Next Step: Major Cockpit Crack Repair

Thread starter #1
16D3C616-D249-493B-AEBB-9B6EC13CD3E9.jpeg
I’m thinking this crack, which extends almost the length of the cockpit, will need a blind patch from the inside of the hull. Previous owner attempted to repair with what looks like Marine Tex but that was obviously unsuccessful. I’ve also got a hole on the keel. The hole in the keel will be cleaned up, filed, etc, then I can easily install a backer. The cockpit crack is tougher. Do I have to make it bigger to get a patch behind it? Or cut out hole in the keel (Shoreline method) and access bottom of cockpit that way? Thanks for your thoughts.
 

Attachments

Thread starter #2
I'm surprised I haven't seen other pics of this same damage. The boat was stored right side up on a trailer in CT. The cockpit became an ice cube. I did find this good advice from Webfoot1 (July 9, 2017). Thanks, Webfoot1!

"If the damage is on the tub flange check and
see if the flange has not separated from the deck. It might give you
a option of wedging the deck-tub seam open a little to slide a patch
in. These type of repairs are where you put the problem in you mind
and let it rattle around for a few days."
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#3
What I did with my Porpoise II, was to lay a 4-inch length of fiberglass tape over a cockpit crack, and brush an minimal layer of epoxy over it. The tape was left with a coarse (but even) surface to reduce slip-and-fall scenarios. (But watertight—allowed the red color to come through—and gave good strength to the cockpit floor).

The Porpoise wasn't going to win any boat-show prizes anyway!

,
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#4
I like L&VW's suggestion, esp with ref to the non-skid. I would probably put a nice thick bead of thickened epoxy into the crack first to help tie it together.

Then go sailing.

Cheers
Kent
 
Thread starter #5
Excellent. I am going to wait until the boat has lost more weight before sealing it up- that cockpit crack is my ventilation right now! But I’m jazzed about the expert advice from each of you. Here’s how things look, and the stern flotation blocks and foam feel completely dry already! Another bonus is the DePersia bailer opens and closes freely. (not that I plan to open it much!)
 

Attachments

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#6
Looks good. Put the electrical cords aside and press on some pf that expanding foam with your thumb or a putty knife, see if any water squeezes out.

Thanks for the pictures!

Cheers
Kent and Skipper
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#7
Excellent. I am going to wait until the boat has lost more weight before sealing it up- that cockpit crack is my ventilation right now! But I’m jazzed about the expert advice from each of you. Here’s how things look, and the stern flotation blocks and foam feel completely dry already! Another bonus is the DePersia bailer opens and closes freely. (not that I plan to open it much!)
When you do open that De Persia, plan on lubricating it. :cool:

As SC suggests, water is going to take some time to "migrate" out of the foam. :(

Having decided to replace the yellow foam of the aforementioned Porpoise II, I pulled it all out by hand. :mad:The feeling was, of pulling out soggy sponges! :eek:



.
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
#8
Repeated topic...speaking of replacement foam, anyone use the "great stuff" in a can? I let some cure and set it in water. Seems if you don't break the cured surface skin, it won't soak up water....and even so seems pretty water repellent. The manf says it's closed cell on their website. I imagine if it sat in water for a lengthy time it might. With that in mind I used it in my Puffer, whose blocks had come loose. It has a transom drain too for errant water.. so I figured, what the heck.
 
Thread starter #9
Looks good. Put the electrical cords aside and press on some pf that expanding foam with your thumb or a putty knife, see if any water squeezes out.

Thanks for the pictures!

Cheers
Kent and Skipper
I used my 12” screwdriver to reach into the yellow foam to squeeze and spear it a few times. It is not soaked- no water squeezes out- but it isn’t entirely dry. My Scorpion is next to it in the garage and feels light as a feather in comparison. I’ll let time work on it while I work on the other issues.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#10
Well if the hole in the keel is under the tub the answer is easy. Use the Shore Line method to remove
the section of the keel. This gives you access to the bottom of the tub. I've done it many times and
it works just dandy. You get to reinforce the inside of the keel and bottom of the tub to any ridiculous
amount of strength you want. The keel area from the rear of the centerboard trunk to the back of the tub
always takes a beating which is where holes will be found 80% of the time. Think of it as making a
reinforced skid plate.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#11
mixmkr we have used Great Stuff in small applications, to tack a block into place and to adhere the cockpit tub back to the hull. Most Sunfish have8 blobs per side of foam under the cockpit to stick it to the hull, a spot where we often see stress cracks in the gel coat. Like you, we figure that using it in a few small areas and keeping the hull dry will work out.


