I own a 1978 Hobie 18 and I am trying to find information on soft hulls. Is there a book out there on hull restoration?
Dan Dickison responds:
Thanks for your question. You can probably find out all that you need to know to get your Hobie in good shape in Don Casey's book This Old Boat, which we sell in SailNet's on-line store. There's also the Fiberglass Boat Repair Manual by Allan Vaitses.
Don's book was written for owners of older fiberglass boats (principally monohulled keelboats), but both books should offer you the essential information you need to assess your boat's problems and remedy them.
As a secondary idea, you may want to post your query on SailNet's Gear and Maintenance Message Board and see who responds. There are a lot of DIY sailors out there, and they're usually not shy about offering advice. You can be sure that Don's advice and Allan's advice in the above-mentioned books comes from experience; you can't be so sure about the sources you'll see on the Message Boards. Nonetheless, the folks that post messages there are sailors and boat owners, and they just might provide you with ideas you hadn't considered.
If you don't know how to access SailNet's Message Boards, just log on to the homepage and look at the bottom right hand corner under the subheading "Members." You'll find the option "Message Boards," so just click on that. To use the Message Boards you'll have to be a registered SailNet Member, but that takes about one minute and, best of all, it's free.
Here's hoping that this information gets your boat back out on the water sooner.