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  #1  
Old 04-03-2004
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Need advice re: major gelcoat cracking on 1993 Beneteau F310

All,
I just returned from winter yacht yard and discovered many, many cracks in the gel coat below the water line on my 1993 First 310. There are whole ''chips'' in the gel coat in a few places. There is not apparent pattern -- the crack are all over and caused the yacht yard to call me to come out and see them when they were looking at my boat for other spring work I had planned.

The boat has been in fresh water all of its 11 years, with a fresh coat of VC 17 each year. I have never noticed any cracking at all, of any kind, before. Now, the folks at the yacht yard say that they think there must be some kind of defect unique to my boat (perhaps related to other Beneteau hull problems they previously heard of). I am shocked to hear that the remedy may call for planing off the entire gel coat below the water line and re-doing it -- perhaps a $10,000 production -- not to mention weeks out of delay getting back into the water.

If anyone can give me any advise on this issue -- have you ever heard of anything like this, will Beneteau help me, is there a simpler solution than redoing the whole boat, what could possibly cause this, is there any chance I could claim this on my insurance, is my boat damaged in a fundamental way, regardless of what I do?

As you can see, I am in a mild panic. I have never had any problem like this before and don''t know how big a deal it is or what to do. Any advise would be greatly appreciated! Feel free to phone me if you think you have good advice.

Thanks, in advance.

Marty Reiner
312-952-8731
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Old 04-03-2004
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Need advice re: major gelcoat cracking on 1993 Beneteau F310

If these cracks have appeared in the hull since the boat was put up on stands, I would suspect either stress from unequal loading of the stands or the possibility of an inpact from the outside - could someone in the yard have hit the boat?
The repair question would be whether the cracks actually peretrate the glass, as opposed to simply the gelcoat. The gelcoat is subject to a superficial repair below the waterline. If the nature of the damage or its source isn''t clear, I''d get a surveyor on it.
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Old 04-03-2004
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Need advice re: major gelcoat cracking on 1993 Beneteau F310

Marty,

The following link may be relevant to how to deal with the costs of repairs:
http://www.yachtsurvey.com/latent_defects.htm

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Old 04-03-2004
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Need advice re: major gelcoat cracking on 1993 Beneteau F310

I suggest you ask an expert repair technician (other than at your boatyard) to look at it and give his opinion as to the cause. They ought to be able to discern between some latent defect and impact damage. For example, the boat might have fallen off its stands, and the yard might have put it back before you saw it.

We can''t know how extensive the damage is, or whether it goes beyond superficial damage to the gelcoat, but a good repair technician should be able to help you. You want the technician to tell you if it was the result of an accidental impact, or a latent manufacturing defect, or some other cause.

Once you know what caused it, you will also know if someone should be held liable for it. If the damage resulted from an accident, your insurer should cover the repair costs, and then they could sue the person who caused the damage.

If it resulted from a latent defect in the manufacturing process, the insurer probably won''t pay, but, in that case you should contact the boat builder. If they are convinced that it resulted from a manufacturing defect, they might cover the costs, or at least help you with the costs.

Good luck!
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Old 04-03-2004
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Need advice re: major gelcoat cracking on 1993 Beneteau F310

What kind of barrier coat do you have underneath the VC 17? The VC Tar on my boat has cracked to the point that I''m ready to take it off to bare gelcoat and apply a more state of the art barrier coat. Are you sure that the gel coat has cracked, or could it be the paint is what has cracked? I''m not aware of buildup being a problem with VC17, but if paint gets too built up, it can start to crack.

I agree with Sailormon6 that an impartial set of eyeballs on this sitution would be valuable. I''ve only heard of gelcoat cracking due to stress or impact. Are you sure it isn''t localized to one area of the hull that either got hit or received a point load? This generalized chipping you describe is outside of my experience. A marine surveyor might be able to shed some light.

Once you''ve got that person''s report in hand, if it looks like a latent defect, I''d get in touch with Beneteau. I''ve had a First 235 for going on 15 years now, and their customer service folks are very helpful.

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Old 04-04-2004
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Need advice re: major gelcoat cracking on 1993 Beneteau F310

After consulting a professional surveyor and contacting Beneteau I would suggest you pick up Casey''s "This Old Boat" since this is a common problem in older boats. The general solution is to apply an epoxy barrier coat below the waterline and a high build epoxy primer above the water line and then repaint.

I know it sounds scary but it is really not that big a deal. If you are handy at all you can do the work yourself and save a lot of money. I am currently doing it to an old Pearson Triton. The scariest part was sorting thru all the information of the different paint manufactures. Good luck.
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