Sunday, May 18, 2014

Feeling Ranty

Not really ranty, just mildly annoyed. Ok, perhaps a bit more than mildly but in the grander scheme of things the 2 things bugging me today are not a big deal. That being said, we have had a smattering of good luck when it comes to marine equipment as of late. As pleased as I am that things are going well if slowly, one needs to have contrast to fully appreciate the good things, so I am not certain whether to be annoyed with Jamestown Distributors for pushing an inferior product or to thank them for giving me something to complain about. An occasional cleansing rant is good for the soul they say.

We have always been positively inclined towards Jamestown Distributors. We have certainly spent enough money with them over the past 4 years to have an opinion. It was our former experience with them that made Mark decide to try their Total Boat resin. Based on the amount of push they are giving this line, it seems like Jamestown has invested quite a bit into these products. We were very, very disappointed in the quality of their product. Not only did it offer poor adhesion but it also lacks sufficient strength and once cured, it becomes extremely brittle. Not exactly what you want when redoing fiberglass. We have to assume that they have lousy quality control.

Mark was so disappointed that he actually took the time to write out a very thorough review of the product and even went so far s to get all engineery and technical on details of his review- and they have not as of yet published the review. It could be a timing issue, but if you are only seeing 4 reviews on the JD site and only one mildly negative, then rest assured they are not publishing the reviews but are cherry picking. I would also like to point out that customer service has not contacted him despite having to submit his review with his email attached to see what they can do to make it right. This is making us not only want to avoid all of the Total Boat products but is making us not feel confident in the Jamestown product review process so I think we will be sourcing products elsewhere. Bummer.

The other thing that is bugging me to no end is trying to find foul weather gear. If you are a man, then there are tons of options. If I was a man, my pick for foul weather gear would definitely be the the Gill OS2 jacket. It has all the features one could ever want plus it is available in fluorescent lime which might seem like not big deal until you realize that if (God forbid!) you ever go overboard wearing a highly visible fluorescent lime jacket is going to improve the likelihood of your crew spotting you. All the MOB drills in the world won't help you if you can not be seen so it is really a good idea to go with the highest visibility color jacket you can.
A photo of my imaginary boyfriend James May in the Gill OS2. I <3 James May and here he is with a cute scruffy dog. BONUS!

I said I would get the Gill OS2 in lime if I was a man, I won't get it though because I am a woman and THEY DO NOT OFFER IT IN LIME FOR WOMEN. This seriously annoys me. It's not just Gill, its just about every foul weather gear manufacturer who usually offer an array of colors for men and women are given the usual, red, white or even better- navy. Yes, if I fall over I want to be in a water colored coat. I know, the hoods are in safety colors but I promise you that if I am ever in need of being spotted I want more than just my head to be covered in a highly visible color. Even worse are the companies who offer women's coats in blueberry or mauve. Seriously. If I am having to don foulies I am not concerned with being fashionable. There is not much you can do when you are suited up and resemble the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Keep you mauve, rose and light aqua and give me hideous but highly visible lime please.Are you listening Helly Hansen, Gill, Henri Lloyd ? Hmm?

I like to end on a positive note. So here is the littlest crew member. Summer is coming!


  1. Seems like women's boating apparel is frequently targeted toward the less-than-serious set. I feel your pain and have been known to buy men's apparel because of that. But they never fit right. In terms of the JD distributors, that's a sad state of affairs that would be seriously annoying. Thanks for the warning. We'll stick with West System.

    1. West Systems is great, but lacks the flexibility for shaping resin gives you. Oh well.

  2. What a bummer about the epoxy. We've had great luck with WEST systems. Tried and true.

    1. We've had great luck with West Systems as well. We used resin this time in an attempt to get more flexibility around odd shapes in the hopes of lessening any air bubbles.

  3. I'd recommend looking up these guys:
    They're a family-owned business in Minnesota. My husband worked with them professionally for years, and we now have the pleasure of working with them as we refit our own boat.

    And as far as foulies go--at least drop-seat technology has evolved!!

    Thanks for writing a great blog.

  4. Try Progressive Epoxy Polymers in New Hampshire. Have heard very good things from people who are very particular about their epoxy about this outfit. Good luck.

  5. Every time I think I am going to say something thoughtful about your current boating situation, I am too overwhelmed by the adorableness that is Kitty.

  6. Here is the resin review sumitted to Jamestown Distributers that didn't get published:

    Cons : Poor Adhesion, Low Strength, Inferior Product Describe Yourself : Advanced Was this a gift? : No

    Completely unsuitable for applications requiring strength and durability.
    Purchased the product for fiberglass work on the underside of a deck. Selected the product based on 5 star ratings from previous reviewers but very disappointed with the results.
    Areas being repaired were below a winch station and other deck hardware on a sailboat; where water had penetrated and rotted the balsa core. These repairs required a high strength product. The repair areas ranged from 36sq-in to 3sq-ft.
    The first attempt at re-fiberglassing, after replacing the balsa core, was unsuccessful. The wet resin had very low tack and would not hold the fiberglass in place when wetted out on the repair surface. Tried wetting the fiberglass on a bench first, then applied the fiberglass to the repair with a roller, held it in place with a board, and used a sponge underneath to conform to the repair surface and provide distributed compression. The result was very poor - large areas with micro air bubbles and partially bonded fiberglass strands. The fiberglass layers had poor adhesive strength and were easily removed.
    Subsequent attempts were conducted by vacuum bagging. These repairs, although providing an improved result, still exhibited substandard bond strength: the fiberglass sheets de-bonded easily and on one repair the shear force exerted by a screw driven into the surface caused it to crumble; on a repair with 6 fiberglass layers two days after it had cured.
    I can't know whether other reviews of this product giving five stars are genuine, but if they are it shows great variability in product quality control. The resin I purchased was blue, other reviews, and the JD picture indicate pink, this alone raises suspicion on product quality control.
    Based on my experience I will never again purchase a Total Boat product; the suspicion being that the entire product line is substandard with poor quality control.
    I've also lost respect for Jamestown Distributors, as a supplier of quality boat products given their adoption and intense promotion of Total Boat; where quality control or product inferiority would appear to be an issue.

  7. I think that's the jacket I have:

    It's the dog's bollocks (a good thing). Cidnie, I don't know your dimensionals, but why not just get a men's small? The arms are overlong anyway (another good thing) and it should fit if you are, say, five-six. Keep in mind that you usually wear it in layers...mine is freakishly huge in just a T-shirt, but I can get several "technical" layers underneath it, including bib foulies and a cop fleece without losing the ability to snap a standard PFD on.

    Re: the resin. Just go West System if you are doing small areas. It's predictable and reliable and easily measured. Solve voids by thickening the epoxy and gentle heating to encourage both flow and kick. Although as it's Texas you're in, perhaps the heating is all around you.

  8. Hmm. After reading the review, I can see why you want resin. I've used 1:1 mixtures with some success (just add MEK) and who cares if you get amine blush inside a deck? Consider a hobbyist place, perhaps: I used to get my resin at this place in Toronto: (VERY basic 1997 webpage!). I also get my specialty two-part paints there. I don't suggest you deal with them so much as I suggest that you skip the "marine" places and just look for fibreglass fabrication outlets. People cast and shape all sorts of things in FG, and as this is structural and not gelcoat stuff, you can stay more industrial...and less marine.

  9. Functional (not just pretty) women's sailing gear. Business idea. just sayin'.