Cheers
Kent and Skipper
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#12
Webfoot1:
I don't remember your response when I announced my intention to remove a good 5-feet of the keel of my Sunfish-racer #2—then, to use the Shore Line method to reinforce it. The existing damage could be taped over, but I'd planned to use shallow, parallel, cuts with a Skil circular saw, to remove a much bigger piece. :eek: (But went sailing instead). :oops:

Still a good idea?

Breeze Bender:
Your photo of the keel doesn't have an apparent correlation to bow or stern.

Would it be correct to say, the hole is angled to port? :cool:

For extra points:

How did I suspect this? ;)
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Webfoot1

Active Member
#13
The original idea of the Shore Line method was to retain the original shape of the
keel. They built up on the inside of the keel, replaced and ground and filled on the damage.
I do it a little differently by removing the gel coast from removed section. After applying
three layers of cloth and mat inside the keel I replace the keel and apply three layers
of cloth and mat over the entire outside of the keel extending about a inch onto the
hull. It's overkill for sure but it's one solid repair. The keel may break somewhere else
but my fix is bullet proof. If you went with a repair for a much larger area I would
stick to the original method so you only have strips to fill and sand/paint and not
a huge section without gelcoat to deal with.

Use a Dremel with a cutting wheel because it give you the most control.
The fiberglass cuts like butter plus you want the
thin cutting wheel the Dremel provides. My Dremel is my most usefull tool.
My least useful is a oversize Dremel call a Rotozip, also called a mistake purchase!
 
Thread starter #14
Here’s another pic for better perspective: The hole in the keel is between the daggerboard trunk and the cockpit drain. I would say it’s more toward the starboard side. I was thinking I could clean up the area and inject thickened epoxy into the hole to seal it to the cockpit tub, plus the epoxy from the other side injected into the crack in the cockpit. Then layer fiberglass patch over hole in keel. Now I’m not sure if I need to cut out a big section of the keel (Shoreline) to do the job properly.
N
 

Attachments

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#15
Here’s another pic for better perspective: The hole in the keel is between the daggerboard trunk and the cockpit drain. I would say it’s more toward the starboard side. I was thinking I could clean up the area and inject thickened epoxy into the hole to seal it to the cockpit tub, plus the epoxy from the other side injected into the crack in the cockpit. Then layer fiberglass patch over hole in keel. Now I’m not sure if I need to cut out a big section of the keel (Shoreline) to do the job properly.
With a 50% chance, I got it wrong. :oops: Oh well...:rolleyes:

The original idea of the Shore Line method was to retain the original shape of the keel. They built up on the inside of the keel, replaced and ground and filled on the damage. I do it a little differently by removing the gel coast from removed section. After applying three layers of cloth and mat inside the keel I replace the keel and apply three layers of cloth and mat over the entire outside of the keel extending about a inch onto the
hull. It's overkill for sure but it's one solid repair. The keel may break somewhere else but my fix is bullet proof. If you went with a repair for a much larger area I would stick to the original method so you only have strips to fill and sand/paint and not
a huge section without gelcoat to deal with.

Use a Dremel with a cutting wheel because it give you the most control.
The fiberglass cuts like butter plus you want the thin cutting wheel the Dremel provides. My Dremel is my most useful tool.
My least useful is a oversize Dremel call a Rotozip, also called a mistake purchase!
1) Is that the brown Dremel cutting wheel that uses abrasives, or the aftermarket steel wheel that has threatening teeth? :eek:
2) I've never had one, but isn't the Rotozip especially handy for cutting inspection ports?

>
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#16
Going to need to fiberglass the tub one way or another or it will
just crack again. Many Sunfish have a fiberglass patch on the floor
of the tub. It turns into a brown Band-aid with time. For me it's much
easier to just do the inside bottom of the tub with the Shoreline
Method and be done with it, no sanding painting the tub etc.

The tub and hull were connected with foam blobs. I would try to
keep this semi-flexible connection rather than a rigid epoxy one.
I've had boats where the epoxy resin from the factory dripped down
the tub in spikes and punched holes in the hull. You can see this
sometimes with four small holes in the hull under the tub.

Use the abrasive cutting wheel with the Dremel. You will not get
any resistance.

I get a much more orderly cut with a Saber Saw then the Rotozip.
If I had a VARIAC I could slow it down to there would be some resistance,
as it is my cuts look like it was done by a drunken sailor. The VARIAC
is one of those must have tools for using a wood router, analog guitar
pedals, foam cutting and just becoming a master of wall voltage.

