Wildcat F18 – Some times you wish you hadn’t looked

Tris...IrishSkiffSailing, Wildcat F18Leave a Comment

A crack
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The refit of the boat had been, until we turned the hulls over, remarkably easy. Note to self, never ever forget “It’s never easy”. We de-beamed the boat and flipped the hulls over so we could assess what was needed on the bottom of the hulls. The warning of a problem came as soon as ‘Tris…’ picked up the starboard bow. When what looked like a gel coat crack moved under his fingers.


Once the hulls were balanced and stabilised the investigation revealed a messy picture. What had looked at surface cracks were obviously structural and extensive. No idea what had happened to the boat, but either this was the work of our “favourite” company ‘Bodge’It, Charg’em and Run’ or something during manufacturing.

On the plus side at least we now knew why that hull had been so wet.

Gel Coat ground back

So out came the development class sailor’s favourite piece of equipment, The Dremel and we started grinding the Gel coat off so we could get to the composite underneath and try to figure out what we were facing. It didn’t get any better the further dug. There was a patch of filler butted onto the composite which had broken for what we initially thought was about 6 inches.

Loads of filler

However once we cut the damaged area out we realised that there was even more filler going towards the bow (See bottom of photo) and had to keep cutting. In the end the damaged area is around 8 inches long but fortunately not to wide. It is on the turn of the hull so the shape is awkward. To make it more difficult there is still filler inside the hull which will make it hard to put a backing piece in to laminate onto.

Next steps will be to tidy up the damaged area, sand off enough of the gel coat give us sufficient surface area to laminate against. The hole is on a tight radius, so finding the right backing material is going to be interesting. In the mean time we are going to put that hulls into a tent with a dehumidifier to dry the hulls out properly. The under side of both hulls are maxing out our moisture meter so we need to get them dried out.

The total length of hole
The total length of hole

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