can these cracks be fixed?

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by lajos, Jul 27, 2009.

  1. 73sunfish

    73sunfish New Member

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    the cracks you hear are not good. Fiberglass is like your skin.. you put lotion on your skin to keep it from cracking and for it to be smoother.

    fiberglass has petroleums inside it to keep it healthy. for example when you wax the boat it is like putting lotion or sunblock on your skin, when you put rubbing compound on your boat that is like a micro derm abrasion on your skin..

    by checking the condition of the fiberglass you can tell if your boat has been cared for..
     
  2. 67stang

    67stang Member

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    ...Here is an example of a possible boat, that may be priced right for you, and fairly close, when comparing to that one in Nashua sale-rr2c9-1295473889@craigslist.org Of Course you would have to look at it and above all, act fast! The deals that pop up usually are being watched by others who are searching too! The money that you will need to pump into the SF from Nashua can easily be used to get a boat that is ready to sail (now)....I noticed that his (the Nashua SF) price has been coming down in the past several monthes,.... there is a reason, ( at his price), it isn't in demand !
     
  3. CFSmith

    CFSmith New Member

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    I'm a new owner of a 2004 fish that has just developed some hairline cracks on both sides of the deck, just aft of the cockpit. I think they are the result of trailer bunks --- that's another issue -- but I'm wondering if these cracks may be symptoms of a structural problem? and if not, do I need to fix them?

    Your thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated.
    Claudia
     

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  4. Wayne

    Wayne Member Emeritus

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    The cracks are definitely bigger than you'd get from gelcoat weathering. If I'm viewing the location correctly, those appear to be inline with the wall of the foot well storage cubby. Since the cubby does not make direct contact with the hull bottom, but rather is supported by a couple of inches of styrofoam, it seems more logical to me this crack is the result of some sort of impact or heavy force from the deck side. Judging by the slight circular nature, epicenter is likely to be a few inches outward from the cracks. Six year olds using the deck as a trampoline are the most common structural problem for this type of damage.

    It would be wise to chip away all the loose gelcoat, inspect for underlying broken fiberglass fabric, and repair/re-gelcoat as needed to prevent water from getting into the fabric layers.
     

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  5. Porpoise2

    Porpoise2 New Member

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    Stress cracks are a cosmetic issue: When fixed, they invariably show up somewhere else. :rolleyes:

    Whooops...Wayne has edited his prior remarks—with a fix! :eek:

    I'd still let it go. :p
     
  6. Wavedancer

    Wavedancer Upside down? Staff Member

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    Claudia,

    Is the tiller (or tiller extension) scratching the deck?
     
  7. emilikins

    emilikins Maniac

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    Howdy, I'm throwing a stress crack photo in for analysis. I'm looking into buying this boat, and the seller has obliged me with a ton of pictures and highlighted cracks in the cockpit. He thinks they are just cracks in the gelcoat and says no flexing, soft spots, or crackles appear when it is pushed on. I've poked around on threads and looked at manuals about different cracks and what they could mean, but I AM a newbie, so I need another opinion. Are these just something I can epoxy over and be good, or is there something I should be looking for when I go out to see the boat (aside from hard, soft, flexing, etc.)?

    Thanks!
     

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  8. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    I generally like those '60's hulls a lot, but that one has been painted over, including the cockpit. My guess is that the owner thought that painting would obscure the underlying cracks, but it obviously didn't. I'm shy about buying painted hulls, partly for this reason. At this point fixing the gel coat may be problematic. The cracks may not be all that much of a problem, but you would want to look at the underlying hull to see if there is a corresponding problem. Unfortunately I'll bet that has been painted too.

    Now I'm going to digress a bit. Stiffness is good, but let me confess to a trick that I used once where I had a cracked cockpit. This instance was in a Minifish, but the principal applies. I was fixing a cracked cockpit floor and wanted to stop the flexing. I also didn't want to reinforce it so much that I was just transferring stress to the hull below. I put some small holes in the cockpit floor large enough for the Great Stuff (expanding foam) nozzle to fit, and let it rip. I had a firm floor in minutes - and the underlying hull felt good, too. I patched and painted the cockpit floor, and no one would be the wiser. That's certainly not a workmanlike or long-term solution, to say the least, and if I ever were to sell the hull (I won't) I'd fess up. But the point is with painted Sunfish it's hard to tell what's going on.

