Hairline Cracks on deck in Gel Coat - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 07-10-2007
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Hairline Cracks on deck in Gel Coat

Hi! We just bought our Morgan and found that we have tons of small cracks in our gel coat. What is the best solution for fixing these? We don't want leaks and we want our boat to look perfect! Thanks!
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Old 07-10-2007
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Perhaps you can open up the cracks and apply some gelcoat in it. If its over the entire deck you may try epoxy paint?
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Old 07-10-2007
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Gelcoat cracks are common on some boats. It is important to understand why they are there.

#1. Old boats tended to have really thick gelcoat which will crack just because of temperature changes.

#2. Stress cracks caused by flexing from improper support, like near chainplates or genoa tracks.

#3. Star cracks are generally caused by an impact.

Gelcoat is brittle and it doesn't take much for it to crack. So, what do you do with them? Difficult question, I have had poor results in just trying to fill them. I think you can probably ignore most of them. But if you want the boat to look like new you will need to grind them down to glass and reapply gelcoat or paint the boat. Either way you would need to remove the cracks, not just fill them.

Hopefully someone on the list has had better results with less effort.
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GeneT covered most of it... If the cracks are just due to the gelcoat being too thick, then paint of some sort will fix the cosmetic issues.... however, if the lines are caused by stress... unless you reinforce the area to prevent the stress cracks from getting worse... covering it with paint will lead to the paint cracking later as well.
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Thanks everybody, we really appreciate your help. It looks like the cracks are from impacts. Sounds like we could use a dremmel and cut them out and then fill them with Gel Coat? What about the anti-slip? How can we make it look the same? Jane
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You can make a mold of the existing anti-skid and then use it to recreate the non skid surface when you gelcoat the repair.
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Thanks Sailingdog,
great idea. You mean a mold made from an area without cracks and than pressed on the newly poored gelcoat? What material would be best for the mold
TIA Bernd
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What you are undertaking is more work than you realize. I had the same situation on a Morgan designed and built Heritage West Indies. I used Interlux primer then 2 coats of 2 part finish. It was a lot of work that I would not want to do over. Let us know how it goes.
pigslo
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Old 07-11-2007
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I've seen molds made of silicone, but the best results I've seen were with an epoxy/fiberglass mold.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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