse into a ...read more

Photo-by-Adobe-Stockpics721-2048x

Webinar: Navigating Post-Dorian Abaco

On Thursday, October 22 at 6 pm ET, Navigare Yachting presents a webinar on what to expect from Abaco post-Dorian. The event will feature the authors of The Cruising Guide to Abaco, Steve Dodge and his sons Jon and Jeff.Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco in early September of 2019 and ...read more

LunaRossaBoat2

Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Christens “Boat 2”

Hot on the heels of the UK’s Britannia and the United States’ Patriot, Italy’s new AC75 Luna Rossa, formerly known as Boat 2, was christened in Auckland, New Zealand, this morning. As the moniker suggests, it was Team Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli’s second design. In his christening ...read more

m7803_DSCF6698-1

Challengers Christen Britannia and Patriot

October 16 proved an exciting day for America’s Cup fans with the christening of both the UK’s Britannia and America’s Patriot. Britannia will be helmed by four-time Olympic gold medalist and America’s Cup winner Sir Ben Ainslie. Olympic Gold medalist Giles Scott will serve as ...read more

HookPromo

Defender Product Spotlight: Lowrance Hook Reveal

Defender product expert Alex Lyons explains the benefits of HOOK Reveal’s new FishReveal technology: “DownScan sonar uses high frequencies to provide a picture-like image of the sea floor. The traditional sonar’s lower frequencies are best suited for locating fish in the water ...read more