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Advice needed

AMFlite

New Member
I bought this boat last fall, not knowing it had some structural issues. Now I am wondering what to do?

As you can see, the mast tube has had some repairs done to it. What I am trying to figure out is does this work look like it will hold up? Should I add some glass to it, should I have a professional look at it? The repair guy at White Bear Boat Works close to where I live said he would look at it and reinforce the glass for 300 bucks. I paid 450 for it and it needs a minimum of 150 worth of parts. I would really like to save that 300 and do it myself, if it looks doable. Or worth doing at all.

What I need to know is how this repair was done and if it has even been sailed since it was done? There is some wear on the inside of the tube and about a 16th of an inch gap from the bottom of the tube and where it should rest on the bottom of the boat, which of coarse leaks like mad. So, what I am trying to figure out is in this type of repair is a whole new tube put in or could the old tube be reused? As you can sort of see in the picture the work on top of the boat looks really nice.

Please dont ask why I didn't look inside of the boat before I bought it.
I really hate to put money into it if the hole is going to collapse my first time out.
 

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Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
I don't think putting in a new mast tube is easy. But you should be able to fix the leak from the inside by wrapping the tube with glass and resin.
 
Since this will not be a race boat and you don't care if a little extra weight is added, I'd recommend doing it yourself. It'll be WAAY cheaper and chances are you will over-repair it so it will never go bad again.

Like Wavedancer said, you will want to add some glass to the tube. I did this on my laser when the tube broke away and the mast fell down. The existing stuff at the bottom of the tube can be chiseled out. In my case it was a rotten wood block. After preparing the area, I made a new wood block and glued that in. I cut about 1" wide strips of glass about a foot long. Soaked them in west and then put them on the tube. I laid the first ones up and down and extended them to the bottom and then out onto the hull creating a tabbed joint. I did this on top too. The next ones I wrapped around the tube to hold the vertical ones in place and strengthen the tube itself. When that was dry, I mixed up some west with filler (thick consistency) and packed that in around the top and bottom where the tube meets the hull. The epoxy got all over the new wood block which was just what I wanted to protect it. It does not have to be pretty. No one will see it. The prep work has to include some sanding around and on the tube. Use agressive paper (maybe 80 grit)The surfaces should be rubbed down with acetone to make sure they are clean. Also everything has to be really dry. When in doubt, use more glass and resin.

You can get glass cloth from an auto store. West or similar epoxy is harder to find, but you will also find many more uses for it. You could use polyester resin, but it is smelly. All work can be done from a large (6") inspection port. Cut the hole for the port, do the work, then put the port in. Leaving the port out gives you a little extra room.
 

scap114

Member
When I looked at the photos I was confused. This does not appear to me to be a Sunfish, as the pictures of the mast tube seem to be taken in a boat that is open from the cockpit to the bow. If that is the case, and access to the tube is straight forward it would seem the repair would be relativly simple by placing the glassed strips on the tube as stated above. I am also conerned about the 'leak'. Where is the water coming from? Is it water getting into the tube from above or is there a leak in the bottom of the boat from where the tube has broken away from the bottom of the boat?
 

AMFlite

New Member
It is really nice to have this forum to ask questions and get advice on these subjects. The guy that I bought the boat from already put a 6" inspection port in the boat. That is how I got the photos and how he did the repairs that you see. My problem is that the repairs look shoddy and "under done". I'm afraid that they aren't going to last. To answer scap114, if I were to pore water into the mast hole the water would seep to the inside of the boat and visa versa. At one time the tube was broken away from the bottom of the boat. The guy who fixed it glued the tube back in and wrapped it with fiberglass without sealing the bottom of the tube to the bottom of the boat. I looked down the mast hole with a inspection mirror and saw about a 16th of an inch gap at the base. I thought that I could chop up some fiberglass mix it with resin and drip it into the hole filling it past that gap. What do you think?

Pretty much everything you said Tim was what I had in mind except for the part about the wood block. I really wasn't sure at all what was inside of that area. I was hoping that it was solid fiberglass. Is a wood block typical of these kind of boats and if it is what are the chances of it drying out after 4 or 5 months in a garage? I really hate to have to tear that out of there when it would be so much easier to just "over repair it" as you put it. I wonder if there is any way of finding out what is going on in that area...maybe drilling a small hole? Just to see what comes out. What is going to be stonger poly or epoxy? I was also wondering how thick I could make the layers?

Thanks a lot for your replies.
 

supercub

Member
AMFlite,

Either epoxy or polyester will be strong enough for the repairs but you need to find out what the original repair was done with. Epoxy works over poly, buy not poly over epoxy. Suggest removing what you can of the original repair and sand, grind whatever to get a good, clean base to start with. Follow what Tim said, verticle strips followed by wrap strips. Use 6 oz. cloth (you won't need a whole lot). Work some epoxy into the surface (corners and cracks) before the first strips go on. One way of making sure the fiberglass is wetted out is to dip the strips in the epoxy first, roll them up and unroll them inplace.

For the "gap", what you suggest is fine. Level the boat, so the bottom of the mast hole is level. Mix up some epoxy and fibers thin enough so that it will flow out and self level and fill to just past the "gap". If it is still rough at the bottom, you can either add a thin layer of plain epoxy while the first is still green (better bonding)or let it harden for a few days and sand it smooth by glueing sandpaper (80-120 grit) to the end of a PVC pipe cap that fits the mast tube. Glue the cap to a piece of pipe (18-24" long), stick it down the hole and twirl it like you were trying to start a fire. When everything has had a chance to set up for a few days or more, do the leak test (fill tube with water and see if the level drops.

Tape some plastic or heavy paper on the deck to protect it and suggest using a mask and definately wear some gloves and an old long sleeve shirt that you can toss if necessary. Good Luck
 

AMFlite

New Member
Thank you for all of your replies. I actually have some confidence going into the project now. I probably wont start for a month or so but I will post some "after" pictures when I am done.

I actually need a another bit of advice. When I got the boat it didn't have anywhere to attach the main sheet to the back of the boat. I have seen other similar style boats (mini fish) with small holes drilled through the lip that goes around the edge of the boat and a small traveler line running from one side of the boat to the other. I guess that they just tie knots at the ends of the line to hold it in place with a small block to clip your main sheet to. Does this seem okay?
 

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