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Opti Gelcoat Repair Procedures?

DIY Fix Recommendation needed

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#1 Mung Breath

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 12:53 AM

Subject is a 7-yr. old Opti purchased cheap for my son(s)to learn to sail. Note the damage. Neither weight nor perfection in the repair is necessary but a good sense of DIY accomplishment and pride of ownership is mandatory for my 9-yr. old son (with my amateur help).

Can anyone provide a sequence of steps and materials to execute this repair with some professionalism? I presume we'll Dremel away all the surrounding gelcoat. What next to make it strong and permanent?

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#2 Cement_Shoes

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 01:36 AM

Be careful with power tools even a Dremel because they can take off a lot of material quickly. Go nice and slow removing material. There isn't much glass in an opti.

The first thing is to figure out if the damage is limited to the gel coat or is there is damage to the glass underneath. it looks like there is a high probability of glass damage.

#3 Gouvernail

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:25 AM

http://schrothfiberg...epairPrimer.htm

#4 Major Tom

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 07:23 AM

The Opti has a single skin laminate on the sides and gunnels. Your pic clearly shows that the resin in the impact area has shattered and if you push a blunt hard object onto the damaged area you will see that it is soft. Is the damage also visible on the insise of the boat?
If the damage is visible on the inside I would tape up a rectangle about 100 by 50 mm on the inside corner, sand it well and put 2 layers of the thinnest lightest glass cloth you can find cut to about 80 by 40 on the patch. I would cut one of the layers at 45 deg to the other one. Use polyester or vinyl ester resin. A piece of peel ply over the laminate will make finishing easier.
On the outside you need to remove about half the thickness of the damaged laminate, making sure that the area is nicely tapered outwards from the damage.i would recommend putting enough cloth on so the repair is proud of the surrounding area. I would also first force as much resin into the damaged laminate as possible to try to rebond to existing fibres together, then thicken up some resin with cotton flocks to make a glue like paste and screed a thin layer over the existing laminate before putting the repair laminate on, do this all wet on wet. One everything has cured carefully sand the repair down so it is about .5 mm below the surrounding gelcoat and then follow Fred's advice above. On the inside, give a light sand then tape up and brush a thin layer of gel over the repair, add wax solution to the gal and it will cure properly with no tackiness.

#5 Pinching

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 12:04 PM

The advice by Gouv is spot on technically.

 

 

I look at it differently -- treat this as his first Opti -- it will (and should) suffer dings.  

 

Put the rig on, the kid in, tell him "tiller to trouble" or whatnot, and send him out sailing.  If the kid really gets competitive, you know you'll need another boat anyway.

 

A perfect hull will make you both crazy as he comes up the learning curve (or bumps into docks or is inevitably smacked by other boats).

 

After season 1, gelcoat repair might be a nice winter project.

 

P



#6 tenders

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 01:52 PM

If I were you I'd use a rotary sander, West System epoxy and glass (their Fiberglass Repair Guides illustrate this repair beautifully), and I'd sand/prime/paint the hull with one-part Brightside or two-part Perfection Interlux paint depending on ambition.

#7 Bad_Moose

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 04:50 PM

Before you do anything, make sure that the fibreglass itself isn't damaged. I've got no experience repairing fibreglass so I can't help you there, but it doesn't look like it's been damaged.

 

1) Get rid of all the cracked/lifting/damaged gelcoat.

2) Sand down all sharp edges and open up any cracks or holes.

3) Get all the dust out and make sure the area is clean.

4) Mix up the gelcoat and spoon it onto the affected area. You want to pile the gelcoat on higher than it actually needs to be and make sure that it overlaps the area that you're filling. If you can't get it all on in one go, let it set and then do another layer once it's started to go tacky.

5) Get some clingfilm or similar and cover up the whole area, then tape all the edges down. You want it to be pretty air tight.

6) Leave it out in the sun for 24 hours and then remove the clingfilm. It should be set. A good way to test is to stick your nail into the gelcoat. If it leaves a mark, it needs more time.

7) Wetsand the gelcoat down until it's more or less level with the rest of the hull.

8) Progressively work your way through to finer and finer grades of sandpaper until you're more or less just polishing the surface.

9) Get some gelcoat specific wax and buff out the repair area until it's nice and shiny.

 

I followed these steps for my dinghy this weekend, it's come out looking really, really good.

