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Old 08-10-2022, 18:29   #1
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Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

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I am considering taking on a former race boat (very active until 2019) that draws 9í of water. I would be day sailing it with friends down in the USVI. The question I have is related to certain very thin and mostly vertical hairline cracks that are in the the hull gel coat primarily on one side of the hull starting about 3ft from the bow and stopping about 20 feet from the stern. Basically, there are groups of them as you will see in these shots. Is this from flexing of the hull under stresses over time or from a structural issue that makes the boat not worthy of even using as a daysailer? If it is not most likely a fatal flaw, then I would have a surveyor that a look otherwise I will walk away.

There are no cracks, delamination or other signs of breakdown on the deck, near the chai plates or anywhere on interior side of the hull, bulkheads or anywhere else that are visible with the naked eye inside the cabin or bilges.

Any thoughts from those of you that have seen this before?

Thanks in advance.
Mike
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Old 08-10-2022, 19:11   #2
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

Hard to get a feel for the extent with all the close-up pictures, but I suspect it's been in a few rounds of bumper boats (collisions), not entirely uncommon for enthusiastically raced boats

it's possible for gelcoat to crack without significant damage to the underlying laminate, especially a lightweight boat that may have a somewhat flexible hull in less "structural" areas, but generally only if the gelcoat was applied too thick (It doesn't like to flex).
For a "toy" race boat, I wouldn't walk away just yet. If you can access the interior of the hull look for signs of delamination or tap the hull in areas where there are no cracks and compare the sound to areas where the cracks are. If the hull is squishy (more flexible than you think it should be) or doesn't have a sharp sound when tapped then you may have delamination and a BIG job to fix it... which can be done and may still be worth it for the right price... but I'm oddly attracted to project boats.
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Old 08-10-2022, 19:58   #3
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

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Originally Posted by Bellinghamster View Post
Hard to get a feel for the extent with all the close-up pictures, but I suspect it's been in a few rounds of bumper boats (collisions), not entirely uncommon for enthusiastically raced boats

it's possible for gelcoat to crack without significant damage to the underlying laminate, especially a lightweight boat that may have a somewhat flexible hull in less "structural" areas, but generally only if the gelcoat was applied too thick (It doesn't like to flex).
For a "toy" race boat, I wouldn't walk away just yet. If you can access the interior of the hull look for signs of delamination or tap the hull in areas where there are no cracks and compare the sound to areas where the cracks are. If the hull is squishy (more flexible than you think it should be) or doesn't have a sharp sound when tapped then you may have delamination and a BIG job to fix it... which can be done and may still be worth it for the right price... but I'm oddly attracted to project boats.
Ok. Thank you very much!
Here are couple more photos.

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Old 09-10-2022, 04:46   #4
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

Are we sure that this layer is Gelcoat? Also, was the vessel originally white?

Could it be a secondary coat that is aging?
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Old 09-10-2022, 06:16   #5
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

Iím not convinced thatís gelcoat. To my eye it looks like cracking of a fairing compound under paint. As itís on one side maybe even heat related (sunny side).
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Old 09-10-2022, 06:48   #6
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

I’m betting it’s repairable but I’d check for voids behind the cracks. The keel may have hit on its broad side I’d check for damage several feet below that. I’d be surprised if the laminate doesn’t have a crack but getting some micro balloons will reconnect everything and you said stringers are intact.
The bothersome thing about old racers is their lines are so darned attractive.
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Old 09-10-2022, 07:18   #7
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

Is this a cored hull ?
If so thats an entirely different conversation.
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Old 09-10-2022, 07:56   #8
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

This is a well used, older, boat which appears to have been painted (notice the original white areas on the deck and cabin sides). You can imagine that the hull topsides have also been painted. I believe that this is paint "crazing" due to flexing. In that case it would be harmless, but you won't know for sure until it is sanded off. A good surveyor should be able to tell if the hull is sound.

I have seen this before and I had this type of surface cracking in the Imron paint that was originally on my boat as well. The fact that it only is evident in the forward sections is further reason to believe that it is cracking of the paint due to flexing. That is where it often occurs.

