Integrity exhibit A

Breaches in the Hobie hulls are sealed, structural damage is remediated. At 10:00 pm UTC – 4, August 12, I completed the injections of the decks. Only cosmetic and finishing work remains. I know y’all have been starving for pictures, so a gaggle follows after this public service message.

It’s hard to imagine anyone NOT getting excited about the nitty gritty details of hull integrity and fiberglass repair, but believe it or not, a few people might actually be bored by my current favorite activity! For their sake, I’d like to explain why I’ve taken such trouble to document it.

First is the breadcrumbs. I’ve learned a lot doing the hull work that might come in handy on future projects. My swiss cheese like memory will not retain these details for very long, therefor extensive notes are a must. I use the web because the drudgery of mere note making is relieved by the potential of an audience, and that kicks in my showboating circuits. Can I make notes that will be fun to read, that will be engaging even to someone who couldn’t give a flying fuck about fiberglass minutia or even boats?

Second is the give back. To do this work, I relied heavily on community postings about Hobie Cat repair. I’ve made a few mistakes and had a couple of breakthrough’s that could help a future Hobie restorer, so it’s only just that I share the wealth.

Third is visitors. The key to getting plenty of traffic to a website is to provide relevant information that folks need, sometimes desperately. Hobie renovators checking out the content might wonder about the context, and then – they are mine! Links to random stuff like sailing around Lake Michigan, sustainability and the like will snag and beguile them. Of course, sustainability is already be on the radar screen of most Hobie sailors who, (for the most part) are highly evolved spiritual beings in contrast to say, owners of personal watercraft – Jetski, Waverunner, etc.

Now – check out that last paragraph. Because I mentioned “jetski”, that word becomes a searchable tag for this post, hooking directly into search engines like Google. Imagine some dumbass jetski dude / dudette who’s looking for new and interesting places to go around and around in circles searching for “Lake Michigan” and “around” and “jetski”. This post could easily be in the top 10 links. If a dumbass jetskiier clicked into they would be exposed to the concept of sustainability and small footprints for the VERY FIRST TIME! Maybe they would read this text and have an epiphany, a conversion experience, swearing off petroleum powered gluttony and coming over the side of righteousness and light! Or not. Probably not, but maybe…

Enough distractions, let’s see some pictures!

Check out the sand harvest from the starboard hull! The Viglands must have left the drain plug out with the Hobie still in the surf, how many years ago? She was last registered in 2002, and the Vigland’s were sticklers for keeping their reg up to date. Maybe 7 years of wet sand? This is why the rudder foam was saturated with water, sand doesn’t dry out very well trapped inside a fiberglass bottle.

I hosed her out through the breach for a good 15 – 20 minutes, sand was way up in there.



I keep ragging on the Viglands because Alan lost my blocks! I’d also like to interview his son Todd who works for the Land Conservancy as part of Around Lake Michigan. One of the questions I plan to ask him is, do you ever lay awake nights and regret your ill treatment of my boat? It’s not fair really, my family neglected our 14 too, just ask my buddy Dave Crowley who worked on it last year. Where is Dave Crowley by the way?

Here’s the basic steps. Grind down the damaged area, removing gelcoat and broken fiberglass to expose solid fiberglass structure. Clean the area with acetone. Lay a sheet of clear plastic over the area and draw the outline of the repair on the plastic with a crayon. Cut out the shape from the plastic, this becomes a pattern for cutting glass fabric to the same shape. Do a bunch of plastic patterns first and then use them to cut a bunch of glass patches all at once, this will maximize how many patches you get from the glass and minimize the amount of glass fibers released into the air. We used biaxial glass which is tightly woven glass stitched to a layer of glass matte. This makes a very strong repair but the fabric tends to release lots of tiny fibers when cut. Which reminds me, here’s a picture of two scientists investigating a UFO crash site…


Actually, that’s Patrick and moi blessing the beloved hulls, dressed for success. Glass fibers and grinding dust are not compatible with lung operation or bare skin, eyes can be put out with flying debris, ears go deaf if subjected to endless hours of power tool noise. Isolate your work area and your clothing. This stuff sticks to cloths and will go with you, so when you are done or breaking for lunch, vacuum yourself off, strip your outer skin and wash skin with cold water. Keep children and pets far away, they don’t know better.

I did 95% of the sanding indoors and even when outside I kept my HEPA vacuum handy. Don’t even think about doing extensive renovation without a solid HEPA vacuum and plenty of replacement bags / filters. Standard vacuums and shopvacs just put the dust back into the air.

Kai was telling me that in Europe, you have to be certified to do glass work, the materials are not even available to the average Joe. The Europeans aren’t dumb, this shit is not to be trifled with. Sanding outdoors is generally a bad idea. I used a sanding tent in my garage and was able to capture most of the dust. Even so, some objects near the seams of my tent got a light dusting and had to be carefully cleaned. I am not kidding here, don’t skip the preparations. A slick boat is not worth your health. Small footprint!

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