Gelcoat repair materials & tips topic

Sandy Scott posted this 29 March 2020


I've just bought a Solo (I managed to sail it twice before the lockdown), and I'd like to repair the dings in the gelcoat, so I'm looking for any recommended products or kits you lot have used for this. Specific resisns, pigments or pigment kits, polishes - anything would be great as I'm so new to this.

Any dinghy-specific repair tips would also be much appreciated - there's plenty of tutorials out there, but most seem to be for bigger boats with thicker gelcoats, I'm not sure if anything's different for a racing dinghy!

It's a 2012 Boon, in white.



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Nick Fisher posted this 30 March 2020

Sandy your boat is probably made by Ovingtons, contact them to get gelcoat to match. Small dings can be taken out by heating very gently with a hairdryer. Cheers Nick

Alistair Glen posted this 01 April 2020

Nick's right...make sure you can get the correct gelcoat from Ovi's. Might take a while at the moment.

Basic principle is to remove all the damaged material so you are working with a solid substrate. If necessary, mix up some filler paste (either gelcoat with some microfibres/colloidal silica or epoxy with similar fillers if the dent is quite deep) and fill to just below the finished surface. If you have used gelcoat to make the filler paste you can apply the gelcoat whilst the top layer of the repair is still tacky. If it's epoxy, you'll need to let it cure properly and then abraid the surface to ensure there will be a mechanical bond between the two different systems.

Apply the gelcoat as a couple of thin coats rather than one thick one which might sag or bubble. If you have some thin plastic film (report covers always work well!) you can tape that over the repair whilst it sets; electrical tape will work fine if that's all you have. If you leave the gelcoat open to the air whilst it cures it will harden but you will be left with a slightly tacky surface layer that you will have to remove.

Once you are happy that the repair is filled (ideally, slightly over-filled) it is down to elbow grease and various grades of wet & dry.

There are numerous YouTube tutorials that can provide pictures to save a thousand more words. All the yacht principles are the same as the dinghy principles except that where they are using a 40 grit disc on an industrial grinder, you might want to be using the corner of a piece of 120 grit wet & dry!

Don't panic if the first attempt isn't too pretty; you can always Dremel it out and start again.


Last Edited 01 April 2020

Mark Harper posted this 01 April 2020

TIP: If you can get hold of some PEEL PLY fabric. This nylon cloth has been treated with a release agent, so that epoxy will not bond to it. It’s typically applied over a wet laminated surface and then peeled off when everything is cured, revealing a even surface underneath that is ready for your next layer of epoxy/gelcoat. No cleaning or hours of sanding needed. In actual fact, while the finish looks even, it’s actually textured. The fine weave of the fabric leaves behind tiny bumps and valleys in the cured epoxy and it’s these that your next layer of epoxy will adhere to.

Last Edited 01 April 2020

Alistair Glen posted this 01 April 2020


Beware! Once you start doing your own repairs you will accumulate several boxes of 'stuff' and yards of peel-ply, release film, tubs of microfibres, colloidal silica, etc. Oh yes, a Dremel and attachments, polisher, rollers.....Boxes of the stuff!

I'm just going out to do a bit on the boat, Dear. Not to return for several hours!

Sandy Scott posted this 01 April 2020

Thanks for all the tips. I'll get in touch with Ovington Boats, and try to get some peel-ply - already got the Dremel and associated bits...

Unfortunately the boat's at a club, so going to work on it right now would probably be considered "non-essential" so I'd like to get everything lined up so I won't run out of summer after we're all let out into the fresh air again.

Last Edited 01 April 2020

Sandy Scott posted this 10 April 2020

Turns out Ovington weren't able to help much - my boat's in the window (September 2011 - sometime in 2015) where Steve Boon was making the hulls himself. I've sent him a letter (!), so we'll see what comes of that.

Ian McDonald posted this 11 April 2020

Try Chris Martin at Dinghytec 07966 687785 Solo sailor and repair guru with Phil Scott

Nick Fisher posted this 16 April 2020

Sanndy try this link to youtube by pete vincent of west country boats.

Sandy Scott posted this 16 April 2020

Ian - that's a great tip, Chris can supply the gelcoat, supposedly in the right colour. (I got in touch with him via email [email protected] in case anyone else needs it)

Nick - thanks for that link - I didn't realise it was a brand new video until he mentioned the coronavirus! I'll keep an eye on that channel for the rest of his series on gelcoat repair.

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