Fiberglass Question

Fiberglass Question

Postby djm » Sat Aug 27, 2011 5:15 pm


First post from a guy who recently acquired an older (1985) Santana with the old style deck. I am truly enjoying the boat.

I have had one issue that *may* be related to the boat or may simply be a physical stress-related factor on my body. We were racing downwind, and I got the genoa flying wing-on-wing using my arm to stretch the sail out a bit to starboard (no pole). In doing this, I was stretched out putting a fair amount of weight on my elbow, which was obviously quite close to the rail. Here is the issue. Immediately after and since then, I have had a sensation in my elbow that reminds me of the "prickly" effect I'd get as a young man when I helped friends/family install fiberglass installation in their homes. FWIW, it is also not just me. SWMBO also gets this on her knees when rigging the jib, or when leaning out while working the tiller.

So, has anybody else experienced something like this, and if so what did you do? Is deterioration of the fiberglass in the hull something that I should be concerned about now and moving forward. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Also, if anybody wants to give me some tips to help me sail this boat faster I am of course all ears!

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Fiberglass Question

Postby Quitcherbitchen » Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:38 pm

The prickly feeling is very normal. It is fiberglass shards. Considering how old your boat is this is normal. Scrub the deck really good with a stiff brush, but try to buff out the smooth areas with a good fiberglass polish to try and seal in the gelcoat. I use Flitz metal polish. It really works good on fiberglass and aluminum.

Quitcherbitchen 66
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Re: Fiberglass Question

Postby mckeever » Sun Aug 28, 2011 6:20 am

The likeliest source of glass fibers is any of the three hatch covers. They were built without gelcoat in order to remain translucent. If there are spots on your deck where the gelcoat has worn thru, they could also produce fibers. Gelcoat is the colored surface of the layup and contains no fibers. I have never heard of fibers migrating thru intact gelcoat from the layers below.

I coated my hatch covers with catalyzed polyester resin and was not very satisfied with the life of the coating. My next attempt will probably be some sort of two-part urethane coating concocted for full sun. With non-skid grit in the case of the forward hatches...

| Mike McKeever - Santana 20 #713 "Feisty!" - Boulder, Colorado
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Re: Fiberglass Question

Postby djm » Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:26 pm

Thanks to both of you. I suspected that it was normal and could be handled, and we'll set about doing so.
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Update on old post

Postby djm » Wed Jun 20, 2012 4:45 pm

A good brushing and buffing was all it needed. No problems this year, and I'm sailing much better.
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