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  Cracks in gelcoat/boat

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Author Topic:   Cracks in gelcoat/boat
silver whaler posted 04-23-2002 10:25 PM ET (US)   Profile for silver whaler   Send Email to silver whaler  
I recently purchased a 1995 17 Montauk, desert tan, and the boat has fairly extensive cracks in the gelcoat around the railing fixtures and other parts of the boat such as the anchor compartment.

How do you know if these issues are structural in nature or cosmetic.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Kids2 posted 04-28-2002 06:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Kids2  Send Email to Kids2     
Stress cracking in the gel coat is typically an indication that the hull is flexing. Usually caused by a design problem....not enough structural reinforcement. Gel coat is very rigid. If there is not enough structure in the areas under teh gel coat, when the underlying hull flexes, the gel coat cracks.

The problams with the cracks are 1) they look ugly, and 2) over time they allow water to penetrate into the glass below. The only repair that works to to grind out the cracks and re-glass the area. You need to reinforce the area if you want to prevent another reoccurence. How are the railing fixtures attached to the boat? do they have a proper backing plate designed to spread the load over a large area? Don't know the design of your boat, but it may be possible to pull the railing fixtures off and to reinstall them with oversized ss backing plates. Similarly, if you are going to try to fix the area around the anchor locker, try to find a way to reinforce the glass under the cracks.

Good luck

jameso posted 04-29-2002 08:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for jameso  Send Email to jameso     
These cracks may not be from stress, I have found that the gel coat tends to shrink and seperate over the years. Just looked at an early 80's Newport, had some areas of gel coat that were seperated, smooth lines with rounded edges, don't think it was from stress. Railings and attach fittings yes those are probably stress. I would remove hardware and repair gel coat with Spectrum kit fill the cracks in the hull reattach the rail with oversize hardware and press on. Also check that the hardware was installed in the correct areas, check wood diagram in 'reference'. My boat had some hard ware attached to gunnel with no wood, it did crack.
Jim Armstrong

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