My first mirror dinghy - help with small repairs

Hello everyone, this is my first post for my first boat.

I bought this boat in Kent for 350 pounds, sale number 3168, with dates back to 1965. It looks in fairly good condition.

As I am preparing it to sail (or having a friend teaching me how to sail) I have noticed a couple of items that will need some work to make good.

1 - I noticed a crack running all along the timber batten on the side of the centre board housing

a) should I replace it by taking out the epoxy and tape and sanding etc which seems a lot of work that can go wrong...

b) could I just sand, fill the break line with epoxy, add some glass tape to the top and add a coat of resin on top

I would rather go for b as it seems less intrusive and easier to accomplish :)

2 - I noticed some fissures in the bottom of the boat floor.

a) should I just sand and add some new epoxy over the area, maybe in the bottom as well?

b) should I add some glass tape to reinforce the area? In that case, could I just add tape to the bottom, or does it need to be on both sides?

c) or is this normal and it happens as its a timber boat and Im being too stressed about it?

Apart from that I am going to paint the hull and apply a new coat of varnish to the deck/top. I will use International Primocon; pre-kote; toplac and goldspar satin finish to the top.

Any help with my questions would be great!

curlew's picture

Your boat looks i good condition. I think I would wait and see if it leaks.
These cracks are commonly seen but are very hard to repair by just superficial epoxy work.

Joao Simoes's picture

David, thank you!

Regarding the centre board batten in the first two pictures, should I also just wait out and test it in the water?
I think I could at least close the top of the crack with epoxy to stop water being soaked into the timber... does that make sense?

Also, is curlew the boat from dinghy mirror videos? :)

curlew's picture

Hi Joao
Yes, you can do that. Sometimes epoxy works better if you use just one thin layer of tape.
It is possible to kill rot spores by applying blue antifreeze and leaving to soak for 48 hours, but be careful as it is somewhat toxic to animals and humans.
Curlew is the boat in the videos.
Good sailing

PuffinInTegel's picture

... welcome here.
I'd go for 1 b). Possibly someone put to much stress on the centreboard when righting the boat .
As to 2 -- just do the sand, paint and varnish job, go sailing. A pliable varnish may be adequate to stop water ingress into such small cracks. If it doesn't leak and the ply doesn't go dark, you've won. If it does either, I'd strip the tape off the inside, sand over the resin below, let the wood dry out and apply a wider tape to cover the crack areas.
I made various attempts to stop some minimal leaks around my centreboard case over a period of more than twenty years, then gave up and tore it out to redo that part of the bottom. The work is described in on pages 4 and 5.
I hope you get finished on time for the start of the Summer season.
Gernot H.

Joao Simoes's picture

Hi all,

So I bought epoxy and some filler to close the crack.

I have also started to prepare for painting. After spending some time sanding with the whole paint crumbling and making everything white, I ended up going for a heat gun + spatula combo.

Its looking pretty clean and will allow me to do a good primer and top coat with a 2 component system. hopefully it will last some time!

after that I will be scraping/sanding the varnish and adding some new coats

It's being quite interesting as a project, hopefully I'll get to sail it too!

PuffinInTegel's picture

Good to hear that your're making progress.
You choice of varnishes/paints sounds good. We're looking forward to some pictures.
Let us have your details if you'd like them to be included in the Roll Call (
Gernot H.