Stern/transom gelcoat repair. - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 04-11-2011
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Stern/transom gelcoat repair.

Getting her ready to go back in. Bottom paint is all done (nasty job, that there), some other odds and ends taken care of, one last big job to do.

2 questions regarding the stern/transom gelcoat.

1. We are re-naming the boat, the old vinyl lettering came off with a little more cussing and swearing than Iím used to, but we did eventually get it off. Adhesive residue combined with bottom paint dust and last yearís grunge, have the whole stern an inglorious mess. Iím sure after a good cleaning Iím going to find that the old lettering has ghosted the gelcoat and itís going to look like hell if I donít do something to even the color between the exposed gelcoat and what has lain hidden beneath the lettering for some 20 odd years. Iím not opposed to wet sanding to pop the color, rubbing compound, paint, whatever it takesÖI just donít want to waste time trying this or that only to find out I still have a problem. Time is short, I would like to do it right the first time. Suggestions?

Stern/transom gelcoat repair.-stern.jpg


2. Looking at the top of the transom, youíll notice the gelcoat is cracked. Weíre pretty sure this resulted from the previous owner smacking into or being smacked by something, note the damage just below the exhaust port. There doesnít appear to be any structural damage to the top of the transom (a reinforcing fiberglass patch was placed below the exhaust port inside the hull ďjust in caseĒ I suspect), the damage seems limited to the fiberglass/gelcoat, and the wood underneath is not rotted, at least in the areas I can inspect. I know Iím going to have to cut away anything along the top that has delaminated. A chip from that area is about 1/16 thick. I know next to nothing about gelcoat, but I figure Iím not going to be able to build it 1/16 and therefore need to use a filler. Epoxy, fiberglassÖIím taking suggestions hereÖ then use a gelcoat repair kit over the filler, wet sand 220 to 600 grit, rub, buff, and wax. Am I on the right track here? Anyone got a better idea?
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Old 04-11-2011
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It all depends on how big a project you want to turn it into

You can go at with a buffer and compound and call it good

Cause to do it right would involve removing all the stern hardware

Once you start filling and sanding there gonna be nothing fast about it if you want a true improvement over you current condition and will it then make the rest of the boat look bad ?
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Old 04-11-2011
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Save for a few spider cracks in the gelcoat topside, this is the only damage. Iíve got about a month before put in, which I figure is time enough to do it right once, but not enough time to do it several times wrong. Wheeling out the hull and making an adjustment to the rudder (she comes harder to port than to starboard) are all thatís left beyond dealing with the stern. The spit and polish topside can be done when sheís in.

Iím not so much looking for a quick fix that can be done in a day, rather a good or great fix that can be done inside a month.
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it is much easier to prep the topsides while on land, you should do that first and see how the finish comes out.

If you patch the gel coat on the stern you will see the patches.

If the hull sides come back looking real clean, and you want an overall yacht appearance, then I would paint the stern, using a white that best matches the hull sides. you should be able to get a result you don't notice too easily.

If the hull sides don't come back clean and sharp, just polish and wax the stern as best you can and live with it until you paint the whole boat.
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My bad, I said the topsides could wait, meant to say the deck can wait until she's in.

I've been leaning towards paint, ghosting of the old letters would be eliminated and color matching could be close. The only drawback would be the amount of time necessary for the paint to cure before applying the new vinyl. While hanging my graphic artist son-in-law by his feet over the stern causes me no great deal of concern, he, on the other hand, has expressed serious reservations and would rather do it on the hard.

As long as I can get to everything, removing the hardware isn't an issue. The backstay has to come off to get her on the crane for launch anyway, could wait until we're in the drink before bedding that chainplate, giving the paint a little more time to cure, if needed.
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Use a gel coat repair kit from Spectrum who will mix to match the original gel coat color (e.g. off-white '91 Catalina). The kit will handle repairs a big as the chip you described. Then wet sand 220 to 600 grit, rub, buff, and wax as you described. While you're at it do the entire transom. It'll will look better than if you were to paint it -ugh!
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i'd invest a day or two buffing the h... out of the stern and see how it looks,if it comes out to your satisfaction,the top of the transom could be patched with something like marinetex and covered with some kind of trim or even a rubrail if it doesn't buff out,your only choice is to paint the stern,it shouldn't take over a month to cure,the new vinyl lettering would be my last concern
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Old 04-27-2011
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We were told by the marina that our launch date is this Friday. We thought we still had a couple of weeks yet. A mad dash to get the stern and topsides done over the Easter weekend resulted in a job Iím less than happy with, but everything looks much better than it did.

Using the procedure outlined by Maine Sail, we were able to achieve the results below. The topsides are a little splotchy, still some oxidation here and there, I really needed to spend more quality time with the rubbing compound. 2 laps around a 40 footer was enough to have me begging for mercy from that buffer.

The stern I wet sanded 600 to 1000, rubbed, polished, and waxed. Where the old letters were the gelcoat is actually higher than the surrounding area. There is a relatively decent color match, but my son thinks it would be bad joo-joo to leave any remnant of the old name on the boat. Heíll be hanging off the back wet sanding it a bit more once sheís in the water and before we apply the new vinyl.
Stern/transom gelcoat repair.-stern.jpg
Stern/transom gelcoat repair.-hull.jpg
Stern/transom gelcoat repair.-hull2.jpg

Last edited by Tweegs; 04-27-2011 at 11:09 AM.
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