fixing small cracks/crazing

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The cockpit of my 10-year-old Capri 14.2 has small hairline cracks and crazing in the white gell coat. Can anybody help me with the prefered method for repairing or eliminating these cracks? Thanks!

LaDonna Bubak - Planet Catalina

Don't bother!

Hi Carl - I don't mean to bring you down or anything but fixing those hairline cracks will cause your own hairline to raise about 3"! They are usually not structure, only impact points of a winch dropping or indications of hull flex - basically places where a lot of stress has been. They're purely cosmetic and not only take a lot of time & energy to fix but a lot of money too. If you must, here's how: Go buy a Dremel with one of those flexible arm attachments. With one of the stone-like cone-shaped bits, grind out all of those tiny cracks. Marking them with a permanent marker helps to see them when the dust from the gelcoat/fiberglass covers the cracks. Be sure to go all the way down to the glass, otherwise they're likely to pop back out after painting. Yup, you have to paint the boat. Ooops - jumped ahead of myself. Next, fill all those groovy grooves with polyester putty (epoxy putty below waterline), let dry & sand fair. Now you have to go over all the "fixes" to make sure you don't have any spots with air bubbles, etc. Fix those & sand fair again. Now, sand the entire topsides with 320, mask everything off (remove the mast & any or all deck hardware) & rent/borrow a sprayer to spray the paint or, if you decide to go with something like Sterling, take a class on proper application. It will probably need two coats, so you'll get lots of practice. Watch out for runs, though! Now you can reinstall all the deck hardware you took off, rerig everything & go sailing! Gee, it only took me 3 months to prep the boat, a month out of water & about 4 months of recovery before I got mine sailing again. Like I said, probably not worth it. Keep her clean & they'll be less noticeable. Good luck! LaDonna


Gelcoat repair kits

Most boat shops have small kits that can be used to repair chips and cracks in gelcoat surfaces. The entire boat doesn't need to painted when using one of these kits. The polyester resin and coloring agents are included in the kit. Unless a crack has opened up (a toothpick can be stuck into the crack), I wouldn't worry about them.
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