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

The Ongoing Dinghy Project
A 9' Beacon Lynx, manufactured in Bristol, RI in 2000

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Under its cover, Chip Mate the dinghy fared somewhat better at the dinghy dock; at least not filling up with rainwater.  It is the worse for damage nonetheless, at the crowded dock.  The outboard skiff to its port side (MS 6852 AF with an expired green registration sticker) has done some damage to Chip Mate's registration numbers, and the dinghy to its starboard is riding up over Chip Mate's covered gunwale, wearing on the new cover.  (Sep. 5, 2006)

The skiff on its port side, MS 6852 AF, has a good rubber rubrail all around its gunwale -- except for where it's been torn off, is missing -- and that, of course, is precisely where it's rubbing against Chip Mate.  Now I know why I had to replace those damaged registration numbers last year!  I'll probably need to replace them again next season.  It's definitely time to rig up some permanent fenders on Chip Mate -- in this neighborhood, obviously past time.

This morning I took my cordless drill and a few other odds and ends down the street to the dock to take care of the dinghy problem before further damage could be done to Chip Mate.

After uncovering the dinghy, I took it out to Chip Ahoy and picked up a spare pair of small fenders that came with the boat (I've since replaced them with larger ones, of which I have four) and my Weller butane soldering gun/rope cutter.

Back at the dinghy dock, I drilled a pair of holes in each gunwale and tied one fender to each side.  (Note the one space where the dinghy on the right of Chip Mate DOES NOT have a rubrail!)

When done, I wasn't 100 percent satisfied -- I probably should have used a pair of larger fenders in this situation, but it's an improvement.  I'll know how much better this works after the next blow.

Chip Mate, the dinghy, took a beating down at the dinghy dock this season.  The dinghies alongside it pounded away wearing out holes in the new cover as well as the hull.  Despite my belated addition of permanent fenders, when the other dinghies were removed for the season, the skiff on its port side pushed Chip Mate against the dock, doing this damage to the bow.  Those used to be state registration numbers where the gouge is worn through the gelcoat and into the fiberglass.  I'll also need to have Josh the sailmaker repair the damaged cover over the winter.   (Nov. 19, 2006)

Today I moved the dinghy out from beneath the tree where it's been propped upside down and tied down since soon after the above photo was taken, pre-winter 2006-07.  With my broken shoulder last spring, a very belated launch, and the subsequent cancellation of last year's cruise, there was no need for a dinghy.  Now, preparing for my upcoming cruise next month, it's time to get to work on it, make it ready.  The first step was moving it from beneath the tree to out front of the house where it'll be more convenient to work on.  Then I hosed off a year-and-a-half's worth of accumulated dirt and fallen-leaves-turned-to-mulch.  (Jun. 18, 2008)


Chip Mate's starboard side is still in good shape, but its bottom needs some sanding and fresh bottom paint.  I had a new set of vinyl registration numbers cut a year ago that are ready to apply, along with the new state registration decal.  The sunbrella cover has been repaired, was ready to go last season.

Today I used the heat-gun and a single-edge razor blade scraper to easily lift off the registration numbers from both sides and the registration decal.  I wiped off the thick glue residue with wax-and-tar remover then used coarse compound to hand-rub the area around the repair, so I can get a good color match when I go to mix and tint the gelcoat.  When the repair is completed, I'll compound and wax the entire hull.
With the dinghy turned upside down, it's remarkable how much the damage looks like a fish -- even down to the scales!  Rightside up it looks like a dead fish, belly-up . . .  (Jun. 19, 2008)


I plan to use Evercoat Marine Polyester Gel-Paste for the repair.  I'm hoping it'll fill the gouge with one application, but that might require two.  Before calling it a day and getting back to my real job, I roughed up the area in and around the damage, hand-sanding with 80-grit paper.  It 's ready for the gel-paste next.

Yesterday I mixed and applied the first coat of gelcoat (gel-paste) to the damaged area.  I was able to get a pretty good color match using West System's white tint.  I hoped to accomplish the repair with one coat, but obviously it'll need at least another.  I mixed up enough paste-and-tint for another skim coat or two; I just need to add the hardener.  (Jun. 23, 2008)

After four applications of gelcoat with wet-sanding between (220 grit, then 400, and finally 1000), the repair is completed.  Next I'll compound the hull and wax it, then paint the bottom which I sanded yesterday.  Bristol Boats sent me new brand decals, so I'll remove the old ones before compounding and apply them when I apply the state registration numbers and decal.  (Jul. 1, 2008)

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