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Repairing Hunter 40 damage from Hurricane Matthew

May 20, 2016
2,791
Catalina 36 MK1 Everett, WA
"new epoxy to penetrate back into the fibers" -- new epoxy or old epoxy or virgin layups -- the epoxy never penetrates into the fibers, around, over, under - yes but never into. Don't confuse penetration of the mat as a whole with penetration of individual fibers.

B757 -- I admire someone who tackle this type of project - looking forward to more installments.
 
Jul 31, 2010
5,337
Hunter 260 Lake Murray Sailing Club, SC
Mark,
I not only admire you for tackling this project but really admire the way you're chronicling it for us. I can't begin to comprehend how you can do the work and then go home and write about it in exacting detail. Including your thoughts. My thoughts would be of total frustration.
Matthew wasn't all that long ago. And here you are with a detailed plan. And you've already begun several of the projects. I don't know how you're able to do everything while keeping your sanity. Every word you've written has seemed like you're just detailing your normal everyday hobby.
Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work. I hope you can find the time to share a wonderful Christmas with your family.
P.S. How do you find time to captain the 757?
 
Nov 30, 2015
1,156
Hunter 1978 H30 Cherubini Treman Marina, Ithaca, NY
Mark,
I not only admire you for tackling this project but really admire the way you're chronicling it for us. I can't begin to comprehend how you can do the work and then go home and write about it in exacting detail. Including your thoughts. My thoughts would be of total frustration.
Dudes, I completely concur with Kermie's response. I'm only posting this because we have all been there, to some degree...at some point in our life. Hang in there Mark!!!

IMG_0466.JPG
 
Sep 20, 2014
1,067
Rob Legg RL24 Chain O'Lakes
"new epoxy to penetrate back into the fibers" -- new epoxy or old epoxy or virgin layups -- the epoxy never penetrates into the fibers, around, over, under - yes but never into. Don't confuse penetration of the mat as a whole with penetration of individual fibers.
Yes, I understood that. What I was meaning was that the epoxy will be pulled between the delaminated layers, attaching to the fibers. It just seems like having the epoxy wrap around the fibers would be stronger than attaching to a sanded surface.
 
May 8, 2013
273
Hunter 40 Dataw Island, SC
Mark,
I not only admire you for tackling this project but really admire the way you're chronicling it for us. I can't begin to comprehend how you can do the work and then go home and write about it in exacting detail. Including your thoughts. My thoughts would be of total frustration.
Matthew wasn't all that long ago. And here you are with a detailed plan. And you've already begun several of the projects. I don't know how you're able to do everything while keeping your sanity. Every word you've written has seemed like you're just detailing your normal everyday hobby.
Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work. I hope you can find the time to share a wonderful Christmas with your family.
P.S. How do you find time to captain the 757?
Thanks for the encouragement - it helps! Staying focused on big projects is tough because it's too easy to either get bogged down with the trees and forget about the forest, or to think the forest is too big and forget that it's just a bunch of trees!

I got lucky with timing job-wise. I work overseas and just happened to be home on leave in time to do the prep for the hurricane. If I had not been here my boat would have looked like one of the others that was destroyed. I have finished that contract and have some free time before starting the new one so I'm taking advantage of that window to get the repairs started. when I go back to work repairs will definitely slow down!

The 757 is a great airplane - probably my favorite to fly - but between it and the 767 I'm tired of 8 to 11 hour flights. Next job is short-haul in the 737.

Mark
 
May 8, 2013
273
Hunter 40 Dataw Island, SC
Hi guys,

Fitting the patch panel!

After letting the patch panel cure in pace for a few days it was time to remove it. The nice thing about PVA is that it's water soluble. I pried a corner of the panel up and let the water hose run into the gap. The PVA will slowly dissolve making part separation easier. Took a few minutes but off came the panel. Some of the bondo came with it but that was easily cleaned up:



While I was waiting I made some backing plates from fiberglass:



The backing plates are molded directly onto a sheet of polypropelene. The epoxy won't stick to the PP and when the glass is dry you just have to flex the sheet a little and the pieces pop right off! I have the PP sheets for making water tanks. More on that in a future episode.

