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Author Topic:   Cracked Hull-need advice
Diggs posted 01-30-2002 07:10 PM ET (US)   Profile for Diggs   Send Email to Diggs  
Yesterday, I purchased a 1969 13' Whaler. It is in poor shape and it is a Winter/Spring project to get it sea worthy. Today, I inspected the underbelly and noticed where the hull is badly cracked.. see picture for a close up view. When I get the boat off, I will put multiple bunks/rollers to prevent this kind of damage in the future but need advice on how to repair this break.
13sport posted 01-31-2002 12:30 AM ET (US)     Profile for 13sport    
The first question is, do you want perfection? If you do, then take it to a professional. It is very doubtful that you have the skills necessary to make it sea worthy and make it look perfect. However, you do have the skills do make it seaworthy. First, get all of the books from West Systems. Read the books and search the internet for other companies that make epoxies. Read everything that you can find. What it will come down to is whether to keep the crushed part of the hull or rip it off and throw it away. My guess is that you would be better off keeping the crushed fiberglass.

Step one (after turning the boat upside down) is to pull the crushed fiberglass to as close to its original shape as possible. Try not to create any more damage. Do not rip the section off the hull.

Step two is to inject epoxy behind the fiberglass to support it and reattach it to the foam. Step three is to use epoxy and bi-axle fabric to attach the crushed fiberglass to the rest of the hull. You will then have to fair the repair to make it look smooth and less obvious of the repair.

This is a very simplistic explanation but if you read all the available material then it will make some sense. An important part will be to use the correct filler with the epoxy at the right times. West Systems is very good at explaining the differences.

Good Luck


13sport posted 01-31-2002 12:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for 13sport    

How in the heck did that happen? Did the former owner get ten of his favorite pro football players to jump up and down on the boat while on the trailer?

I'm glad there are people like you to rescue BW hulls that have been abused but still have decades of boating in them with some work and blind dedication.

I'm doing my own 1976 13-sport. It needs a lot of TLC but it's not in the shape of yours. Your boat will return all the effort 100 fold.

Tsuriki BW posted 01-31-2002 06:36 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tsuriki BW  Send Email to Tsuriki BW     

You bought it yesterday.....

Inspected it today and found the damage....

Bought sight unseen for next to nothing? I hope so!

You have quite a project ahead of you. Best of luck. I'm sure some with a lot of "structurial/fiberglass/gellcoat experience can give you a hand. What is your budget for restore it?


bigz posted 01-31-2002 08:37 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
I would be suspect of the entire keel area.

When you inspect it make darn sure the fore and aft sections of the break on the keel aren't deteriorated.

Highly unusual for the keel section to fracture (crush) positioned on a roller. There was in general a thick built up layer of f-glass in this area.

Put up an over all view of the boat from that side if possible.


Diggs posted 01-31-2002 10:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for Diggs  Send Email to Diggs     
Hi all,
I think I 'stole' the boat...$500. With trailer and engine (which needs attention). It appears that the trailer is not the original as it only has ONE roller. I want this boat ready by mid Summer for flats fishing in the Indian River area of Florida so I have a little time to 'do it right'. I was going to cut the section and fiberglass it but like 13sports suggestion of refitting/filling. This weekend, I will 'gently' flip the boat and begin the stripping off of the nasty old paint. I need suggestions of a 'safe' stripper that I can use and buy locally that will not damage the gelcoat.... I am not looking to restore this boat to original luster but I do want 'pretty'. thanx, Diggs
JohnAz posted 01-31-2002 10:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for JohnAz  Send Email to JohnAz     
Nice photo,,Bad hole,,,,
I would Keep it Simple cut away damaged section ,,fill with liquid expandable foam, so as to come outside of hull, then like making a surf board, shape foam, and cover with EPOXY & GLASS Cloth, sand and shape to fit, and finish with Marine Tex layer, get 1st layer of glass to go under good existing bottom,,,short and easy repair
good luck
Arch Autenreith posted 01-31-2002 11:13 AM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     

I think the last thing you should be worrying about is damaging the gelcoat. Youíre going to be cutting and grinding gelcoat for a while is would seem. (Itís incredible that anyone would rely on only one keel roller. No wonder that happened!) But I understand if your concern is other areas of gelcoat is your concern if youíre taking off all the paint.

I donít think this is too difficult a job. I agree with 13sport. Get a lot of information. (Iím partial to West Systems but Whaler is an important source to consider also.) Then wait a few days while thinking about it then, when you are confident about the whole project, go ahead and start grinding and cutting. Measure twice, cut once. (Old woodworking adage.)

One thing you need to consider is are you going to re-gelcoat the affected area or are you going to paint the bottom? If gelcoating, youíll need to allow for the thickness of the gelcoat and learning how to do it along with the gelcoat supplies. I think thereís good info here on the Forum but I canít seem to find it now. (Didnít jimh have a good article under Reference? Anyone?) If painting, not to worry.

Take your time, ask a lot of questions and, as you already said, ADD MORE ROLLERS!!

