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Old 06-11-2014, 08:56   #1
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Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

Hey folks, I have a noob question for you, hope you don't mind. Looking at a 1978 41' Morgan that's advertised in pretty descent shape, but it has "Gel coat cracking and the hull is oxidized". The boat has been out of the water since 2002. The boat yard won't allow inspection prior to the sale without a broker present and a broker is not involved in the sale. As I understand it, you get cracking the gel coat by bouncing into things. I'm a do it yourself person and don't mind a good project, but how much work is a person in for when they purchase and old boat with gel coat cracking and a oxidized hull. I've seen youtube videos where sailboat owners grind out the cracked area, then re-fiberglass and go from there. Any opinions? Thanks
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:11   #2
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

There is no such thing as a 1978 built boat which doesn't have Crazing/cracking in the gel. Generally, with an older boat,cosmetics should be the last concern you have.

Do yourself a favor and find a friend who knows about older boats on whom you can depend for advice.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:17   #3
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

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There is no such thing as a 1978 built boat which doesn't have Crazing/cracking in the gel. Generally, with an older boat,cosmetics should be the last concern you have.

Do yourself a favor and find a friend who knows about older boats on whom you can depend for advice.
Thank you, good to know that this is a cosmetic issue and not a major issue. Sailing friends are hard to come by in the midwest, but good advice.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:30   #4
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

I assume you mean small thin cracks around fittings... which is pretty normal. I have seen bigger deep cracking from too hot a gel or resin mix... which may be a bigger issue.
You cant inspect it at all? I would run if that's the case.
remember a free boat is not free:
Basic sails: $10k+
Engine: $10-15K+
Tanks: $2k+
Rigging: $8k+
Painting after repairing cracks: $10k+
Misc, running rigging , anchors, windlass, rebuild rudder, drop keel and rebed inspect bolts etc etc: $15K+
Yeah.. that's about right $50-60k.....
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:45   #5
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

Gelcoat cracking can sometimes point to other problems.

It might be just too thick, old, brittle, sun damaged gelcoat that can no longer take the normal flexing of a fiberglass panel.

Or it could be a problem with the underlying fiberglass panel like: damage from impact, a hard spot, or de-lamination.

Will the boatyard allow a surveyor to have a look at it ?

Cheers,
JM.
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Old 06-11-2014, 09:54   #6
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

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Originally Posted by NahanniV View Post
Gelcoat cracking can sometimes point to other problems.

It might be just too thick, old, brittle, sun damaged gelcoat that can no longer take the normal flexing of a fiberglass panel.

Or it could be a problem with the underlying fiberglass panel like: damage from impact, a hard spot, or de-lamination.

Will the boatyard allow a surveyor to have a look at it ?

Cheers,
JM.
Thanks, it's interesting to know that there might be deeper issues, de-lamination sounds pretty serious, especially if it were a giant section of the hull that was delaminating. The yard where the boat is being stored on stands will not allow any inspections without a broker present. The seller is giving buyers 3 days after the sale to do their inspections, if the buyer is unhappy with something, the buyer is offering to terminate the sale and refund the deposit.
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:12   #7
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I assume you mean small thin cracks around fittings... which is pretty normal. I have seen bigger deep cracking from too hot a gel or resin mix... which may be a bigger issue.
You cant inspect it at all? I would run if that's the case.
remember a free boat is not free:
Basic sails: $10k+
Engine: $10-15K+
Tanks: $2k+
Rigging: $8k+
Painting after repairing cracks: $10k+
Misc, running rigging , anchors, windlass, rebuild rudder, drop keel and rebed inspect bolts etc etc: $15K+
Yeah.. that's about right $50-60k.....
Hi Cheechako, The owner has not been specific about the cracks in the Gel coat, so I'll have to email and ask and hope for an honest answer. The boat is in a yard that doesn't allow inspections without a broker present. The owner is giving the buyer three days to inspect the boat after the sale and offering to terminate the sale and refund the deposit if you're not happy with the boat. Sobering financial stats regarding getting an old boat up and functional..Thanks for your feedback
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:32   #8
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

The Morgan's are well designed/engineered. As stated by others, there could be a myriad of things with the gelcoat. My guess is age and brittleness - this condition is very common in older boats, before the formulation of gelcoat was more "dialed in".
Where are you located in the midwest?
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Old 06-11-2014, 10:38   #9
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

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The Morgan's are well designed/engineered. As stated by others, there could be a myriad of things with the gelcoat. My guess is age and brittleness - this condition is very common in older boats, before the formulation of gelcoat was more "dialed in".
Where are you located in the midwest?
Thanks, I'm in Chicago, the boat is on the East Coast...appreciate the help from everyone.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:07   #10
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

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Originally Posted by photousa View Post
...Looking at a 1978 41' Morgan that's advertised in pretty descent shape, but it has "Gel coat cracking and the hull is oxidized". The boat has been out of the water since 2002. The boat yard won't allow inspection prior to the sale without a broker present...
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...I'm in Chicago, the boat is on the East Coast...
Oh man, WHY are you looking at a boat so far away from you? Are you relocating to the east coast? Do you realize how expensive boat moving is?