    Still, I have a soft spot for hulls like the one pictured. I'd weigh it just to see if it was a potential keeper. But I wouldn't attach any premium to the paint job on that boat. To the contrary, that adds an element of the unknown, so I'd be critical.

    If the rudder conversion has been done on that boat (and done correctly, as evident hrough a rear inspection port), that's a plus. In fact, rather than me ramble on, you might read Dan's Windline article on buying a Sunfish. But to your question, if your thought was to patch those cracks in some manner, you will have to deal with the layer of paint.
     
  9. emilikins

    emilikins Maniac

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    minifish, I have seen the before painting pictures of all sides of the boat. The owner said he didn't redo the gelcoat because he felt more comfortable working with paint (and I've read gelcoat is trickier). The bare hull and deck looked in good shape, so I'm not too nervous about the "what are you hiding under there?" problem that can come with a new paint job. We'll bring a couple of scales and try to weigh it even though we've been told it was weighed not long ago and came in at 130 (he was surprised, too, and decided not to do an inspection port because of it). This is a no pressure sale, btw, the seller just wants to make sure we are unsurprised and confident before we drive the distance to get it.

    Would doing one of those MarineTex (or was it West?) epoxy jobs on the bottom help? I'll be pushing to see if there is too much flex (have practice on a project boat we looked at but walked away from). I'll definitely keep that Great Stuff foam trick in mind, though I could totally see us putting a hole straight through the boat with our zealous but unrefined DIY skills. :eek:

    The rudder is still the original style (I've seen the pics) and the hardware seems to be in better shape than our club boats! We know conversion could be up to $300 down the road, but we don't plan on doing any racing. I have read Dan's article (one of the first I came across). I'm too the point where my brain is second guessing itself "is that crazing or alligatoring? is that normal wear or is it delaminating?" We'll put an inspection port in this winter, if we get this boat, since that's what everyone says to do to keep it dry (and have a cup holder, ha).

    When the weather cooperates, I'm going to inspect the older, beat up Sunfish at the club that we've been sailing just fine in. It's a late 70s/early 80s (I can't remember exactly) and has been abused by the sailing school, so I figure that might be a decent comparison. It's gelcoat could use a polish, too.
     
  10. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    Sounds good so far. My suspicion is that what you see is what you will get, meaning the hairline cracks are there to stay. If down the line you have a problem and the cracks expand or become more serious so you are worried about them, I might consider - consider - full patch over the bottom of the cockpit, after removing the paint. If done right (a story for another thread) it can look like it was always that way, and it will be durable. In other words, I wouldn't stress over those stress cracks. I'd much, much rather be dealing with that than hull cracks.

    Oh, let's not mention to anyone else about that Great Stuff business - that was one of those days of combined frustration and laziness. I wouldn't recommend anything like that.

    Good luck with it.
     
  11. emilikins

    emilikins Maniac

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    Haha, noted.

    If it's cosmetic, I don't really care. If it's one of those "fix it now, save yourself pain down the road" and it's not a hard or expensive fix, I'm also okay with that. Anything in our budget will need something sooner than later. I just want to avoid the BIG stuff coming SOON. Because I saw big pics of the hull before the paint job, I think it's just surface stuff. I'll poke, prod, and sound tap on inspection, tho.

    Interesting note, we looked at a boat that had very chalked gelcoat and crazing, but the worrisome part was all the different returns on tapping. And you didn't have to push much to get lots of flex. I did love the guy saying sailed "5 or 10 times" this summer ... but there were cobwebs and mouse poop in the cockpit. Yeah .... :rolleyes: Weirdly enough, the sail was pretty crisp, the mast looked in good shape, etc. Considered lowballing him to get the parts & trailer and then putting the boat up here or on CL for free as a project for anyone who wanted it.
     
  12. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    As long as you are not breaking the budget with this boat, I wouldn''t stress too much. Three things I tend to avoid - really heavy project boats ( unless the price is compelling enough to put ports in and let it ventilate for a year); leaking daggerboard trunks and busted mast steps, both of which can be devilish; and major cave-ins, like on the keel or chines. Since you are clear of those, most else is manageable. Unless I was getting a recent worlds boat or something I wouldn't put much value on a used sail - those nice Intensity $135 sails took care of that issue. I'd discount the old-style rudder.

