Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

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Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby isaillanier » Sun Oct 13, 2019 9:35 am

I unfortunately went out in a wind that was bigger than my skill level, got pushed into shore and rocks, and now have several large cracks in the hull. Has anyone done a major repair and have recommendations? Most of the videos I've found online deal with small cracks or holes. The hull itself seems very thin. Much thinner than I thought it would be. I just learned about this forum, so this is my first post, and here I am looking for help. When I figure out how to add pictures, I'll do that.
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby GreenLake » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:09 pm

Welcome to the forum and sorry to hear about your misfortune.

The good news is that fiberglass hulls are infinitely fixable. One other hand, these old boats are not expensive. If damage is too extensive, looking for another boat may unfortunately be a better answer. But you've not given us enough details, so let's assume we are in the realm where fixing the hull is a viable option.

From the fact that you are posting in this section we conclude that you have a DSII. Now, for that model, the cockpit molding makes access to the hull a bit more difficult for repairs, however, depending on where the damage is, you might be able to work from the outside.

Once you get your boat on shore and set up where you can work on it, the first task would be to use a grinder or coarse sander to get all the damaged laminate removed. As you sand away the gelcoat, the laminate you expose should look dark and clear. If it is white and milky, it is damaged.

If you have narrow cracks, you grind the flanks in a shallow bevel (1:12). You then lay up successively narrower strips of laminate until the crack is filled (wider strips first). Because the hull isn't very thick, you'll end up with a repair that's proud of the surrounding surface and needs to be sanded flat. Then covered with gelcoat or paint (the latter recommended for repairs using epoxy resin as prepping the epoxy for later gelcoat application is challenging. Many people claim it can't be done, but that seems to be an overstatement).

If you end up with actual holes in the hull, or cracks where the sides no longer align, you'll need to support the repair.

You could push a thin piece of wood through the opening (with a wire going through the middle) pull it flat against the hull from the inside and then put some screw in it through the hull. That would bring the edges of the crack into alignment and would support any laminate that needs to span the opening. However, after the repair, you now have a piece of wood inside your hull. If there's a nearby inspection port, you may be able to retrieve it (you may also cut your own inspection ports in a place suitable for the repair).

Instead of wood you can laminate a bit of flat fiberglass on your work bench. 3-4 layers is enough. When hard but not fully cured you can use it as backing, but in addition to screwing it in place, you can use epoxy glue. Then, after your repair is done, you have an internal "patch" over the repair that will add strength. (For gluing you need to prepare the inside of the hull by sanding/washing off wax. If the hole isn't big enough to do that from the outside, you may need an inspection port.)

I repaired a big gash another boat put in my bow using a method like the one I tried to describe. You can find the thread here.

I had the advantage that I could place the patch from the inside, but it is possible to do this kind of repair "blind" (that is, with outside access only).

Looking forward to getting some more details from you.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby GreenLake » Sun Oct 13, 2019 3:11 pm

PS: the other thread mentions fiberglass mat. Most of that is made for use with polyester resin, but there is epoxy compatible mat available.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby isaillanier » Sun Oct 13, 2019 4:36 pm

Thanks, it is a daysailer 2. We had water pouring out of the hull, and were happy when we got it out of the water.
27112712

The hull is thin, and I suppose we could take a piece off between the cracks, and use that as an opening to position a piece of fiberglass from the inside. I am out of town and will have to clean off the boat and study it a bit more before doing something major like that. Thank you for the link to your repair. Definitely helpful.
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby GreenLake » Sun Oct 13, 2019 8:03 pm

Definitely some damage. Looks like it's on one side of the keel, and extends across diagonally, if the draining water is a good guide. Hard to gauge the full extent from the pictures. If there's more than one crack, you may be best off cutting out a section and replacing that (with edges beveled). The trick with a patch from the inside is to not make it too stiff. You want it to conform easily to to the curve of the hull, yet just strong enough to support the repair. After the new laminate is back in place, it will add incremental strength in that area (but even without an extra layer your repair should be about as strong as the hull was to start with - fiberglass is amazing that way).

The layup schedule from the other thread: cloth-mat-cloth may end up being too stiff. You may have to experiment and not be afraid to start over with a new piece.

One limitation is that a patch can bend only along one axis, so you hope that the spot you are trying to fix only has single curvature. (Some minor roundness in the other direction can be managed by fairing the hull afterwards with fairing compound and a long sanding board).

If you have some secondary damage that can be attacked separately, I'd suggest starting with that, especially if you haven't done much fiberglass work before. It's actually easy to get the hang of it, but a bit of practice won't come amiss. I did a trial project myself: fixed a kids' wheelbarrow just to refresh my feel for the material. Something to keep in mind.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby isaillanier » Mon Oct 14, 2019 1:38 pm

Thank you for your help! It is on only one side of the hull. I am traveling, so spending my time researching, and thankfully next week I am on vacation so I can study it more and try some new skills! Wish me good luck.
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby GreenLake » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:50 pm

Absolutely. Good luck and looking forward to hearing more about your progress.

Note; don't know where you are based but given the season: make sure your boat is warm enough, epoxy likes room temperatures to cure, however, there's System Three's "Cold Cure" that's supposedly good to 35F (but will cure rather slowly in the lower end of its temp range).
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby isaillanier » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:59 pm

I'm in Georgia, so still ok for outdoor fixes.
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby GreenLake » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:37 am

Well you are good then.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby isaillanier » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:28 am

Hi all, I wanted to give you a quick update. After lots of travel and talking to professional repair people who wanted more for the repair than I paid for the boat, my husband and I are going to try to repair it ourselves. Thanks for all the input and encouragement. I'll post pictures, but it will be a slow process because of winter. Starting to strip off the surface now, and will wait until we have stable warm temp later. Wish us luck!
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby GreenLake » Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:49 pm

The "downside" of these cheap old boats is that professional repair almost never makes economic sense. The upside is that doing your own work is still very manageable at that size boat and the material and processes can be mastered without too much of a learning curve. Now, the one thing epoxy is unforgiving for is sloppy measurement and mixing. Definitely want to follow instructions there (and there are several good online guides by West System or System Three - these make great winter reading). Also take to heart that you can clean up uncured epoxy with alcohol or vinegar (the latter stops the reaction so can't be allowed to contaminate). That's much better than having to use more aggressive solvents (for cured epoxy you'll need acetone or mechanical removal).

Because these boats tend to hang in there seemingly indefinitely, the lifetime for your repair may well be as long as you own the boat.

Good luck and give us a project update every now and then.
~ green ~ lake ~ ~
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby Windrider » Fri Dec 13, 2019 2:02 pm

I have done significant boat restoration on older boats including my DaySailer I sail #11 built in 1958. I'm not much into typing but if you would contact me at clarkteal@sbcglobal.net we could do a phone contact and i will share my knowledge.
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Re: Cracked the hull - has anyone done a major repair

Postby TJDSII6630 » Tue Dec 17, 2019 5:55 pm

How is the repair going?
Look in my gallery and you will see my hull repair.
Picks not altogether so look around.
A fair gouge actually.
Escaped detection when I bought it as it was painted over.
Best to careen her so gravity works with you.
I made repair from out side.
Side grinder with a sanding wheel is the tool to use to remove the gel coat.
Clean with acetone prior to laying up patch.
I overlaid with 2 layers of 24 oz woven roving extending about 6-8 in past gouge to minimize flexing in this area.


Teddy
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