Another round of sanding brought the large bottom patch tantalizingly close to its final shape, with only a few small voids requiring more attention, as well as some additional work needed at the transition to the transom.
The transom portion of the patch grew closer as well, though some fine-tuning remained, particularly at the lower edge, The adjacent work on the transom, including smaller patches and hole-filling, would continue to be refined as I moved ahead with additional rounds of fairing compound on the transom cutout and environs.
I spent the first part of the day sanding the fairing on the bottom and transom, and the new fiberglass on the transom cutout.
On the transom, once I’d sanded the various holes I’d epoxy-filled earlier, I prepared small fiberglass pieces to fit each spot and installed them in epoxy resin, leaving this to cure for a bit before proceeding with fairing compound over the various areas on the transom, including the patch over the jet tunnel and the beginnings of the fairing for the new tabbing all around the transom cutout and related areas inside the boat.
The work on the bottom was close to where it needed to be, but there were low spots running fore and aft on both sides, between the centerline and the outer edges of the repair, so when I applied the next round of fairing compound, I focused on these areas to bring them into spec. The forward portion of the repair needed only minor touchups at this point.
Sticking with the usual cycle, I began the day with more sanding, focusing on the bottom to clean up the new fiberglass there, then continuing with the transom fairing as needed, and the outboard cutout where I’d slightly filled the edge of the new top laminate. I also used a grinder to open up several larger, abandoned holes in the transom (leftover from various through hulls and wiring clamps), and reamed out the small screw holes leftover from the wooden transom veneer, all to make these ready for the first stages of repair and filling.
After cleanup, I applied a round of fairing filler to the bottom. The basic profile and shape was close to final, so the fairing was mainly to fill the weave of the cloth and burnish the edges of the laminate.
Continuing on the transom, I applied a second round of filler on the vertical part of the jet tunnel, then into the various screw and fixture holes about the rest of the transom.
Later, I patterned and cut layers of fiberglass to fit over and around the transom cutout, then installed the cut pieces in epoxy resin.
Continuing the work on the combined transom and bottom repair, I started the day with a round of sanding to prepare the fresh fiberglass on the transom portion of the jet tunnel for the next stages of work, as well as to sand and lightly shape the forward part of the bottom vee, forward of the jet tunnel where the boat had originally had the flat area to transition to the tunnel.
I sanded smooth and flush the extra layers of fiberglass I’d added to the new transom cutout to raise its height a bit, bringing it now to about 23-3/4″ from the center of the bottom vee; the final height was to be 24″, and the extra 1/4″ would be made up by the final tabbing to wrap over the cutout and tie it in with the surrounding surfaces. Meanwhile, I also sanded smooth the first round of fairing filler I’d applied to portions of the transom on each side; there’d be more to come.
After cleaning up, I prepared a pattern of the remaining fiberglass patch required on the bottom, which would extend from the transom (where I’d set up the fiberglass with a series of 3″ steps between layers to allow for overlap) forward to a point just ahead of the area formerly known as the flat, and which new layers would extend out onto the hull several inches on each side to complete the tying in of the repair work with the existing hull.
Because I’d never be able to handle such large pieces overhead, I divided the fiberglass into two manageable sections: The first extended from the new transom glasswork to a point 9″ forward of the old tunnel location; the second section finished off the laminate from there. In each case, subsequent layers were staggered and overlapped by 3″.
After final preparations, I installed the six new pieces on the bottom, completing the major fiberglass laminates of this repair.
To complete the day, I applied a first round of epoxy fairing filler over the vertical part of the transom repair, filling the cloth weave and low areas, and filled a small void beneath the new fiberglass on the transom cutout, bringing it flush since the cut had been rounded over before I applied the new layers.
After a light sanding and other preparation at the forward vee portion of the repair, I applied a second round of fairing filler to take care of t he low spots left by the first-round troweling. These efforts were designed to recreate the basic shape of the previously-flat spot on the hull, and with the second round it appeared close to the final shape needed before I could fiberglass over the whole area.
I had some fairing compound leftover, so I applied it to portions of the transom that were damaged during the wood veneer removal.
At the transom, I’d hoped to laminate three layers of cloth over the entire vertical transom repair, and overlapped 9″ onto the bottom, which would allow me to offset the three layers by 3″ each to provide overlapping room for the fiberglass to continue forward over the remainder of the bottom repair. However, I simply couldn’t make the cloth take the required shape, what with the V-shape, not without huge and unwanted darts and cutouts in the cloth, so I changed my plan to one that would work. I kept the 9″ overlap on the bottom (with the subsequent two layers spaced 3″ back in each case), but reduced how far up the vertical transom they came, with the largest layer extending 3″ up, and the remaining two staggered 1″ down. I could make the cloth conform to this shape.