Otherwise this is a boat which is very well equipped. Looking at winches, instruments, and deck hardware which are all nice and would be very expensive to buy, there is also evidence that some tender loving care is needed. Check it out closely to see what is working and what is not, and to find any problems that are not apparent in the first glance.
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Old 09-10-2022, 08:02   #9
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

Buy it, fix it, paint it, sail it

I mean if the insides look good around bulkheads, reinforcements, chainplates etc. then itís superficial.
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Old 09-10-2022, 09:00   #10
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

I'm guessing paint also. maybe brittle paint like Sterling? and that side faced hot sun when docked? maybe a real thin light hull for racing and it flexes a lot? But that should be both sides...
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Old 09-10-2022, 09:06   #11
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
I'm guessing paint also. maybe brittle paint like Sterling? and that side faced hot sun when docked? maybe a real thin light hull for racing and it flexes a lot? But that should be both sides...
Yes, I meant "Sterling" which is the paint I had which did this.
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Old 15-10-2022, 14:31   #12
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

Sorry can't make out what boat that is. Could you please tell us the designer,year and builder? It may have to do with the layup materials used during the late 90's early 2000.
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Old 21-10-2022, 07:02   #13
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

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Originally Posted by Sailmonkey View Post
Iím not convinced thatís gelcoat. To my eye it looks like cracking of a fairing compound under paint. As itís on one side maybe even heat related (sunny side).
Yep. It appears you guys are correct. Itís the last paint job cracking. Iím not sure if the would have used fairing compound above the water line but it may have had minor damage from racing on that side and hence the filler has expanded and contracted under the paint.
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Old 21-10-2022, 07:03   #14
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

You got it right! Thank you vm.
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Old 21-10-2022, 07:15   #15
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Re: Help with Identifying gel coat crack pattern cause

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Originally Posted by wingssail View Post
This is a well used, older, boat which appears to have been painted (notice the original white areas on the deck and cabin sides). You can imagine that the hull topsides have also been painted. I believe that this is paint "crazing" due to flexing. In that case it would be harmless, but you won't know for sure until it is sanded off. A good surveyor should be able to tell if the hull is sound.

I have seen this before and I had this type of surface cracking in the Imron paint that was originally on my boat as well. The fact that it only is evident in the forward sections is further reason to believe that it is cracking of the paint due to flexing. That is where it often occurs.

Otherwise this is a boat which is very well equipped. Looking at winches, instruments, and deck hardware which are all nice and would be very expensive to buy, there is also evidence that some tender loving care is needed. Check it out closely to see what is working and what is not, and to find any problems that are not apparent in the first glance.
Thank for the guidance! I’m fully considering it now. I’ve got one very experienced sailor telling me that the mast needs to come down and all the rigging needs to be inspected as well as the keel. The condition of the mast and the rigging is such that I agree 100%. The standing rigging looks newer and in great shape but the running rigging and some other pieces definitely need replacement/attention. As far as the keel goes it was involved in a grounding seven years ago and a new one was put on it to the factory specifications according to the PHRF racing documentation with no issues since. That doesn’t concern me what does is that it has a huge 4 spreader rig that supports lots of sail area but in order to offset that she draws 9 1/2 feet. I want to be able to take the spot out and be able to double hander just for fun afternoon sales and other times of course have many more people. Is this realistic/possible? I don’t mind if it’s a major handful to get the main sale up and deal with the powerful rig I just wanna make sure it’s possible with two people so that I don’t have to have three or more every time I take her out. I will have her down in the US Virgin Islands and PR where the draft isn’t so much of a concern but I am concerned about how much it’s going to cost me to get this boat just to a safe operating condition not cosmetically perfect. She comes with a full inventory of very high-end sales and gear including electronics that have been updated over time nothings newer than three years old but a lot of stuff looks like it’s very good condition and would work for my purposes as I don’t intend to race her.

She sitting in about a foot of mud and that high tide on a full moon she floats just about freely. The helm is pretty much locked up and not turning freely and I don’t see why that would be unless the Rutter is in the mud which it shouldn’t be at high tide so I don’t know how much of a major issue this might be or whether it’s some thing that is easy not crazy expensive to correct. If the helm was spinning freely I would be inclined to move forward as the hull and most of the gear is in very good condition. The shed piled high of gear and all the documentation for the boat has been persevered.

Open to any other input.
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