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post #1 of 6 Old 04-14-2002 Thread Starter
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Gell coat crack

Am looking at a Catilina 30 1995 it is clean has some decent electronics. But there is a crack in the gell coat about 7 inches long just where the cabin head rises from the flat part of the deck just adjasant to the forwardest most hatch. The broker said that happens now and then when a boat is pulled from its mold, and the crack will surface over the years. There is no sign of delamination or water soaked in. Is this a common repair? And will this repair last?
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post #2 of 6 Old 04-23-2002
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Gell coat crack

While gel coat cracks are quite typical in many boats, they are caused by several things, gel is too thick, too thin, drying out, stressed either from "working" or heavy object falling on that area. Since apparently the crack in question is not in a stressed area such as chainplates, etc., concern may not be warranted. While I would not condone the brokers comment I would also not condemn it. If your interest in the boat approaches purchase, have the surveyor check it out and get his expert opinion. You''re paying the surveyor anyway buy the boat or not, while the broker only makes his money if he sells it. :^)
From my experience with gel coat cracks, while they can be repaired they generally reappear in two, three years or so. I''m not expert in the area, but I would think that a boat only 7 years old would not yet have cracks in the gel coat.
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post #3 of 6 Old 04-23-2002
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Gell coat crack

This is not the only problem you''ll have with this vessel. My friends boats (same year and model) bow sprit has delaminated, the plastic type material that caps the hatch cover breaks every two years, some unusual stress going on there, all stanchion bases will soon start to leak if they''ve not started already, rudder bushing will have severe wear by now, water does not drain from the cockpit seats due to the poor design and leaves permanent stains, wiring bundles are not adequately protected, they come into contact with sharp areas of the boat and they short out, cheap (cheesy) turnbuckles distort after a few years as they''re made out of bronze bar stock, liner or pan of the boat looses its bond to the hull and the cabin sole starts to squeaks a C sharp. Most of these boats have a permanent list to port. Beside these few annoyance items she should be a great boat, NOT.

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post #4 of 6 Old 04-23-2002
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Gell coat crack

Can''t quite understand how a gelcoat crack like that would come from lifting the deck out of the mold. They would/should have fixed it before it left the factory. Sounds more like someone jumped or fell there, hard - like from the spreaders. You don''t say if the crack goes across the boat or lengthwise, which may give some clue as to what may have caused it. Gelcoat cracks and crazing often appear because the fiberglass underneath bends more easily than the relatively brittle gelcoat. Often only the gelcoat has cracked, and the fiberglass underneath is OK. This is a cosmetic problem, and can be fixed easily with new gelcoat in a couple of hours if there''s only one crack. If the crack extends into the fiberglass too, then it is more serious. The fiberglass needs to be reinforced so it doesn''t break again and the crack needs to be repaired. This may mean removing the headliner and adding laminates to the overhead: messy, fiberglass dust-in-the-eyes-type work. Your surveyor should be able to make some educated guesses about the crack, and perhaps ask some questions of the owner or broker that will provide better answers for you. You don''t want to buy this boat and have the crack be a foot longer the week after you close the deal.
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post #5 of 6 Old 04-24-2002
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Gell coat crack

There is a lot of good information that has been already posted in this thread. To add a bit more, any time you have an opening in a deck it is an area that needs to be stiffened to distribute the loads around the opening. If this has not been done right there is more likely to be stress cracking in the gelcoat, and in the worst cases into the laminate, that comes from having additional flexing of the deck in this area.

I am not sure that I have a clear picture of where this crack has occurred, but it posible to get small extremely fine cracks where the vertical surface of the cabin structure meets the horizontal deck (typically either at the froward or aft end of the house) that can come from removing the deck from the mold. (For example all Laser 28''s that I have been on had a small hairline crack where the aft bulkhead of the house meets the coaming.)That kind of cracking is pretty inconsequential.

As everyone else has said, if you are really interested in the boat, you''ll need to get a good surveyor to look at the cracks.

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post #6 of 6 Old 05-21-2002
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Gell coat crack

A crack in the gel coat should not occur while lifting a boat from the mold. Cracks as you described can occur while the boat is beaten in the wind with bad rigging constraints. While you can repair, unless the basic rigging questions are addressed and the stress points are taken into question, the crack will reappear. The fact that no blisters have shown yet is moot - it can take a year (or more) for the moisture in the lamination to show.

Best wishes,
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