Re-Gelcoating the Hull

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2018 - 2019
  For several years now we have noticed that the hull Gelcoating was rather thin and showing “stress” cracks due to mooring forces on fenders resulting in “damp” patches or possibly over zealous polishing.  One area getting larger by the year proved an expensive repair but of course had to be done.  It was clear that some form of protection had to be applied but what?  We looked at Paint but that would have little effect at strengthening the hull or increase its thickness.  We also looked at Wrapping which is becoming popular but had the same disadvantages as Paint.   Finally we looked at Gelcoating.  At an additional minimum of 3 mm thickness this would indeed strengthen and thicken the hull.  It would also be easily repaired in case of the inevitable “knock”.  The cost was the most expensive of all but not by as much as we originally thought making the advantages worth the extra.  So our choice it seems was made.
By mid September I was deep in organising our planned work outage at Northney Marina producing a specific Task Listing & Work Schedule and fine tuning all the details. The Re-gelcoating outage was purposely designed to merge with the completion of our Headlining (an ongoing project since 2014) and will be followed by another (application of new Hull Decals) after completion.  For more on the Headlining see Headlining section.   Externally we are having the hull re-gelcoated and correcting the indicated waterline. This will strengthen the hull especially where we suffered with Stress cracks. The contractor will be removing all through-hull fittings EG. Exhaust, Bilge pump outlets, Deck locker drains, Windows, etc, and of course the original hull decals.  He will matt the old gelcoat smoothing and filling where required and of course making good any damp or irregular patches.  Then apply some 8 coats of Ivory Gel 9010 (gelcoat of matching colour) all consecutive to ensure a chemical bond, flattening & polishing then reinstalling the removed fittings, minus the old Decals.  This work is expected to take around 3 weeks.  The third contractor will be redesigning the decals keeping close to the original theme for refitting at a later date.
Unfortunately almost from the day we arrived at Northney Marina, the weather took a turn for the worse with many days of rain thus restricting the Gelcoating.   Further more it was found that some of the Windows were too fragile to remove and would have to be replaced. Further, should the original material prove unable to be matched then an additional window will also have to be made making a total of 5.   Fortunately we still have the Moulds which will speed up manufacture (and reduce the cost).  Our problem would be locating them from the storage area and this would be unavoidably delayed until 29th October before being handed over to the contractor. This would be the 4th contractor complicating matters even further.   Oh, and to top it all Sparks marina nearby were having work done and many of their boats were planning to be lifted at Northney thus filling up the lift diary.   This meant that our plans for launching suddenly became less fluid.   Not only that but the manufacture of the new windows and fitting would have to be completed before any launch. The overall project is now getting interesting first starting with just the 2 contractors and now with the 4!

Bow Anchor Guards removed

Antifouling removed

Bow Skimmed
to below waterline

All Windows removed and apertures covered

Stbd side Emblem removed

Engine exhaust
and all outlets removed

Port side Webasto Heater exhaust cover removed

Transom Windows removed, apertures covered and Teak removed

  After just over a week all the required windows had been removed, all through hull fittings (covered for protection during days of inclement weather) and any surface furniture.  The Teak steps on the transom had also been removed as a precaution against gelcoat over spray (roller) in such a confined area.  After just 8 days one side had been gelcoated although not yet flattened or polished.  It was looking good albeit rather odd. After another few days the starboard side and transom had been gelcoated and the port side had been flattened and part polished.   I thought the port side was finished as it had such a shine but was politely informed that more polishing had to be undertaken and that I should literally see my face with the finish.   With just over a week to go before our planned launch it was clear that manufacture of any new windows would not be complete before launch so the blank areas will be sealed up (waterproofed) and the completed new windows fitted back at Wicormarine thus taking the pressure off the Window manufacturer.   Good news, we had found the Moulds hidden away in a barn buried with other goods but safe and undamaged.

Port side gelcoated (8 coats)

Close-up of Heater Exhaust
Surface not yet flattened
or polished

Transom Flattened and awaiting Polishing

Transom Steps removed

  With just a few days to go before launch the Gelcoating looked very impressive. The hull was nearly finished, flattened and awaiting polishing. Once polished with 1000 grit and a final “dust” with 2000 grit she looked like a mirror.   The sheen was amazing. So like a mirror one could even see colours in the reflection. The transformation was so different that we didn’t want to spoil it in any way by adding Decals or even just Lines.   We will have to wait and see.

Starboard quarter showing the “shine” of the completed finish

Starboard side showing the “shine” of the completed finish

The completed first class Re-Gelcoating of ADAT

  There are still a few windows that were so crazed & stressed that will have to be replaced but they can be fitted when we are on the hard at our base at Wicormarine. These will take several weeks to manufacture and install but will be worth the aggravation. Our time now will be devoted to reinstalling all the headlining panels we took down to allow the Contractor full access giving some assemblance of order and making Adat look like a yacht again only this time a NEW yacht.
With Adat positioned on display adjacent to Northney Marina’s slipway on the front for all to view and again on the hard at Wicormarine, a lot of interest had been made to the contractor, Northney Yacht Repairs.  With our options being Painting and Wrapping I would have to say that Gelcoating although being the most unusual and expensive has certainly proved to be the best by far and well worth the additional cost.  Due to accidental breakage of a rear window, new windows had to be made (at our cost) however the Gelcoating contractor volunteered to fit them.   Starting the Gelcoating on the 5th October and completed early November Adat was motored back to the Hard at Wicormarine.   By mid December the new rear windows were fitted allowing us to rest and enjoy the seasonal Christmas break.   All the external removed fittings had been refitted and she looked so new.
This project has proved to be the best choice of all those proposed.  The Partners of Adat and all those others who have taken the time for a close inspection viewing the “coloured” reflection in the shine, all agree that the Gelcoating is indeed First Class.   We must convey our thanks to Chris Murch of Northney Yacht Repairs Ltd for all his efforts, advice & guidance and would suggest any party interested should first visit his Web site (go to Links) and call for information.   You will indeed be surprised.