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S2 7.3 Starboard bulkhead question

Apr 20, 2021
S2 7.3 Harbour Walk Marina
New member/sailer here and have a question thanks in advance for any help! My girlfriend and I just made a fairly rushed purchase of a 1978 S2 7.3 shoal draft, overall she seems pretty solid(no soft spots on deck,bilge is dry, electronics seem to be in working order.) Came with a good running 5hp honda 4 stroke. My main areas of concern is a thru hull below the water line that seems to go to nothing, I don't really see a need for it so I plan to just remove it and glass over it next month(going to pull the boat do a bottom job, and paint the top side.) While she's out of the water I would like to go ahead and rebuild all the hardware/seals for the rudder.(is there a source for these or will I have to get them machined?) Also I'm going to attach pictures(if I can figure it out.) Of the starboard side bulkhead, it feels very solid and there is little to no flex on it when pulled pulled side to side but at the bottom it appears to be separating from the hull. We are mechanically inclined and can do all our own work, guessing this is a pretty straight forward procedure? We're going to have to sail it a couple miles to get it to the boat yard we're using, I feel like it's solid enough to make it any thoughts? Thanks again and pictures should be attached.


Feb 21, 2013
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your new sailboat!!

Sounds like you have a good plan to address the non-functioning thru hull and you are capable and willing to do the work yourself. Please keep us informed on your progress and on any other questions you have.
Sep 24, 2018
O'Day 25 Chicago
The fiberglass that connects the bulkhead to the hull is known as tabbing. It's a pretty simple process to re-attach it.

  1. Sand/grind to remove any dirt or excess material that could interfere with other parts
  2. Wipe down with solvent to remove any dirt or fiberglass dust
  3. Use fiberglass tape that's about the same width as what was used at the factory. Since you're new at this I would start off with a 6" long piece and increase in size as you become more comfortable. For most fiberglass tape use a chip brush to wet it out. You'll find that it'll stay in place on its own once you get it wet. Make position adjustments early and dont be afraid to pull off a layer if you mess up. Sanding away fiberglass mistakes is very time consuming. For thicker mat or cloth I usually dunk it in the resin. Getting the inner layers saturated is difficult with a brush
  4. Use a roller to squeeze out excess resin
  5. If you need to pack up for the day before the project is done cover up the glass before it dries to prevent amine blush. Amine blush is a waxy substance that can build up when fiberglass is left to dry while exposed to the air. It's pretty easy to remove by sanding or wiping with a solvent
  6. Do not fill in the space between the bulkhead and the hull. The theory is that the bulkhead and hull move and without this gap it could wear away at the hull. I'm not sure how true it is but that's the advise that's usually given
A few more fiberglass tips
  • I like using paper food trays for hot dogs, paper bowls or paper plates for mixing up resin. They allow me to spread out the resin very thin which helps to eliminate bubbles
  • It's difficult to add too much filler/thickener. I find a mini ice cream scoop helps me create repeatable thicknesses
  • West Systems provides fantastic support for repair strategies. You should definitely check out their guide that covers many different types of repairs
  • Buy the hand pumps for resin. You'll save money in the long run plus you can re-use them. Be aware that you may have a drop or two of resin or hardener come out during storage or transportation. A rubber glove or piece of tubing over the nozzle works well as a quick way to prevent a mess
  • Many yards have rules on grinding/sanding. A shop vac while sanding was the requirement at mine
  • Get a decent palm sander. There are even some that have hepa filters built in. My DeWalt has been trouble free despite the fact it rarely gets cleaned. I would get one dedicated to fiberglass as it may spew a cloud of fiberglass dust every time it's turned on. Most people use 60-100 grit depending on the application
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