I needed the backing plates because unlike the first repair, I don't have full access to the backside of this hole. The plan was to epoxy the backing plates inside the edge of the hole to locate and reinforce the joint as much as possible.

Time to cut the hole! Caution - not for the squeamish! From looking at the back of the damaged area with the borescope (available on Amazon, USB plug to the laptop, lighted tip, live video to a video program like VLC, what a fantastic tool!) I knew the glass between two of the holes was compromised, and I didn't trust the area between them and the third hole. So, I treated all the separate holes as one repair area. First up was the hole saw (remember I had temporarily patched everything up so I didn't want to accidentally cut into something important! Next up was the jig saw - I started cutting small sections, working from the center out. Finally I went with the grinder with a cutting disc, checking as I went to see when I reached non-compromised glass:



A view from a little farther away:



I think I got a little dizzy, said "holy crap!" and a few Hail Marys and then broke out the rum!

Lots of evidence of a really crappy previous repair! I have lost most of what little respect I had for repair yards after seeing these "repairs". I'll document some of it in the next installment. Granted, probably most yards are competent, but since the important parts of a repair are under the skin, how can you tell after the fact if it was a good repair? As a final rant, I have had the boat surveyed three times since I bought it (including the pre-purchase survey) and none of this damage and poor repairs was found by any of them - and some of it was visible (I know now) if you looked in the right places - which is why we hire surveyors!!

Next up was to sand and prep the inside of the edges for the backing plates. That done, the plates were prepped, slathered with West 6-10, and clamped in place. Note - not all the backing plates are mounted yet in the pic:



What looks like a piece of angle iron on the bottom of the stringer in the hole is just that - it's the support for the chain plates. It looked rusty but otherwise still plenty strong and I figured if it still looked this good after 30 years it should last as long as the rest of the boat. Having said that I coated it with a rust treatment anyway!

I had already marked the patch panel to match the hole but I left some extra material so I had to trim to fit. This took a while but when I was satisfied, I drilled holes through the panel and backing plates to hold it in place. I then gooped more 6-10 onto the backing plates and screwed the patch panel in place and let everything dry:



Lastly, after drying I removed the screws and mixed up some epoxy and cabosil and filled the holes and the joint edges:



Next up - repairing both new and old grid damage!

Mark
 
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Mar 15, 2013
197
Islander 32 mkll Comox Hrb.
Well Mark, things seem to be coming along quite well. You've got alot of guts taking on a job like this by yourself, my hat is off to you!
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,550
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I gotta say. Wow.

I had written this off as quixotic at best, but seeing your progress, skill and determination, I have to figure that if anyone can pull this off, it's you. Carry on.
 
Last edited:
Dec 14, 2016
2
Hunter 40 Dataw Island Marina
Hi guys,

Fitting the patch panel!

After letting the patch panel cure in pace for a few days it was time to remove it. The nice thing about PVA is that it's water soluble. I pried a corner of the panel up and let the water hose run into the gap. The PVA will slowly dissolve making part separation easier. Took a few minutes but off came the panel. Some of the bondo came with it but that was easily cleaned up:



While I was waiting I made some backing plates from fiberglass:



The backing plates are molded directly onto a sheet of polypropelene. The epoxy won't stick to the PP and when the glass is dry you just have to flex the sheet a little and the pieces pop right off! I have the PP sheets for making water tanks. More on that in a future episode.

I needed the backing plates because unlike the first repair, I don't have full access to the backside of this hole. The plan was to epoxy the backing plates inside the edge of the hole to locate and reinforce the joint as much as possible.

Time to cut the hole! Caution - not for the squeamish! From looking at the back of the damaged area with the borescope (available on Amazon, USB plug to the laptop, lighted tip, live video to a video program like VLC, what a fantastic tool!) I knew the glass between two of the holes was compromised, and I didn't trust the area between them and the third hole. So, I treated all the separate holes as one repair area. First up was the hole saw (remember I had temporarily patched everything up so I didn't want to accidentally cut into something important! Next up was the jig saw - I started cutting small sections, working from the center out. Finally I went with the grinder with a cutting disc, checking as I went to see when I reached non-compromised glass:



A view from a little farther away:



I think I got a little dizzy, said "holy crap!" and a few Hail Marys and then broke out the rum!