My neighbor use to work with the guy that invented the Rotozip. It
was for cutting drywall electrical box holes. He sold the patent and
retired. Then the people marketing the Rotozip started marketing
all sorts of attachments for it and the original purpose kind of got
lost.
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#17
...look like it was done by a drunken sailor.
Hey, I'm a drunken sailor!!! LOL... but only when actually sailing, I normally limit myself to a couple beers when working on boat hulls, since alcohol & power tools don't mix that well. I learned that lesson long ago when I practically cut off my finger while cutting wood with a table saw... I was just drunk enough to think, "I can get that scrap outta the way without using a push stick!!!" Damned scrap yanked my hand right toward the blade and I wound up with a canal in one fingertip... it was weird, the blood didn't start flowing for a second or two, and I had a perfectly square canal cut in my finger, LOL. To this day, that finger is shorter than its counterpart on the other hand, a good reminder to leave the heavy drinking until AFTER the work is done, yeah??? I think about that incident now and then; had I not been blessed with fast reflexes, I probably would've had my hand lopped off that day... and I've used a push stick religiously ever since, LOL. :rolleyes:
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
#18
My brother did the exact same thing and lost the end of his finger. I
always try to project ahead and think, "I want to go inside and watch
TV, not spend the next 24 hours in the hospital. My father used to own
a radial arm saw got rid if it, I think it scared both of us. The other tool
that can be really dangerous is your simple grinding wheel. A off balance
or cracked wheel can explode with face shattering results. Look up some
Bing images and you get a real horror show.
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#19
HaHa, I copy the part about watching TV instead of going to the hospital... even with a huge cable TV bill, it's cheaper than the ER, LOL. Good thing, getting rid of the saw if you weren't comfortable with it, power tool injuries are no joke. I'm not giving up my drill, which is a very useful tool, but I once drilled partway into my hand which was underneath the target area... just long enough to figure out that it HURT. I reckon that's why those drug cartel goons use drills to torture people, I'd probably go the traditional route and stick to torch and pliers, LOL. Just kidding, but I will say this: all the worst injuries I've received in my lifetime, I did them to MYSELF. Whether I was skateboarding, climbing a crag or boulder beyond my ability, riding a dirt bike insanely fast while inebriated, sawing off or drilling body parts, etc., etc. Just an observation I've made, now that I have permanent injuries with certain joints & whatnot functioning at less than 100%, LOL. Meh, this happens as one gets older, reminds me of that guy in the Cup Races who said that the perfectly-designed IACC boat would fall apart as it crossed the finish line... I'm dating myself with the IACC reference, LOL. Besides, the nanosecond I'm dead, I won't care if this old body falls apart, I've had my use out of it and then some, so no worries... :cool:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#20
Going to need to fiberglass the tub one way or another or it will
just crack again. Many Sunfish have a fiberglass patch on the floor
of the tub. It turns into a brown Band-aid with time
. For me it's much
easier to just do the inside bottom of the tub with the Shoreline
Method and be done with it, no sanding painting the tub etc.
Wouldn't that be the case using polyester resin, rather than epoxy resin? :oops:
 
Thread starter #21
Wouldn't that be the case using polyester resin, rather than epoxy resin? :oops:
Good question, L&VW, I was wondering the same thing. I was going to use Flexpoxy, thinking it would allow for flexibility in the hull. I will definitely use fiberglass patch in the cockpit tub crack, but like Signal Charlie’s suggestion of filling the crack before applying patch. The tub is already ugly from previous owner’s repair so I will probably sand and paint when done, leaving a bit of skid on the floor. Great advice all around. I love this forum-
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#22
Yes we've seen lots of brown resin bandaids. Epoxy discolors over time as well, we've seen some epoxy putties leaching out some light yellow. Those need to be primed and painted, some will not take gelcoat.

Another key with repairs is to not OVER repair. If the area is structural like the middle of the cockpit tub, make an in depth structural repair. If the area is not structural, like the side of a Catfish pontoon, a quick surface patch is great and go sailing. I've often wondered if there was a premade fiberglass/epoxy band aid out there, peel, stick and go sailing.

Here is one of our favorite scab removals on VIPER.

IMG_2270.JPG

Heat gun and scraper, make sure to wear appropriate mask and lots of protective clothing. Decon before going into the house.

IMG_2275.JPG

Cleaned up and edges faired.

IMG_2277.JPG

Blind patch of cardboard, woven roving and epoxy installed. Then we built up with 6-8 layers of 4 oz fiberglass cloth.

IMG_2280.JPG

Primed and faired.

IMG_2731.JPG

Painted.

IMG_2741.JPG

Our buddy Dozer putting VIPER though her paces.