Above this, I installed three layers over the vertical part of the repair, butting the first layer against the upturned bottom layers, then overlapping the subsequent two layers appropriately over their staggered counterparts below. I finished off the transom fiberglass for now with two smaller layers that filled the slight depression over the vertical part of the old jet tunnel, bringing this area nearly flush with the surrounds. I let these layers hang just below the bottom for later trimming.
To round out work for the day, I installed six layers of 1708 over the top edge of the transom cutout, which would increase the height a bit to bring it closer to the required 24″ from the bottom of the vee when all was said and done. Later I’d wrap more fiberglass over the entire cutout, which would bring the height up to the final dimension as well as tie it in the new cutout and complete the work there. I let the strips of fiberglass overhang the opening a bit for later trimming, and used some thickened epoxy at the ends to reform the curved shape at each lower corner.
Before heading off to a morning appointment, I sanded all the new work from last time, starting with the forward vee.
At the transom, I sanded as needed to bring the new layers of overhanging fiberglass flush, and to prepare the new core and environs for future steps.
Inside the boat, I lightly sanded the new glasswork on the inside of the transom.
Later, upon my return, I applied a coat of fairing filler to the forward vee, using an improvised 24″ long batten to span between the ‘known” hull shape at the forward and after ends of the space previously known as the flat. The many layers of fiberglass I’d applied had mostly filled the space, but now I could use fairing compound to finalize the shape before laminating over top. This early round of filler was slightly rough because of the imperfect batten, but did its job of defining the shape well enough that the next round of filler would come close to establishing the shape required before fiberglassing.
Preparing for eventual fiberglassing at the transom and over the bottom of the tunnel patch, I started with a pattern of the vertical transom and onto the bottom going forward 9″. I’d eventually stagger three layers of fiberglass over this area, conjoined with three adjoining and subsequently overlapping layers over the remaining part of the bottom patch.
I lightly sanded the new fiberglass on the forward vee part of the bottom, then, after cleaning, used a straightedge to check how I was doing, height-wise. Obviously I knew it was low at the aft end, but this gave me an indication where the additional layers should stop at the forward end; I also used the straightedge to determine how wide the new layers should be at the aft end, i.e. where the existing fiberglass was already close to the proper geometry.
With this information, I made a new pattern and cut seven new layers, this time keeping the aft ends’ widths more constant while continuing to taper back the forward sides and end. Because the new layers would overlap the stacked, tapered layers beneath, I skim-coated some thickened epoxy over the existing patch just to ease the transitions between the cured layers.
Afterwards I wet out and installed the seven new layers, which brought the finished rough shape close to what I needed, and just low enough that I could finalize the shape with fairing compound once cured and before fiberglassing over the whole area.
Meanwhile, I made a pattern of the inside of the transom for layers of fiberglass that would cover the entire transom and extend onto the bottom of the hull and along the sides to tie everything together. Once I had the pattern made, I installed epoxy fillets as needed around some of the corners and wet out the whole area, leaving this to tack up while I cut two layers of fiberglass according to the pattern; then I wet out and installed them.
Continuing the work on the vertical part of the jet tunnel in the transom, I cut 10 layers of fiberglass to fit, as I still had an inch and a half or so of depth to fill. I prepared epoxy fillets along the bottom corners to ease the transition beneath the core pieces I’d installed earlier, then, in stages, installed the 10 layers of fiberglass in the space.
Later in the day, this had cured enough that I could install another layer of 3/4″ Corecell over the fresh laminate, bringing the area out nearly flush with the surrounding fiberglass. I installed a couple braces to hold the core tightly along the bottom, where it wanted to spring out slightly. From here, once cured, I could start installing the fiberglass over the whole area that would finish off the repair and tie it in with adjacent structures.
Another (unintentionally) short day, as I got sidetracked with unrelated things. But I started hopefully with the flat area forward of the old jet tunnel, creating a pattern of the area on some plastic, then cutting eight layers of fiberglass, tapered at the sides and forward end, to fit the space. Each subsequent layer was roughly 1/2″ smaller on each side, except the aft side. The height required at the aft end was just about one inch, and eight layers would be roughly half that, so I thought I’d install these and see about adding more as needed.
