Another reason most boat builders use a vinyl based resin (besides being cheaper) when building boats in a mold is that the Gel-coat which is sprayed into the female mold first is also a polyester based resin and bonds well with the vinyl based resin used to make the structural hull. If you look at the instructions on almost any can of Gel-coat it will say something like: "Not for use over epoxy repairs". Having said that I have applied Gel-coat over an epoxy based repair and it is still holding up well - knock wood. I guess a good paint makes a better UV cover for epoxy repairs.
Fiberglass has been around since the 40s or 50s when the military started experimenting with it. Nowadays the technology has advanced to such a degree that the term 'fiberglass' is pretty vague and the whole industry considers itself in the business of 'composites'.
Anyone remember the days when a car body was entirely made of metal? Composites are now widely used in automobile building as anyone with a can of Bondo knows (Bondo is not recommended for use on the water BTW).
Carbon fiber (or fibre for those of you elsewhere) was developed for military aircraft and is now used in a variety of applications. Carbon fiber essentially substitutes the glass cloth with a carbon fiber fabric encased in a high tech resin. I own a carbon fiber 'cello which is actually a pretty damn good instrument and is superior to a wooden instrument in a number of ways. Wood still holds a place in my heart though - need to get wooden 'cello re-glued.
Yes, fiberglass is no longer just 'fiberglass'.
"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen
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