Wildcat F18 – What we have been doing for the last few weeks

Tris...Wildcat F18Leave a Comment

Big Dehumidifier
Voiced by Amazon Polly

While we have been quiet for the last few weeks, we have been busy. Even if a lot of it was busy waiting.

Low moisture

When we bought the boat we put a moisture meter over the two hulls. The starboard one, the one with the hole, predictably was wet although the port hull wasn’t that far behind. Only solution was to stick the hulls into the shed with an industrial dehumidifier, the kind that drys buildings!

So started 6 weeks of leaving well alone, just emptying the five litre bucket every day. It took a long while but eventually we got the moisture down to an acceptable level. The moisture level was 10 or below along the full length of both hulls.

The only thing we forgot to do was weigh the hulls before and after, which in retrospect was a mistake, it would have been useful to know. Once we were happy that the hulls weren’t going to get any drier we moved the hulls back into the tent so we could start working on the hulls themselves.

Which was going to prove more difficult than we planned for. The first thing that came to light, was while the hull dried out, the backing plate for the kite pole fitting had fallen off. Our hearts fell when we heard the metal plate moving in the hull…

Damaged hull

Once the hulls were back in the tent, we went over the hulls with a fine tooth comb, to find all the osmosis bubbles, dents and dings. As you can see, there were rather a lot of them. On top of that the hulls had been ‘refurbished’. As far we can figure out this involved either painting Gel coat onto the hulls or putting them back into the mould with a layer of wet gel coat.

Either way the end result was a bottom had a finish that resembled a moguls field. Stage one was to grind out the osmosis bubbles, then fill those holes and the dents and dings with gel coat filler. Then came the sanding…

We strongly believe that a boat’s hull should be a smooth and fair as possible. The water needs to move as easily as possible, to do this the water needs to move in as straight a line as possible. To do this we broke out our flexible long board, not seen since the 14.

First pass.

To avoid flat spotting the hull, you have to sand with a flexible long board and use a X pattern to make ensure a flat fair surface. The first pass was with 240 grit dry sand paper, you can see the pattern in the picture. After the first pass, we filled any low points, which showed up as being shiny, again you see some in the photo.

After a second pass with 240 grit paper, both hulls were fair but obviously the finish was quite rough. To smooth the gel coat we needed to do the hard yards of multiple passes of progressively finer wet and dry paper.

2 passes of 400, 800, 1200 and then one final pass of 1500, all using the same X pattern of sanding. To finish with two passes of G3, G10 and finally Harken Hullkote polish with a machine polisher. The end result is pretty impressive.

Very shiny
Very shiny

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.