You can do it!


LarrySherman posted 01-31-2002 12:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
I would cut it out at least an inch farther then the area of the damage. Dig out the foam, clean and inspect inside. If all is good, feather the glass edge of the hole so that you have say 2-3 inches of clean exposed glass to bond to. Then fill void with foam.

Now re-clean bonding edge, and shape foam. Then build up hull with cloth and west epoxy, using larger size sections with each layer. Do not allow ful cure between layers.

Then sand to close shape (remove high spots), then sand entire area. Remove any amine blush, then cover area with west and light fairing material. Then, use a long sanding board (a flan and true 2x4 about 2 feet long with sand paper attached. Use 3M adheasive to attach paper) to bring repaired are into alignment with the surrounding good hull. Extend sanding into good part of hul by a few inches all around.

Then clean and coat with a few layers of west mixed with barrier coat. Good to go.


Arch Autenreith posted 01-31-2002 12:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Arch Autenreith  Send Email to Arch Autenreith     

Just to the right of the roller I see what looks like glass mat. Under the gelcoat is usually chopped glass. Plus that doesnít look like chipped gelcoat to me. It looks like paint b/c itís too thin, but I canít tell for sure from a picture.

It might appear to me that there may have been repairs in that area already (from there only being one roller?). Regardless of if it was a good or bad repair almost no repair could withstand such a configuration.

DJS posted 01-31-2002 01:00 PM ET (US)     Profile for DJS  Send Email to DJS     
jimh's input was
Bigshot posted 01-31-2002 01:32 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Ditto Arch, that has been repaired before. You can see th old repair and the spidered paint. Grind away old paint until you find gelcoat and revaluate that patchwork. Should not be a big project but do it right while it is apart.
SteveC posted 01-31-2002 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for SteveC    
I would definately:
use epoxy resin (it sticks better),

eliminate ALL the damaged material (it's not helping any more),

not worry about damage to the gelcoat (in the area of the damage, it's already gone),

find out what foam to use, I don't think it will be at west marine or home depot

and once you start with the fiberglass work, continue with sessions every several hours until it is done (much stronger)

my feeling would be to think about it for a few weeks, and fix it in a weekend. Boats get damaged much worse than this all the time and are repaired very successfully, and it dosn't need to be cosmetically perfect. I wouldn't even worry too much if the final surface around the repair was built up from a couple layers of fiberglass cloth.

Taylor posted 01-31-2002 03:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Taylor  Send Email to Taylor     
Might have been left on the trailer with the drain plugs in and filled with rainwater.

Jerry Townsend posted 01-31-2002 05:37 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Taylor's thought regarding the hull full of rainwater is probably right on - it would take a lot of weight to cause that damage - well, unless it had been improperly repaired previously.

Use epoxy resin as it is stronger than polyester resin. And use the layup resins (as opposed to the finish resin) because the layup resin does not have the wax built into it. Use the finish resin on the last application of resin. I also spray another coat of wax on the finish layer to help cure the resin.

I would get rid of all of the damaged glass and foam in the boat - it isn't doing any good and can't do any good. Start from good, sound material and foam and glass to your final contour. ----- Jerry/Idaho

Diggs posted 01-31-2002 06:23 PM ET (US)     Profile for Diggs  Send Email to Diggs     
Okay guys, Here's where I am now... Got home from work and got all the hardware off of the boat in preparation for a Saturday flip over. For a good "learning experience" I am going to photograph and upload to the web every step and yes, it may take a few months. I'll let everyone see the progress starting this Saturday.
Since I can pretty easily lift the nose, I don't think there is water damage to the foam. What I think happened is simple pressure over an extended period of time caused it to collapse. Also, to make matters worse, there is NO support from the roller all the way to the front AND there is a cable through the front eyehook pulling DOWN on the nose, This Whaler has had some needless abuse.It will be a pleasure bring her back to life.


browning20ga posted 01-31-2002 09:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
Jerry Townsend, I thought you have to use epoxy, I thought I read somewhere on this forum that polyester resign would desolve the foam that Boston Whaler uses.
Tom W Clark posted 01-31-2002 09:56 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

Polyester (and vinylester) resin will not dissolve polyurethane foam but will dissolve Styrofoam. Whalers are full of polyurethane foam which is why the polyester resin they are made of did not melt the foam.

Epoxy can be used over either type of foam. The prototype Whalers that Dick Fisher built was made of epoxy over Styrofoam.

jimh posted 02-01-2002 12:25 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
As Taylor already mentioned, I bet this damage was caused by the boat filling with water while on the tailer. It does not take much water to weigh 1,000 pounds. If the interior of the boat is roughly 4-ft X 8-ft, filling it with just six inches of water adds about 1,000 pounds. Get a foot of water in it and you have a ton of water, literally.

If all that weight was bearing on one roller it would not be surprising that it broke, particular now that it has been mentioned that the trailer was not fitted to the boat properly. The roller only contacts the hull over a very small area. With 2,000 extra pounds of water in the boat that is a very high load on a small area.


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