We've been using our Merrimack Prospector as a dinghy for our schooner. We love the canoe and have used it lots in the decade we've owned it--and I realize that I need to repair its many small problems.
The canoe is fiberglass laid over very thin cherry ribs. Gunwales, seats, thwarts are ash and cherry. The problem is two fold--first, a few of the cherry ribs have small cracks in them--I've talked to the Merrimack company about how to repair and they suggest simple application of fiberglass and resin patch over the damaged spot. This will be thin enough to not distract from the looks of the ribs. The fellow I talked with about doing the repair stated I should also lightly sand the boat and apply a polyurethane to seal the entire interior if it seems that the resin is getting thin over the ribs. It most definitely is getting thin. The other day we left the canoe sitting upright (it is normally stored upside down on deck) and the dew on it actually caused one of the top areas of a rib to split! Yikes!
Ah, but then the question then comes up "which resin?" The boat was built with a vinyl ester resin according to the sales folks (rather than polyester resin) but I haven't confirmed this with the tech folks there that the sales dude is right. He seemed to not know too much about the older boats, so it may just be that the new boats are vinyl ester but old ones are polyester resin.
OK, I'd planned on fixing it using West System since we have it sitting around and I can use it readily. However--is this OK on vinyl ester as well as on polyester?
Any other materials that I should consider? I figure that many folks here build their own canoes and kayaks so can advise on this matter.
Here are a couple pics of the canoe since I know you guys like pics
All the links are large images