I’m a bit of a sucker for a bargain, I just can’t resist it. So when I saw that this old fibreglass dinghy hull on ebay was only going to make £20 I slipped in a sneaky bid. Ok, so it had no mast or sails and I would have to interrupt a fairly busy period of work to go and get it, but £20. Well, it might prove very useful one day.

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A bargain? Well, we shall see.

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Nice rear. Wood looks shot though.

So, it seems that day has arrived. Macavity is due to come out of the water next week for her annual winter renovation session, and I’m going to have nothing to get out on the river with. Also it would make a good basis to demonstrate on my blog what can be achieved with very little outlay if you use a bit of ingenuity. I’ve always loved the look of Charles Stocks’ old boat “Shoal Waters”. I’ve got an idea in my head that I might be able to make a kind of mini open gaff cutter with this hull using an old Mirror dinghy rig salvaged from a previous pile of auction junk. This may well be a terrible idea and end in disaster but if I resist the urge to buy anything new and just use up odd bits kicking about in the shed, I can’t lose much. Cosmetically she is bound to end up looking a bit rough but so long as she sails well enough I don’t really care.

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Rotten wood and plenty of holes. What do you expect for £20? Take heart shoestring sailors, for she will be beautiful.

Right then, first job is to chisel out the remains of all the old rotten wood that once formed the rubbing strakes and their retainers. Then grind out all the soft, damaged fibreglass from the various dinks and gouges (god only knows what happened to this poor boat prior to it appearing on ebay last winter), next blow and wash out these newly opened holes with some solvent.  I used panel wipe here but I don’t think it’s really going to make a whole lot of difference. Paint thinners, meths or even a bit of petrol on a rag will degrease the area. When the solvent had evaporated and it looked like the rain was going to hold off for a day, I filled in the holes with a well mixed splat of epoxy filler. International watertight in this case as I had some for Macavity.

Need to spread the filler over quite a large area whilst mixing in order to drive out the air bubbles.

Need to spread the filler over quite a large area whilst mixing in order to drive out the air bubbles.

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Don’t buy mixing pallets. An old cereal packet, shiny side up makes a great free substitute. Keep any thick flexible plastic you come across to make up shaped spreaders when necessary. It all helps.

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This hole went right through. Especially after a bit of ruthless angle grinding.

Another reason for not taking too much time over cosmetics in this case is because I want this dinghy to be ready for action at the first glimpse of winter sunshine. I don’t intend to trailer her anywhere, she will just have to live in the mud in Cockwood harbour until needed. It’s inevitable that she will get knocked about a bit over the winter so there’s no sense in getting all fussy about appearance now.

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Filled, sanded and ready for a splash of primer. Weather looks like it might hold for a couple of days so maybe tomorrow….