This isn’t a repair that I’m looking forward to but it’s one that needs to be addressed before we race this boat much more. The structure inside the hull that supports the forestay bridle (the forward wires that holds the mast up) has shown signs of movement and the exterior finish has started to crack. This is a clear sign of an impending failure and it’s been on my to-do list for a while now. I don’t know exactly how the interior structure is arranged but I have a general idea of what’s in there by tapping around on the hull. There seems to be a bulkhead forward of this area by a few inches and a sub-deck about 10 inches or so below this bridle fitting. After exposing the outside fiberglass skin by removing the gelcoat, I think this failure is related to a stacked, non-tapered, internal reinforcement coupled with an exterior fiberglass skin that didn’t receive enough resin during construction. I’m going to make an external repair and finish it glossy so we can keep an eye out for any future movement. The following images show a small section of hull that I extracted and burned with a torch. This method burns away the resin and foam and leaves the fiberglass behind (which melts at a much higher temperature). By exposing the fiberglass this way, I can get a better idea about what type of material was used to build the hull and I can replicate it closely. It looks like a 6oz glass cloth was used so I have some 6oz S-glass ordered to start the repair work with. S-glass is a strong version of standard fiberglass and while I have no idea if this is what they used, the formula 18 class rules dictate that I use fiberglass here so I’m at least going with the strongest variety I can easily obtain.
A Structural Repair