IMG_5076.jpg
 
Thread starter #23
That’s some impressive and inspiring work! I like your ‘peel and stick’ epoxy band-aid idea, too- bet it would be a big seller. I’ll be watching for you on Shark Tank!
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#24
I like the "before & after" shots of the hull, from "primed and faired" to "painted"---this is exactly why I go to the trouble of painting boats, they look so much better once a uniform gloss color is on there. Whatever work you've done is hidden and the boat looks good on the water. Use the right paint and it'll last for awhile... light sanding & prepping when she starts to fade, another coat or two, and she's like new again. :cool:

Maybe I'm a bit biased toward paint, due to living overseas for five years of my youth (1968-1973). My family lived outside Athens, Greece, but we were usually down by the waterfront on short trips & vacations, and those Greek sailors & fishermen always painted their old wooden boats in bright cheerful colors... well, most of 'em did, there were a few ugly boats, LOL. :eek:

I always liked the boats with bright colors, they turned the waterfront into a really cool scene, like something out of a painting... in those days, salty Greek fishermen were friendly to young American kids roaming the waterfront, especially if those kids were interested in boats. My pop was still with us then... as a retired sub commander, he'd always make a point of taking us to the waterfront. :D

I get the perspective of paint-haters, it can be a lot of tiresome work to prep & paint a boat, but I don't mind doing it... in a way, I guess it takes me back to those carefree days of my youth. When I had the Minifish all decked out as a pirate ship, busloads of kids on the boardwalk & Embarcadero in San Diego would point and holler, "PIRATES!!!" Those moments alone made every paintbrush stroke worthwhile... :rolleyes:

BEAUTIFUL DAY HERE IN THE WHITE MOUNTAINS, MAYBE I'LL GET A DECENT ACCEPTABLE OFFER ON THE HOUSE TODAY... ;)
 

Ghost Rider

Planing into eternity...
#26
I'm ahead of ya, the book is already written, but there are so many PC douchebags in the literary marketplace that it's a hard sell, LOL. No worries, some of the stories were already published anyway, and I've shotgunned much of my work across the web so it'll live forever... :eek:

However, I appreciate the compliment, I've always had a way with words, most of my stories are narratives but I've been known to occasionally tell a tall tale... especially where sportfishing is concerned, LOL. ;)

Maybe I should just call it fishing, we don't do it solely for sport, we BBQ everything we catch, LOL... I used to work as a deckhand back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and the freshest seafood I ever ate was aboard that fishing boat, big old albacore flopping around on deck one moment, sizzling on the grill the next. Delicious fare, I'll tell ya that much... I used to make sandwiches with the smoking fillets, using hamburger buns from the galley and throwing in mayo, lettuce, tomato slices, etc. Man, oh man, those sandwiches were the best, I'd wolf 'em down in record time, LOL. :rolleyes:

Edit: Uh-oh, Friend Doug the Moonshine Man is coming over to par-tay and BBQ... better don my Kevlar, no tellin' what'll happen when Friend Doug is around, the crazy b@stard!!! Good pool player, one of the best I've ever seen, he can make the cue ball curve around obstructions and knock in object balls... it's unbelievable. He's good at putting spin on a ball in just the right way when banking, tough guy to beat in pool, that's for sure. Maybe we'll take a little ride out on Rim Road 300 before we get started, he has a Jeep that can handle the trail and it's a beautiful day here. CHEERS!!! :cool:
 
Last edited:

Webfoot1

Active Member
#28
UV Rays break down all types of epoxy. They also dull gelcoat over time.

There are emergency hull patches you can buy that peel and stick
underwater. I'm sure they are not for long term but they might
be good for a weekend of Sunfish Sailing
 
Thread starter #29
UPDATE: A year later, this Sunfish is now light and dry. I took the advice of Webfoot1 and tried the Shoreline Method to seal the crack in the cockpit tub and the hole in the keel.
First I injected thickened epoxy into the crack, then fiberglass tape over that, then Marine Tex to level it out. All good advice here from SC and L&VW.
With all that reinforcement in the cockpit I thought about just patching the hole in the keel, but I wanted to get at the back of that tub and the back of the hole.
This boat was a true beach banger (see Alan Glos’ definition).
Signal Charlie, the name is Sandy. Lots of sand in the hull!
Here are some pics of the Shoreline work just completed. I didn’t have sail battens, so I cut 2 strips of fiberglass from an old donor Sailfish I have in the back 40. The dremel cut like butter. I feel like I’ve got a very solid repair. Next I will prep the hull for paint and paint the cockpit tub. The deck will remain original blue, with the exception of the off-blue repair I made around the mast step.
 

Attachments

Thread starter #31
Thanks, Signal Charlie!
I decided not to paint the cockpit, thinking it will quickly get scratched up and not wanting a buyer to think I was hiding the repair. Just posted on craigslist and I will post here, also (though the buy/sell section doesn’t seem to happen much on this forum, from my observations). YES! IT’S AVAILABLE!!
Sea trials were last Saturday and I had a beautiful afternoon on the lake. Here are some pics- if you’ve followed along on this thread you’ll have seen the ‘before’ shots above. This beach banger has come a long way!
I wish I could keep them all, but I’ve sold 3 Sunfish this summer and this one has to go, too. There are still others in line waiting to get back in the water where they belong!
 

Attachments

Top