Emergency Tiller Fiberglass Cracking - SailNet Community

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Old 09-16-2011
SVArgo's Avatar
S/V Argo-Pacific Seacraft
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Emergency Tiller Fiberglass Cracking

I thought I had posted on this topic before, but couldn't find it, so forgive the redundancy.

Aboard ARGO, we have had some cracking in the fiberglass around the emergency tiller socket. It was cracked when we surveyed the boat before purchase in 2007, the owner fixed it, then it happened again. The crack stayed there all summer, and I finally ground it out. The cracks are on the vertical bulkhead forward and below the tiller socket and wrap around to the gutter underneath the hinges for the lazarrette cover. They are deep, through the gel-coat and into the glass, but because of the structural arrangement (see below) don't seem to be critical to the strength of the cokpit or bulkhead (the cracks don't extend all the way to the underside of the cockpit and bulkheads.

It appears that that underneath the space between the two laz covers, there is a little void, it's not solid glass. And water is getting in there somehow (suspect the tiller socket cover), freezing in the winter and...crack!!

So I have a few questions for anyone else who has experienced this:

1. Where was your leak coming from? How did you stop it? My plan is to re-bed the tiller socket cap and get new o-ring.

2. Is drying out in ambient temperatures sufficient before applying the glass repair goop? Or do I need to tape and tent it and put a little heater in there or something?

3. What did you use to fill the gap and do you know the what and where of gel-coat coloring and application?

Thanks in advance. I'd like to get this one fixed right, so I don't have to look at a gaping crack all winter after the first snow/thaw/freeze.

Ryan Roberts
S/V ARGO - Pacific Seacraft 37 Hull No. 309
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