The Online Magazine For Amateur Boat Builders














Repairing a Holed Hull
by Bruce Hector

My lovely John Welsford designed “Twisted Seagull” lost a fight with the snowplough last winter that required two fairly massive hull patches. After these were patched up I got in some early rowing in training for my 25 miler I had coming for the Cancer Society fundraiser. On it’s second outing this spring, while levering her up onto the dock, I jammed a dock cleat through her starboard side. This was at a press photo op with the Mayor of the City of Kingston to promote the upcoming Row for Cancer Research.

Poor “Twisted Seagull” was having a tough year.

(click the images for larger views)

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Sue aka “Captain Crunch” and Amanda had also added a few scrapes and dings as we rowed about in the 1000 Islands in early spring training. She ran aground 3 times, which is why she armour plates her boats with three layers of fibreglass. For lightweight, I had only fibreglasses Twisted Seagull’s seams, trusting in my superior knowledge of where all the rocks are, yeah right! If I know where any are, it’s because I previously “discovered” them myself using the Sue Davis method too!

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Here’s the small hole and gouge the cleat made. The pen’s just to show the hole against the dark background. Nice scratch too.
Here it is from the interior. Doesn’t look like too big a deal. Unseen in the photo are two diagonal cracks through the plywood. To stop the cracks from ever growing in the future, I drilled a hole past the furthest extent of the cracks. This is common practice in the aircraft trade to stop fuselage cracks from growing, and I thought it made sense here also.

I half drilled from each side, to obtain a bevelled surface for the epoxy to get a better grip on.

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The holes would be filled with thickened epoxy of course, making a repair that should end up stronger than the original 5 ply marine plywood.
Then the holed and cracked area was cut out with my trusty Swiss Army knife, this is an official free plug for Victorinox knives, the boater‘s best friend!

Then I held a scrap of plywood up to the hole and traced the outline onto it.

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This was then cut out and roughly bevelled to form a “V” to be filled with the epoxy thickened with wood flour. I first brushed un-thickened epoxy into the V and on the patch. Then filled the V and the drilled holes with epoxy thickened to a peanut butter consistency. I filled a large irrigation syringe and used it like a caulking gun to squeeze the goop into the groove. These are available from medical supply stores, also a good source of low cost nitrile gloves for epoxy work.

This was repeated from the outside.

The tape, of course, held the patch in place and helped ensure that it would cure to a nice smooth finish.

Later the paint was touched up and Twisted Seagull made her 24 mile Cancer Row in 9 hours.

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These last two photos are at the end of that row. One for the press release....

.....the other shows the reality.
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