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Old 26-04-2010, 08:31   #1
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Awlgrip Over Cracked and Crazed Gelcoat

I am interested in an old sloop where the owner painted degraded gel coat with what is claimed to be Awlgrip, without proper preparation. As a result, the pronounced cracks etc. covering the whole hull exterior show through. The condition of the hull above the water line is ugly! The boat is inexpensive, otherwise in acceptable shape, and the woman of my dreams says that this is the boat for her. Aesthetics aside, is this a situation where the boat can be used this summer (we are entering the all too short boating season here on the Maine coast), or is the risk of introducing water into the laminates too great to wait?
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Old 26-04-2010, 08:40   #2
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Unless the boat's hull is seriously deteriorated or has impact damage to create these cracks, the cracks in gelcoat are 99% of the time cosmetic and superficial, especially above the waterline. Without seeing photos it's hard to say for certain but unless they're really deep I wouldn't worry about it.

If the better half likes it then do not wait.
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Old 26-04-2010, 10:09   #3
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In such a situation I would just sand back and use a two part polyurethane to get a coat on it before you put back it into the water. I wouldn't bother to spray it either at that, just roll on and tipp off, sand lightly when cured and buff up.Surely it's not the long term answer like getting it re-done properly with Awlgrip but it would save you a fortune on time and money, save that expense for further down the road.
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Old 26-04-2010, 10:42   #4
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eroot,
had this problem myself on my last boat. Very unlikely the crazing, etc., is anything but cosmetic. Assume you will have the boat surveyed so a surveryer will tell you if there's a real problem.
we sanded and painted and it looked fine -- from a distance, but we were able to getr out on the water. However after a couple of years we decided that the boat, a Tartan 37C deserved better and we had it done right by a yard, blasted downand then Awlgripped. Cost a mint but it was worth it. however, a year after that my wife decided we really neded a bigger boat -- and who was I to argue
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Old 26-04-2010, 19:18   #5
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If you are painting, do it right. Use a sealing primer over the old paint to avoid incompatibility issues. You can use Epoxy-Fair or similar in place of a filler primer for the cracks and craters. Rolled and tipped always looks like rolled and tipped. The brush marks never flow all the way out.
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Old 26-04-2010, 20:16   #6
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To answer your question, sure, it's almost certainly safe to sail. Throw her in the water and go.

When you get around to repainting, personally, I don't mind a roll-and-tip job. It may look a bit like hell when out of the water and closeup, but who's ever lingering THAT close to a sailboat's freeboard? A few feet forgives much...
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Old 27-04-2010, 02:13   #7
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The secret to a good roll and tipp job is to put on enough coats to flatten back completely using up to a 2000-2500 grade wet and dry, followed by a polishing job. It's how we make fiberglass plugs for mold making and we can get them like glass. It's cheap but it will take time.
If you are going for the Awlgrip get it done professionally as a good paint job will require the right spray equiptment, a temperature and climate controlled environment, but it will not be cheap. Get a few photos and measurements show them around a couple of finishing yards and get a few prices.
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Old 27-04-2010, 03:04   #8
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Does the paint still shine?

I had my hull painted about 8 years ago. A couple of years ago I noticed what looks like poor prep work. When I ask around, what I learned (or at least what I was told) was that Awlgrip (and probably ofther LPs) develops a crazing that looks like paint over scratches. Still plenty of shine.

I'm interested in hearing if anybody else has seen this?
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Old 27-04-2010, 05:55   #9
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I think what a lot of boat owners tend to forget is that topsides be it gelcoat or painted need to be maintained and polished at least once a season. UV dose most damage to finishes and a bit of polish with a UV inhibitor goes a long way, that is the beauty of a finish like Awlgrip it is a bit pricey but it is as hard as nails and was designed to take a light sand and a polish from time to time.

If you're looking to repaint for aesthetics in either polyurethane or Awlgrip keep the colour as close to the original gelcoat as possible otherwise as soon as the boat leaves the spray shop, you'll get UV damage, fender skuffs and scratches and after a season or two you'll be back to square one. I have seen some disaster DIY jobs where a once white boat that reflected most of the UV and heat was painted a royal dark blue or classic racing green which in turn reflected none, the result after a couple of years was a lunar surface.
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Old 27-04-2010, 06:42   #10
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Geez - the poor guy (and more importantly, his wife) wants to go sailing not spend one of the two really good weather weeks in a Maine summer painting.

Fiberglass doesn't really get wet. Cores can get wet if there's a hole. Delaminated fiberglass from bad construction or collision can wick up water between the layers. And polyester resins can - over a long period of immersion - develop a chemical reaction from moisture. But none of these apply to your topsides in one Maine summer.

And look at it this way - this will be the perfect summer to practice docking your new boat. You don't even need to buy new fenders until the fall sales.

Carl
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Old 27-04-2010, 11:11   #11
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Thanks

Limiting damage is the key here. I suspect that some of the cracks penetrate to the underlying laminates. I can't know for sure. However, I take heart from the concensus among those who have experienced this for themselves that little to no damage will result from use for five months (more or less) in the water. So, that's the plan. Thank you.
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Old 27-04-2010, 12:46   #12
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Old 17-01-2012, 09:55   #13
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Re: Awlgrip Over Cracked and Crazed Gelcoat

AWLGRIP is designed so that it never needs polishing, the object is to wash with a mild soap and to leather the vessel down afterwards to remove water staining.
The moment you start to polish AWLGRIP it goes down hill, unless of course you have been painted in AWLCRAFT 2000 which of course is polishable.
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Old 17-01-2012, 10:22   #14
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Re: Awlgrip Over Cracked and Crazed Gelcoat

Quote:
Originally Posted by freefly View Post
AWLGRIP is designed so that it never needs polishing, the object is to wash with a mild soap and to leather the vessel down afterwards to remove water staining.
The moment you start to polish AWLGRIP it goes down hill, unless of course you have been painted in AWLCRAFT 2000 which of course is polishable.
This turns me off AWLGRIP all the more, how would you address light scratches and scuffing from fenders etc. if you can't do much more than a soap wash and a chamois?
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Old 18-01-2012, 12:21   #15
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Re: Awlgrip Over Cracked and Crazed Gelcoat

HI I have this problem often with clients to be honest there never is a good time to start polishing AWLGRIP, but obviously there comes a time when the finish of the vessel needs to be redressed.. In an ideal world that would mean re-painting the area concerned.. Obviously this isn't practical unless the vessel has a big budget to spend on paint. I would always recommend that any smaller craft be painted in AWLCRAFT 2000 it isn't quite as hard as AWLGRIP but applied correctly the finish is just as good. Like AWLGRIP it can be applied either by roller or by spray application, and in the event of any problem either when applying it or after you can sand and polish and not lose any warranty with the product like you would AWLGRIP.
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