My first boat restoration thread - 15 Foot Hurrecan

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by ElHurrecan, May 25, 2017.

  1. ElHurrecan
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: USA

    ElHurrecan Junior Member

    This will be my first boat restoration ever. I'm working with a 1972 "Hurrecan" 15 foot skiff. I could find nothing on this brand other than a riveted in plate that says "H&H Molded Products, Ashley Indiana". I'm not sure of the origins of this boat, I'd appreciate any knowledge. My guess is it is a custom boat or something that someone retitled as homemade and spelled Hurricane wrong. I like the name, it has character :).

    The floor and transom were shot. I already completely gutted the floor and transom. I'm not exactly the term for this but the boat was designed to have a completely glassed in floor and transom. There is no water that is supposed to get in the hull. Most boats with raised decks on stringers don't function like this.

    Here's where I started:


    Here's the transom and cap. There are a lot of gouges and holes on the cap that must be repaired. There was a lot of redneck goop on that cap, it took 2 days to get it off.


    Here's where I'm at now. I totally grinded down the existing glass. Notice some stringers are broken.

    Since I want a totally waterproof floor and maximum durability I am choosing to use Epoxy, specifically WestSystem.

    Anyway here are my questions.

    • I quickly learned that CSM and epoxy do not work well together. CSM is designed for polyester as it breaks down the styrene binders. I did also pick up some 8oz woven. I read that you never want to use woven by itself. I was also reading about 1708 biax which is like a hybrid CSM\Woven? What type of fiberglass would you use for each portion, the floor, the transom, small repairs, and the stringers. Remember I am using epoxy.

    • Notice the stringers, I'm not sure if you would call them stringers. A few of them are broken. I was going to simply sand them down a bit and glass them together. One plan I had was to place wood (a 2x4) inside the stringers to give them strength. I'm not sure if this is a good idea since couldn't if wood swells from moisture it could potentially lift the floor or crack the hull. If I am fine doing this should I coat the wood in glass to waterproof it.

    • Foam or not to foam? Is it bad to just leave the hull full of air. Water is not suposed to get in there anyway.

    • Any specific plywood you recommend? I planned on doing marine ply for the transom and standard ply (non-PT) for the floor. The glass will waterproof it anyway.

    • I do not want to drill into my floor under any circumstances. Good idea? I plan on glassing in additional wood for me to screw my seats into. I am going to mount the center console by glassing in either wood to screw to or L brackets to screw to. What are your opinions on this?
    Any help and guidance is appreciated.
  2. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 10,386
    Likes: 1,045, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    You should come forward for advice before undertaking such a task. The advice from many would likely be, "don't do it !". It is rather a large job, and inevitably leads to greater respect for fibreglass boat repairers. One matter that needs to be considered is that removal of internal framing can create subtle (or not so subtle) changes in shape and alignment. Especially if the boat was not overbuilt. But it seems you have already gutted it, so cradles are probably not necessarily going to help. Unless you have already bought epoxy, I'd be inclined to ditch it for polyester, as the cost will blow out with expensive epoxy, especially as you have quite a lot going on there. I hope you love that hull, because there are precious few glass boats that size worth restoring. Over here, (Australia) there is really only one glass boat that size I would consider good enough performance-wise, to be bothering. And that would be from a field of probably 100 over the last 50 years. 445ts-cover-1.jpg
  3. ElHurrecan
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: USA

    ElHurrecan Junior Member

    I understand it may not be worth it financially and it is a simple boat but I want to learn fiberglassing and get my hands on a boat repair project. I did get a nice running 50 HP motor and trailer.

    I saw a similar floor repair performed on a Boston Whaler and the boat performs fine. This does not seem like rocket science. Plywood is glued to the existing "stringers" as well as to the transom. I plan to fill the edges and gaps with West Systems 406 Colloidal Silica and glass it over. The floor was already resting directly on these so I'm not really re-engineering anything too drastic. I'm not going for show quality, just more of a learning experience and to have a good boat for lakes\fishing built my way.

    Although epoxy is more expensive I chose it because I want a strong and completely waterproof floor and transom. I found coupons online and the price wasn't too bad. I already bought the epoxy so I'm stuck with it. With that being said what type of mat\cloth do you recommend for the floor, transom, and stringers? Do you see putting in wood 2x4 (I can glass them if that is best) inserts into the stringers for strength as a bad thing? A potential worry is the wood swelling from moisture and pushing up the floor.

