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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011

    Smile Boat maintenance tyro questions

    Hi - I've relatively little experience of boat maintenance and this is only second year I've had to get ready for spring launch onto mooring. Boat is Crabber 17, mooring is drying mud. I have a few probably stupid sounding questions but I'll ask anyway!

    1. Last year just wet and dry sanded old stuff and put on 2 coats of Trilux (because I think you need non-eroding on a drying berth). Generally looks OK so I was just going to put another coat on. If old a/f still in the tin looks OK, does that mean it is OK?

    2. There are some bits on the bottom of the keel where a/f has come off completely showing slightly translucent (which I suppose is where there is no gelcoat) Do I need to do anything with these bits apres a/f?

    3. What should I use to redo the (white) boot-top? It got a lot of slime on over the year so was thinking of using a/f rather than boot-top paint (e.g. Hempel)

    4. What to fill in small holes in spars with, e.g. removing redundant bracket? (I think the Crabber has sitka spruce spars (hollow?)) Plastic wood or sikkaflex?

    5. To re-varnish the rudder and tiller, is it important to use 2 pack varnish?

    6. I've got some white gelcoat repair to do a few chips on the deck area - is there anything I can use to pigment it to cream/off-white?

    Many thanks in advance for any advice.

  2. #2
    prv is online now Registered User
    Location : Southampton
    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by NigelCraig View Post
    4. What to fill in small holes in spars with, e.g. removing redundant bracket? (I think the Crabber has sitka spruce spars (hollow?)) Plastic wood or sikkaflex?
    Carve a suitable-size wood plug, insert into the hole with a bit of waterproof PVA, chisel off flush and then varnish well over the top. You'll need to lightly sand the varnish around the hole if you want the new coat to stick.

    Quote Originally Posted by NigelCraig View Post
    6. I've got some white gelcoat repair to do a few chips on the deck area - is there anything I can use to pigment it to cream/off-white?
    Yep - gelcoat pigment is available. I've not used it myself, but the advice seems to be to do the colour matching before you add the catalyst, as this more closely approximates the colour it will set to.


  3. #3
    rob2 is offline Registered User
    Location : Hampshire UK
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    Quite a few points to cover and often there is no definitive way to tackle the job!

    1) Don't ever dry sand A/F - the dust is toxic and very irritating to the lungs. With a hard A/F, I've always scrubbed it down with a pan scourer and plenty of water to help key the new coat on top. So long as it isn't ancient the stuff left in the tin should be OK, but stir thoroughly.

    2) A lot of boats have translucent gelcoat below the waterline, but it may be that some repairs have been done to the odd chip and scratch and the resinhas an amine blush on the surface. Wash it off with acetone and then lightly rub down to achieve a good key - but chances are the bottom of the keel will always have the A/F abraded by the mud on your mooring.

    3) A hard antifoul like Trilux will be fine for the boot top and you should be able to wipe the worst of the stains off with the pan scourer. Not sure whether it will be any cheaper than a boot top paint. A/F does tend to smear onto the topsides though!

    4) Ideally the holes should be plugged with wood and then revarnished. If you have the time, you can glue a matchstick in the hole then drill a shallow to take a plug so the grain can be aligned.

    5) The choice of varnish is up to you and how you use the boat. The Rolls Royce treatment would be to epoxy a thin layer of cloth on with a couple of coats on top to bury the weave. The whole shebang is then varnished with a varnish with UV filters to prevent the epoxy from degrading.

    If the rudder is unshipped on the mooring, then you can use any varnish you like and keep it up to scratch whenever you see any damage. 2 pack is likely to last a little longer, but there's usually enough time over winter to take the bits home and revarnish them.

    6) Now you're into a tricky area. I'm told that women have more colour receptors in their eyes and are therefore better at matching colours. Most suppliers of resins can supply the tints you need, but you'll only be using minute amounts of them, so an acurate colour match using several pigments may not be cost-effective. Don't forget to thoroughly clean and polish the area around the damage to give you a chance to match to the actual colour of the gelcoat. Good luck!

    With any luck others will be along shortly to give you more informed answers and other options!


  4. #4
    jon711's Avatar
    jon711 is offline Registered User
    Location : Chester, Cheshire, UK
    Join Date
    Sep 2007


    Matching Gelcoat pigment, is an art, and not to be treated lightly. When I worked on the yard, our fabricator said that there were more colours of white than any other, and having tried to match white Gel on many boats, am bloody sure he's right!!!!!

    With Gel repairs, if not confidant, give it to the pro, probably work out cheaper in the end!!


  5. #5
    VicS's Avatar
    VicS is offline Registered User
    Location : Home: Kent. Boat: Chichester
    Join Date
    Jul 2002


    I use Cruiser Uno on a drying mooring and Trilux, because its available in small tins, as the boot topping.

    Interspeed Ultra is a hard scrubbable antifouling you could use.

    Provided the tin is tightly closed antifouling will keep from one year to the next.

    Don't use a two pack varnish on top of a single pack varnish.
    If the existing is two pack it makes sense to continue to use a two pack.


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