Tape or No Tape?

I have just started filleting the hull seams on my Shearwater 17 Hybrid.  Since the entire interior of the  cockpit, including the hull seams, gets fiberglassed, I am wondering if it is necessary to use the fiberglass tape on those seams first or to just reinforce them with the full cockpit lining?  Obviously I will tape the seams in the bow and stern compartments.


7 replies:

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RE: Tape or No Tape?

What do the instructions say?

If the joint is high stress, subject to flexing, etc., the designer will specify tape and cloth. Glassed areas get their strength from continuous glass fibers. A single long piece of tape is stronger than short pieces that don't carry through under bulkheads & stuff.

So if both are specified, go with what the instructions say.



RE: Tape or No Tape?

The problem is that the instructions are not clear on the subject.  Would appreciate it if someone at CLC would weigh in.


RE: Tape or No Tape?

tape it.  i built a shearwater 16 last summer,  great boat!   you put down the fillets and smooth them and then lay the tape down on top of the still uncured fillets.  

i am sure that it makes so difference if you put the tape onto wet or cured fillets,  but it made it easy for me to make clean looking seams.  


enjoy the boat! 

RE: Tape or No Tape?

Hi Paul,

On page 31 of the Shearwater Hybrid manual it says this:

 "While the fillets are still soft, cut fiberglass tape (9 oz fiberglass cloth 3" wide) to cover the interior fillets"

By my reading, I assumed they meant *all* "interior fillets" with one exception where the manual later states that (also page 31):

"It is not necessary to use fiberglass tape around the bulkheads. The fillets are plenty strong enough."

There is no exception mentioned for the cockpit area though possibly someone who was exceptionally concerned about minimizing weight might see an opportunity there. But strength is important too. (I used some tape on the bulkheads, just to be anal, having heard of cases where the front bulkhead collapsed in a situation where a boat was pitched on its nose in surf, wedging the occupant in the bow in a manner that might well have been fatal had someone not been nearby to pull the kayak out of the surf and extract the unfortunate victim.)

Anyway, I suppose the wording could be considered somewhat vague, but I taped my cockpit fillets, and glassed the cockpit with 4 oz glass the following day.


Ogata (eric)

RE: Tape or No Tape?

The CLC boats tend to be over-designed when it comes to use of fiberglass cloth, but that extra layer of tape adds only a few ounces and guarantees that the joint will be a lot stronger than the wood it joins.  I agree with Eric on taping the bulkheads.  I didn't tape them all around on my Shearwater, but ran the hull joint tapes onto the bulkheads about 3/4 inch.

RE: Tape or No Tape?

Thanks to all for your input.  I corresponded directly with John Harris who told me that the CLC demo boat does not have the cockpit joints taped and it has stood up well to the "bumper boat" treatment.  His recommendation to me was to eliminate the cockpit tape.

Paul G.

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