    I'm really looking for best practices.
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
  4. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 10,386
    Likes: 1,045, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    I would be using unidirectional glass rovings with the epoxy, cross woven material only on broad flat areas. Otherwise it is a devil of a job in corners. Actually, if cost was not a consideration, I would probably do the job without any timber, and dispense even with longitudinal stringers, turning the bottom into a sandwich construct with some thickish PVC foam, and some high density structural foam for the transom. Two or three sandwich panel bulkheads and a sandwich cockpit sole. But the costs would add up to a scary sum. Hence my earlier comments about it needing to be a stand-out hull design to be worth it all.
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,126
    Likes: 498, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Welcome to the forum.

    You're making some uninformed assumptions and using the most costly goo you can get.

    Some CSM can cause issues, but not if it's relatively new stock. The sizing used on CSM manufactured in the last several years works with epoxy and simply remains in suspension in the cured matrix. There's not a lot of reasons to use CSM in an epoxy laminate, but some still do. It's a goo sucking fabric, dramatically increasing the resin required for a layup for the weight, strength and stiffness it offers the finished result. Simply put, you're much better off putting the resin to use with other fabrics.

    The stringers can be pieced back together, but I wouldn't put a 2x4 inside them. You do need to grind each area back at a generous ratio taper, so the new fabric, can have a solid bond with the old. You'll need at least as much new fabric thickness, as was once there to restore its strength and stiffness.

    No, it's not bad to have open areas in the hull. Both foam and air chambers serve the same purpose. Save some money and skip the foam. This said, it's often easier to use foam in the stringers or other areas, so you have something to lay the fabrics on. It serves as a male mold for the laminate.

    Marine plywood is the choice and PT treated products (plywood or solid) don't work well with epoxy, if purchased from the big box store at the retail level. This is because of the relatively new PT formulation. This said, the old formulation (CCA) is still available and compatible with epoxy, but only available on the commercial side of the counter. Use "Exterior" plywood for the sole (what you're calling the floor). Don't use "Exposure 1" or "Exterior Exposure 1" plywood as this stuff will not hold up. Waterproofing isn't the issues, panel construction and a WBP adhesive are.

    A good idea to mount bonded "cleats", so you have things to attach things to.I often use aluminum angle stock for this. I drill several holes in the side that gets bonded down, so the goo has places where it'll ooze up through and get a better grip on the mounting bracket and it can't rot if it gets wet. Wood will do as well if well coated.

    West System makes a fine epoxy, but it costs well over $100 a gallon, which is top dollar. There are several discount formulators that sell goo at 1/2 this price. These have similar physical properties, they just cost less. The same is true of filler materials. Stock up on silica and milled fibers, as you'll use lots of both.

    Lastly do yourself a big favor and log onto and and download their free "user's guides" and "epoxy book". These will offer some insight to the procedures we use, as well as the appropriate materials. My site also has a small amount of information available too.

  6. ElHurrecan
    Joined: May 2017
    Posts: 5
    Likes: 0, Points: 1
    Location: USA

    ElHurrecan Junior Member

    The boat restoration took a seat on the back burner but I'm picking it back up. I built up the fishing deck, fixed the "stringers", laid additional cross supports, laid the first piece of flooring, and recently built\glued the transom.

    Here's the progress so far

    Supports for the fishing deck were attached with screws and epoxied in.


    The "stringers" are fixed and additional support added since the center "stringers" are kind of flexy. 2x4 was placed into each of the "stringers" and glued down to give added support.

    A view showing the first piece of floor drying as well as the fishing deck. Fishing deck cut, glued, and the sides packet with West Systems 406 (Colloidal Silica).

    The current state of the boat showing the transom drying as well as a shot from back to front.

    Things I've learned.
    • CSM sucks to work with epoxy. I encountered this when patching holes prior to epoxying the transom to the hull. I would take my paint brush and tap the epoxy into the CSM. It created a lot of air bubbles and white spots. I eventually got it to work and the holes are patched.

    • Get a good dusk mask and safety glasses. I can't stress this enough to any other amateur who finds my thread. My respirator did not seal correctly and I spent the next day with a massive headache. Fiberglass is horrible for your health.

    Now I have some questions about materials. What cloth should I order for the sole and transom?

    For the transom I was thinking of using 1708 biaxial cloth\mat combo from US Composites. From what I see the 1708 seems to be the general "all purpose" glass for use with epoxy. I can use the 1708 to patch various holes both in the boat and on the cap. How many layers for the transom?

    For the sole I don't think the floor actually provides any structural integrity and my main goals are sealing and waterproofing (I am creating an air chamber and completely sealing under the floor. Can\should I use the 1708 here as well or should I go with something like 6 oz e-glass (plain weave) or a woven roving?. What are the pros\cons of each? How many layers for the sole?

    How is working 1708? Does it sand well? If not can I put a layer of fairing compound over it?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2018
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.