Forums General Discussion New members with questions–bow reinforcement

This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  typhoontye 11 months, 1 week ago.

  • Author
  • #224067

    David Siegel

    Hi all.
    Susan and I are new owners of Phil and Dolores Fontaine’s Aurora, which we are renaming “Winnedumah.” Looking forward to participating with this group.

    For starters, I would love to get some feedback on bow reinforcement. I have seen threads about different approaches, but I have not seen any follow-up to evaluate how they turned out. It seems there are 3:

    1. The approach recommended by Shaw–glassing in a panel of core material
    2. Glassing in vertical ribs
    3. Adding a stringer. It seems this could be done by reinforcing and tabbing in the existing shelf, glassing in a separate stringer, or perhaps both. It occurred to me that the added stringer could also be a board, and the two parallel boards could be the foundation for a cabinet on each side above the v-berth.

    I would be interested in opinions about the merits of these approaches, especially from anyone who has tried them.


  • #224069


    We got the snot beat out of us on a Bermuda crossing about 20 years ago. The V-berth shelves and horizontal bunk panel separated from the hull from the pounding. As I’ve reported in earlier threads, separation started at the forward end of the V-berth shelves, much like a zipper. It then proceeded down the length of the shelves until they were separated from the hull. Without the shelf, oil-canning got worse and the v-berth itself separated. I think that if I had properly reinforced the attachment of the V-berth shelf to the forward bulkhead, I could have prevented the whole problem.

    I had a glass-man do a repair in Bermuda. He added layers of 3/8 glass to the inside of the hull sections on both sides of the V-berth. These overlapped by about 3″, making the reinforcement 3/4″ thick where it overlapped. He added gelcoat to the repair to keep the odor down and make it look nice. I’ve had no problem since, but I’ve never experienced weather like that since then.


  • #224075


    Just my two cents here, but if you don’t have a problem with bow flexing you might hold off doing anything expensive to fix what may be a non-problem. I am 99% sure that ours has not been reinforced, as we bought from the original owner and had a thorough debrief on boat projects. Ours is hull #189, so perhaps structure was beefed up on the later boats. It has always been a salt water boat, primarily plying the waters off the East coast, to the Bahamas every year or so. We sail the Gulf of Mexico and the Gulf stream to the Bahamas primarily and have been in moderately crappy stuff, with no signs of flexing or breakage.

    Blue Moon

  • #224077


    “Effie” is hull number 198 and I have significant bow flexing.

    Pearson 424 cutter - "Effie"

  • #224078

    Rob Osterman

    Hey David,

    Here’s the steps I took to reinforce the bow. Was in some rough weather (10-12ft+, 30+ kt) off of Cape Caution and had no issues with the reinforcement.

    I would suggest wedging yourself up in the bow and see if you can use your feet to push against the hull. If it flexes when you push hard, I think it would be wise to undertake some reinforcement steps if you plan on sailing in open waters.

  • #224079


    That looks like a nice job. I paid to have it done. A guy locked himself in the V-berth for a whole day with a grinder and roughed up the surfaces, then he laid in the glasswork. He had a fan in the deck hatch but I think he lost some brain-cells in the process. I think I paid about $1800 to have it done but that was 20 years ago.

    They way you did it, it would be simple to lay-in some horizontal wood strips and make it neat. I’d suggest running a third set of stringers back a bit farther if anyone else does it. I had flexing all the way back to the next bulkhead. The port-side vanity bulkhead separated from the hull. You’d need more stringers to lay in the wood liner anyway.

  • #224080

    Rob Osterman

    I just realized my pictures on the linked post didn’t show the third set of vertical stringers. I was really impressed with how it all turned out and the improvement it made. I wasn’t able to flex the fiberglass like before and estimate there was 1/2 – 3/4″ total fiberglass added. It was easy adding fiberglass to the anchor locker bulkhead and both the bottom and lower sides of of the horizontal shelf. There really isn’t a lot of fiberglass supporting the shelf and I don’t think it could support the weight of a person with the original glasswork.

    I don’t think I’d ever want to do the job again and was probably the single most miserable boat project I’ve done — probably due to my limited fiberglass skills. Fiberglass dust was everywhere from grinding. Working with that much epoxy was also a little scary as I was worried I’d get it too hot working with big sections at a time. Epoxy “hair gel” was a new experience for me as well. I would gladly pay $1,800 for someone to do the fiberglass work for me and undertake the battens myself.

  • #224081


    Rob & Rob,

    Good poop and thanks for the info and pics. Will definitely file this away for a potential future project.

    One mod the PO accomplished which may be beneficial vis a vis hull flexing is an anchor locker project that essentially sealed off the anchor locker from the rest of the hull. Plywood was added and glassed in, in the anchor locker area.

    I hope my wife doesn’t see Rob’s pretty wooden batts or I’ll be doing the project whether I want to or not!


You must be logged in to reply to this topic.