Watching for Troublesome Deck Cracks

Author:
Publish date:
Watch out for deck cracks, no matter how small they may be

Watch out for deck cracks, no matter how small they may be

There are several things going on in this picture, all stemming from the small hairline cracks radiating out from where the chainplate pierces the deck. At first glance, they may not appear to be that serious. However, they will allow water to penetrate the outer skin and enter the balsa core of this high-end daysailer, setting off a series of problems.

In Northern states, at least, this water will freeze in the winter months. As it does so it will expand, forcing the crack to get a little wider and increase its length by an imperceptible amount each time, thus allowing more water in when the temperature rises again. The boat will go through many of these freeze/thaw cycles during a typical winter, and before you know it you have a real problem and a hefty repair bill.

Damage to the fiberglass may be bad enough, but the real danger is to the chainplates themselves. Crevice corrosion, the nemesis of stainless steel that is deprived of oxygen, could be eating away at the chainplate where it is hidden within the deck’s structure.
In this particular case I recommended that the cracks be ground out before filling and fairing with epoxy. The deck could then be repainted to match the original. I also suggested that the chainplate deck cover (the one with the fours screws) be lifted and the bedding caulk underneath be raked out and replaced to prevent water from getting into the deck by this route too. Not a huge job at this stage, but if neglected the damage could become extensive and the repairs far more costly.

Related

qr_main

Antal: QR Clutch

Get a Grip Italian deck gear maker Antal’s two new QR clutches not only have high holding power—up to 3,500lb for the QR10 and 4,800lb for the QR12—they can be opened and released under maximum load, so there’s no longer any need to take up the strain on a winch before freeing a ...read more

leadpicBoxes

DIY: Easy Drawers and Boxes

During the extensive refit of my Pearson 40, I needed to create a significant number of custom-sized plywood drawers and stowage bins, or boxes. These included 10 under-floor storage bins, under-sink organizers, boxes for tools and stores, and even a specially fitted cat ...read more

ARC2018Flags

Tips on Gaining Experience Passagemaking

Whether you want to build a sailing resume or just gain practical experience, getting more miles under your keel is key. You can sail a lifetime of summer afternoons and never quite get the hang of cruising—where creativity and offshore savvy result in self-sufficiency and ...read more

arc18-3981

Stories from the Cruisers of the ARC

Each December, the docks at Rodney Bay Marina in St. Lucia are abuzz as the fleet of the ARC—the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers—arrives to much fanfare. No matter what time of day or night, the staff of the World Cruising Club, organizers of the 33-year-old rally, are there to ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com A sign from outside the box  Rev counters on modern engines are driven electronically from a terminal on the alternator. If all is well, as soon as the engine fires up the revs will read true. If, ...read more

emSelf-tacking-jib

Ask Sail: Are Self-trackers Worth It?

Q: I’m seeing more and more self-tacking jibs out on the water (and in the pages of SAIL) these days. I can’t help thinking these boats are all hopelessly underpowered, especially off the wind, when compared to boats with even slightly overlapping headsails. But I could be ...read more

01-LEAD-hose-leak-CREDIT-BoatUS

Know how: Is Your Bilge Pump up to the Job?

Without much reflection, I recently replaced my broken bilge pump with a slightly larger model. After all, I thought, surely an 800 gallon-per-hour (gph) pump will outperform the previous 500gph unit? Well, yes, but that’s no reason to feel much safer, as I soon discovered. The ...read more