Gel Coat Cracks


Sailing on Shelter Bay
Thread starter #1
I have some gel coat cracks where the deck meets the sides of the seats and a few on the gunnel where other boats came too close in a race (or was it me who was too close to them?). I have used that white epoxy filler called Marine-Tex with limited success and painted over that. Are there other solutions. I'm not talking about repairing structural damage, just covering up for aesthetic purposes. My old boat was in mint condition when I got it, but it has had a lot of use and only get a couple of days of maintenance before each season.
Thanks for any suggestions. Jim, Hansville, WA
I am having some of the same cracks. Let us know if you come up with a solution.
I have seen some "quick fix" products like Magic Ez. Not sure if they work too well. Mixed reviews.
Another quick fix product is Captin Tolley's which is available at West marine.

pat earing

Can't we sail the Capri instead?

Off topic, but I see your title for you avitar is "sailing on Shelterbay". Is that Shelterbay on Fidelgo Iasland across from La Conner? Just wondering...



Sailing on Shelter Bay
Thread starter #4
No. This Shelter Bay is really called Coon Bay on the charts. I think the real estate developers came up with the Shelter Bay name. We are not far from Kingston, WA. We are actually in Hansville, WA. The home owners association is called Driftwood Key Club and people in the area just call it Driftwood Key. There are about 600 members (houses) and we have our own little marina. We are now calling our sailing club "Coon Bay Sailing Club"----- Jim
I guess I have a little different take on the "spider" cracks that seem to appear around deck mounted hardware or anywhere there is stress placed on a fiberglass structure. I believe these little cracks in the jell coat to be indications of structural weakness or areas where the fiberglass is stressed beyond the design limits - collisions. In my humble opinion, trying to patch the area by use of some magic potion (fiberglass jell coat repair) seldom provides a permanent solution. The next time that area of fiberglass is stressed the thin jell coat repair will crack just as the original did.

There are two approaches to consider: 1) add additional layer(s) of roving and resin to the back side of the stressed area to make it stronger and them (perhaps) some of the magic juice on the surface that shows. 2) grind down the surface where the cracks appear enough to accept an additional layer of fiberglass, sculpt the surface to where it is just a few thousands below the original jell coat finish and then apply new jell coat to finish out the surface. You will have to feather the edges of the jell coat to keep it form looking like a big bandage stuck over a bobo. I guess there are other approaches such as painting the surface to represent a bandage thus providing a conversation piece or simply ignore it and go on about your sailing while avoiding the temptation to look at the spot. This is sort of like having a "really hot" girlfriend with a massive wort on the end of their nose! If you have guests on board you can always position yourself where your body covers the stressed area. Me? I just don't worry about it. If it is of structural concern, I reinforce it from the back side and ignore the cracks which are typically only jell coat deep.

The bottom line: everyone that designs boats of this nature have the goal of making the boat as light as possible yet strong enough to handle reasonable stress, ware and tare. This design approach results in areas that may flex enough to produce those dreaded spider spots. It is better to experience these cracks than to have a small boat that is 500 pounds heavier!

I doubt this wonderful information is of any help to anyone but again, these are just my deranged thoughts...