I am convinced that doing the bottom of a boat has to be the most disgusting part of boat ownership.

 Re-doing the bottom 

 

 Before I get into the bottom repair stuff, I'd like to talk a little about the history of Flying Cloud. Especially, her bottom!

I guess if you own a fiberglass boat it is inevitable that you will have to deal with blisters sooner or later.

The original owner of Flying Cloud eventually encountered this problem and according to the log books, the minute he noticed a blister that boat was on the ways and being repaired. Repairs were made in accordance with the methods of that era and thought to be the final fix for the problem. He owned the boat for some 16 or 18 years.

The second owner was not so concerned about much of anything in the way of maintenance and repairs.

So when we hauled the boat out in San Carlos, Mexico we were shocked to see the extent of blistering on her bottom.

We considered having the work done in San Carlos before shipping the boat back to the states.

At Marina Seca, we were told that the best solution was to strip the bottom completely and store the boat in their yard for two years to let it dry-out completely.

Our response was "no way we were going to do without the boat for two years. After all, the boat was now our only home".

So we opted to have them sandblast the bottom before shipping the boat north.

Once she arrived in Texas, we started in on grinding out all the blisters. It was obvious which of the previous owners had what work done.
The obvious older repairs were still hanging on. But showing signs of beginning failures.

The remainder of the repairs was obviously done on the "cheap" and had grown into much larger problems.

Many of the later repairs were simply done using automotive body fillers, bondo.

I started grinding out the obvious problems. But eventually opted to strip the bottom completely, dry-out for a while and then build it back up with epoxy.

As fate would have it, by the time the bottom was stripped, I took a bad fall from twelve feet in the air. Landed head-first on the ground, unconscious and a serious concussion. The worst was my right wrist was completely shattered and required a certain amount of metal to put it back together.

So as I spent the next fourteen months recovering (and not working on Flying Cloud) the boat had the opportunity to dry-out even longer than the recommendation made in San Carlos.

After sitting for 2 1/2 years there was a total of 5 blisters that still needed to be opened up deeper. I talked a friend into doing that for me and then FC sat another 7 months.

At this point there were so many blisters that grinding each one out amounted to just stripping an entire area.

I decided that I wanted EVERY blister repaired/redone so as to never have to do this again. Or so I hoped.

After nearly three years, we apply 8 coats of epoxy.

 


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Hauling out at San Carlos

Arriving in Rockport, TX.
Notice the bottom is sandblasted.

 

 

One of the larger blisters opened up with a grinder.

 

Hundreds and hundreds of blisters!

 

From here we went to work on other projects. But there is one remaining factor regarding the bottom...it is far from being fair. She has many dings, bumps, lumps and low spots.

In November 2012 a friend has volunteered to help sand and fair the bottom.

After which we plan to apply the new "Copper Coat" epoxy bottom paint just before launching around Feb. 2013

More to come over the next weeks.
 

The final coats of  2000 barrier coat. Next step will be application of bottom paint.
We plan to use CopperCoat Epoxy.

 

 
March 31, 2014 and I could not afford the Copper Coat Epoxy bottom paint. So I opted for a good ablative paint.

But, wouldn't you know it, the very day that I planned to paint the bottom, one more blister appeared. AFTER 5 YEARS! It was weeping about a 3 inch drip and it was about 1/8 inch diameter. So I grabbed an ice-pick and opened it up. A quick repair and I would get the paint on next morning.

It's a BOAT! Nothing is ever quick. By the time I followed all the water channels from this tiny blister, I had a crater almost all the way thru the hull and about 6" by 10".

Repair was made an on April 3rd 2014 we launched her at last.

 

 

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