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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:25 pm 
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Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:17 am
Posts: 22
I set out to repair 3 leaky wing tubes only to find the fiberglass in surprisingly good shape. I thought that the fiberglass would be cracked/weakened if the leaking was due to freezing. It seems perfectly intact and strong to me. Upon closer inspection I can see that there were air pockets between the gelcoat and the fiberglass and I can easily flake out the bad gelcoat (see photos).

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So, Should I go through the trouble to prep and fiberglass the tube? Or should I just clean out the bad gelcoat and re-coat the inside of the tube.
Also, even if I do re-glass the wing tubes, will I still have to re-gelcoat it? Has anyone else had these cracks/airpockets in their tubes before? What's the best way to re-gelcoat the inside of a tube?

There is my pickle- all opinions are appreciated.
Thanks.

Edit: FYI the hulls are from 1987. And sorry for the huge images.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2015 4:24 pm 
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Site Rank - Old Salt

Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
Posts: 3706
Location: Jersey Shore
Did you identify the exact location of the leak by filling the tube with water and seeing how far down the water drops in the tube?

You should not be counting on gelcoat for sealing the wing. The gelcoat will inevitably crack again since it has very little structural strength. My guess is there's a crack in the tube that you just aren't seeing.

The other question is how much do the wings actually leak? If it's a relatively small leak rate, you may be better off just accepting it than fixing the tube. My first 17 was fairly leaky, but it had access ports installed in the hulls and I would just sponge out the water after each race.

Anyway, if you really want to fix a leaky wing tube, I think you need to get inside the hull and wrap some glass around the tube. If it's the front tubes that are leaking, I would just add a 5" access port behind the crossbar. This allows you to fix the wing tube, have storage inside the hull, dry the boat out, and fix the centerboard trunk if it cracks where the spring sits.

sm


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 4:57 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:17 am
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Srm: Thanks for your input.
Yes, the leak is fairly far down on two, and then the third one has a leak that's pretty high up.

I already have access ports in that I've taken out to give me more room to work (and because I wanted to reset them anyways).

The water flows in pretty quickly from the wings that have the low leaks- Those must have bigger cracks that I just can't see. I'll be doing a complete repair of those. Then depending on how well those go, I may repair the third or just leave it.

Thanks


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 5:01 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2012 9:17 am
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Has anyone ever gel-coated the inside of a wing tube after a repair? I wonder if I should just leave it be... I bet I could really screw things up (like if I accidentally let gel-coat pool on the bottom).


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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2015 8:19 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:11 pm
Posts: 5174
Location: Detroit, MI
hobie008 wrote:
Has anyone ever gel-coated the inside of a wing tube after a repair? I wonder if I should just leave it be... I bet I could really screw things up (like if I accidentally let gel-coat pool on the bottom).

The gel coat on the inside of the tube is just cosmetic. Rough sand the dings then fill them flush with your favorite polyester filler (Formula 27).


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