Shark bite in bow...help!

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by dougd, Sep 12, 2016.

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  1. dougd

    dougd New Member

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    This is a 1983 Sunfish. I acquired this boat at no charge. Can this be fixed? I have no experience in such matters, but I am eager to learn. All comments welcome!

    IMG_20160912_163028.jpg
     
  2. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the good close up photo. That bow has taken quite a hit! :eek: Another photo from above of the foredeck might help in figuring-out where to start. It looks like a "seasoned" bow handle, so keep in mind a new bow handle can be bolted on during this repair process. (No screws to pull out under extreme lifting circumstances).

    Could this bow receive similar damage from where this Sunfish was stored when it got damaged? (A marina or club dock?) My repair would look different, if that's the case.

    Since this particular repair is above my pay grade, :( I'll hand this one off to members experienced in major repairs: Webfoot1 and/or Mixmkr. I'd be tempted to install a bowsprit (for a jib) or a docking light! ;)
     
  3. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Of course. The better the job, the more invisible the repair becomes. So...a "10" looks like factory new. (but the experienced eye will still always see the repair unless the entire boat is painted, etc)
     
  4. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Deck photos or not, the pop-rivets holding the bow rail need to be removed. Use a drill bit of 1/8" or larger. Drill the center/top of the pop-rivet and when it spins, tilt the drill about 30 degrees, keep drilling, and the pop-rivet will drop out. Store the rail any place it won't get stepped on! :eek:

    Start to locate a store that has those 1/8" (diameter) new replacement pop-rivets, and buy a box of 1/8" lengths. That size never seems to stay in stock! :confused: You'll need to start with a West Systems® epoxy kit—at Amazon for less than $40—so might-as-well start one in transit.

    I forgot several other repair experts, here—Sorry! :oops:

    This photo, by a member here, may show the extent to which you'll need room to operate!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2016
  5. JohnCT

    JohnCT Active Member

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    Being an outside non compound curve, I would be tempted to make a mold and create a patch panel of one or 2 layers of cloth. Grind back the edges to get some taper. Fit the patch panel, then apply several more layers of cloth getting larger as you go.
    This way no backer is required.

    It looks worse then it is
     
  6. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    First, you can ignore the above picture - for some reason he is trying to scare you - as said before, it is a pretty easy fix. Here is some help - go to the punctures/fractures section at this link Sunfish Sailboat Repar Notes Note there is one critical step missing - between 4 and 5 it needs to say "push this in thru the hole, then pull back tight." Here is what you are trying to do:

    1) grinding away the loose glass is important - you need to get to solid parts of the boat for a good repair
    2) you will grind the edges around the hole to give a 1.5 to 2 inch lip and it should be VERY thin right next to the hole, tapering over that 2 inches to full thickness.
    3) the cardboard with the wire you are pushing into the boat forms the backer, so when you pull the wire tight, the cardboard presses the saturated glass up against the inside of the hole.
    4) once the glass in 3 is cured, you will then cut layers of glass starting from small to up to the full size of the hole plus the lip you ground. You will soak the glass in resin,, and put the small piece on, then the next larger size until you have all the pieces on there. You will do all these at once and let them cure.

    The instructions at the link mention using mat or roving. Those are coarser grades of fiberglass cloth. Regular cloth should work, but either mat or roving are probably better for the internal repair. One or the other should be fine - you do not need both . For the repair in step 4, use regular fiberglass cloth. Regarding the resin, pay the extra for West system resin (you can get it at West Marine or by mail - West marine and west resin are different companies. Someone just posted recently where to get it by mail cheaper - use the search box to find it.) Polyester resin really does not cut it for this type of heavy repair.

    Once you are done, sand it smooth and use a can of Krylon to paint it white. If this sounds complicated, it really isn't.

