To all DIY Drascombers, avoid using automotive body filler on your ‘Pride and Joy’, especially below the water line, it could be disastrous!
You will have ready my review of the rebuild of Clara by my cabinetry making company, Dragon Design in Wales. Despite a thorough check of the underside when we cleaned all the old anti-foul off back to the gel coat, we missed totally what now appears to be a cosmetic finish of a nasty cavity rip that had been packed with car body filler. It looked good but it let in vast quantities of water on Clara’s first launch.
We started just fine yesterday morning, up at 6 to miss the heat of the day and down at the slipway to pop Clara in the water. I moored her and resumed with launching Warrior Spirit, our Atlantic 21 ex RNLI B-Class Inshore Rescue boat. Two hours later I got back to the mooring to find the floor boards afloat in Clara. Did I put the bung in correctly, I asked myself? I bailed with a bucket, then with the hand bailer and finally a sponge, but I could see a constant stream coming from the back of the floor of the aft locker. No time for pics, it was a mad rush to get her to the beach at the slipway and get the camper hitched up with the trailer and retrieve her from the sea.
With so much water still in her when I got back to the boatyard it was quite obvious where the water was entering, because by now the process had reversed itself and the water was pouring out. With very little effort or force from my Stanley knife I exposed the offending material and the extent of the cavity. The water now gushed out from the boat and she was dry in a short time. This could have been a lot worse – that packet of body filler was just waiting to explode and fall out.
Looking at the long and wide cavity I still cannot see what sort of damage would have caused this 10 mm wide and 30 mm deep gash. The wooden keel band is not damaged and this is directly under the damaged area, so it looks like a de-lamination of the moulding. Has anyone got any thoughts on this or past experience of this happening?
So to work! I have only today, Friday 22 August to get this cleaned, prepped and glassed before Saturday when I will be delivering her to Frikes on the island of Ithica. The Wilson Family from Glasgow are picking her up on Sunday in the harbour for their 6th visit to Dragon Drascombe, this for 2 weeks of ‘Luggering about in the sun’.
It’s all cleaned and prepped (note the exposure of the gel coat) and I will be wrapping the chopped strand mat over this edge as well as plugging the cavity with thoroughly wetted mat. The wetting agent is a polyester resin, but with a temperature this morning of 35 and in the sun, I will wait until this evening to do this glassing. She has to be launched in the morning!