I recently purchased a 19'78 I-36 "C'est la Vie" - a fixer upper and became an association member. After working out basic problems (such as the engine), I have decided to haul out and do blister repairs on the bottom. Attached are some pictures you may find interesting from the work in proggress. Also, there is a picture of the keel/hull joint with visable cracking (which seems to be a "norm").

The blister job was not a "total" work. I decided to attack each of the blisters independently instead of striping all paint and gelcote as a "total" work would be. Essentially, I have ground out each blister to the "good looking fiberglass", washed them, let them dry, then applied West System in two phases: pure epoxy as sealant and epoxy with silica and high density fillers.

In the process I discovered serious cavities in the aft edge of the skeg along the entire length of the rudder (see pictures). I decided to open them out, then dry and refill them with epoxy and glass. This information may be helpful when examining the skeg/rudder area. I do not know if this problem leads to a weakening of the rudder support, (due to exposure to water) however it is indeed a great illustration of the osmosis process :-).

Then after sanding (for n-th time) I have applied two coats of copolymer paint. I will see how it will work in long term. Major factor in deciding for this "minimum" blister repair was the state of other components, mainly mast and rigging. If I can recover from mast repair, within a couple of years I will revisit blisters. Also, local boatyard people told me that with these blisters (not bigger than a quarter), major repair was not really necessary and would be done only for economical reasons: it takes time (I have done it myself, so my time was "free").

They also told me I should expect more blisters comming out next haulout but in much fewer numbers than this time. Oh I know what to do: run away!! :-)

It took me about 21 days to finish.

The only problem that ended up unresolved is the shaft strut which have big noticeable slack in the bearing and makes for noisy sailing. I failed to remove the shaft itself. We have tried several approaches but nothing worked. Boatyard finally gave up on it as well. My shaft is in perfect alignment with the skeg so there is no possibility to slide it aft. The only way would be to remove the engine, or remove the strut or cut the strut in half and then add some kind of clamp to hold it together. I have not decided to do any of this for now. Do you know how others have solved this problem? I have a Perkins 4107 engine.

Thank you for any suggestions.


Michal Krombholz, "C'est la Vie"

Click pics for full size image.

Lots of those little suckers! Typical hull/keel joint line.
Lots of sanding! Top os skeg gets the full treatment.
Full length of skeg - note cavity at the bottom. Cavity detail.
Ready to come back together. Barrier coat makes it look good.
Finish coat makes it look great!

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