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Old 16 September 2006, 08:59   #1
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Damage to hull

Not sure when this happened, maybe last time I was out, but I was poking around underneath this morning and spotted this:



I've done a search on repairs but haven't seen anything with photos, and not having done this sort of repair before I'm unsure whether this is an "oops", a "b*gger" or an "oh F***" level of damage?

The main area of damage is about four inches long. It hasn't been there long as it isn't that long since I last looked underneath, I think maybe it has only happened the last time I was out as I did get a nasty scraping noise at one point, so at worst it has had 2 or 3 hours in the water, and if it happened when I think it did (when I had the boat tied off while I put the trailer in the water and scraped an unseen rock) probably only about 15 minutes.

Now as is always the case in this part of the world, I can't buy much locally apart from a normal fibreglass repair kit designed for car body panels (matting and resin), I don't have any gelcoat filler but is this a bit beyond gelcoat filler anyway? its right through to the matting. I guess Humber could supply matching orange gelcoat filler but I suppose it is classed as hazardous and therefore (ho hum) would be another 3 months before I could get it here which means no boat till Christmas... not really an option. I'm going to ask around and see if I can find some among the handful of other RIB owners, but I'm not that hopeful. Getting it repaired professionally isn't an option round here.

I'm less worried about the cosmetics of this and more worried about any long term ill effects on the hull from water getting in, especially since it will be on a mooring from about a month's time. If I dried out the damaged area (its been out of the water for a couple of weeks anyway but still being a bit chilly, it would probably need some attention from a hot air gun to get it properly warm and dry) got some fibreglass resin and worked that into the damaged area to waterproof it, would that be ok? Or if not what's the best option? Bearing in mind of course the lack of locally available repair materials and expertise...

Thanks

Stephen
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Old 16 September 2006, 09:20   #2
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Steve,

I guess that if it's just an abrasion then key the area and apply gel coat over the area. Rub down and away you go. You should be able to get some gel coat on the Island, even if it's the wrong colour. If not then it's gonna be a temp repair with some form of sealant to keep the water out.
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Old 16 September 2006, 09:26   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BogMonster
is this a bit beyond gelcoat filler anyway?
I think you'll be fine with a gelcoat repair. I don't believe it should stop you using the boat at all.
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Old 16 September 2006, 09:42   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hightower
Steve,

I guess that if it's just an abrasion then key the area and apply gel coat over the area. Rub down and away you go. You should be able to get some gel coat on the Island, even if it's the wrong colour. If not then it's gonna be a temp repair with some form of sealant to keep the water out.
Thanks. To my utter amazement I have found some, or at least I think so

I think its white (no indication of colour on the tin) but after a whistle stop tour of all the likely outlets in town I have found some of this:

Plastic Padding Marine Filler

Doesn't say "gelcoat repair" but it appears to be the same sort of thing?

However it says on that website that it should be painted? Nothing on the tin about that though.

It also says on the tin "do not use below 15 deg C" which considering its about 3* today could be a problem may have to set up my 500W floodlight or something to get the repair area nice and warm and then leave it there for a while afterwards just to get the initial curing out of the way, that should be ok I think? I wasn't going to use the boat this weekend anyway so if it is supposed to set in 10 min at 20 deg C room temp, a week or two ought to be enough!

Edited to say this actually doesn't appear to be gelcoat filler ... after a bit more searching I found a Plastic Padding Gelcoat Filler but there's none of that around here... what's the best option, use this stuff or use fibreglass resin to seal up the damaged area?

Thanks
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Old 16 September 2006, 10:03   #5
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Sitting on my desk top I have a Plastic Padding Gelcoat Filler, this is the one that you use to repair external gel-coat damage. I think the one you have is more for internal/above waterline damage.

I'm sure you can get some "real" gel coat. Are there no boat yards out there? Anyone do any fibreglassing in the Falklands?

