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Author Topic:   Cracks in gelcoat
Perry posted 06-13-2004 02:29 AM ET (US)   Profile for Perry   Send Email to Perry  
My Whaler is 18 months old and I took it to the dealer 3 months ago to have some spiderweb cracks repaired in the gelcoat. I noticed today that they have reappeared. The cracks are a few inches long and are near the transom above the aft quarter seat.

I know they are minor but the boat is relatively new and it kinda bothers me to see them there. Should I take it back and have it repaired again under warranty or just live with it?

Georgetech posted 06-13-2004 06:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for Georgetech  Send Email to Georgetech     
Perry, I will take it back as many times as neccesary eventually the dealer will report it to the factory and will help them to analize the problem. Are these stress cracks product of a design failure or simply quality control issues? The only way that they can rectify, improve and make a better product is by having our feedback.
jimh posted 06-13-2004 07:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
The appearance of small stress cracks is not unusual. Ironically they usually are caused by having a gel coat layer that is too thick, not too thin as one might otherwise suspect were the cause.

As you have seen, it may not be possible to prevent them from occurring, even after the area has been repaired. The more you look closely at your boat, the more little flaws you can find.

The newest Boston Whaler boats are designed with computer-modeled structural analysis that looks for areas of potential stress where cracks like this may develop, and they pay special attention to designing the laminate and gelcoat to prevent them.

Jamber posted 06-14-2004 08:41 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jamber  Send Email to Jamber     

I had the same cracks appear on my 16 Duantless a few months after I bought it new in 1999. They repaired it under warranty and they have not returned.

I also had a quater sized crack/dent on the bow near the anchor locker in the non-skid last year. They would not fix it under warranty, they said I dropped the anchor there and it was not a defect. I did not drop the anchor, I think it was an air void that got stepped on too many times. I hired a glass repair guy to fix it for half the price of the dealer quote.

Good luck.

Perry posted 06-15-2004 02:12 AM ET (US)     Profile for Perry  Send Email to Perry     
I guess I'll take it back to the dealer to have them fix it again. While I'm there I'll have them look at my steering wheel. It has too much play. It wobbles on its axis a little too much.
JerseyDom posted 06-16-2004 11:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for JerseyDom  Send Email to JerseyDom     
You will see from a pervious discussion thread that amongst other problems, my 2003 Conquest 255 had similar problems in 5 or 6 places. The dealer in UK ( Dorset Yacht) happily paid up over $1200 to have them fixed no questions asked ! Great service but would have preferred that they hadn't appeared in the first place !
SteviLad posted 06-20-2004 12:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for SteviLad  Send Email to SteviLad     
I was surprised to see the descriptions of gelcoat cracks in Boston Whalers. I have had a similar experience in the surface Gelcoat of a new J/32 sailboat manufactured at TPI Yachts in Rhode Island. I was assured by the local dealer, company, & manufacturer that the cracks were not structural....only cosmetic, & would be covered under warranty. Jimh was correct in stating that the cracks are most likely related to an application of a thicker layer of gelcoat......wierd...but true. The cracks often start at fasteners (although not always), & cross from the smoothe white gelcoat across to the nonskid. Its sort of disappointing to get a new sailboat, & have cracks, seemingly everywhere, after 1 season. Hopefully you will be able to see them in these pictures, although the transfer to yahoo seems to really degrade the resolution.
SteviLad posted 06-20-2004 01:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for SteviLad  Send Email to SteviLad
jimh posted 06-21-2004 08:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
If you have a crack radiating from a fastener hole, it was likely caused by the fastener being forced into the gelcoat layer. When drilling holes for self-tapping fasteners, it is good practice to slightly enlarge the hole at the surface where the gelcoat layer is located. This will prevent such cracking from forming. Most self-tapping fasteners have a larger diameter at the head. When this is snugged down against the gelcoat it often will create a crack.

If the crack is from a through-bolted fastener, perhaps the hole was slightly undersized and the diameter of the fastener exerted pressure on the gelcoat and cracked it.

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