We can rebuild it. We have the technology.

Published on March 7th, 2017

In the absence of an official world championship, the JJ Giltinan Championship is the highest honor for the 18-foot class. The 2017 edition on February 25 to March 5 brought together 26 elite teams from five nations on Sydney Harbor to vie for the class’s most esteemed trophy.

But when the Lumix 18ft Skiff hull was badly damaged during a racing incident in Race 1, it looked as though the young team who was sailing the hull would have to use a borrowed hull for the remainder of the seven race regatta.

However, that was before the crew took the damaged hull to the class boat builders, Van Munster Boats, and left it with Brett Van Munster to see what he could do with it to help them out.

Brett and his team are often called on to make repairs caused when the high tech boats are involved in incidents or suffer structural problems as a result of the enormous pressure being applied in the quest for greater power and speed.

Usually the repairs are need for next week’s race which gives the Van Munster team a few days to complete the job. This time they had one day if they wanted to get the skiff back on the water for Race 3.

It wasn’t surprising when the Van Munster boys produced their normal ‘magic’ and got the boat ready in time for it to be collected, driven back to Sydney (from Morriset), rigged and raced in the third race of the championship.

Brett explains: “The repair involved cutting away the damaged area of the hull, deck and internal frames. To get it turned around overnight, we used panels from an old boat owned by the Australian 18 Footers League, which is no “longer being used.

“That mainly involved cutting the old boat into thirds behind the centre case to get the panels and structure required to repair the damage. The team used the longitudinal frames, deck section and hull out of the old boat which was sacrificed.

“The replacement hull section was glued and taped in place, the longitudinal structure replaced and other damaged internal structure repaired. The replacement deck section was then scarfed, bonded and taped back together. The hull and deck were faired and primed around the secondary bonding and non skid added to the cockpit.

“It’s a pretty good testimony to the current one design nature of the class when you can use one boat to repair another.”

Sounds simple when Brett explains the technique, but in fact it was another great job by Brett and the boys, and why the 18ft Skiff fleet continues to rumble on with such strength.

Source: Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League

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