Dry docked for 12 years? You won't even be able to sea trial it. This boat likely needs a complete refit--arguably more expensive than buying the same boat in good condition.

If you really must buy this "boat" take a broker along so you can inspect it before committing to buy. If you don't know what you're looking at, take along a surveyor, too.

But I recommend that you rethink your priorities. And, at all cost, avoid neglected boats/deals like this.
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:24   #11
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

Yeah, stored boats often have more issues than ones being used regularly. But at least.. talk with a broker.. offer him a couple hundred bucks just to go look with you!
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:46   #12
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

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Oh man, WHY are you looking at a boat so far away from you? Are you relocating to the east coast? Do you realize how expensive boat moving is?

Dry docked for 12 years? You won't even be able to sea trial it. This boat likely needs a complete refit--arguably more expensive than buying the same boat in good condition.

If you really must buy this "boat" take a broker along so you can inspect it before committing to buy. If you don't know what you're looking at, take along a surveyor, too.

But I recommend that you rethink your priorities. And, at all cost, avoid neglected boats/deals like this.
Hi Terra, Yes, I've looked into the costs associated with moving a boat around the country, it's astronomical. I'm looking at a lifestyle overhaul, if you've ever spent any time in Chicago during the winter, plus having to deal with Chicago's administration, you'd know why people like me who are interesting in the cruising lifestyle would be looking for an permanent escape..

I noticed that you're in Marina Del Rey, I've been there only once, it was beautiful as I recall with really nice weather. The only way I would be able to pull off cruising is to move to the East coast or Florida and spend a couple of years restoring a boat. I'm the type
that would actually enjoy the process and learning along the way, so the work doesn't bother me. I value, (and listen to), the advice of those out there with years of experience, these forums are great for those willing to ask a few questions. I've been going to boat shows and generally lurking around the industry for a few years, (Chicago has a great, "Strictly Sail" every year at Navy Pier), but the problem with being new to boating or boat maintenance is that you just don't know what the huge, catastrophic problems are that you could get yourself into that could render a old boat useless..
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Old 06-11-2014, 11:48   #13
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

Photo - where is the boat on the east coast?
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Old 06-11-2014, 12:51   #14
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

Photo,

I'd be wondering exactly why this boat has been on the hard for so long. From just standing so long, *things* will have gone wrong. Unattended boats sort of have their systems rot. By now, much will not work properly.

I've never heard of gelcoat "getting" brittle. It's already brittle, it is not very flexible stuff. As stated above, cracks come from flexing where it shouldn't. Around stanchion bases is common, and usually makes one think that no backing plates were used and the fiberglass layup thin. Other places, like sail tracks, cause is the same, but more trouble to fix properly. Also, you can get gelcoat cracks from flexing and impact. If bad enough, can allow water intrusion. Having very much of it is a sign of light construction, or poorly applied gelcoat.

Oxidized hull is not a problem. It is unsightly, but can be cleaned and sealed with TSRW, an annual job, and it will look okay, if not brand new.

Honestly, I'd run like hell from this boat. Take a look at minaret's threat "Nauticat 52 Refit" to see what's involved in a boat restoration. The Nauticat is a more heavily built boat than the Morgan. Every now and again, we have CF members who are competent DIYers who have still bitten off more than they found they could chew with a major refit.

The boat you're looking at has old sails, and they won't have got any better in the last 12 years. Even the interior, all that old, stale, foam, dirty fabric. Engine probably needs total rebuild; needs new rig and running rigging, and may even need new chainplates.

When looking to buy a boat, look for one that is in frequent use, and looks well taken care of. All old boats need something, of course, but if you're selective, you can pick the deficit you can work best with.

Ann
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Old 06-11-2014, 12:56   #15
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Re: Gel coat cracking, hull oxidized question

Thanks Ann, great advice, appreciate the words of wisdom. I will certainly have a look at that Nauticat 52 refit thread. as I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the restoration process.
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