Lots of evidence of a really crappy previous repair! I have lost most of what little respect I had for repair yards after seeing these "repairs". I'll document some of it in the next installment. Granted, probably most yards are competent, but since the important parts of a repair are under the skin, how can you tell after the fact if it was a good repair? As a final rant, I have had the boat surveyed three times since I bought it (including the pre-purchase survey) and none of this damage and poor repairs was found by any of them - and some of it was visible (I know now) if you looked in the right places - which is why we hire surveyors!!

Next up was to sand and prep the inside of the edges for the backing plates. That done, the plates were prepped, slathered with West 6-10, and clamped in place. Note - not all the backing plates are mounted yet in the pic:



What looks like a piece of angle iron on the bottom of the stringer in the hole is just that - it's the support for the chain plates. It looked rusty but otherwise still plenty strong and I figured if it still looked this good after 30 years it should last as long as the rest of the boat. Having said that I coated it with a rust treatment anyway!

I had already marked the patch panel to match the hole but I left some extra material so I had to trim to fit. This took a while but when I was satisfied, I drilled holes through the panel and backing plates to hold it in place. I then gooped more 6-10 onto the backing plates and screwed the patch panel in place and let everything dry:



Lastly, after drying I removed the screws and mixed up some epoxy and cabosil and filled the holes and the joint edges:



Next up - repairing both new and old grid damage!

Mark
 
Mar 16, 2010
5,943
Beneteau 411 Oceanis Annapolis
At this point I ran the engine for about 30 minutes and changed the oil and filter again. That is where I'm at on the engine at this point. I don't want to/shouldn't/can't run the engine above idle while I'm on the stands so I'm taking a big leap of faith that there is no damage to the engine and it will make power.
Cap, suggest you also dump your freshwater AF flush and replace. Chances are good that you took seawater into the coolant and salt does nothing good for your engine.
 
May 8, 2013
273
Hunter 40 Dataw Island, SC
Gunni, good idea. I still have to clean and repaint the engine (exterior) and I've been debating removing and inspecting the mixing elbow and heat exchanger while I have easy access to them. That would be a good time to flush and replace the coolant. I'll move that task up the list.

Mark
 
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May 8, 2013
273
Hunter 40 Dataw Island, SC
Grid/liner repair:

I thought that the big repair should happen in stages - I didn't want to take the chance that I might overly weaken the area by removing too much material at once. So after getting the outer patch panel in place it was time to start on repairing the grid. First up was the grid tie area and transverse bulkhead port side midships. The bulkhead had a crack but as I removed the grid tie panel I found out why! A previous repair attempt so poor that it almost defies description. The bulkhead had an existing crack on both sides that had not been repaired, just glassed over. On top of that, the glass repair was on top of gelcoat - whoever had tried the repair had not even ground the gelcoat away. So the bulkhead was already weak in that area and the crack propagated farther. Additionally, I had to grind through the liner in two spots because the liner was compromised:





You can see in the lower right of the rectangular grid void where the crack starts - it was obvious that the crack was pre-existing up to the face of the bulkhead. The crack across the face was due to this impact.

After grinding the area I added backing plates to the two spots on the liner:



Then built these areas up with additional layers. At the same time I layed glass into the crack in the bulkhead (I wanted to treat this area prior to dealing with the crack on the bulkhead face). I also tied the hull and patch panel together from the inside - that's why there was no backing plates on the upper portion of the hole. Then I added the glass layers for the grid tie panel:



I let this set up and cure. Next I ground the crack on the bulkhead face:



and glassed this area. I then moved to repairing some cracks in the v-berth (pre-existing) while this was curing before addressing the remaining crack in the bulkhead - which I'm working on currently.

Next: The v-berth.

