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Cracks in liner tabbing - structural? deal-breaker?

May 28, 2018
Catalina 30 Channel Islands, CA

Hi! I was hoping someone on this forum could help me decide whether an issue I noticed is a "deal-breaker", or whether I should proceed with getting a survey.

Here's the situation: I have my eye on a 1988 Catalina 30 MKII tall rig, but I'm concerned about some cracks/lifting (separation?) that I noticed on the port side under the v-berth/head area. I'm no expert on fiberglass boats, but, from what I've read here and elsewhere, the cracks are in the "tabbing" that attaches the liner to the hull. Questions that come to mind are:
  1. Is this tabbing structural? I think the answer is "no", but I'm not entirely sure.
  2. Otherwise, could this be an indication of prior abuse or damage elsewhere? Or is this "normal"?
Anyhow, I'm very grateful for any advice you all can give. I know I'll need a surveyor before making an offer, but not sure if it's even worth going that far at this point.


Nov 7, 2011
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
Welcome to the forum Stu!
On my 93 C30 Tall Rig, which I bought last Nov, I can find a few similar cracks. Surveyor called them boat wrinkles, stress cracks from being 30 years old.

Others with much more experience will offer their opinion I am sure. Interested to see if they agree.

How's the rest of the boat?
Jun 19, 2013
Oday 28 Traverse City
catalina 30s are everywhere. look at a few others in your area for comparison. remenber there is no hurry on your part, and by comparing other offerings you will get a good sense for value. check all the equipment. rigging, sailing hardware and sails, electronics in that order of importance.
Oct 19, 2017
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
I think you are looking at issues that need to be addressed, whether they are structural or not. I would say, without any experience with Catalina, that they are structural, in that they are part of the overall reinforcing structure that helps her hold her shape, but that they are not immediately critical. As far as what it would take to repair them, not a big job or difficult.

-Will (Dragonfly)
Jan 21, 2018
Catalina 30 1620 Orange Beach, AL
Good morning Stu, I am in the process of refitting a 1980 Cat 30. Having looked at the photos you posted and comparing them to my boat I would say that the tabs in question are not a big deal going by your photos. I removed the holding tank for the head on my boat and the tabs for the vertical plywood which contained the holding tank looked just like yours. When cutting them out with a vibrating saw the first 1/2" to 3/4" looked like yours. But once passed the small area it was very well bonded with resin. It appeared that the edges where resin poor and just did not hold after 38 years.
My real concern are the circular plywood backing plates that you show on the depth transducer. I had to remove all my backing plates on the thru hull fitting, I had 6 of them rotten. Once on the hard two of them simply came out with very little side ward movement. See the photo. Be prepared for a future problem with them. Also the plastic fitting which is used for the two hoses (guessing it a sink drain) are another problem. The area where it's located tends to be an area where stuff get pushed and jammed into without much regard. As tall as the fitting and valve with hoses is can create a real problem at the worst time.
Next time you view this boat bring a moister meter with you and test the plywood backing plates.


This transducer backing plate was rotten, the 3/4" bronze pipe next to it unscrewed from the hull by hand. Not one of Catalina's better ideas.

You can see the prevouis owner knew he had a problem and thought some kind of seal would work. Look at the wood backing plate.
The tabbed area at your forward V berth is sitting on about 1" of fiber glass, if something structural happen in this area (hard bottoming, side impact, boat dropped from sling) it will show up when lifted. If you spend the money to lift. Negotiate with the seller to share the cost.
Nov 8, 2010
Beneteau First 36.7 & 260 Minneapolis MN & Bayfield WI
I would never buy a boat in that condition, not matter what the age. Same thing with a surveyor who describes structural damage as 'boat wrinkles'. Wow. That's not supposed to happen.