Restoration project

Hello all,

I have recently acquired a mirror in a bit of a state, am keen to get her back on the water this summer. She is fibreglass over ply, and has some hairline cracks along the hull, a gash at the fore transom, no daggerboard, spars, or tiller, missing hatch covers, but did have a tin of Carlsberg rolling around inside when I picked her up. I had access to a moisture meter through work, so made a good inspection of the hull which showed consistent and low moisture readings all over, so I am inclined to believe that there is no terminal rot set in.

I am very keen to hear advice from anyone on pitfalls or tips when it comes to making good a dinghy that obviously needs a lot of attention. I know this is a vague ask, because in this case I don't know what I don't know! Though I'll be sure to document my progress in case anyone is interested.


PuffinInTegel's picture

Not having owned a glassed-over boat myself, I'm no expert, but from hearsay and observation I believe that fibreglass over wood is usually bad for the boat. With something the size of a Mirror this may not be true in all cases because one can keep the boat absolutely dry. In Germany the term often used for fibreglass sheathing on wood is "Leichentuch" which translates to "funeral shroud". However it is usually used in relation to a bigger yacht that spends most of its time on the water, as opposed to a dinghy.
One tip: when introducing yourself or requesting advice, add your location. You'll find that in many cases, help is nearby and parts may be readily available, especially because rigs and bits and pieces often outlive the hulls.
I hope you find this forum useful and share your experiences here with our other members.
Gernot H.

curlew's picture

I sometimes soak suspect wood with Ethylene Glycol and then let it dry for a couple of days to kill any biological action before painting or fibreglassing. This stuff is blue antifreeze, it is sweet but moderately poisonous, so keep cats away.
I suggest you practice how to make epoxy repairs and how to mix repair pastes etc., as per West System web pages. Mirror repairs are easy once you have courage to make the first cut. I don't think I would recommend fibreglass sheathing.


Thanks for the tip Gernot H, I hadn't considered that. Am in Cornwall, UK. She'll be kept out of water, so I hope this won't be an issue.

David, this rings true as I have been putting off the hull repair slightly. I will make sure to practise first, and the eth glycol is def worth looking into as well.

Much obliged for your advice.