Cheers,

Mark
 
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May 8, 2013
273
Hunter 40 Dataw Island, SC
Hi fellas,

So far I've been posting as a narrative to work accomplished chronologically in order to catch up with where the repairs are currently. I did hit a few milestones that in the last few days to mention - then back to the narrative. I am within a few posts of catching up to current progress:

Friday: One of the key factors in the decision to repair the boat was no damage to the mast and rigging, so I had not intended to remove the mast. Well, I found out that a crane had been rented to pull the masts off the boats that were being scrapped and the yard manager asked me if I intended to pull mine. It took me about 2 seconds to say YES! The reasoning -

1. I hate heights! It's much easier to inspect the rigging, pulleys, etc., with the mast down than hanging 60 ft. in the air.
2. I did have 1 pseudo-repair - the radar screen (ancient Furuno) was flooded and ruined so it needed to be replaced. Between it and the radar head (ancient JRC) parts are impossible to find so a new unit is in the cards. Good opportunity to upgrade.
3. Lights - I have been intending for several years to upgrade all the lights with LEDs. I'm also going to add spreader lights.
4. Wiring - good time to replace and "right-size" all the wiring in the mast

All of this is much easier to do with the mast down, so we pulled the mast. Initial inspection so far looks good!

Saturday evening/Sunday morning (today): The boat can float! I got the first layers of glass on the hull tying in the patch panel. Not finished, still 3 or 4 layers to go, but there are no holes in the boat! Definitely not what I would consider seaworthy yet, but a milestone nonetheless.

Now back to the narrative.

Mark
 
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May 8, 2013
273
Hunter 40 Dataw Island, SC
Interior liner repairs - V-berth:

I'm moving around the interior repairing areas of the grid/liner that need attention. Almost all of these are fixing previous areas that were poorly repaired. Case in point:



This spot in the v-berth. I suspect that this was a bad (possibly dry layup?) spot in the liner that someone tried to repair with bondo! As the next pic shows, after I started grinding to was obvious that someone was just covering it up, not attempting to fix the spot properly:



I ground the area properly and glassed it in. Waiting now to finish some other areas then I'll sand, fair and fill.

I found a crack in the liner under the forward water tank. Not serious, mostly gelcoat cracking but I addressed this as well:



The ground-out area running laterally was my boo-boo - I cut into the liner with the sawz-all while slicing up the water tank.

Next up: two spots in the grid you won't believe!

Cheers,

Mark
 
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May 8, 2013
273
Hunter 40 Dataw Island, SC
Hi guys,

There were two final areas of damage to the grid to be addressed (in the mid-ships area) that I just had to say - WTF! Both obviously were pre-existing but I shudder at the thought that a repair tech would consider either to be acceptable. The first, found when the cabinetry was removed:



How can someone just leave a hole like this? A closeup:



Next was an area of the transverse bulkhead just below (this is the other side of the bulkhead I repaired in a previous installment):



It's bad enough when a crack/hole is not addressed at all, but even worse when a crack is plastered over without even attempting a repair! I peeled back the "repair" and determined how much needed to be removed, then cut that portion out:



The damaged area of the bulkhead had not been addressed at all - just glassed over. Even worse, they had not even ground the area properly, just glassed over the gelcoat. Here's a pic of the bonding area of the repair panel:



To me, this is a good example of why polyester resin should not be used for repairs. The panel itself is rigid, has plenty of strength, good fiber infiltration - but it did not bond to the area it was meant to repair! Even considering poor prep, this shows that poly resins don't have good mechanical bonding properties.

Next, repairs to the grid.

Mark
 
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Aug 9, 2011
995
Beneteau 310 Cheney KS (Wichita)
Mark:
Monumental project But, looks like you are doing it right. Keep up the good work. Eat the Elephant one bite at a time. Looking forward to when you splash her again.
 
Nov 8, 2010
10,550
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
All this previous, undiscovered damage and repair. What the hell happened to this boat before you owned it?
 
Mar 20, 2014
663
Hunter 31 Shoreacres, TX
Yeah sounds like your PO used it for demolition derby with boats!
 
Mar 31, 2013
222
O'day 23 Pa
Yeah sounds like your PO used it for demolition derby with boats!
It's actually quite eye opening, we all have boats that likely had previous owners, who the heck knows what lays beneath the surface.
This project is big, very big, but I'd wager that once completed, this boat will be in better condition than when it left the factory! Every system will be known and understood, every repair done properly, and cabin layout exactly how the owner wants it!