    I'd put two ports in that boat, one behind the splash guard and one back where you eventually want one a rudder conversion ( even if you don't do one for years), maybe even fashion some, cardboard air scoops, and let the boat ventilate in a breezy area off-season, and I'll bet the weight improvement will be noticeable.

    You are right about hull flex concerns. Some years ago I was looking to get out of an immaculate by heavily raced boat, but I knew that despite the perfect finish the structure was worthless. It had been pounded to death. I traded it in to a factory authorized dealer rather than sell it directly. At least he knew exactly what he was getting. I took some flack at our club for selling a boat outside the club family - violating an unspoken rule we try to follow. As to the eventually disposition (of which I am clueless), if there were any subsequent issues because the problems were not addressed (it would have been extremely costly) it was a reflection on the dealer's reputation and not mine. The point, though, is that you are correct in being vigilant.
     
  13. Cavi

    Cavi Member

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    In my area they typically go for 600 to 1000 in sailing shape. Above 1000 for wow! Shape. I think that is fixable but it might notlook great after depending on your skill. I personall do not care much how they look so it might be worth it ,but i would probably pass
     
  14. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Even with the hardware, those repairs—which I could do almost for free—are too severe. :(

    :oops: Think of the damage you don't see! :eek:
     
  15. emilikins

    emilikins Maniac

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    :eek:

    No worries, it's $350 for everything (sail, all rigging, rudder, dagger). I've been watching repair stuff online and reading Don Casey about stress cracks and delamination, and so I think it's something I'll strengthen or stiffen this winter as long as our in-person inspection reveals it isn't flexing or cracking under pressure. We've been pricing out parts and repair materials, so we can factor that into any boat we get, because at our price point, anything will need at least something replaced/repaired, etc. And we would rather experiment on an older boat than sink a lot of money into a newer boat that we either damage through our own newbie-ness or botch a repair and sink even more $$. We've got to save some money for Boat #2!

    But, of course, if it feels weak, soggy, or dubious, I'll walk away, and the seller is cool with that. :) I want this boat, but I can walk away if need be.
     
  16. minifish2

    minifish2 Active Member

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    I like this two- boat strategy. What I might do is go ahead amend get the second boat with its trailer, better sail, and new rudder - and as you suggested - go for the best of both. If the hull of the second boat with the better gear was even half-?way seaworthy, I'd use it and the second-best sail as a beater for kids, or dump it off at a secondary sailing venue like at my parents house or a vacation shack or something, so I could sail anytime there just by carrying the blade bag in my trunk.

    It's a hull that you wouldn't worry about just leaving someplace. If it's soggy you can even drill a couple of holes for ports and let it sit somewhere for a year (parents houses or vacation cabins are great for hat). Or you can give that second hull to a brother or neice or someone who's always wanted to sail, as a gift of sorts, and let them sort out their own blade situation.

    At the same time, I'd go ahead with the rudder bracket upgrade on the first boat and use that second boat's new-style rudder. Even sell the old one on C-list or something if youvare into that. However you do it this second boat sounds like an easy decision.
     
  17. emilikins

    emilikins Maniac

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    minifish - Boat #2 is down the road and will probably be something other than a Sunfish (probably Laser or Force 5, or something that can fit 3 people). The boat we looked at and considered lowballing the guy in order to get parts and trailer was definitely not taken care of. I could see water damage under the water line, the deck was flexing, and some taps revealed voids. The gelcoat was shot, so we'd likely have to sand down, make lots of repairs, and then repaint it. The rudder and daggerboard would need refinishing, but seemed in decent shape otherwise. Sail was still crisp. Trailer appear in okay condition, though I think the tires needed replacing, and it would need some heavy modification to become a two-boat trailer.

    I think that boat (called Dirty Boat in my head) would be a greater headache than stress cracks in the cockpit. It's still a possibility we'll lowball for parts and then put an ad up for anyone to take Dirty Boat away for free, but we also don't have the luxury of sitting on a junk boat (pesky neighborhood covenants). And we have an HF utility trailer being modified for us, so obtaining a trailer is not longer part of the equation. Spare parts still nice, and I would need to look at the rudder again, but it looked like the newer (post 72) rudder but the older bracket style. I'm not worried about having the old rudder style. If it steers correctly, then that is good enough for we newbies.

    The 60s boat's seller has also pointed us to other possible boats in his area, but they are always sold before we can get there. :( We just aren't in an active CL area for Sunfishes.

    Anyone repair cracks in a cockpit before?
     

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