As for the resin you've put on, I could be wrong, but.....If there are no strands of fibreglass sticking though the layer of resin you've put on I think this could be OK. Osmosis only happens when the water wicks it's way up the fibreglass strands and into the hull.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 16 September 2006, 10:31   #6
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calm down mate its a five min job sand it back and put some gel coat, then sand again until flush with hull

smack some car filler on there get the missys'hair dryer and heat it up

get the stuff that comes in a yellow box i cant re what its called but you have two tubes and you just mix 50 50. dont worry about color put a keel guard on her for the future
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Old 16 September 2006, 10:35   #7
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Stephen,

Before I saw the light and started using internal combustion engines for my fun afloat I used to sail dingies - that were owned by the club (so care was limited!) this sort of damage (and some much more serious) was relatively common. As taking a boat out of the water to effect a repair would mean fewer people could go out sailing (the "workshops were some way from the water - and boats were normally kept afloat) there was in effect a three stage repair process: on the day te damage was done (or spotted) - duck tape was used to repair the damage on the day and keep the water out. At the end of the day / evening a pretty crude repair was performed using car body filler / plastic padding stuff - this sets quickly (although maybe not at 3 deg C) and by the next day would be cured. We didn't use special marine grade stuff - just whatever you can get in "halfords" or your autoparts place. This was never designed as a cosmetic repair - simply a keep the water out job. I don't think we painted over it - but I guess if it is below the water line some epoxy paint wouldn't do it any harm.

At the end of the season the boats were then repaired properly using "marine" materials, and this was a little more cosmetic. The body filler was all ground out first (unless it was really solid).

HTH.
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Old 16 September 2006, 10:54   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hightower
Steve,

I guess that if it's just an abrasion then key the area and apply gel coat over the area. Rub down and away you go. You should be able to get some gel coat on the Island, even if it's the wrong colour. If not then it's gonna be a temp repair with some form of sealant to keep the water out.
thats not my understanding of osmosis - since normally it happens with the gel coat still attached.
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Old 16 September 2006, 11:17   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hightower
Sitting on my desk top I have a Plastic Padding Gelcoat Filler, this is the one that you use to repair external gel-coat damage. I think the one you have is more for internal/above waterline damage.

I'm sure you can get some "real" gel coat. Are there no boat yards out there? Anyone do any fibreglassing in the Falklands?

As for the resin you've put on, I could be wrong, but.....If there are no strands of fibreglass sticking though the layer of resin you've put on I think this could be OK. Osmosis only happens when the water wicks it's way up the fibreglass strands and into the hull.

Please correct me if I'm wrong.
Yeah thats the one I found when searching. In answer to your questions:

Boat yards: No. A handful of people who are like me, own their own boat and do the best they can on maintenance.

Does anybody do any fibreglassing: Only people like me who have just broken something

I haven't done anything yet due to a large wet looking cloud on the horizon, so its still "as crashed" no resin or anything applied. That was pretty much my understanding too - as long as the strands remain "sealed" then it'll be OK.

I've emailed Humber to get some proper gelcoat repair in the right shade of orange, also a bloke I know who also has an orange Destroyer in case he has some lying around so will wait and see. Failing that I have "sources" working with the military that may be able to produce some even if it is the wrong colour

There was a thread on here recently about a keel guard strip of some sort, I think that's going to be one of the next things on the shopping list. It makes as much sense as a steering guard on a Land Rover, protect the bit that is going to get biffed first

If I can't get any proper gelcoat filler here and it has to be ordered from UK I'm thinking I will sand it back, give it a liberal coating of fibreglass resin (maybe with a little bit of mat in there too) and hopefully this will keep the water out till I can get gelcoat filler then grind it out and do a proper job. I'll be spending half the summer fixing my tubes properly anyway, so there will be plenty of time for it to cure

Hightower, does the tube you have sat on your desk say "Hazardous highly flammable" or anything? Just wondering what the chances are of getting some orange stuff sent by air - I could wait a couple of weeks if they'll send it, but not three months if it has to come by sea.

Maintenance intensive things these boats. Still I suppose its better than being bored and a lot cheaper than pouring fuel into it
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Old 16 September 2006, 12:17   #10
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Originally Posted by BogMonster
I haven't done anything yet due to a large wet looking cloud on the horizon, so its still "as crashed" no resin or anything applied. That was pretty much my understanding too - as long as the strands remain "sealed" then it'll be OK.
Not quite - normal fibreglass resin is not 100% waterproof - if left in water it will slowly soak it up. This is the purpose of gelcoat - to stop it soaking up water. Which it does pretty well (ignoring osmosis - which is a long slow process). Even if the glass is not exposed it can still soak up water.

Quote:
If I can't get any proper gelcoat filler here and it has to be ordered from UK I'm thinking I will sand it back, give it a liberal coating of fibreglass resin
If you do this try not to use "normal" polyester resin it will soak up water - you need to use epoxy resin instead (even a thin coat of "araldite" would do). "Plastic padding" is basically just polyester resin and I think the philosophy we used to use on the sailing dinghies was based on the principle that it might soak up some water in the "patch" but was unlikely to get through to the original material, and the "patch" was all ground out again.
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