Saturday, September 19, 2009

Fiberglassing the hull

Since Ravn will be stored outside on a trailer under an acrylic canvas cover, traditional wooden boat construction was not an option for me. Near-shore sailing on the Oregon coast has many hazards as well. I determined I wanted to protect Ravn's hull with fiberglass.

I epoxied four-inch-wide, six-ounce fiberglass tape over the plank joints. Then I sanded the entire outside of the hull. I was lucky to find six-ounce fiberglass cloth that was 60 inches wide. That would take it three inches beyond the joint between the midstrake and the sheerstrake, providing double protection for both chines and a single layer over the entire four lower planks.

I rolled the cloth onto the hull, cut it to length and smoothed it with my hands. The cloth draped the boat nicely with hardly a wrinkle. My original plan was to trim it evenly about three inches beyond the midstreak-sheerstrake seam, but it lay so nice I decided to leave well enough alone. It would add that much weight and having that extra protection all the way to the gunwale could be a very good thing.

I started epoxying the hull about 8 a.m. on a Saturday. It was a dry sunny day and I didn't want it to get too hot before I finished. I mixed, applied, mixed applied as fast as I could and finished about 12:30 p.m. I was exhausted! So was my epoxy--I used every last drop I had to cover the hull. I took my gloves off, closed the garage door, went to bed in the middle of a beautiful summer Oregon coast day and slept for three hours.

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