Join Date: Apr 2006
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jp, right now it sounds like you can put some white gaffer's tape over it (doesn't leave goo luck duct tape) and keep sailing.
For the longer term...the pen-sized hole has to be filled. You can do that from the inside or outside. One idea might be to sail around to some shops that do fiberglass work, during the summer, and ask them about a repair after the season or when they have some slack time (since "I need it now" usually costs more).
Gelcoat and FRP has different elasticities, so the FRP underneath probably bent in and bounced back out, without structural damage, while the gelcoat over it "popped off" and cracked at the stress areas. There's a case to be made for just applying a FRP repair on the inside, over the area of the dent and crack, and if it isn't in an ugly exposed area--just build up a patch and let it be "just in case" the FRP fibers are damaged in there.
Then, scratch out the cracked gelcoat (with a can opener, reamer, or dremel bit) to open up the cracks, round off the ends of them so they don't spread, and use a gelcoat repair kit on the outside, for the cosmetics. Gelcoat repair can be a lot like airbrushing--it takes a good hand and eye to really hide something, you need to feather it out and work using LESS rather than what you think is enough. Remember "less is more" and a truly invisible repair requires a very good touch--or calling in a pro.
If you check out west marine systems (gougeon brothers) online, they have extensive docs about doing all the FRP and gelcoat repairs. They'll also answer all your questions on the phone--you pay for the call, that's all. Needless to say they hope you'll buy their materials, which are top quality.
Or,you can always go to a vinyl shop and have them make up some interesting graphic to apply over it, and hide it.