2010-04-02 / Sports

Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheelhouse

By Captain Vinnie Calabro

Straying from the bay for a bit my friends and I decided to do a little freshwater fishing, hitting some of the ponds and lakes within striking distance from home.

Not too far from port there are the ponds in Wantagh, Hempstead Lake and even closer, by Brookville Park. Some are stocked with trout by the state, while others have fish indigenous to the area, carp – sunnies, pickerel, perch and an occasional largemouth bass. For the most part this is bait fishing with worms and dough balls but artificials and spinner baits do catch. It’s fun fishing and if you go with ultra light tackle your rods will bend.

The weather pattern typical for this time of year is a little confused, one day mild the next wet and cold, still the clocks ticking and each day grows a little longer.

Back to reality of boat maintenance and spring preparation. Fiberglass repairs, especially decks and other related structures, often need repair or replacement depending upon the wear and damage.

At this time I am extending the wheelhouse on my downeaster. The finished wheelhouse will be 40 inches longer and 11 feet wide, allowing for a standup head and seating. I’ll share with you the materials that I am using and if you’re tackling such a project might want to consider this approach. I’ll preface this by saying that the actual work is being subbed out to people much more experienced than I am with fiberglass fabrication.

For all of the new walls and bulkheads I chose nida core board; simply put it’s a cellular composite sandwiched between Fiberglass. For all practical purposes it’s a finished product that saves time, money and weight as compared to Fiberglassing over marine plywood or some other core materials. It cuts easily and depending on the width bends to a certain degree.

I went with ½-inch board and when completed with an overlay of Fiberglass will be around 5/8 inch in width. It’s fairly pricey but not too expensive considering the cost of marine plywood, Fiberglass, resin, labor and time, roughly two hundred dollars for a 4x8 board.

The new walls and bulkheads were laid out and anchored into place and subsequently Fiberglassed over, thus producing a seamless structurally sound bulkhead. Upon drying the new addition will be sprayed with DuPont marine imron, an excellent tough, lustrous top coat that should last years with minimal care. The new composite materials give you a finished product quickly and are easy to work with. So if repairs or additions are on your to do list these ideas might be the answer.

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