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Update to my 2006 repairs


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I have uploaded a bunch of pictures. For better or worse this is how I repaired the holes.

As I posted in the past I did an inside repair of the hull. Because the opening was not big enough I ended up putting strips in 3 layers alternating the direction of the strips. Then brought the outside up to level. I made a fiberglass mold of the curve and used that to make up the hull side curve.

For the deck I made a flat plate and screwed it to the underside. This was in a previous post. I had not figured out how I need build the curve area of the deck.

What I needed to build up the deck curve was a spacer for the epoxy. It had to be flexible but strong enough I could pull it out. The reason I needed the spacer was to maintain distance. If you build the length wrong on the edge you can lock in a dip or a bump. Take a piece of paper and tear the edge about 1" and then overlap it. You will see it bump out because the edge is shorter. These are things you learn repairing the curved fenders on the early cars like a 1931 Model A Ford.

What I figured out was going on with the joint is the flat area was down tight against to the hull and there is a gap along the J curved area. You see that gap looking at the edge.

I tried different things like cardboard and layering some plastic sheets together, but they had their issues. I was in the basement and just happened to look at the edge of some thin cloth reinforced gasket material. This stuff has likely been in the basement for 40 years. I did use some 5-10 years ago to make a gasket. It was old rubber that had gone stiff and had taken what turned out to be the right curve. I did a test fit and it worked great, but it was too thin along the outer edge. So I use some contact cement to double up the edge area. It also was too short so I used contact cement and made it longer.

I coated it with PVA and did some glassing.

The first try I laminated from the top and that did not work out. Too thick where I laid over the existing glass.

I also realized the outer edge needed to hold a better shape. So I cut up a piece of thin aluminum sheet metal (like 1/16") and bent it some to match the bend of the edge. The bend was not needed because I ended up clamping the crap out of it. No, literally, it squeezed a bunch of resin out.

Second try I lifted the edge and put a couple of layers of matt on the rubber and slid it up in place. Using some dowels under the J I used the spring clamps to hold things down. See picture 2610 for an idea of what I did. This gave me the re-enforced backside structure I wanted. The rubber came out easy. You just needed to slowly let the rubber peal away from the glass.

The area was trying to lift up some. I was using weights to bring the area slightly below level. The curved edge would lock in the shape I need to have room for gel coat.

In 2613 you can see the rubber piece I was using.

Starting at 2615 you can see putting the top layers of glass in place. The metal bar of 1/16" aluminum really helped make the shape along the edge.

For the clamps holding down the edge what you do not see is a 1/2" (I think) wood dowel in the J to give the clamp something to hold onto, without that the clamp wanted to slide around. I also put the rubber spacer in during the upper level build up to help keep the shape.

2617 is the finished product.

I used the Thixo epoxy to put the 2 sides together. I was using a plastic spreader to push the epoxy down around the edge, but I quickly figured I could put paint stirring wood in to hold the joint open and get the tip in far enough to have the epoxy down far enough. You will need to push it down near the ends where it is not spread enough. Lots of clamps with dowels later it set up nice and solid. For reference the 43" of seam that needed epoxy left about 1" of epoxy in the tube. I bought 2 tubes as I was not sure how much I would need. That 1" left also included another foot of seam that needed epoxy in the front.

I used a straight edge to see that I had the areas low and mixed up some thickened gel coat. I made a mistake and got the coarser filler material. I was looking at the can of West Marine stuff and I see they make a finer one. I had all sorts of problems with the filler pulling small holes and I think it is because of this.

Then there is the color matching. I bought a $10 color kit and tried doing color match. I am horrible at this. Some is whiter and some is a bit grey. From 20 feet it looks decent. I also did not get it as level as I was hoping but I was burning through plus this is not like steel. The glass on the Sunfish is a bit wavy and I am trying to work it like it is flat. So I got spots that came through. I gave up at close enough. Plus with this and some other repairs and fixing screw ups I have gone through a quart of gel coat. This includes 2 oz of gel coat I took off because the color was SOOOOO bad. Did I mention I cant do colors well?

As for mixing. I was doing small batched of car paint a long while ago. So I have a tablespoon to oz chart and some metal measuring utensils. I bent them so I can dip them. I was mixing from 1/2 oz to 4 oz at a time.

So the end result is a structurally sound boat. I did 400 sand the upper and lower gel coat and then did a quick compound on the whole boat. I did a quick polish on the deck. This cleared the oxide coating. My time allotted to doing the repairs was running short so I got to a nice looking point. I am not sure where I go from here. I could finish the sanding through 1500 and do the buff properly. I am more likely to get some expensive cleaning gel coat wax and do a quick waxing for the season and think about doing the fine polish over the winter.

If I learn how to do color matching better I may even take off what I have done and lay in a better color match at a later date.

I need to put these boats back together and get them over to the club for the season. I also have a club 420 for the club that needs a bit of gel coat work to protect some exposed glass. This one already has various colors on it with the marine tex repairs already there. So it will be a quick fix.

My next challenges will be correctly setting up the sails on the fish. None were done right. The line that hold the head, tack and clew. Well the tack is the S hook. I also have the Vanguard line kits. The mainsheet that came with my 2006 feels like sandpaper. It is this funny checkered pattern on the outside and thicker then the factory line.



Nice work, looks good. Thanks for sharing your adventure. It is encouraging to see other SF owners have to think on their feet and jury rig with whatever is at hand when you are in the middle of layed up wet glass. lol Goes to show there is more ways than one to accomplish a repair. Enjoy your fish.