Hobie Forums

Hobie18 restoration
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Author:  Snakeknuckles [ Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Hobie18 restoration

We've had a hobiecat 18 since 1983. It spent its formative years plying the waters of the Chesapeake. It sat out in the sun for many years before going into dry storage for several years. Now decided to put it back in service. The light blue hulls are pretty well bleached out but no major damage. I am thinking blasting the bare hulls w/ walnut shells before new gel coat. Then reassemble with all new hardware. I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts on restoring hulls etc.


Author:  srm [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie18 restoration

I would check and then double check the hulls for soft spots. A 35 year old H18 that's spent years weathering outside in the sun, rain, snow, etc. would be very susceptible to developing soft spots. If there are any soft spots, I would think twice about putting in a lot of effort and expense to restoring the boat.

Also, as far as re-assembling with "all new hardware," what new hardware, specifically, are you looking to install?

The majority of stainless steel and aluminum components won't need more than a good scrubbing to bring them back to like-new condition. You could easily spend well more than the boat is worth replacing parts that don't need to be replaced, not to mention that many H18 parts are becoming difficult to find new.


Author:  John Lunn [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie18 restoration

Shroud anchor plates at the cross bars?
Check they are there, if not, add them.....there is a lot of Forum chat on this subject.
Provided of course (as SRM says) that the hulls are solid and hard.

Also, check the integrity of the cross bars....the effects of salt water on a 1983 boat may uncover some 'softness'.

Those are the critical matters, the hulls, the shroud anchor plates, and the cross bars.

Everything else is convenience......which comes with a price.

You will have the older rudder systems and older rudders.
You may want to upgrade the mast base to a 4 hole version, if you have the old style.
Is the mast rotator bar the old (2 piece) style or the new (one piece) style?

......and the list goes on.

I suggest you keep it safe and simple, and enjoy your sailing.

Author:  SabresfortheCup [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie18 restoration

srm is spot on. Don't bother with new hardware, unless the existing hardware is clearly damaged. Check for soft spots (it's highly likely you'll have at least one), replace the standing and running rigging, install crossbar reinforcement plates (Hobie no longer sells them, but apparently murray's sports has had some custom made), upgrade the mast step, and you should be good to go!

As far as checking for soft spots, I'd put the boat on the ground and walk from bow to stern on each hull. If there's no crunches, then you're good. If it sat on a trailer with rollers, check the bottoms for cracks or damage. Do a bubble test on the hulls to make sure there aren't any leaks in the daggerboard trunks, hull ports, or leaks from the hull lip (a common place for cracks and separation between the deck and the hull). On my boat I had to epoxy the deck lip from the transom all the way to the shroud anchor point, where the deck and hull had begun to separate.

With regards to restoring the hulls, if you're so inclined, I would try polishing up the existing hulls rather than blasting and re-finishing with gel coat. It's been done before by others on here with fantastic results, but it's very expensive and time consuming, and if you're not careful on your quality control you can add a lot of weight. I was able to buff my hulls back to very good condition with considerably less effort!

I'd start with some 3M rubbing compound, a variable speed buffer and a wool pad, and see if you can get the chalkiness buffed out and put a shine on the hulls. If so, why go through the trouble of re-doing the gel coat? If the rubbing compound doesn't do it, you might need to use sandpaper... I'd start with 1600 grit or 1200 grit, maybe even 1000 grit. It shouldn't take very much sanding at all to get through the chalk. Then buff with the rubbing compound, then polishing compound.

Whenever I've had to repair holes/damage with new fiberglass and then new gel coat, my finishing process is as follows:
400 grit sandpaper
600 grit
800 grit
1000 grit
1200 grit
1600 grit
3M heavy duty rubbing compound & wool pad
3M finesse-it II polishing compound & foam polishing pad
Starbrite Hull Polish (Sealant)
Collinite Wax

I've tried skipping steps, it always leaves visible scratches from the previous steps.

Author:  Snakeknuckles [ Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie18 restoration

Wow! Thank you all for your response. I will check the hulls for soft spots and do a leak test as suggested. The boat had a pretty good life when it was on the water as it was on a lift during the season and almost always inside a garage during winter months. (It spent the last 10 years neglected but inside a shed). The mast step and rudders will definitely need to be upgraded. I will see about upgrading shroud anchor plates. I will take pics in a few days and post for further comment.


Author:  Snakeknuckles [ Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:52 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie18 restoration

The good news is that the hulls dont seem to have any soft spots or cracks. the bad news is the left hull is pretty severely dented at the trailer roller:
Thankfully, it is right underneath the access port so repair shouldn't be too difficult. Other hull looks great. ( am I allowed to use"left" and "right") here- on dry land?)



The plan is to strip the hulls, do bubble test, make all repairs and either paint, or gelcoat. I am still leaning towards prepping with walnut shell blasting as I have a pretty good rig for that.

Author:  John Lunn [ Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:55 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie18 restoration

For a H18 of that vintage, it is in pretty good shape.
Strip down the boat, do your repairs, and buff the hulls....no need to paint or gelcoat, they look fine.
You'll need a bunch of small stuff (such as a new mast bearing), the shroud anchor plates, new shroud pins, service the rudders (new delrin screws?), some rigging, and you should be good to go.

Author:  SabresfortheCup [ Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:28 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie18 restoration

Wow, that roller did a number on the hull! Fortunately, there is a Hobie hotline article on making that exact repair. Hopefully the damaged area doesn’t go up to the foam sandwich area, so you won’t have to get into that. (The bottom of the hulls are made of solid fiberglass, but the sidewalks and decks are a “foam sandwich”, with fiberglass layers on the inner and outer surface and foam in the center). Get rid of those rollers and put some bunks on that trailer!

I agree with John, refinishing those hulls would be a waste, the gel coat looks great already! My hulls looked somewhat similar, and they buffed back to a mirror finish with some heavy duty rubbing compound and a little bit of elbow grease!

DEFINITELY need to replace the mast step, it looks like the step is raised about an inch off the crossbar! Be sure to check the crossbar for cracks before you go through with the replacement. If it’s cracked, it needs to be replaced.

You’ll most likely need to drill out the delrin rudder screws and service the rudder system to keep the rudders from locking up in the down position. Take care not to lose the rudder springs, Hobie doesn’t have any replacements.

Author:  SabresfortheCup [ Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Hobie18 restoration

On closer inspection, the gel coat doesn’t look “great” necessarily, but I’d try to polish it up and see how it comes out. Think of it this way, if you blast and re-gelcoat the hulls, you’ll probably have to buff them anyway. Might as well practice on the old gelcoat first!

I’d look over that trampoline too. If it sat out in the sun for 10+ Years, it might not have much life left in it. If it’s still in decent shape though, a double grommet kit might extend its useful life. Not high priority, but something to consider.

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