The Thousand Dollar Hole (or How I saved Journey from drowning in a sea of debt)

Make an OK sign with your hand.
Look at the hole. We had a hole roughly that size on the
bow, just under the anchor. It was, well, look at your thumb, nail forward. It
was about as deep as your thumb is wide. Unless of course, your thumb is unusually wide. In which case, grab
someone else’s thumb and give it a look-see.
I wanted this hole fixed. And by fixed, I mean, I wanted the
fiberglass to not look chopped up, and I wanted it to be watertight. Nothing
fancy, just repaired.  I wanted the hole
I talked with two fiberglass guys here at the yard.
The first one gives me a bonified, written estimate, figures
it will take around 22 hours of work. I’m listening to his spiel, thinking
WTF?? 22 hours for this???
Make an OK sign.  22
hrs for that.  Right.
Then he hands me the estimate.
Are you sitting down?
Make an OK sign.
I told him I wasn’t sure it was a thousand dollar hole, and
he started explaining how he would first have to grind it all out and make it
rounder. Ahhhhh, now I understood. He was going to make it a bigger hole.
That’s how he can charge close to $1000.00.
The second guy I told up front that I didn’t see a thousand
dollar hole, so he gave me a verbal estimate of $750.00. He really wanted to
fix a bigger hole too. I was paying these guys for a destruction phase that I
didn’t really want.
Make an OK sign. That was a big enough hole for me.
I told Al off the top of my head, that I thought I was
looking at about a $45.00 hole. I told Al I was going to tackle the hole
He gave me the OK sign.
I picked up some formula 27 stuff on sale at the WM (that’s boat
speak for West Marine store).  I mixed
the stuff up like epoxy and climbed up to the hole. I toweled it in. I smoothed
it as best I could. The epoxy kicked, and I thought” whoops, too much hardener,
that was not five minutes.” But it was all good, as I gave the area a look-see.
No more hole.
The next day I started the sanding and smoothing process. I
was attempting to recreate the sharp compound curves at the very front of the
ship. It’s not that hard. Soon I had a reasonable facsimile of the original
lines of the bow.
At this point, I had $20.90 and thirty minutes into the job.
I then attacked (alright, maybe not the best choice of
words) it with the Dremel sanding drum. Now I was really getting somewhere, the
thing was starting to look a lot how normal looks.
I wasn’t done yet though. No siree Bob. I only had about an
hour of real work here, and a lot of that had been almost too fun to classify
as work.
Whole (nearly there)
I broke out the Marine Tex. I keep a little kit of this
handy epoxy stuff around and have used it to plug up any number of holes on old
Journey. The best part is that it’s white. The boat is white. My repair was
still rather grey, so I troweled some on and smoothed it out with a sandwich

The next morning, I gently sanded some more with the Dremel
sander, and Voila! She is done! (throw the French hand kissy thing here)
Of course, all of this was fraught with real danger for
me.  I had to work the entire time
suspended over the “anchor of death.” (See picture)

 Al was concerned about my
safety so he covered the anchor of death with the “bucket of salvation.” (See


I’m sure the yardguys are thinking they could have done a
better job. Heck, I’m thinking the yardguys could have done a better job.
But two hours and about thirty bucks in materials…. No
contest. I love when I end up being cheaper than even I think I am.
And I got the best compliment ever; Al took one look and
flashed me the OK sign.  
100% fixed whole No-hole!


Anonymous said...

That was just too funny Martha, you got my OK...S/V Colleen Mae

S/V Veranda said...

Too bad there was only one hole. If there had been a half dozen or more just think of the coin you coulda saved....

Great job...

MJ said...

Ahh, yes, mistakes on a production scale.