I've been reading here for a while now and finally figured I may as well register and introduce myself.
It all started a couple years ago when I was living in BFE Maryland (eastern shore) I got this wild idea that I could buy a sailboat and liveaboard to save some money on rent.
So, I did! ....sorta... I picked up an old 24' Columbia Challenger. Nice boat. Ugly interior, but all the parts were there and it was solid. I owned it for all of 3 weeks, when the maintenance guy at the marina talked me into his grand scheme of crewing to central america. On his boat...
So, I ended up quitting my job, selling the Columbia again (which I never got to actually sail) and headed down the Chesapeake with this guy in his 30' Kaufmann? ...I think. He was a retired tugboat captain, but neither of us knew the slightest thing about sailing. Needless to say, we didn't get very far, and I decided to move out west after that.
Fast forward to last spring. I still kinda had the sailing bug, so I decided to take a basic keelboat class at a nearby lake. It felt a little rushed, and I wish it were longer than 4 days, but I passed and had my certificate in hand.
So now what? They had a 30' Catalina up there that you could rent out for 200 bucks a day, so I did that once. Kinda pricey (I'm a cheap bastage) so I started looking for something smaller that I could tow behind my pickup. But I still wanted something that I could overnight in if the mood took me, so daysailors were out.
Last week I finally found it. I picked up a 1982 Balboa 16, and it's just about exactly what I was looking for, trailer and all. (link here if you're curious) I've spent the last week or so fixing up a few minor things here and there (stripped screw on a cleat, epoxied some split teak, bought a couple missing hanks for the jib, ,etc.) I've also come across something else that I'm not sure what to do about. (You all knew a question was coming, didn't you?) There's a half a dozen scratches/chips in the gelcoat just below the rubrail on one side. Mostly cosmetic, but one or two dime-sized chips go all the way through the gelcoat exposing the fiberglass underneath. Is this something I need to be worried about on a boat thats only going to be in the water on weekends? Would a repair job be the same procedure I've read about for repairing blisters? My first instinct is to just fill them with marine epoxy and forget about it, but there's a little voice that tells me that could be a horrible mistake in the long run.
I thank you for any input in the matter, and likely many more to come. ;)
Clean with alcohol and fill with a good grade of marine epoxy. The product that I use on my boat/home is called Marine Tex I will attempt to give you the link
I use this stuff religiously you can sand paint drill and tap it is very strong and hide the occasional dock ramming mishap. LOL
If it has just exposed the laminate, it may be that you just need to repair the gelcoat. You can get a gelcoat repair kit at most marine chandleries. However, if there are cracks radiating away from the chips, then it is likely that it is actually not a chip but impact damage, and you should probably sand into the laminate and do a repair, rather than just a cosmetic touch up.
Be aware that if you do use Epoxy-based resin, rather than polyester-based resin, that it will need to be painted, since UV damages and weakens epoxy quite seriously.
If you have a digital camera and post photos, it would probably be fairly easy to tell from the photos whether you can get away with just covering it with gelcoat or if something more serious is necessary.
Cleaning it with just alcohol is probably not going result in all that strong a repair. You generally need to clean it with something a bit more abrasive to get rid of any embedded dirt and grease, as well as give the surface a bit of tooth for the new gelcoat or epoxy to adhere to.
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