 

Good luck! :)



#8 Gouvernail

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 07:00 PM

It looks to me like the hole goes through.

There is absolutely zero structural concern as you could cut a six inch high hole at that corner and aside from water splashing through it there would be no problem using the boat on any sailing condition

I would probably use a Nicholson hand rasp to clear off all the busted crap. Then I would lay in some tiny finger torn pieces of fiberglass chop strand mat and polyester resin to fill the hole and get the basic shape back.
Then I would paint some gelcoat over that mess until I felt I had built up enough stuff to

Sand it back down to the right shape

From there??? I might just get an appropriate color of Krylon and squirt the area to blend it in

You have to decide whether your kid is the sort who bangs up his toys or doesn't If he is the kid who jumps off his bike and runs to he house while the bike comes to rest in the bushes??
Squirt the repair with some Krylon and fix up everything when he is ready to move to Radials and 420s.


My Optimist Pram had a cotton sail and was made if wood. During the summer between first and second grade I still remember the kid with the blue gunwales coming up from leeward just after the five minute gun and rubbing some blue paint off on my pristine red hull . Not only was I tossed from that race but that was the only thing other than water and the padded dollies that EVER touched my boat.
Moral : let the kid bang up his boat or he may
never amount to more than a cranky old boat shop owner

#9 Mung Breath

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 08:37 PM

Thanks guys! The hole doesn't go through the fiberglass but per Major Tom's suspicion, work inside the corner is needed where the fibers have flexed. This boat is definitely a beater/starter Opti. I'm holding a nicer one in reserve. I'm just trying to mitigate the damage so it doesn't get worse. I fully expect to make additional repairs as three boys migrate through this one.

#10 BuggarTheBone

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Posted 19 May 2013 - 10:33 PM

Mung,

fixed quite a few of these minor dings and scratches. Agree with all of the stuff above, but I have a trick to make the gelcoat colour matching easier (if you can't get an exact colour match)....

Find a local automotive paint place and take the boat past and get them to use their color matching device (they often have an electronic jigger to do it). Then get them to mix up a single pack automotive paint the same colour and have them put it into a spray pack for you...cost about $25. Then, use some ordinary white gelcoat putty to do the final gelcoat repair over the structural stuff you have already done.

To get it really smooth and level, use a piece of stiff flat plastic (an icecream container lid works well) to "flatten" the spread out new gelcoat, taping it down.

When it has gone off, peel back the plastic and then smooth it down some more (make sure you don't use sand paper...use the edge of a long utility blade dragged sideways, which will work like a plane)...repeat the process if there are still a few imperfections.

Once all this is done and it is smooth, use some 1200 wet and dry and wet sand the area and the immediate surrounds smooth. Now use the spray pack in VERY LIGHT AND THIN sprays over the area...patience counts and lots of little sprays over multiple hours works best...blend the paint out onto the surrounding native gelcoat.

Once complete and dry, use the 1200 again, then cut and polish....you will never see where the repair was done.

Cheers



#11 Mung Breath

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 12:41 AM

Bugger - thanks for this finessing tip. Sounds like you've done this a few times.

#12 notallthere

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 10:51 PM

Duct Tape



#13 Cement_Shoes

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Posted 20 May 2013 - 11:03 PM

Duct Tape

 

White duct tape.

 

Duct tape or a proper fix including removing and replacing the damaged glass are your two best options.  If you leave the damaged glass and fix the gelcoat it is going to crack again.  In fact it looks a like someone smeared some gelcoat on in it already as a temporary fix. 



#14 Bump-n-Grind

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 02:45 PM

Thanks guys! The hole doesn't go through the fiberglass but per Major Tom's suspicion, work inside the corner is needed where the fibers have flexed. This boat is definitely a beater/starter Opti. I'm holding a nicer one in reserve. I'm just trying to mitigate the damage so it doesn't get worse. I fully expect to make additional repairs as three boys migrate through this one.

 then fix it with duck tape.  chicks dig it



#15 Remodel

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Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:03 PM


My Optimist Pram had a cotton sail and was made if wood. During the summer between first and second grade I still remember the kid with the blue gunwales coming up from leeward just after the five minute gun and rubbing some blue paint off on my pristine red hull . Not only was I tossed from that race but that was the only thing other than water and the padded dollies that EVER touched my boat.
Moral : let the kid bang up his boat or he may
never amount to more than a cranky old boat shop owner

Words of wisdom here.






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