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The purpose of this page is to let you know how we carry out the repairs, none of us are professionals but perhaps by detailing the methods/procedures we use, we may be of assistance to others or may even highlight where we are going wrong and you may put us back on the right track!

The Boat shed was completed on Oct 2008, it is 48′ by 22′ and can hold most of the boats at a squeeze.

  1. Our first maintenance project is to sand down and paint the interior of the YM dayboat, it has been in the shed for three weeks so should be dry enough to start work, it is planned to use this boat in the Ballycroy St Patrick’s Day Parade.
  2. Our second project is to repair John Leneghan’s GP 14, there is a 4″ gash on the right side bow, the air temp is too low at the moment to use fiberglass but the hull can be prepared (15 deg cel needed for fiberglass).
  3. Project number three is the bonding problem between the hull and deck of the Lasers, all of them have separated and we need to come up with a solution, possibly a combination of fiberglass & pop rivets

Other projects are:

  • Forehatch on Vivacity
  • Seating to burmuda speedboat
  • Hull/deck repairs to toppers
  • Bouyancy problems with Opptimsts
  • Seal tube on phoenix inflatable
Boat shed

General notes

  • If you have to use steel for any job, make sure it is marine grade stainless steel e.g shackles. the only galvanized steel on a boat is usually the anchor chain.
  • Use marine-grade rope from a marine shop, the ordinary blue (clothesline rope is very soft and not at all suitable for marine use) Clew Bay marine, Sweeneys of Achill Sound, NCF in Westport are suppliers. NCF in Belmullet has a harder version of the Blue (poly rope) rope, which is OK for tying alongside or mooring so long as it is checked for damage on a regular basis.

Working with Fibre Glass
Repair on a blue boat

Don’t attempt fiberglass work until you have an air temp. of 15 degrees
Use cheap paintbrushes for applying resin rather than buying expensive cleaner, they can be used to stir paint and resin another day.

  • Remove paint and gel coat from the area that is damaged.
  • Expose the fibreglass matting around the damaged area for a width of at least 1″
  • Cut the new fibreglass matting into 1-2″ wide strips
  • Prepare a small amount of resin(1/2 cup full of resin + 2 drops hardener)
  • Dab on the resin and lay the matting on top
  • With a dabbing motion, coat the matting until saturated with resin
  • Lay the next layer of matting at 90deg to the first and repeat dabbing motion with resin. Dabbing with the paintbrush pushes the air out giving a good bond, some people use a radiator roller with steel washers to give a really good finish. For small repairs, I find the disposable paintbrush is OK
  • Repeat operation again until you have a minimum of 3 layers of fibreglass matting, I usually lay 5 layers as I am not too worried about appearance, (the odd bulge here and there)
  • Allow to cure overnight, ensure you carry out work before evening(dew-point)so that the damp doesn’t affect it
  • Give repair a light sanding, clean with white spirit and paint
  • Boat paint is very expensive (€25 litre) so get the repair as smooth as you can before painting

Repair leak on inflatable Dinghy
man sailing on an inflatable boat

Don’t waste your time and money taking an inflatable boat to a tire repair shop, the glue used for car tire repairs is not suitable. We know this from bitter experience, watching the patches fly up in the air at night in an f6 near Collanmore Island Clew Bay.

Materials & equipment

Bucket/basin soapy water, a stick of chalk, soft paintbrush, dry cloths, wet & dry sandpaper, patches (from a repair kit, bicycle repair kit or cut out sections of bicycle wheel tube) glue (from repair kit or super glue).

  • Locate puncture:
    Inflate tubes and brush on soapy water, the air bubbles will identify puncture. Dry area with a cloth. Draw a wide circle around puncture with chalk, number puncture as 1. Repeat procedure to locate all punctures. Deflate tubes.
  • Prepare area for the patch:
    Ensure the area is dry. Lightly abrade area around puncture to help the glue stick. Coat with a moderate layer of glue. Leave exposed for about a minute until the coating becomes tacky (but not dry).
  • Apply patch:
    Apply patch, making sure that it is dry and clean (no oil or grease of any form). Hold patch in place for approx 1 min, just think that you are excluding all the air from between the patch and the skin of the tube. Wipe off surplus glue from around the patch. Repeat procedure for all patches
  • Inflating Tubes:
    The glue must have cured before tubes are inflated, this can be hours or minutes depending on the glue. I would often go for lunch or other breaks for an hour or so and come back to the inflatable and partially inflate it. This would allow you to assess how the patch is working and if you applied it at the right angle. If it is not quite right you make be lucky and get away with some extra glue in the right place or may decide to remove it and start again (it’s your life). Massage the patch when you think it has cured, it should feel like a second skin on the inflatable. When satisfied, pump tubes to full pressure. Using soapy water and brush, check for leaks around patch just to make sure. (If air is leaking from the patch, remove it and start the whole process again. You can ask yourself what have you learned from your mistake!)
  • Launch the boat and keep it away from sharp objects/rocks
    A Sailor should think of his inflatable as a pilot thinks of his parachute!