Fiberglass Dinghy Repair - Skeg?

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by BBill, Feb 27, 2024.

  1. BBill
    Joined: Feb 2024
    Posts: 0
    Likes: 0, Points: 0
    Location: Concord MA

    BBill New Member

    Attached is a picture of the skeg on a dinghy. Someone has already repaired it at least once. The ugly brown is wood - seems solid. May have been faired or bondo'd to the keel. There was a thin - damaged "shell" over the wood. It LOOKS LIKE the shell was painted over. (Can't tell for sure, but a lot of the area seems to have an orange layer covered by a white layer.) I have done some sanding.

    Any ideas about repair? I was thinking to maybe build a mold and encase the wooden area in epoxy, sand and fair (maybe more epoxy), then gelcoat.

    I have to land this dinghy on a rocky beach.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. ondarvr
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Monroe WA

    ondarvr Senior Member

    If the keel was a separate component and attached to the hull, then it's a sacrificial piece and is intended to take a beating and look like that.

    You can cover over it with epoxy and glass or anything you want, but it's doing what it's supposed to do and will look like that again.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2024
  3. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    Location: usa

    fallguy Senior Member

    You'll need to dry that out. Hog out any rotten wood.

    Sand away all loose paint and glass.

    Use the skeg as a mold. Cut glass to fit over it plus maybe 3" each end. The ends will need to be darted, but leave the excess. I'd use 3 pieces of 1708. The first over the whole skeg; the rest each an inch shorter.

    That wood needs to be dry, and then coated with epoxy because the wood will drink it up. About 20 minutes after wetting you may wet again if it looks dry.

    Then.

    Make a slurry of cabosil and epoxy and cabosil. Volumetrically about 2.2 parts cabosil to one part epoxy. Maybe start with 3 or 5 oz of epoxy and then the cabosil. You paint the slurry to fill all the low areas. If you are good, you could glass immediately. The slurry needs to be stiff enough to stand and not sag.

    For an amateur, you'll maybe let the slurry cure, come back and sand and do it a second day. Then let the slurry gel up and lay the glass if it is decent enough shape.

    1708 is best to wet on a table on plastic for this job. Make sure to mask off surrounding areas or the epoxy will stick when it drips. If you have trouble with the glass laying down, remember to only fin roll toward the hull; not the sky. On the ends, you may have trouble, just sand it all after cure and fix voids with a little more cabosil putty.

    Ask questions.

    Ondarvr is correct; the skeg is designed to wear; maybe just went a bit further than needed.
     
  4. Tops
    Joined: Aug 2021
    Posts: 237
    Likes: 71, Points: 28
    Location: Minnesota

    Tops Senior Member

    The drain plug and a layer of cloth below the wood makes me thing the keel is hollow and that the wood is sitting 'outside' of the factory hull.
    @BBill , can you confirm this?
     

  5. BBill
    Joined: Feb 2024
    Posts: 0
    Likes: 0, Points: 0
    Location: Concord MA

    BBill New Member

    I'll try to confirm it when I get back to work on the boat. (The weather is interfering, and I'm out-of-state.)

    There are more flaws in this boat:
    o Inner lining had/has a poorly patched crack in it - I suspect from water freezing in the hull. I'm trying to figure out exactly what the inner shell material is, and if plastic "welding" methods will work as a repair.
    o The transom has three drilled holes (others were crudely filled). After using the boat, if I then prop it up, water flows out of the holes, along with what looks like bits of rotten wood. Just a guess is that maybe the transom has/had a wooden core.
    o The oarlocks look like cheap replacements for something that maybe broke out - kind of bondo'd in, and rusting like crazy.

    Whining:
    I used this dinghy last summer to get out to a sailboat moored not far from shore. I store it on a dolly, and I've finally figured out I should flip the dinghy over when not in use so it isn't full of water after each rain. (Jury-rigged cover was not effective.) Aside from finding the flaws, I've concluded I would have been better off buying something much lighter.

    Thanks to all who responded. I'm having a little trouble navigating the website back to this thread - hence delays.
     
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