    BB
     
  7. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Not to be confusing, but what do you think the rest of the boat is made of? Of course Poly resin is just fine. The resin basically has no strength to it anyway. It's the fiberglass cloth, the type and way the strands are oriented, that really are the lions share of what makes the repair strong. West Systems has other advantages for sure. And you have to know Rustoleum is far superior to Krylon!! Actually gelcoat doesn't stick nearly as well to West System epoxy as it does polyester.
    ....finish with Krylon, eh?? ;-/
     
  8. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    actually...now is the time to install a retracting bow sprit for the Sunfish's "spinnaker" ;-D Hey...the "hole" is already cut!
     
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  9. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    As an FYI to all potential boat repairers, West or other marine epoxies are widely preferred to polyester for repairs. For mass production polyester has a cost advantage, but for repairs epoxy becomes affordable. 'Nuff said!!
     
  10. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Epoxy is preferred for adhesion and water resistance. But if you cant get good adhesion by mechanical means...iow sanding, your repair abilities are definitely suffering. If you're using a rattle can for your finish work, why spend tbe bucks on West System? You,ll also reget gelcoat over epoxy, should you want an invisible, professional finish that will match the rest of your boat, unless you don't mind tbe graffiti appearance of your efforts using patio furniture paint. yes epoxy is good for repairs but if you think poly on the bow of a sunfish wont cut because of strength, tell him about the wood screws used to mount the deck hardware or tbe foam blocks for hull/deck rigidity.
     
  11. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    Yes it can be fixed and I list 3 options from worst to best, by the way the trim rail has to be
    removed whatever you do but that is super easy.

    1. The Band-aid patch. Never used on any boat you life depends on and not a stable fix but
    lord knows the Sunfish is the king of the Band-aid patch. Grind back the gel coat and apply
    a mat and cloth patch to the outside. With no backer patch to stabilize the repair first this will
    get you in the water fast but is really Mr. Ugly.

    2. If you can't get at the inside of the boat, you're going to apply a fiberglass backer patch through
    the hole opening. I will not go into detail but you're hull has a big problem with this method, one is
    it's right on the bow and your trying to pull a patch around a steep corner. The second is that the
    bow handle backer block is in the way at the top of the repair. I see frustration looming with this
    method.

    3. Method three allows for proper repair.
    You're going to lay-up glass on both sides of the repair, starting with the inside to stabilize the
    damage. This involves wedging/popping open the front deck with a hammer and sharp putty knife.
    If you can get the deck popped the rest of the repairs are going to be really easy. This also gives you the
    option of replacing the two pound bow-handle backer block with something lighter and removing what
    may be about two pounds of mud and silt that sits inside the hull. However, if the deck refuses to pop
    at some point you will not be able to use this method. The seam has to split cleanly, I got stuck and tried
    cutting with a Dremel tool. There is not enough material on the lip of the hull and deck to use a saw.
    Forcing it will crack the deck!

    4. There is an option four of molding another bow section in fiberglass off another Sunfish but I don't
    think you're damage is extensive enough to go that way.

    5. Ok, you got me, the fifth way is to put an inspection port on top the bow behind the bow handle but
    #@$% bow backer block is still going to be in the way of you repair at the top of the bow. Maybe a good
    option if third method is not possible.
     
  12. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Repair #6 ;) :

    See if Alan Glos has a sacrificial Sunfish, and ask him to cut off a 9" bow section. Sand off nearly all remaining deck from this "transplant". Cut back your Sunfish's damage to match that section. Replace that weak, :oops: ugly, :( bow handle plus your existing backer-blocks with aluminum or stainless backer-blocks. Foam-in the forward ends of the Styrofoam blocks now that you can actually touch them! :cool:

    Cut and epoxy a half-dozen 4" paint stir-stick sections to the inside, taper all outside edges to paper-thin, sand all areas that fresh epoxy will touch, epoxy some previously-made (flat) 2-layer glass cloth sections to the inside for strength—doubling up at the keel—fit the new "transplant" with fresh-mix epoxy, epoxy 2-3 layers of new cloth to the previously tapered edges. Sand to match the existing sides and bottom. Paint to match.

    You'll need an orbital sander, two grades of sandpaper, and that $40 repair kit. :oops: (Now $30)!

