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PostPosted: Sun May 31, 2009 12:23 pm 
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Location: Boise, Idaho
Well fellas. It is getting to be time that I must do a major repair on my H-18. A fairly major crack has developed on the port side hull over the years where it rests on the trailer roller. This season it is taking on enough water now that I don’t feel comfortable taking the boat out on the lake. I took it to our local repair shop to get an estimate to repair the hull and he quoted me $700-$800 for this one crack.

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He then looked at the starboard hull and said I should part out the boat. The starboard hull has a small damaged area in the deck where the previous owner dropped something on it.

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It also has some delamination in the hull, but is easy to reach through the access port. I really do not want to part out this boat. Overall, it has been a great boat and I would hate to have it turned into parts. Here are some photos of it in my driveway. I just can’t see eliminating another fully functional H18 from existence.

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I have read about other people’s hull repairs & I watched a video from Surf City on spraying gelcoat…(Thanks for the great video!). I have never done any fiberglass work, but I think I could pull it off. Thinking of taking the hulls off, repairing & re-gelcoating the hulls and then re-assembling & modifying the trailer so that it won't happen again. It does seem like a ton of work. Please let me know what you guys think. Is it worth the time & effort? I think it could be fun to learn more about fiberglass repair. Thanks in advance for your feedback. --Tad

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:45 am 
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"Everything is fixable - except death & taxes...but what's it worth to ya?" $700-$800 to fix the one crack seems a bit high, but without seeing the boat up close it may be in the ballpark. Take a look at the HCA's HOTLINE magazine's repair article on major fiberglass repair here... http://www.hobiecat.com/hobieclass/eHCA ... 4_2008.pdf . It may give you more confidence in taking on this repair yourself. The Hobie 18 has solid glass & resin on the keel area with no foam sandwich to deal with (with some limitations).


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 12:42 pm 
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Thanks for the link Rick. That was a great article. I will need to cut out a good sized section of the port side hull, but it looks like it could be repaired using the same process as shown in the article. I don't think the hulls have foam in them anywhere, but I'm not sure. It looks to me like it is just fiberglass with gelcoat on the outside. The good thing is that the damaged areas are very near (under) the hull access portholes.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 7:35 pm 
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Location: Folly Beach
I've done lots of fiberglass on hulls. That crack doesn't look too bad, but is it all the way through/ is the hull split? I've repaired worse. Just judging from the photo I would sand the area, use some marine 2-part putty. Patch the area w/putty and let set for 24hrs. Then glass over using West System Epoxy. Depending on the severity consider putting in an inspection port so you will have access to the insde of the hull. This is good stuff! And I sail on/off the beach where the hulls really take a beating, the epoxy really holds up well.

Hope this helps. Visit you local West Marine for any tips on mixing/using the West System resin. I use the quick hardener/resin..105/205 are the numbers ...I think.

J.

Oh, don't pay someone 800$ to fix that. I wish you were local I would do the labor for free!!
You can fix that yourself for $100 or less.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 01, 2009 10:29 pm 
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J.

Thanks for your insight. The crack doesn't go all the way through. It is only in the gelcoat. I actually thought of just chipping away the bad gelcoat and doing a process similar as you suggest instead of cutting the entire area out. There is an access porthole just above the crack so I have a good view of it from inside the hull. This would be an easier way to get her back on the water & might keep the original shape of the hull more consistent. I am thinking it would be good to reinforce the area from the inside with new fiberglass mat and resin as well just to strengthen the area and make the hull more solid.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 4:26 am 
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If the crack is just mostly the gelcoat and does not go all the way through...you are golden. I've repaired full holes/cracks before and had the boat stay watertight.

J.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 11:00 am 
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Location: North Carolina
I'm sorry but that crack can't possibly be in the gel coat only, its way too large. Does the crack extend on up the side of the hull as it appears? You also state that you have soft spots, where and how big?
The H18 is glass/foam sandwich until you reach the bottom where it becomes solid glass. The crack in the pics could extend into the area where the foam starts and if so the foam may be compromised as well.
The boat can be repaired but my guess is that it will not be as easy as previously described. Close up pics of the damage would help in determining what the repair should be.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 5:58 pm 
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I took some more photos of the crack both from the outside and the inside. From the looks of things, it sounds right that there is foam in the sides of the hulls and not on the bottom. Here's some more photos up close from the outside:
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Detail of crack in gelcoat from exterior.

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Another close-up of crack in gelcoat from exterior.


Here's some photos from inside the hull:
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Fiberglass on inside of hull. Just above crack on outside. Fiberglass is soft in these areas, but doesn't seem to be cracked all the way through.

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Ummmm....Anybody know why there is a big piece of loose styrofoam in the stern of the hull?

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View towards Bow in Port Side Hull

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View of fiberglass just above crack.

Hope that gives you guys a better idea of what might be required for a proper repair. Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks! --Tad

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 6:52 pm 
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Location: SE PA/ Chesapeak Bay
Hellooooo Idaho,

Your problem is fairly staight forward to fix ... but it will take a little time and labor.

First you have a good start by watching Jeremy's Video's ... he has done ALOT of repairs and is very knowledgable.

The advice to use WEST Epoxy is very good also.

And you boat has been sailing in fresh water, correct???

