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Author Topic:   Bow fiberglass problems on my 1963 13'
gfisher posted 04-07-2001 11:45 PM ET (US)   Profile for gfisher   Send Email to gfisher  
Ok, I'm stripping paint today when I notice what appears to be rust on the hull, just below the rub rail on the bow. A closer look shows soft fiberglass which I proceed to cut away and discover soaked foam. I removed the entire bow section of the rub rail, cut into the foam, and find a rusted out (and wet) metal conduit. Does this sound correct?
The bad fiberglass goes down the front of the bow about 16 inches, over almost the entire port side. Since I took away part of the nose section (where the rub rail attaches) what are my options? Does BW have a tech line that can walk me through this fix, or does the West system fiberglass booklet have good instructions, or do I need to take this to a professional? And finally, is it salvagable? Aside from cosmetic work, the rest of the boats in good shape. Appreciate any insight!
lhg posted 04-09-2001 08:45 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
I have never heard of a metal conduit being used inside of a Whaler hull. You probably have a boat which was improperly repaired from prior damage. You could need professional help, but find someone who knows how to fix Whalers - a lot don't. Maybe Whaler's official instructions will help.
DIVE 1 posted 04-09-2001 09:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
Was the conduit steel or copper tubing? I have found the same tube on every 13' BW when we had to cut into the bow. It appears that it had something to do with the foam injection. The hull is repaireable but tricky. A mold should be made off of a good hull and then a new section for your bow made in the mold. The new section is then grafted into your hull. Do not use West Systems for this type of repair. The new section will be visible after gel or painting due to different shrinkage rates between epoxy and polyester. Use polyester or preferably vinylester resin for this type of repair. This is not an easy repair but if you have a glass wizard that you trust, they could probably walk you through the operation.
gfisher posted 04-10-2001 11:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for gfisher  Send Email to gfisher     
I believe it is metal due to the rust and the way it crumbled when I removed it. Can I make the mold from using the exisiting hull?
the foam is intact and still shows the original contour. I don't know of any other Whalers in the area to access for the mold.
I have a name of a good glass man- we'll see how good I guess!
DIVE 1 posted 04-10-2001 08:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
The mold must be made off of another Whaler. If you do not have a Whaler available and your foam is dry and intact, it is possible to reglass the bow section over the original foam. The tricky part is to have a good eye to match the contours exact. The easiest way to reglass the hull is to flip it upside down. Ensure the foam is dry before starting the glass operation.
Chris J posted 04-12-2001 05:34 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chris J  Send Email to Chris J     
I have a 1969 (?) 13 footer that my father bought new. It also has that internal conduit. I believe it was installed to contain the wiring to the bow light. This was not a retrofit; Whaler actually built it like that.

The metal stuff is basically flexible steel electrical conduit imbedded in the foam under the rubrail. It is exactly the same stuff you can buy at Home Depot for house wiring jobs. It will continue to rust unless it is removed entirely, and I don't know of any way to get it out other than ripping a slot under the rubrail all the way to the stern. (I'm pretty sure it routes under the rubrail all the way.)

I see this as a basic construction flaw, especially considering it is in the bow area where it will constantly get bumped and flexed. One little glass crack and it starts to rust. Kind of a bummer to discover crappy construction like that on what is basically a sound boat, but even Whaler goofs up sometimes.

I Don't know of any easy fix. I ripped out what I could reach and just patched it up with filler, resin, and cloth. It doesn't look too bad on what is basically a workboat but it is hardly what I could call a restoration.

DIVE 1 posted 04-12-2001 07:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
Chris J,
The conduit could have been for the bow light, but I don' recall any wiring when we cut hulls apart. I have found that the conduit ran on one side of the bow to the corner and only extended about one foot back along the gunwale.
Chris J posted 04-16-2001 11:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for Chris J  Send Email to Chris J     
Did the Whaler you examined have a bow light? It was an option... maybe the conduit is empty if you don't buy the light. Of course, it could be there for something else entirely. (But what?)

I never tried to trace the conduit its full length so I'm not sure where it ends. I assumed it ran under the rail all the way. I'm pretty sure it goes back at least a few feet on my 13' though.

gfisher posted 04-16-2001 01:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for gfisher  Send Email to gfisher     
The conduit was empty- no wires, although there is a hole for a front light, as well as a hole with wires on the starboards part of the transom. Guess I'll try to pull as much of it out and patch- I think if I do a decent job the rub rail will cover it.
DIVE 1 posted 04-16-2001 09:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for DIVE 1    
Chris J,
Most of the BWs we cut had bow lights and I don't ever remember any wiring in the tube. I still wonder if it was for the foam injection. In the bow of the hull at the end of the tube, we have always found an after- the-mold patch job. This had to have been done at the factory.
lhg posted 04-16-2001 09:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
If it was for the foam injection, I would think it would have foam in it. Someone should contact Chuck Bennett at the factory about this curious oddity.

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