Faded Glory

David Watkins of Parrish, Florida, asks:"I have a 15-year-old fiberglass boat that I bought new. It has spent most of its life either in Florida or the Caribbean and has suffered severe exposure to the sun. There is surface crazing or cracking on the deck, coach roof, and upper topsides. These are not stress cracks, but they are widespread. Do you have some thoughts on
Author:
Publish date:
FadedUSEME

David Watkins of Parrish, Florida, asks:

"I have a 15-year-old fiberglass boat that I bought new. It has spent most of its life either in Florida or the Caribbean and has suffered severe exposure to the sun. There is surface crazing or cracking on the deck, coach roof, and upper topsides. These are not stress cracks, but they are widespread. Do you have some thoughts on what I might do to refinish these surfaces?"

Don Casey replies:

The crazing you see is normally caused by the expansion and contraction of the gelcoat, and the tropical sun can be a contributing factor. This takes place because the surface gelcoat is relatively brittle compared to the underlying laminate, which is strongly reinforced with glass fibers. While manufacturers try to hit a happy medium, the thickness of the gelcoat is the determining factor here and this is mainly determined by the skill of the worker spraying it into the mold.

A little preparation and paint can restore faded glory. As long as the condition is caused by crazing, not flexing, the standard cure is to apply two coats of a high-build epoxy primer and sand between coats. The epoxy paint is designed to be thin enough to penetrate the cracks but adhesive enough to serve as a filler. After the primer has been sanded to a smooth surface, apply a two-part polyurethane paint. When this paint is applied properly the results can be spectacular. In your part of the world the finish should remain glossy for at least five years.

Related

IslandPacket349

Boat Review: Island Packet 349

After years of quiescence in the wake of the Great Recession, iconic Island Packet is back with its new 349, a re-boot of the old Estero that not only looks great, but takes the Island Packet style of sailing performance to a new level. Design & Construction First among the many ...read more

190219NEEL51

Video Tour: Neel 51 Trimaran

At this past fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, SAIL magazine had a chance to corner Neel Trimarans founder Eric Bruneel and have him give us a tour of the accommodations aboard the new Neel 51, winner of the “Multihull over 50ft” category in the 2019 Best Boats contest. For a complete ...read more

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more

shutterstock_349918991

Successful Surf Landings with Wheels

“Ready to take the dink ashore?” Never had those words invoked as much anxiety as when my husband, Jeff, and I first moved to the Pacific Coast. Why? Because we had exactly zero experience with dinghy surf landings, and the possibility of being flipped upside down along with our ...read more