Sanding Complete

No posts for so long – my progress was all incremental and boring.  I sanded several hours per day for numerous non-consecutive days.  Then yesterday arrived, and I was finished.  So here are a few photos of a completely sanded hull.

Can't give you the full profile image because of the way the boat is parked, but you get the feel from this.

And here is the port side.


More work prior to antifouling paint and launch:

Blisters:  I have some to repair.  Actually, there are many blisters.  Hundreds, really.  No panic here. The alarmists would have you believe that all blisters must be dealt with.  This is NOT TRUE. However, boat yards and paint manufacturers would like to have a lot of your money, so they capitalize on the blistered condition of many hulls.  Consider this:  My boat is 31 years old (1981 model).  It has had blisters most of its life.  Some of the larger ones have been repaired (by me).  The hull is not compromised.  The hull laminate is not in a state of “mush” anywhere (never has been). There is a bit of water (or other chemicals) between the gelcoat and laminate in many places.  Most of the blisters can be left alone.  They will be there next time I haul out.

What blisters will I repair?  Any whose surface has been compromised through sanding.  For some of these, I have ground out the void down to the laminate.  I will fill those with thickened epoxy.  For others, the tops have been made porous through sanding.  These I will simply seal with several coats of epoxy resin.  Will the hull be perfectly fair?  No, but it will be close enough.

The white spots are blisters. There are numerous small blisters at the water line where I have sanded the boot stripe.

Rudder Attachment:  I repaired this area two years ago because the fasteners holding the 3/8″ stainless steel strap which captures the rudder had failed.  I had a new strap fabricated, ground out the area beyond the water damage, glassed, drilled, bolted and filled.  Some of the filling will have to be redone this year because water migrates from within the bilge down into this area.  This is an area that will have to be maintained periodically until I can stop the migration.  That means sealing the bilge with epoxy, which I will get to eventually.

The strap is through-bolted. This section will need a bit of glass-saturated epoxy (the forward-most part of the area), and then fairing with thickened epoxy. There is a similar area on the port side.

Keel Blisters and Weeps:  Here the gelcoat has perforated and allowed water to both enter and exit the keel cavity.  I’m going to seal it up for now.  At some point I may drill holes in the bottom of the keel cavity and let it drain and dry for months.  Not this year.  Again, this isn’t an emergency.  If truth were told, most sailboats have some amount of water in their keel cavity that migrates down from the bilge.

I will patch this area initially with quick-setting polyester resin and glass fabric. The only way to get a patch in place is to apply a heat gun on the area for drying, then apply the patch, again with heat gun for a faster cure.

After repairs are complete, I will paint the hull with two coats of Hydrocoat, repaint the bootstripe, recommission the engine, reinstall the garboard drain, and launch – hopefully by the end of March.


  1. Jan Sopoci said:


    Regarding your sander issues….that’s why I’ll likely NEVER but a Rigid brand power tool. Rigid USED to be a high quality US mfg., but a few years back, went “Chinese”, and started selling through outlets like Home Depot. (The “old” Rigid brand stuff was sold almost exclusively through industrial/contractor supply outlets).

    Fwiw (I’m NOT xenophobic), I’ve used Makita stuff for many years, and have always been well pleased (they’re a bit cheaper than Bosch, or Chicago Pneumatic, but almost as good).


    PS: Best of luck on the rehab!

    • Thanks for referral on sanders. I’ve known about Makita’s quality, but the Rigid seemed like the ‘sweet spot’ between cost and quality. Actually, the sanders have been holding up okay once I learned to lubricate them.

  2. Rick, you have such an interesting way of putting things – “Yesterday arrived and I was finished!”

    • Thanks “Rob.” I probably should have included an ellipse (…) prior to “…and I was finished” in order to allude to the passage of time.

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