Bad Damage to Fiberglass (repost)

“Feels like it’s the battle trenches down there. Sounds like bombs going off. It’s gnarly!!” said Spencer, emerging from the cabin after a rough night. We were sailing Aldebaran into the wind, bashing our way North.

His colorful impressions were in fact a foreshadowing of the damage we discovered on the last day of our passage to Marquesas.

NOTE: I accidentally published a personal message about this, intended for one of our boat mentors. Oops! If you read it, I hope it wasn’t confusing… Ok, back to our post, which offers some better context:

When we’re going upwind on Aldebaran, the waves can sometimes splash with a violent motion upward onto the wings of the boat, causing an intense reverberation in the hulls. This has been described as “having your bunk hit from below by a crazy kid with a 2×4 piece of wood”; or “looks like someone just got defibrillated! ” Quotes: Dave Clark and Sabrina.

We’ve been concerned about the slamming of water, but so far, all we’ve seen is paint being peeled off by the abrasion of the waves. This is impressive in itself, but it didn’t prepare me for what I saw, just 65 nautical miles from our landfall in Fatu Hiva.

We discovered it during a swim break when the wind died. A large section of the boat’s fiberglass had been delaminated from the underside of the wing.

“Noooo waaaaaay!” I said with the dismay and mixed emotion of someone who is so close to an elusive goal; but is now paying the price for the feat.

So what happened? I believe we hit something, perhaps a small log. It cut into the underside of the wing, and offered an entry point for the firehose-pressure ocean water to plunge into, slowly separating fiberglass from the wood structure it adheres to. As soon as water enters the cavity, its weight continues the process of de-lamination.

What are the repercussions of this? Although we can limp along and sail the boat, the sooner we haul out and repair the fiberglass, the better. Like a cancer, the delamination will spread if it is not addressed.

In an ideal world, we’re hoping to accomplish this haul out in Hiva Oa, which has a new facility as of 2016.

We should have more information by next week. Fingers crossed that it works out.

Photo: removing the first round of delaminated fiberglass at sea

3 thoughts on “Bad Damage to Fiberglass (repost)

  1. As the delamination appears to be above the waterline- at least in the photo- can it be fixed without the expense and delay of hauling out? Fingers crossed it can!

  2. Oh my goodness…hopeful that you can find repairs available in Fatu Hiva…I am guessing it won’t be like sailing into Ensanada, MEX Harbor where there are tons of workers just waiting to find some work repairing your boat, right? Hahaha one can be a dreamer anyway!

  3. I’m so sorry to read of this serious situation. Please keep us posted of your efforts to repairs this. Obviously it can be done and if anyone can overcome such adversary you, Kristian are the man!

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