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Old 10-18-2007, 05:01 PM   #1
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During the fall haulout of my O'Day 22 we had a little mishap and the centerboard became wedged in the framework of the trailer, I had to cut about 8" (200mm) off the bottom. The centerboard is made of fibreglass (3/16") with thin lead sheets inside.

I am thinking of repairing it as follows:

Make a square cut a little above where it is cut off now. I would then use a block of foam insulation coated with release the same dimension as the lead ballast and do a layup around that with cloth and mat. I will then remove the foam core and pack in some homemade flat lead sinkers I have, topping up every so often with epoxy to fill in the voids.

I will then take this piece and square it up to match the cut on the centerboard and attach it at the sides using sheet metal plates and screws. I will grind out the area in between where the two sections meet back to a 1 on 12 slope and lay that up, going from small peices to larger ones so the layup is always in contact with the original surfaces, using cloth and a couple layers of carbon graphite tape running in line with the length of the board for additional resistance to tensile forces. Once that is complete I will remove the plates and follow the same layup proceedure along the edges of the repair. Then fair it. I will not remove the centerboard from the boat while doing this but will jack it up and support it so the board hangs down far enough to work on.

Does this sound like it will work?

I am not a fibreglass expert by far but I did build a new rudder from scratch the year after I bought the boat (original one broke off at the waterline, the stuff sailing stories are made of) and it has worked fine for 12 years.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Sam
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Old 10-18-2007, 09:01 PM   #2
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Hi Sammy,

Like you, I am only a DIY-er when it comes to fibreglass. However I have rarely had any failures, and it seems your plan for repair of your centreboard is sound. Ensuring that the new 'bit' contains a similar weight of lead and has a profile slim enough to fit through the casing is basic stuff and should pose no problems.

The only tip I would offer is that when making repairs where cosmetics are concerned, I use triaxial fibreglass tape rather than chopped strand mat. The tape is enormously strong, 'wets' easily, does not distort during 'wetting out', and doesn't leave sharp and dangerous peaks to catch one's skin on. Triaxial is used where strength is crucial such as deck-to-hull joins.

The only other precaution I take when 'glassing' structural forms, is that I mix equal parts of fairing powder and glue powder when preparing the fairing mix. It remains reasonably easy to work when set, yet it provides substantial further strengthening to the repair. Here in the equatorial climes, I tend to use a slow curing part 'B' in the epoxy mix to give me a little more working time with the job.

Cheers.

David.
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