Now the first thing you will need to do is dry out the hulls ... you can use lights ... place inside hulls (do not let bulb touch the fiberglass ... it will burn through!!!) and let dry for a couple days. I would then install a double layer of cloth (cross layed) on the inside.

Next strip the boat and turn it over (some will so you do not need to remove the tramp but it's safer to do so not to get epoxy on it and it is easier to work on the boat). Sand the heck out of the hull ....100grit will be fine. You will need to remove the gelcoat from approx 6-9" around the crack to repair it properly. With the extra reinforcement you already installed on the inside you should only need 3-4 layers on the outside to make the hull strong again. I like to start w/ a small piece of cloth and work towards a larger and larger piece, sanding and fairing between each layer. If you are in a hurry you can reverse the order and do the "lay-up" in one continious process. I have found it is best to sand and fair to perfection before the last layer of cloth and I use a 2oz cloth w/ a very fine weave for that last layer. It fairs easier for the application of gelcoat.

I haven't played w/ gelcoat in 20?yrs so my advice is dated on that subject ..... Talk to Jeremy.

And your boat is a PERFECT example of my advice to all H18 sailors ..... REMOVE THE D_MN ROLLERS OFF THE TRAILER AND THROW THEM AS FAR AWAY AS YOU CAN!!!!!! Install "bunks" made from 2X8 (pressure treated works best) double stacked and bolted to the crossbars and covered w/ carpet ... a layer of 1/2" stryene under the carpet helps. Use cheap nylon carpet that WILL NOT retain moisture!!!!!!

Or you can "mold" cradles from scraps of PVC pipe either "green" or "blue" (schedule????) works nicely ....

From the pic's see how your boat sits on the trailer??? Your whole bow is hanging off the front crossbar .... that's one big cantilever. I would recomend either moving the front crossbar forward 18" 's .... or move the boat aft on the trailer (this depends on the "balance" of the trailer though)

Oh, for mixing the epoxy in Stouffer's Microwave meal trays are perfect epoxy mixing trays. Use "cheap" China Bristle Brushes that you will just throw away. (Solvents for epoxies are very nasty .... ) and a supply of disposable gloves (you can buy these at a medical supply)

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2009 7:03 pm 
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Oh, My boat has 86' hulls .... mine are "Ferro White" and I used to get it from somewhere in Washington State .... Gelcoat Products????? I suspect yours are Ferro White also.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:09 am 
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Location: Ottawa, Canada
last spring I had three holes in my hulls from heavy snow load over the winter. The least damaged was worse then your big crack. I used Rick's article and was able to repair all three and gell coat the bottom half of both hulls in about two or three days worth of work (not counting all the time it took me to find the materials needed).

In short it is not too hard to do, just takes time and patience. it was my firt attempt at serious fiberglass repair. In the end I was a convert to fiberglass work.

I spent more time worrying, fretting and planning the job then I did actualy doing the work.

I would suggest you dive in and go for it.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 9:36 am 
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Thanks so much for everyone's input! I'll start researching the materials needed and get them ordered. I'll keep you guys updated with photos on this post as the repair takes place. Definitely going to modify the trailer too. Thanks again for all the great info!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 10:32 am 
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I was looking a little closer at your pic's ..... install cradles in those cat tracs of yours.

You see how your bottom is cracked in that funny 90* crack??? that crack up the side is mostlikely caused by the end-cap on your beach wheels or (less-likely) maybe the side roller on your trailer.

Your boat is sitting really far forward on your trailer the more I look at your pic's .... does your bows hit the side of your tow vehicle when you "jack" the trailer hard when backing up, or making a U-Turn??? (I did have those dents on my pick-up before I learned to move my boat aft on my trailer.) Measure the width of the tow vehicle ... add 2' ... now divide by 1/2 .... this will give you the minimum distance/length of the trailer tongue needed in front of your bows to clear the tow vehicle w/ a little extra clearence .... I have "marked" my trailer on the tongue, so I do not push the boat to far forward

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 03, 2009 11:19 am 
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Ha Ha! Harry, you can tell a lot from photographs :) I do have a small dent on my pickup from exactly what you are describing! Thanks for the info on the trailer dimensions & boat position on the trailer.

The boat is actually sitting further forward than normal in the photos, but it does cantilever past the front roller too much even when in the correct position. There is hardly any weight on the back rollers and way too much on the front rollers. I pulled the boat forward to get the weight off the crack and also be able to take photographs of the damaged area.

The crack is from the roller & raised area of the roller on the trailer. (The rollers will be going in the garbage & replaced with bunks or cradles). I do need to put cradles on the beach wheels too though. I built the beach wheels, but haven't got the chance to use them yet...always been near a boat ramp since I built them.

Thanks again for your help. Take Care, Tad

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:44 pm 
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I took the boat apart today. The hulls are ready for me to start working on them. With the hulls off I have found more delamination/soft spots than I originally anticipated. I am going to start on repairing the big crack first & see how that goes. I will probably work on the trailer & take the rollers off & repaint while I wait for supplies to be shipped to Idaho. Here are some photos of the hulls on sawhorses in my backyard.

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I am beginning to wonder if this will become a "repair" summer instead of a "sailing" summer. :) I'll keep you guys updated as the repairs progress.

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