Making short work of it...
Qi have a dory Pilot 460 boat and want to shorten the cabin to make more deck space. Can you explain how to go about this or if it can be done? i want to cut along the line of the dark blue rope (shown on the lower picture) and remove the bulkhead. Will it be easy or too difficult? Tony Davies replies: Well John, it all depends how good you are at hands-on work. Yes, it is a straightforward job, but it needs to be done properly to ensure there is no loss in the strength in the boat. If you are familiar with fibreglassing techniques then you should not have any problems. If this is new to you, however, then you’ll need to learn.
If I were doing this job I would definitely use epoxy resins rather than polyester for the far superior strength it will give the job. I suggest you look on the Wessex Resins website and download (for free) all the guides you need to do the job.
Basically you have two choices. You can chop the boat up and reinforce it using timbers screwed through the fibreglass from the outside to supply the strength. Obviously this will look awful and you’ll lose any resale value but it will do what you want it to do.
Alternatively you can give yourself a crash course in epoxy work and make a professional job of it. In this case I’d carefully cut off the moulded sections and re-use them to finish the areas where you cut the cabin away. To ensure a great finish you will need to paint the superstructure as trying to match the gel coat to the original is a challenge for even hardened professionals.
Personally I’d give the top a light coat of epoxy primer, flat it off smooth and then use aerosols of car paint (base and clear coat) to give a high gloss finish. This means you can always quickly repair damaged areas.
Alternatively you can brush on standard marine paints or, as I have also done in the past, use Dulux exterior house paint which will give several years of use before needing any repainting.
The choice is ultimately yours: do a cheap and nasty job that serves the purpose, or go for a professional looking job at reasonable cost that will give you the added satisfaction of a job well done.
Can John stubbs shorten the length of his Dory pilot 460 cabin easily?