Chip Ford's 1974 Catalina 22 Restoration Project
Sail #3282  l  Marblehead, Massachusetts

The never-ending project to fill my hole in the ocean while bailing it out

Preparing for Sailing Season '07
The Bow Fiberglass Repair Project

Click thumbnails for a larger picture


With the temperature holding unseasonably warm through tomorrow, when incredibly it's supposed to climb into the 80s, this morning I decided to jump on this unexpected window of opportunity and get going on repairing last season's anchor damage to the bow.  (Apr. 22, 2007)

-- Close-Up --

I began by masking off the cove stripe -- which apparently is the hull's original color, masked off when the color was changed to red; I've noticed this on the waterline stripe as well.  I used four or five layers of masking tape, so I wouldn't accidentally sand or overpaint.

It's a small but tight spot with angles and bends; the rubrail just above, the masked-off cove stripe just below.  I used my Dremel tool and its wire brush to clear away the old paint, gelcoat, and fiberglass for an area around the damage.

Once I got it cleaned down to good fiberglass, I mixed up and applied some West System epoxy/resin.  Next I laid on pieces of cut fiberglass cloth, soaked in two layers of it over the hole itself, poked it inside the worst of the damaged fiberglass.

Once hardened, I sanded down the newly applied fiberglass cloth -- first with my Makita finishing sander using 80 grit paper where I could get at with the small sander, then finished it off by hand with 180 grit especially on the curves and in tight edges -- taking a little more paint and primer from the area.  At this point, I pulled off the masking tape and replaced it.

-- Close-Up --

There was still a good indentation above the hole, which I filled it with Evercoat Formula 27.  After the first sanding of the filler, I applied another skim coat until indications of the hole and other imperfections were gone after sanding.

When I was satisfied with the surface, I brushed on a thick coat of Interlux Pre-Kote primer that I'll let dry overnight.  I hope when I hand sand it tomorrow it'll be ready for the Interlux Brightside Fire Red finish coat.  Then I'll see how well the colors match.  (The smallest can of primer I could buy was a quart and -- as anticipated -- I used only what was on the lid after shaking it up well!  I bought a pint of Brightside bootstripe paint, instead of a quart of topside paint -- but the ingredients and application appear to be exactly the same from the descriptions on their respective cans.)  If it needs another coat of primer or finish, it'll probably have to wait until it warms up here again.  (Apr. 22, 2007)

-- Close-Up --

I couldn't ask for a nicer day -- especially in mid-April -- sunny, in the 80s, and as the weatherman said, "an Arizona dry warm"!  I sanded down yesterday's primer, and still found minor imperfections, so I slapped on another skim coat of filler.  When it dried (Evercoat 27 doesn't take long, half an hour tops), I hand-sanded it down to conform.  I removed the masking tape again and applied a new layer for the next step:  the finish coat.  (Apr. 23, 2007)

Sheesh, it's starting to look like a piece of modern art or something!  Does this design make some sort of profound intellectual statement -- beyond simply "problem resolved"?  I almost hate to paint over it!

I applied the first coat of Interlux Brightside polyurethane finish to it this afternoon.  It'll need another coat -- as recommended -- tomorrow morning.  The temperature is mid-80s today (I've donned shorts and sandals for the first time this year, yahoo!) and is supposed to be in the 70s tomorrow -- then all bets are off.  That's just about perfect timing for this project to get completed, thank you Up Above!  The color match is much closer than I've hoped.  (Apr. 23, 2007)

This morning I lightly wet-sanded the first finish coat with 320 then applied a second coat of Fire Red.   A third coat is needed, but this is not a bad color match.  Note how the job is spreading from that small hole!  I pulled off the layers of masking tape from the cove stripe and will apply new tape before the next coat.  (Apr. 24, 2007)

Continued . . .

Go to Page 2
Moving on with Season 2007 improvements
It's never-ending ... but spring has arrived and Sailing Season '07 is in sight

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