Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Dinghy Repair - CHECK!

It's so gratifying for me when I can put my hours of reading about all-things-cruising to good use.  It's even more fun when someone else does the research!  It was a happy coincidence that I found this post on ZTC about how they fixed their dinghy, just days before we realized that some rehab would be necessary for our own.

This is only Phase I of the dinghy repair projects we have planned.  We also bought some internal sealant to seek out and destroy any yet-to-be-discovered tiny holes it has, as well as rubber top paint and topcoat.  This weekend we got the patches on the outside done.  I was disconcerted at how easily the old patches came off, let me just tell you.  It's no wonder they leaked!  We cleaned off the old glue and applied a bit of soapy water to reveal the old holes and the new....

We marked the holes and then I cut some new patches while Bruce went work scuffing up the area we would be glueing to ensure that it would stick, and giving it an extra hit with the cleaner.

This time we did one extra step that I learned about in the ZTC article... I cut some tiny patches that just covered the holes and we superglued them on.  That was quite the debacle for a while.  The only thing missing was the clown music!  (Superglue eats rubber gloves FYI).

Once we got everything measured, cut, scuffed with sandpaper and cleaned off with tolulene, it was time to mix up a batch of two part dinghy glue.  If there is one step in this process that we could have messed up, it would be this step... The directions called for a ratio of 1 to 25 and only gave us the volume of one of the ingredients.  We got out every electronic calculator and converter we've got and still only came up with a guestimate.  Cross your fingers!

The mixture was applied painstakingly to the back of each patch and then to the corresponding spot on the dinghy...  Then we let it dry for about 30 minutes and mixed up a second batch.

The whole process was repeated with a second drying time of about five minutes.  Then I carefully stuck the patches to the dinghy so as not to get them crooked.  OH NO!  One of the similarly shaped pieces went onto the wrong spot and there was a bit of extra glue hanging out around it.  Oh well... no biggie.  We're going to rubber paint over it all anyway soon.  I used our pizza cutter to press the patches securely onto the dinghy.  This was a trick we learned with the last repair job... bad glue, good advice.

Here is the finished product.  You can see the small patches underneath the larger ones.  I'm hoping that this process works.  It makes sense that the little patch does all the work supported by the big patch.  Time will tell...

We think this dinghy is about 15 years old.  It has quite a few rub marks and we hope we can buy a few more years with a good rubber paint and topcoat before we have to invest in a new one.  The dinghy is one of the most vital pieces of kit for a cruiser.  It will be our "car".  Maybe if we give it some love it will love us back for a while.  I'm thinking maybe some chaps!

The project took most of the day with a couple of trips to the local Ace.    We are happy with the old girl's new look and the fact that she's still holding AIR!  We're ecstatic that we get to check something else off the to-do list!

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