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Old 16-01-2019, 11:51   #1
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Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

Hi. I am considering buying a used Helia 44. There are hairline cracks around the stern deck cleat. I have had a look at the fixings from behind and there is a large spreader plate and no sign of damage. There is als a slight ripple effect on the gelcoat.
Is this something I should be concerned about? Thanks.
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Old 16-01-2019, 13:14   #2
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

No..
With a few exception like Catana's and Outremer's, this is almost standard in every catamaran that I've seen so far.
This is not structural, normally doesn't go below the gelcoat and the repair is pretty easy.
If the cracks are deeper and larger, this is a different story.


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Old 17-01-2019, 07:27   #3
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

It's probably from excessive strains on the cleat. Maybe from towing a dinghy or being medmoored in a storm. I'd ask the owner.
If it has a large backing plate, I'd ask when it was installed.

Questions:
How thick is the deck?
How big is the cleat?
What is the backing plate made from?
What is the main use of that cleat?

All these are relative to the problem.

It is repairable but you don't want it to happen again.
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Old 17-01-2019, 09:16   #4
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

IMHO cleats are seldom bedded and backed up sufficiently for the abuse that they take as a matter of course. I have seen cleats literally ripped from the boat, carrying a piece of deck with them, on falling tides and short scope on mooring lines, as an example. Bow cleats used for anchor snubbing catch hell, too. Nature of the beast. You simply cannot overbuild cleats or their bedding. We sometimes demand much from them.


The extent of the damage may only be the gel coat, or you may have a weakened area. The suggestion to ask about when the backing plate was installed is a good one. Maybe it was added only after the visible damage was first noticed.



I would get someone experienced in repairs of this nature to have a look. Pull the cleat, sand through the gel coat, repair. In all likelihood only the gelcoat has suffered, but you can make a better determination once you are down into the glass. Cracked gelcoat topside is common and often overlooked but my feeling is that the gelcoat is the first defense against moisture ingress into the deck, and should be kept up so much as practical. Along with checking grab rail attachment, etc.
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Old 17-01-2019, 09:27   #5
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

It's likely just gel cracking. Either from flexing, stress or just a hot gel mix.
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Old 17-01-2019, 09:37   #6
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Shawn.
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Old 17-01-2019, 10:38   #7
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

You should search the FP forum and also look at the Facebook Fountain Pajot Owners group. There have been discussions on the fore and aft cleat issue. Some install bigger backing plates and others install another set of cleats to put up on the rail on a horizontal surface.
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Old 17-01-2019, 11:56   #8
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

As Delmarrey says it could be from stressing the cleat with a heavy load. The cracks also could be just a ham handed installer over tightening the nuts on the fasteners slightly crushing the Balsa or whatever core.
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Old 17-01-2019, 18:34   #9
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

Yeah, I agree with the other posters: either an overstressed/under backed cleat.

Some boats (like our Cape Dory) are know for hairline gelcoat cracks. Not really a problem in most cases.

What is a problem is that on more than a few boats, cleats are either undersized and/or placed in locations where it is difficult to install proper backing.

If you do have room underneath for good backing, maybe consider a larger cleat.

Just some thoughts.

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Old 17-01-2019, 19:28   #10
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

Following this thread with interest because I have these cracks around most of my metal fittings: cleats, stanchions, pulpit and pushpit. Everything except the rigging, which I guess is most critical.
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Old 18-01-2019, 03:10   #11
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

This may or may not apply, but if it’s an ex-charter boat, check all the cleats. Charter boats sometimes take more of a beating from excessive strain.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:24   #12
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

Quote:
Originally Posted by LeeV View Post
This may or may not apply, but if it’s an ex-charter boat, check all the cleats. Charter boats sometimes take more of a beating from excessive strain.
Probably too late of a reply but i relocated my stern cleats in my 2013 Helia to the top rail as was commented earlier. The aft facing cleats had stress marks in the gelcoat.
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Old 05-02-2019, 09:32   #13
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Re: Hairline cracks around stern deck cleat

Thanks all for your comments. Very much appreciated.
Following the survey, I have decided not to proceed with the purchase of the yacht.
Our search continues.
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