We had a crash – now to fix it! Pt 1

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Foam shaped into hull.
Metal mark versus carbon hull.

We were sailing in after a good day’s sail, last year, in light conditions, but with gusts coming over the top of Howth Harbour wall. In fairness we had switched off a bit, came out of a tack heeled over, were bearing away to avoid a metal nav mark when a gust hit the top of the rig. We were heeled over more, the rudder stalled and the bow spun up and smacked the mark. A 2mm carbon skin doesn’t have much chance against a steel navigation mark. In fact we were relieved it wasn’t worse.

Cutting the damaged carbon back

The first stage of the repair is to remove all of the damaged carbon, and create a defined area to repair against. So we had to break out the Dremel and its cutting tool. We needed to cut back to the point that there was no more damaged laminate, which did mean that the hole grew quite a bit more. Which is one of those things with these repairs the affected area grows quite significantly if you want to do it properly.

Initial block of foam for repair

In order to fix the hole we need to first fill the hole and provide a base for us to laminate onto. To do that we bought a block of high density marine foam from our friends at easycomposites.co.uk. We then need to cut and shape the foam so that it fits tightly into the hole.

Foam shaped into place
Foam shaped into place

Once the foam is shaped the next piece of work is to mark off the hull and sand back the paint to composite to give a distance of five centimetres, to give sufficient bonding surface for the layers of carbon.

Sanded back to Composite
Sanded back to Composite, we weren’t quite careful enough with the foam.

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