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Discussion Starter #1
A few square inches of gelcoat on my boat have worn away just above the waterline where it was rubbing on a float (for months). I had so many things to fix last year that I didn't think to monitor it until today when I saw light coming in the side of the hull there.

I know I have to fix it, and I guess I have to do it on the hard to avoid the complication of sanding and drying the spot over the water, but how much of an emergency is it?

My marina is on the ocean in the pacific north west. Will it be OK if I leave it a few more months until I do the bottom paint? Should I rough it up, dry it with a heat gun and slap a bit of paint or gelcoat on there in the next month just to block the light and water from the fiberglass / resin?
 

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Barquito
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I doubt you would have any problems if you just leave it as-is until you haul to do the bottom. Seeing light through fiberglass is not necessarily a sign that it is too thin. If you would like, a few layers of pigmented epoxy will make it a little stronger (and opaque) until you do a more permanent repair.
 

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Is it just the gel coat or is the mat exposed? If the mat is not exposed and its not getting all chalked up from sunlight you could wait a bit however you may be best off just quickly wiping it down with some acetone and spraying a bit of appliance epoxy paint (yes many use it for quick emergency touch-ups) on it for now to stabilize things a bit. Shifting a few items to the other side of the boat may give you a bit more clearance above the water to keep it dry enough to get it quickly done.

Realistically when do you expect to have it out of the water for more complete maintenance? Any chance of that date being passed and the time frame extended?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks to both of you. Boat definitely coming out this season for major engine rework and (again, if I can't co-ordinate the jobs) for bottom paint.
 

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If you're thinking of fixing that patch by applying gelcoat, I would not apply epoxy first. From what I hear, gelcoat doesn't stick to epoxy all that well. If you're thinking of using epoxy instead, there should be no issue.
 

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If you are down to the glass, I would use a couple of sealer coats of epoxy. You can check with Interlux about which one to use. It was 28 years ago that I removed gelcoat from the bottom of a boat then and at that time I used perhaps 3 coats of Interlux 1000, followed by many (6 or more) coats of Interlux 2000.

I did this on the recommendation of a reputable boatbuilder: that is, to use the 1000 as a sealer on bare Fiberglas. Your problem is a lot simpler that the one I dealt with 28 years ago.
 

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If you're thinking of fixing that patch by applying gelcoat, I would not apply epoxy first. From what I hear, gelcoat doesn't stick to epoxy all that well. If you're thinking of using epoxy instead, there should be no issue.
Boatworks Today dispelled that as myth doing a test independent of West Systems who also endorses doing gelcoat on epoxy. When he contacted West Systems about doing this they told him go ahead and use any method of his own choosing and not mime what they did to keep his results more of a blind test therefore they did not reveal to him any details of how they setup their test of Gelcoat on Epoxy. The results were a bit surprising based mostly on the hardener used.

For accurate details watch the video of his test results below:
 

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A few square inches of gelcoat on my boat have worn away just above the waterline where it was rubbing on a float (for months). I had so many things to fix last year that I didn't think to monitor it until today when I saw light coming in the side of the hull there.

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A... are you still at Lynwood? Hard to believe that you're bearing that hard on a fender to wear off the gelcoat, this must have been happening for some time.

In any event I think it's likely to be mostly cosmetic, as unattractive as it may be, as long as you can't see fiber/matting exposed.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A... are you still at Lynwood? Hard to believe that you're bearing that hard on a fender to wear off the gelcoat, this must have been happening for some time.

In any event I think it's likely to be mostly cosmetic, as unattractive as it may be, as long as you can't see fiber/matting exposed.
Thanks to everyone for your replies. I will not be using epoxy on a poly/gelcoat hull, in any case. Even if you can find ways to get the gelcoat to stick I would think it's inadvisable. My boat is not a chemistry experiment :D

Faster, it was indeed the float tied to the dock, which has been there so long it is covered in mussels. I could see the wear patch in the gelcoat when I bought The Saltire, but I didn't notice it was down to the polyester resin until this month. I have re-tied the float in a different place.

The thing I worry about is the rate at which UV will damage the poly, and the rate at which it will absorb water and / or delaminate. If that is a process that takes years then I don't care. If it's months then I need to get on it ASAP.
 

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T.....

Faster, it was indeed the float tied to the dock, which has been there so long it is covered in mussels. I could see the wear patch in the gelcoat when I bought The Saltire, but I didn't notice it was down to the polyester resin until this month. I have re-tied the float in a different place..
.. sounds like a new 'boot stripe' might be in order...;)
 
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