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CaribDream 05-05-2013 08:31 PM

First centerboard vs. rock experience
3rd time out with my brand new boat (American 14.6)... On a reach moving along nicely and... BANG. Guys at a local club said they think a danger buoy drifted/moved. Anyway, I'm pretty sick about it :mad: Looks like it's just the gel coat at the tip of the board, but none the less a big disappointment. The affected area is about 3/4 of an inch square. Less than 1/2 inch of gel coat is missing, and the rest of the effected area is cracked.

What's the best way to fix this? Is it something I need to deal with immediately before taking the boat out again or can it wait a while?

Michael K 05-05-2013 09:09 PM

Re: First centerboard vs. rock experience
Welcome to the joys of boating .. uh .. er .. um .. maintenance. An easy fix, fortunately. Years from now you'll look back on this repair and wish they all were so easy. And yes, you likely want to tend to this repair soon as the board's core may swell up and get stuck in its trunk if left unrepaired.

You want to grind back the damaged area to the undamaged surface, opening up the cracks a bit. Wipe down the area vigorously with acetone; by the time you've mixed up some epoxy without filler the acetone will have evaporated. This is a small area, so apply the wet epoxy with a toothbrush or one inch paint brush. Then add a thickener/filler to the remaining epoxy you've mixed and apply to the wet epoxied surface. Ever done a spackle job on drywall? Sort of similar. You want to build up the area a bit beyond what you originally had before. Let it cure at least a dozen hours.

Upon your return, the epoxy should be hard. Sand smooth back to the shape you had before the impact, reinstall the board, and go sailing.

Joel H. 05-05-2013 09:50 PM


krisscross 05-05-2013 10:22 PM

Re: First centerboard vs. rock experience
Carib, you should also check the centerboard box to make sure there is no damage there. Hard grounding puts a lot of stress on the box. You do not want a leak there. Usually fixing it is no big deal but it needs to be done sooner rather than later.
A boat without dings is a boat without character! :)

CalebD 05-05-2013 11:09 PM

Re: First centerboard vs. rock experience
I can't add much to Michael K.'s post but I have just been doing some fairly major fiberglass deck work on my old, dinged up boat.

For a repair of such a small area you may or may not be adding fiberglass cloth. The silica thickener agent should be enough to repair the ding.
I successfully used some pieces of flashing (flat metal that is used on house roofs etc) to make a mold for a flat surface I was filling with epoxy. Making a mold that conforms to the shape of your repair should save on the amount of sanding needed to be done once the epoxy cures (1 day).
Someone else suggested they used tin foil as a release film with epoxy. I'd probably opt for the heavy duty foil over the regular stuff.
Also, some plastics, like the stuff they use to make gallon containers of milk etc., do not adhere well to epoxy and can be used to make pieces of a mold.
Welcome to the wonderful world of ... boating.

mad_machine 05-06-2013 12:43 AM

Re: First centerboard vs. rock experience
making me glad all I ever had to deal with was mud... lots and lots and lots of mud

CaribDream 05-06-2013 06:43 AM

Thanks for this. Is there a type/brand of epoxy to look for? Do I get it at a hardware store? Now the trick will be finding time - my worst enemy. I work 15 hours a day M-F and will be out of town for the next 3 weekends... Didn't take me long to mess up my relaxation for the few short hours of free time I have on weekends.

Harborless 05-06-2013 09:31 AM

Re: First centerboard vs. rock experience
I remember when I paid a guy to clean my bottom. He came up and said "Theres the problem, your centerboards been snapped in two!"
$1000 dollars later I have a very robust new centerboard.

CalebD 05-06-2013 02:58 PM

Re: First centerboard vs. rock experience

It is probably best to use a decent marine epoxy, not just any epoxy. There are a number of epoxies available: MAS, System 3, West System ...

For a small repair like what you are looking at I'd suggest getting a small starter kit like this one: West System Handy Repair Pack
or this slightly larger pack: West System Maxi Repair Pack

Some of the local hardware stores near me have begun to carry the West System products, so you might find these kits nearby.

West System also has a good diy instruction web page:
WEST SYSTEM | Use Guides

Mechsmith 05-06-2013 03:47 PM

Re: First centerboard vs. rock experience
After sailing , fishing, and gunkholing in SW FL and the keys for several years I put a 1" X 1/4" stainless steel "sled runner" on my swing keel. Still looked pretty good after a couple years.

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