Bottom Repair – The Big Peel!

Jeff Hickman od Bayside Boatworks does what he does best... removing layers of hydrolysed laminates.

Jeff Hickman of Bayside Boatworks does what he does best… removing layers of hydrolysed laminates.


I finally got the bottom peeled. It was worse than I thought and required peeling off more material than I expected. The expense was enormous! And I’m not done yet. Have to apply two layers of heavy cloth in addition to barrier coat and bottom paint. Total cost will be more than 5 times what I budgeted. Here are pictures of Jeff Hickman of Bayside Boatworks peeling the bottom. Jeff is the best there is out here for doing this kind of work. I need one good warm week to apply laminate layers. The forecast is for four days at end of this month. Need to get supplies and tools and be ready.

It took two deep passes to remove the hydrolysed laminates.

It took two deep passes to remove the hydrolysed laminates.


I was hoping for a light peel just to remove the old bottom paint, epoxy barrier coat and  gel-coat. The original plan was to apply 5 coats of epoxy as a new barrier. Starting with the bow, we soon discovered two passes were required to remove all the compromised glass mat over top of the roving. The proper repair is of course to remove all the compromised material, which has no structural strength then replace with new fibreglass cloth.


Good news is the roving looks very good, much better than Jeff has seen on boats for some time. I need to apply 2 layers of 17 ounce bi-axial cloth (1708) to replace what Jeff peeled off. It is better to do this now than wait longer, as more layers would have to be removed at a later date. After considerable discussion and research I decided I must use vinyl-ester for the entire lay-up job. Then I will apply a barrier coat under the final hard bottom paint, likely Pettit Trinidad. I plan to apply white polyester gel coat for 6″ to 8″ at the boot strip, above the water line. I may do a blue or red waterline boot stripe in Pettit EZpoxy2. I can easily brush this on with a foam brush.  I made measurements to the water line stain so I know where the new waterline goes.

Patch in hull revealed after peeling.

Patch in hull revealed after peeling.

We encountered only one surprise… a patch on the port side near the rear engine room bulkhead. It was done properly and there was no indication it was there until we peeled the bottom. I will have two strong layers of 1708 bi-axial glass over top, so there will not be a problem in the future. This material is much stronger than the original roving and the glass mat it replaces. The result will be a stronger hull that will last for many years.

Lay up schedule like this:

0) Sand/grind areas that the peeler could not reach.
1) Vinyl-ester resin rolled and brushed onto bare hull
2) Immediately apply first layer of 1708 from bow to first set of side stands. Roll out air bubbles.
3) When first layer kicks, apply second layer of 1708 overlapping the seams.
4) Repeat steps 1-3 stopping long enough (over night) to allow resin to set and move stands, continuing until entire bottom is done. Will take at least 3 to 5 dry days with temperature above 60 deg F.
5) Apply 3 coats of barrier coat using thumb print test between coats (all done one day).
6) When thumb print ready, apply hard bottom paint as base coat (contrasting colour to final bottom paint)
7) Apply final coat Pettit Trinidad Red Bottom a few days before launch.


Bottom pealed and ready for preparation for laminates.

Bottom pealed and ready for preparation for laminates.

Continued under post “Bottom Re-lamination”…

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4 Responses to Bottom Repair – The Big Peel!

  1. Some questions: You say the cost was enormous but give no numbers. How much was the peel? Why was it 5 times more than you budgeted? Was that five times more than the estimate?

    Thanks for the info!

    • Captain says:

      I had originally budgeted for removal of all the old paint, epoxy barrier coat and gelcoat to examine the glass. From there I wanted a new epoxy barrier coat. What we discovered when the old gelcoat was removed, was not pretty… severely hydrolysed fiberglass and evidence of 3 different blister repairs done at various times of the boat’s 30+ year history, mostly done wrong. The quote was revised for the peel so all the hydrolysed glass and old blister repairs could be removed. It was a deep cut and required two layers of 1708 glass and in some places 4 layers. I simply did not have all that in the budget, that is why it cost so much more than planned. Now that it is done, it was money well spent to revive this wonderful cruising boat.

  2. ed says:

    Hi Captain, The Hull looks great, I just had mine done and at this point the lamination is complete the boat is coated with putty, and the fairing begins. Did you apply any type of barrier coat after you faired the hull? If so what product and did you put on 3 coats? Thanks, Ed

    • Captain says:

      My peel was above and below waterline. Above the waterline will have matching white gelcoat, so this area is barrier coated with the same vinyl-ester resin (Derakane 8084), 3 coats. Below the waterline, I use a Sherwin Wlliams epoxy barrier coat (Mil Spec), then a hard bottom paint as primer for final bottom paint.

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