The cockpit area gets reinforced with four feet of fiberglass cloth covering the entire cockpit area, then an additional 22″ X 13″ piece of fiberglass cloth goes over the deck recess area. Also, three layers of fiberglass are laminated across the underside of the deck, right in front of the cockpit opening to reinforce the deck.
This is the epoxy fillet around the butt plate that reinforces the underside of the cockpit apron. The fillet is necessary so that the fiberglass cloth will not trap air beneath it, which would weaken the lamination and cause problems.
Same as above except this photo has fill-in flash so that it is a bit easier to see the fillet. This fillet gave me a lot of trouble. The instructions said to thicken the epoxy with wood flour until it was thicker than peanut butter. When I did that, it was impossible for me to get it smooth enough to take the fiberglass cloth smoothly. It took me three attempts and a phone call to Pygmy Boats to get it right. Having never done most of this before, some of these processes are not intuitive. That is especially true when it comes to thickening the epoxy for specific applications. In the case of this process (the butt plate fillet) Pygmy did provide thickening advice, but it didn’t work out very well for me. On a general note: If there is one thing I would change in the instruction manual, it would be to add specific advice about how thick to make the epoxy for each step that calls for epoxy (e.g. thicken epoxy with wood flour until it is as thick as molasses, or, thicken epoxy with wood flour until it is consistency of toothpaste). Since I assume that the vast majority of people reading the instructions have never used epoxy in this way before, just a couple of additional sentences in the manual could potentially save the builder hours of frustration.
Here is all of the fiberglass cloth and tape that I discussed above, finished. As with all of the fiberglass, after the epoxy cures to the green stage (I usually wait 4-5 hours, or even overnight) the excess cloth trims off easily with a utility knife.
Here are the three strips of fiberglass tape laminated across the front of the cockpit to reinforce it. The edges of these will be feathered in a bit so that they are not sharp and after everything gets sanded a bit, then another fill coat of epoxy will eventually go over the inside of the deck.
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