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Old 05-20-2007
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Deck cracking at shroud U-bolt

I have a 19Ft C&L Boatworks Sandpiper, approximately 20 years old.. This boat has no backstay, just two shrouds each side, aft the mast. The boat is used for lake sailing.

Several years ago, I had noticed small stress cracks in the gel coat. I inspected the underside of the where the shrouds attach to the U-bolts and was surprised to see simple washers as backplates. I replaced the washers with steel plates. This seems to have halted the problem on the starboard side but I just notices a crack about one inch long where about 1/16 inch of material is raised about 1/16 of an inch.

Do I need to repair the fiberglass in this area?

My plan is to place a top plate and bottom plate, sandwiching the fiberglass between them and perhaps use a larger U-bolt.

Does this should like a reasonable plan? I would really not want to have to tear out and repair the fiberglass if I can avoid it.

Last edited by spinnaker; 05-20-2007 at 12:36 AM.
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Old 05-20-2007
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Quote:
Do I need to repair the fiberglass in this area?

My plan is to place a top plate and bottom plate, sandwiching the fiberglass between them and perhaps use a larger U-bolt.
Sounds like a sensible idea. You should definitely seal the cracked area. Take the current bolt out of there and see if you can determine: a) if there is core material in there between two layers of fibreglass b) if there is core material - is it wet and rotting.

If there is no core then all you need to do is seal everything with epoxy and then put your plates on using bedding compound.

If it is cored, and the core is wet but not rotten - give it a while to dry out before you close it up again.

If the core is there and rotten, then you should really repair it properly. There are a lot of threads on this site that will tell you how to go about that, or (a better idea), buy yourself a good fiberglass repair book.

CL Sailboat shop is still operating, making boats, and can probably provide you with information, and will definitely be able to sell you parts if you need them. They are in Fort Erie, Ontario. Sailboats Online

Good Luck
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Is this boat stored outdoors in the winter? And does it get below freezing in the winter where you are? If so, the problem may be that water got in the damaged area and then froze...making the crack larger and raising the fiberglass there.

Yes, you probably do have to repair it, since it sounds like the laminate is noticeably damaged. Since it is cracked already, even with a backing plate, the stress may be causing further damage. Also, water may be getting in and that can cause the layers of the laminate to de-laminate... which is bad... better to fix it while the repair is reasonably sized.
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Thank you both.

Decisions, decisions! Two slightly differing opinions. What to do?

To answer some questions:

Yes the boat is stored outside over winter in a climate were freezing is common.

I have not looked closely but judging by the construction of the rest of the boat, I would say it does not have a core.

Would it be prudent to place the plates now, but repair the glass at the end of the season? It sure would be disappointing to have the boat laid up for a couple of weekends.


What mistakes did I make?

Should I have sealed those hair line cracks?


I have never seen any specs on tuning the rigging so I just take a guess and I keep my shrouds fairly tight. Maybe too tight. Could this have caused some of the damage?


Or was damage just due to design and age? As I said above, originally the C-clamps were backed with simple washers.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spinnaker
Yes the boat is stored outside over winter in a climate were freezing is common.
So, it is very possible that this damage is due to water intrusion and then freezing.. UGH...

Quote:
I have not looked closely but judging by the construction of the rest of the boat, I would say it does not have a core.
Good, that simplifies the repairs quite a bit.

Quote:
Would it be prudent to place the plates now, but repair the glass at the end of the season? It sure would be disappointing to have the boat laid up for a couple of weekends.
Without seeing photos, I wouldn't hazard a guess to whether plates would be sufficient to work for the season or not.

Quote:
Should I have sealed those hair line cracks?
Cracking in a deck is never a good thing and repairing or filling them as soon as you see them is usually prudent.
Quote:
I have never seen any specs on tuning the rigging so I just take a guess and I keep my shrouds fairly tight. Maybe too tight. Could this have caused some of the damage?
Yup... overtightened rigging is a common cause of damage on many boats. Keep your rigging at the recommended spec and if it loosens up, check to see what has changed before tightening it up too much more.

Quote:
Or was damage just due to design and age? As I said above, originally the C-clamps were backed with simple washers.
That certainly contributed to the problem... should have had a backing block of some sort IMHO.
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Polyester resin hardens quickly. Repairs and maybe adding some glass underneath to beef it up should only take a day or so.
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Use 1/2 inch Marine plywood as your backing blocks. You can varnish it to make it look pretty. I did......
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If you use 1/2" marine ply as a backing block...coat it thoroughly with epoxy on all sides, including the holes that you drill through the block, to prevent the block from absorbing water, rotting or changing size and shape due to changes in moisture. Epoxy cures rather quickly as well—if you do the project on the weekend, the boat would be usable the following weekend. Epoxy is also stronger than polyester resin—but needs to be protected by paint or some other finishing method to prevent UV degradation.
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This is amazing! I was just on the phone with someone and they recommended using marine plywood instead of steel. I was just going to ask this question!


The plan is to place a steel plate on top of the deck and the plywood on the back.


Is it possible there is a backing plate of plywood that is glassed in? If so, that could get really ugly.
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Not sure what happen to my previous post. Guess I'll try again.

Anyway I'll try to snap some pics. I need to drive up to the lake sometime anyway. We had a drowning on Saturday. It was very windy for small cruising boats, 20 knots with long gusts to 25-30. The owner went OB and had a lady on board that knew nothing about the boat. Someone towed the boat to the nearest dock were I happened to be. I delivered the boat back to the marina and left my foul weather jacket onboard. Hopefully they will let be get the jacket but it is not like they don't have more important things on their minds. They have not found the body yet.


Anyway the damage is rather minor and is described above. Any one have a good link for making such a repair to the glass?


Anyone know where I can find info on tuning my rigging so hopefully this does not happen again? The boat is out of production.
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