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Old 23-08-2011, 13:30   #1
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Cracks In Gel Coat

Dunno if this where this belongs but..,we moved aboard almost four months ago and mind you this a 1977 boat. When me moved on there were minor cracks in a few spots on the gel coat but nothing serious. We filled those and the boat has been surveyed twice but today (during a storm when I am tying stuff down of course) I found more gel cost cracks around the mast and some on the deck over the v berth. Nothing serious BUT I don't want them to get serious. Are they appearing because the boat is flexing now and moving as opposed to being on the hard (she has been out of the water for over a year and prior was always in and out never in long term)? And what is the best thing to fill them with?
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Old 23-08-2011, 13:35   #2
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Re: Cracks in gel coat

Its likly you are just now "seeing " them now and have been there a long time-Its also likly there just surface stress cracks in the gelcoat-I dont think it has anything to do with being out of the water for that time- fill it with gelcoat- its easy to do, but they may just come back
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Old 23-08-2011, 13:42   #3
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These may be micro cracks that are now visible but they definitely weren't visible before. And they are just in the gel coat not the glass but still concerned...plus they look crappy
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Old 23-08-2011, 13:48   #4
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Re: Cracks in gel coat

If deck stepped, check the base of your compression post... may be rotten or sinking down... This should be fixed. Stress cracks in gel coat on a 35 year old boat are not uncommon at all and probably not deep.
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Old 23-08-2011, 14:03   #5
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It is deck stepped and we just unstopped the mast to check the plate below it and the compression post and fortunately that is all good. Just surprised by how many cracks I am noticing...will takes some pics later but it us pouring rain right now.
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Old 23-08-2011, 14:57   #6
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Rain has stopped so here are pics taken by my iPhone
The ones around the mast are several inches longer than previous and that is sikaflex a marine grade sealant you see not silicone. The other us on the foredeck behind the anchor area and us about two inches by two inches I am wondering if an anchor was dropped there maybe in the past? Those cracks were not visible before we put her in the water there were already minor gel coat cracks around the mast however.
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Old 23-08-2011, 15:03   #7
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Re: Cracks In Gel Coat

Usually these cracks are just superficial and inevitable. The gel coat is a lot less flexible than the FRP layup. Espcially a problem if the gel coat was laid too thick. The only concern I'd have on the deck below the mast is the possiblity of water intrusion into the core below the mast. The core in this compression effected area is almost certainly plywood. You don't want to get water anywhere near it as the wood wicks the water and rot spreads over a large area. Lay a flat edge on the step area to see if it's depressed. If there is any hardware around the step, remove it, probe around in the puka for any sign of wet core. If none, rout out the core around the fasteners, fill with thickened epoxy, redrill the holes and seal the fitting with LifeCaulk 5200/4200 or Butyl. If there are signs of water penetration and rot. Pull all the fittings in the area including the mast step and do the above around the fasteners. If the rot appears extensive, get a circular saw and cut out the layer of glass laminate above the step, remove the rotten core, replace with new plywood bedded in thickened epoxy, replace the deck you cut out bedding it in epoxy, and laminate in the piece.
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Old 23-08-2011, 15:03   #8
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My boat is only three years old and that has minor gel coat cracks. I spend a day every so often repairing them. It is quiet therapeutic in it's way. A thirty year old boat which from your photos look very minor cracks and probably down to wear and tear in normal use.
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