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PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:16 pm 
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Hullo! I'm trying hard to get into sailing after years and years of wanting to, but still not having a lot of money after recently getting out of grad school. This forum has been super helpful...thanks!

Thanks to some pointers I already got here, I just went to look at a cheap local boat for sale. After looking, I have a question...what's the max soft spot size I can hope to repair? The craft I'm looking at has solid decks and no fiberglass showing anywhere, but one hull is soft on much of the inside-facing side, from about the tramp to six inches off the prow. Mostly it's just flexing, but I did hear a crackle or two when I pressed hard. There are no inspection ports at the moment, but some sort of limited epoxy injection job was attempted a year or two ago...obviously without lasting success.

I've done a fair amount of reading re epoxy repairs and suspect that approach is a lost cause for this craft. That said, is there any chance of my repairing this to a state where it'll last me another three to five years? FWIW, I wouldn't mind a long winter project in my garage, but I don't have a lot of money to sink into a total dud. The rest of the boat is in good to great condition, but I don't want to have to shop for new hulls in a year or two...or less! I'm not looking for a pretty paint job, just something that'll hold together.

Even if I need to walk away from this one, I'd love to hear your wisdom re. max size for repairs and any repair options I should be considering. Oh and if anyone has a better pair of old hulls just cluttering up their yard not far from Westminster, MD, just send me a pm. :D


Last edited by TheBeardedOne on Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:24 am 
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I would keep looking! 1st time you dump it and have to walk around on the inside of the hull bad things will happen. There are a lot of 16's out there patience will pay off! Not saying its impossible to fix a big soft spot...but I would not get into a boat that already has big issues. What is your budget?

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 7:21 am 
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Definitely under 1k to get started. Again, not afraid of a little (or a lot!) of sweat equity. Small soft spots I'm confident I could do something with...but what's the max size I can hope to work with? Not looking for pretty or race worthy, but something that will hold together for at least a few years.

This particular boat has nice hardware, sails, etc and everything else is firm except this one section. But it's a big section!

If I have to wait another few years to save up, I'm willing to hear that. I'm just eager to get out on the water next spring.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 12:24 pm 
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Location: Central Oregon
You should be able to find a decent boat that is "almost ready to sail" for 1k or less. Hulls and sails are the biggys. They cost a lot of money or time to fix/replace. Stuff like standing/running rigging is not to bad to update, and I would plan on replacing that stuff on any old boat with unknown history.

Far as how big of soft spot can be fixed....anywhere from a 6" circle to a whole hull has been done. But I can not say how long the repairs will hold up.
I thought my 16 I picked up (1980 for 750$) had great hulls, but ended up finding a 6" or so spot on the front deck that I did the injection fix to...so far so good.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 1:52 pm 
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TheBeardedOne wrote:
one hull is soft on much of the inside-facing side, from about the tramp to six inches off the prow.


Too big to fix, IMO.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 03, 2012 2:36 pm 
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jackB wrote:
Too big to fix, IMO.


I'm inclined to agree...but good sails, rigging, trailer, etc for about half a thousand have me doublechecking. Again, I'd love a project...but only if it's doable!

In general, I am still interested in finding out what people think the max size is for a soft spot repair. Any rule of thumb for how big is "too big" for an epoxy injection? What options exist past that? I've read about fiberglass rebuilds for badly scraped-up hull bottoms--what's the max size for something like that?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:35 pm 
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Any more stories out there? What's the biggest hull repair job you've attempted and how did you do it? Links welcome!


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 6:51 pm 
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TheBeardedOne wrote:
Links welcome!


http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=44874&p=190838&hilit=soft+spot#p190838

http://www.thebeachcats.com/forums/viewtopic/topic/13937/start/0#pid41365

http://youtu.be/KhYKg0IRpv4

Tons more if you search both sites for "soft spot".

Good luck.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:25 pm 
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The main problem with the epoxy injection repair technique for delam is that you have very limited control over the repair process. You're basically just blindly squirting glue into the hull and hoping for the best. You have no way of knowing whether areas of the repair are resin rich or resin starved and you have no way of insuring that the skin panels are compressed against the foam core. In most cases, you're counting on gravity to spread out the resin and hold the panels together. The larger the area you're trying to repair, the greater the uncertainty and the the greater the likelyhood that you will end up with an unsatisfactory repair.

Injection is ok for repairs up to around one square foot, but much larger than that and you really don't have much control over the repair. Personally, I would probably avoid a used boat that has any soft spots larger than about the size of a half dollar. There are plenty of good used boats out there. Spend a little extra money to get one and you will be much happier in the long run.

sm


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:09 am 
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jackB, thanks for those links. I've read lots about smaller repairs; that first link was the first one I've seen where someone was attempting a very big epoxy job. I wonder how it held up...

sm, I'd love to avoid anything with soft spots larger than a half dollar! So far, I haven't been finding any within my budget. So, guess I'll keep looking and saving.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:09 pm 
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After doing ALOT of research, I can find 99% of the time, used H16's ect are going to be from the mid 80's and older. Unless they we're babied, covered and never left out in the sun for more than a few seasons with a chance of water being inside the hulls there's a really good chance of soft spots bigger than a sq ft. Maybe thats why there's so many negative craigslist purchase rants with buyers driving many hours each way discovering the boats are toast.
I'f you can find an otherwise great shape boat with a trailer for under a grand and have the patience to carefully do the injection repairs, go for it. If you're wanting to race competitively and/or do a lot of ocean/surf sailing than by all means get a very, very solid boat.... and save up a few thousand minimum to get the best boat you can :) If I lived on the coast and knew i'd be sailing most weekends i'd spend $5k+ on a super used cat in a heartbeat!

Tim

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:32 pm 
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Quote:
I'f you can find an otherwise great shape boat with a trailer for under a grand and have the patience to carefully do the injection repairs, go for it.


That's my thought as well--I just want to make sure that if I do it, the boat will stick together for a few years. I don't mind taking the time to do it right (I have all winter!) but I want to be sure I know how to best do it right.

Quote:
If you're wanting to race competitively and/or do a lot of ocean/surf sailing than by all means get a very, very solid boa


Nope, looking at sailing on local lakes and occasionally on the Chesapeake Bay. This is meant to be a boat to learn on...but one that won't fall apart after one season.

I'm tempted to give this one a try, still, but the fact that an epoxy repair was already attempted and the hull is still flexing at the same spot makes me very squirrely. So I'll keep looking--let me know if you see anything promising in the greater MD area!


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:38 am 
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Point is, large soft areas are an indication that the hulls have reached the end of their service life for all practical purposes. You can try squirting the hulls full of epoxy and getting a few more years out of the boat, but you're basically just shooting blindly and hoping for the best. There have been several posts on this forum of people trying to do large soft spot repairs on older boats and ending up with huge puddles of resin in the hulls and the hulls ended up being a total loss anyway. That's a lot of time and expense to put into something that ends up being scrapped anyway.

Again, small soft areas can usually be repaired by injection, but when you're talking about large areas of the deck or hull, the repair area becomes way too large to control and there's a good chance you'll just be wasting your time. Much better off in the long run finding a solid boat that costs a little more.

sm


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