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Hi all,
I'm looking for my next boat and I was looking at a 1986 O'Day 28 the other day. It has a keel-stepped mast and when I lifted up the inspection plate in the sole I noticed a hairline crack about 3 or 4 inches long in the fiberglas where the mast rests. I also noticed a small gouge in the front of the keel.
Could that crack be normal for a boat this age or would this be something catastrophic? Thanks.
 

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The two might not be related. Crack in the fiberglass down there should be easy to fix, same with a ding in the keel. But getting this boat properly surveyed before you buy it would be a smart thing to do.
 

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Oh yeah I'm definitely having a survey done I just didn't know if the crack meant that the mast step was about to fall apart the first time I tried sailing the boat.
 

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The crack you see is probably just in the gelcoat. This is not unusual, can be seen in many boats around stress points as motor bed, mast etc.

GRP boats are manily constructed in female forms, starting with the outside gelcoat layer. That result in the inside being without a nice covering layer. In fact, before the last finishing, the inside is rather uneven.
As there are only a few patches of the inside that is really visible, the boat builders usually just apply top coat (top coat is gelcoat with some added wax solution) in generous amounts to cover the usual GRP and to make it look even - topcoat/gelcoat is like a very thick paint.

GRP constructions are soft and flexes, and as the inside top layer does not have any real strenth or reinforcement, it often cracks when sailing (or going aground which does happens :) ).

Thus, inside cracks are often rather harmless.

External cracks are a completely different story. Usually evidence of internal stress points which eg the hull has flexed around. Often a weak point. Must be addressed.

As said: a surveyor is a good thing. Check his credentials and possible insurance ... it never ends.

/J
 

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Oh yeah I'm definitely having a survey done I just didn't know if the crack meant that the mast step was about to fall apart the first time I tried sailing the boat.
The O'Day 28 boats are a good design and are well constructed, so that is not likely to happen at all. 30 year old fiberglass boat is bound to have some stress cracks, but they tend to be rather superficial. The boat probably sailed with these cracks for the last 20 years.
 

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Pictures would help! Many Odays have keel steps. You don't need to buy one that's cracked. keep looking.
 
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