Preparing the pieces for installation reminded me of a Coneheads reunion. After wetting out the layers, I installed them, four at a time, in the space forward of the patch. It turned out that I should have tapered the aft ends less than the forward end, as the layers got too narrow too quickly and the stack didn’t adequately fill the space from side to side as much as I’d hoped, so for the moment this stalled my plan to add more layers today; I decided it would be better to let this cure, lightly sand, then figure out the final stack of layers required to fill the space enough at the aft end, without adding too much at the forward end or elsewhere.
I’d planned to do more fiberglassing on other parts of the stern throughout the day, mainly the inside and outside of the transom, but somehow, and without intention, the day was lost from here on other, unrelated tasks.
I lightly sanded the new interior fiberglass work in the usual way, just lightly scuffing to remove sharp edges and prepare the surface for future steps.
Now, beneath the boat, I prepared the bottom in and around the new repair for its final fiberglass work by grinding a tapered area 4-5″ out from the patch, from gelcoat at the outside to about 1/4″ down at the borders of the new patch, bringing the existing hull there flush with the new repair I’d completed from above, and as designed. This would provide the space required for the new fiberglass to tie in the repair work with the existing hull from beneath.
Around the vertical transom opening, I created a similarly-prepared area for tying in the eventual new fiberglass required to complete the transom patch.
From here, I planned to start with installing new fiberglass forward of the patch to fill in the slightly-flattened area left from the old tunnel configuration, which I’d complete before installing fiberglass over the whole area to recreate the hull shape and finish the structural repair. At the transom opening, I planned to fill in with solid fiberglass, and eventually incorporate the final layers with that of the bottom. Meanwhile, inside the boat, I still had to fiberglass the new transom structure into the sides and bottom of the boat, then, finally, fiberglass over the new cutout in the transom to complete the overall repair. I’d take care of these steps over the coming days.
After a quick water wash, I lightly sanded the new fiberglass in the aft bilge, previously known as the engine room. This was only a light scuff to ease any sharp edges and prepare the fiberglass for the next steps; I also took the time to prepare and round over the top edge of the forward micro-bulkhead, as well as a light sanding at the new fiberglass transom to finish off the top edge from its installation a few days earlier, and to round this over for future tabbing work as well. Additional laminate on the inside of the transom, as well as over the edge of the new cutout, would be coming up sometime a little later.
Next, I removed the mold from the bottom of the hull, starting carefully with the plywood transom template, which I removed separately for further use. The plywood panels came off with ease, as they were held only with blotches of hot glue wherever. The bent piece of plywood from the inside of the mold stayed in place; the screw heads pulled clean through as I removed the main part of the mold.
The inner section of bent plywood came off easily from there, leaving behind the masking tape, which was well-stuck to the laminate, as anticipated, but had done its job of preventing the wood from sticking.
The end result was just what I’d been going for: Shaped in accordance with what the hull needed to be, but inset a fraction of an inch to allow room for the final laminates from beneath, which would further tie in and reinforce the whole repair when all was said and done. Eyeballing the shape of the vee down the centerline, the new work lined up well with the unmodified shape forward of the repair area.
Now I removed the bits of hot glue from the hull, along with the mold putty and, as much as possible for now, the masking tape from the bottom of the fresh laminate. The residue would eventually get sanded away, but that was for some other time.
Turning back to the interior for now, I laid out a trial piece of fiberglass to complete the forward section of the repair. The glass confirmed well to the shape, so no darts or cuts would be needed. Satisfied with the pattern, I cut two additional layers, each just a touch smaller on the sides and forward end. After installing a thickened epoxy fillet along the bottom edge of the micro bulkhead, I installed the three new layers in epoxy resin. This overlapped the adjacent new work by a few inches, and extended well forward to tie the whole thing together as much as possible.
With a bit of time left before I had to depart on other tasks, I decided to begin work on the transom section of the jet tunnel. Using my plywood pattern, I cut two layers of 3/4″ Corecell, a good material I happened to have on hand, and, after some minor adjacent prep work, including filling the edges of the opening against the fiberglass laminate sheet I’d installed on the inside of the transom, I set the two layers of core in place in epoxy adhesive, filling all edge gaps and the kerfs in the scored core. I held the bottom edge of the core up flush with the notched part of the jet tunnel so I could fill in the bottom with solid laminate before tying the new hull bottom laminate into that. Eventually. I’d fill the remaining depth of the transom opening with either solid glass (to be extended out onto the hull around the opening once I prepared said hull).
And so we edge closer to the final stages of this rather extensive hull repair.