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Starboard Locker Cover

We built a mold by laying glass and epoxy over the original port locker cover. That way, we duplicated the original in both size and style. The new cover even has the original Newport logo and background texturing. The original cover was laid upright on a sheet of plywood that was covered with a sheet of polyethylene. Small blocks of wood held the cover in position. Since the bottom edge of the cover was not perfectly flat, we used drywall joint compound to fill any gaps. This was only partially successful since some epoxy leaked under the edge anyway. The original was coated with many coats of paste wax before laying up the resin and glass for the mold. The red coloring of the mold and the cover is due to the West Systems microballon filler that we used to extend the resin. It would probably have been better to use straight epoxy for the first coat because the thickend material tended to trap some small bubbles. Both the mold and the cover have a piece of 1/2" plywood embedded in the flat area to stiffen and strengthen it.

In order to make the drain in the seat, we first had to build a form. In principle, we probably could have used the original seat molding but by building a new form we were able to do all the work in the basement while the boat was under its winter cover. The mold was built from plywood and pine. The radiused corners were built up with drywall joint compound. The whole assembly was given several coats of varnish and then liberally waxed. We should have sanded and varnished even more because the fine grain that was left made it impossible to release the fiberglass from the form without destroying the form.

We alternated layers of woven glass cloth with layers of glass mat. As I recall, there are 4 layers of cloth and 3 layers of mat. After the first layer, we use mostly unfilled West System epoxy. Before starting, we cut out all of the individual glass pieces so that, once we started, we wouldn't have to stop to cut more pieces. Once your gloves get sticky, it is hard to handle the individual pieces much less a full sheet of glass. The corners between pieces overlapped an inch or more so there is inevitable build up there.

We cut out the cockpit seat to receive the drain molding. Much of the seat is cored with 1/2" plywood so we cut out the plywood enough to receive the drains and then cut the fibreglass back from the edge of the plywood to receive the flange of the molding. The whole unit was bedded with filled epoxy. Temporary screws held it all in position while the epoxy cured. If anyone else attempts this, please note that the angle between the seat and the vertical surface in the cockpit well is a little less than a right angle. I approximated it at about 88 degrees and it worked out well.

We only managed to get one coat of paint on the new cover before it was time to go sailing. We'll finish it up this year with the grey non-skid area and white background to match the rest of the boat. Of all the projects that we undertook on the boat, this one held the most possibility for disaster, but we managed to pull it off in pretty good style. It certainly has been a useful addition. We use this locker to hold the life jackets, cushions, and fenders as well as assorted dock lines.

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last modified: February 12, 2021