Mysterious cracks in Hunter hulls - SailNet Community

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Old 10-30-2009
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Mysterious cracks in Hunter hulls

My Hunter 170 developed massive cracks inexplicably this past winter. When i checked out some other forums like HunterOwners.com, I found out that dozens of other Hunter owners have had the same problem. Have members of this forum heard of this issue with Hunter boats?
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Old 10-30-2009
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I looked at a late '80s Hunter 40 a few months ago while in the market. Though I didn't notice any cracks in the hull (it was in the water) - there were cracks everywhere else on that boat. The cockpit sole (at the sidewall) was cracked all the way around. The area around the cockpit speakers was cracked like someone had leaned on it too hard (how does that happen), cracks around the winches, and the interior around the main hatch was showing quite few cracks.

Maybe it was owned by a family of Sumo-s. I didn't ask.

But it sure looked pretty cheesy so I didn't look at any more Hunters.
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Good call on that one smackdaddy. Check out the photos of the cracks on my Hunter!!

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Old 10-30-2009
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Wow..that's something else! Looks to my (unprofessioal) eye like overthick gelcoat and cold weather contraction/expansion issues between the gelcoat and the laminate. Nasty.

While not a Hunter fan overall, I've certainly never seen anything this extreme on the larger boats.
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Was the boat full of ice, freeze/thaw.
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Holy crap, dude. That sucks.
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What's so mysterious about finding cracks on a Hunter?
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non-gel coat

No, this is not a gel coat nor a laminate issue. The Hunter 170 is truly a plastic boat, not a fibreglass boat. Read the description from Hunter.
When I was looking into boats I didn't give serious consideration to the 170 due to the unproven technology. Basically it is just a plastic outer shell with a spray foam lining. My guess is the cold made the outer shell brittle, there may have been some moisture in the foam or just a difference in expansion of disparate materials and "CRACK".

Basically you are in need of a new boat.
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You got that right TheFrog! the Hunter plastic hull can't handle temperature changes. And worse, their customer service is the pits. Instead of admitting to a manufacturing defect, Hunter Marine agents just blame their customers and give them instructions on how to fix their boats. Last Hunter I will ever buy!
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I have been aboard dozens of Hunters in my life. While I have seen the kinds of minor hairline crazing that you would expect to see on boats of their ages, I had not seen anything or heard of anything like this.

My recollection is that this is a boat with a vacuum formed skin and a foam backer if I remember correctly. Boats like these need to be stored more carefully than your typical fiberglass boat and so storing with snow in the boat in cold weather is probably an extreme no-no.

This boat has a similar construction to a friend of mine's rowing shell. My recollection is that the skin material is sensitive to solvents other than alcohol and in particular does not do well with ammonia based cleaners or silicone bases products.

The kind of failure that is shown on this boat looks like a total failure of the skin material my guess is that this is due to exposure to a non-compatable solvent. The failure would be aggrevated by the way the boat appears to have been stored with the kind of minimal support that a trailer gives and then full of snow.

Have you discussed this with Hunter? My experiences with Hunter and thier general reputation is that they are known for having reasonably good customer support and should be able to help you figure out what went wrong.

Jeff
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