    You'll have replaced a backing-block with a lighter metal one—foamed-in inaccessible places—and saved hours of trying to sculpt the exact contour of the bow. :)
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
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  13. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    As ugly as it looks, if he can get to the inside of the bow six layers of mat and cloth will bring the bow up to 100%
    strength. He can then grind the outside back adding one layer of glass and cloth to the outside. Then it's
    simply filler and gel-coat. Should leave a flush invisible repair. Some prefer to use what the boat was originally
    constructed with and will use woven mat on the inside.
     
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  14. dougd

    dougd New Member

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    Wow, it appears that I came to the right place! As requested, this is the view from above. The bow handle is indeed in rough shape! This boat had been stored outside on a trailer at my father's house for the last 25 years. It has only been sailed a handful of times during that stretch. The damage to the bow came during one of those voyages, I suspect fairly recently.

    bow handle.jpg
     
  15. Webfoot1

    Webfoot1 Active Member

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    The metal trim strip is in usable condition and that's worth a lot. They were built
    with 8 foot long strips and you can only buy 5 foot now at $25 each. I've searched
    for a cheaper identical replacement with no luck. Remove trim with great care
    cuz bending a new one around the bow without some buckling is difficult. After
    drilling out Rivet Heads with #30 bit, tap off trim with edge of a wooden block and a hammer.
    Even if damaged in removal, save the trim as you will need sections to fill in the
    gap on each side with the new shorter trim strip.
     
  16. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Listen to this man! He knows what hes talking about.! Here is another example of what he's trying to explain. (Pictures are always better).
    http://sailingforums.com/attachments/rm-4-blind-hole-patch-jpg.15360/
    Here is also a youtube which shows it all! (From west system - its long, but answers tons of questions!)


    Good luck with the fix!

    You can do this!

    -Whirecap
     
  17. dougd

    dougd New Member

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    Thanks, Whitecap. I think I am starting to understand the process and what may be involved. I have been reading up on fiberglass repair. I am concerned about the blind technique using a backer and wire/string due to the location of the damage. Most of the examples I have seen, involve a relatively flat section of hull, whereas my damage is in a section of the bow that is curved in two dimensions. I'm also unsure about the top of the repair where it seems to be cracked all the way up to the rail. Additional considerations are the type of resin to apply - differences of opinion evident even in this thread. If I try to get at it from the inside, is it better to use a port up front, or to attempt to peel back the deck (note this was * I think * originally a joke, but seems to be a serious contender). Webfoot1, I appreciate the tips on removing the rail. I will start on that now while I consider my options moving forward.
     
  18. mixmkr

    mixmkr Active Member

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    Cut a 6 inch bole on a flat section of tbe bottom for access, then you can easily address tbe handle backing block and the inside of the bow. The access hole on a flat surface will be an easy fix. Uze whatever resin your wallet allows but I'd caution use gelcoats over epoxy. Also you arent cutting the deck, etc
     
  19. andyatos

    andyatos Active Member

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    That was a great video Whitecap. Thanks.

    When I'm finished with everything on The Betty, I'm going to pull off the 3... count em... 3(!) inspection ports on the deck (previous owner), create some laminate and "remove" those holes so the deck is complete again. I'll be using this video you shared as a guide.

    - Andy
     
  20. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    As some of the guys said above, instead of using a flat backing plate made from a flat surface (like in the video), you will make your backing plate from the shape of the undamaged bow (the area of the bow that is just below the damage). Tape some plastic sheeting or Saran Wrap to the good part of the bow, then lay epoxy and fiberglass over it, let it dry, remove it from the bow - now you have a 2 dimensional backing plate that will fit perfectly in the hole of the damaged area (because it's a copy of the existing bow).

    Trust me - you can do this. I am very new at this as well, but these guys helped get my boat up and running.

    Veterns here - keep me straight and make sure I am giving him good advice.

    You got this bro! Keep researching and soon it won't seem so scary. Take it from me! (I've been sailing my boat for two weeks now - life changing!)

    Warm regards,
    Whitecap
     

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