Cracks in the Gel Coat

I bought a Stellar S-18 Advantage last fall and have paddled it about a dozen times.

There is some small cracks in the gel coat eminating from the screws used to secure the deck rigging. This is where the straps go when I attach it to the car so I can kind of get that these will happen. Have read up about them and stopped by the shop where I bought it. They said nothing to worry about and suggested I use Magic Ezy to patch.

What’s got me worried now is that there are multiple cracks at each of the four anchor points for the foot braces. It doesn’t look like there’s any damage to the hull and I paddled it in a race today without any problems.

I’ve tried to baby this thing because I was told they are fragile. I knew there will be scratches and scrapes but my question to the experienced here - is this common on such a new boat? Is it something I should accept as normal or is this something that I should be worried about and go back to the vendor/manufacturer?


I don’t know about your particular boat model, but spider cracks are not uncommon on kayaks. The reason is simple; gelcoat is not as flexible as fiberglass, so in areas where the glass flexes, spider cracks will develop. They are purely cosmetic and will not affect the underlying structure. Attempting to repair them is generally a waste of time, as they will just recur in the same spot for the same reasons.

I would have to say no; cracks, or crazing in the gelcoat are not acceptable on a boat that new and for that matter on any gelcoat. My composite sea kayak is nine years old and has been through a lot. I have made repairs to the gelcoat, but those repairs were necessary for good reason–none were due to crazing.

It might be possible to polish out the superficial surface cracking, but I would certainly let the dealer and manufacturer know about it.

Can’t speak to whether there should be or not cracks in those areas of that boat. But look for Captain Jack’s Spider Crack stuff, can find it online. It can leave a bit of a grey stain if you are lazy like me if you are sloppy wioth it, but the stuff really holds spider cracks.

they are built light. What lay up is it? When you have flex beyond a certain point you will have spiders. Only way to really cure it would be to stiffen or reinforce the interior of hull. Even two layers of glass in a 2" x 2" patch would help like putting a washer to spread the load. Doubt you want to do that on a new boat or even if you can get behind to do it. What is the warranty on the kayak? I would document the problem in an email with photo’s in case you have increasing failure from flexing. I would do it with the dealer and manufacturer. Be nice and ask is this normal or will it get worse. I don’t get the super light weight for a ski as my weight can vary up and down 5 pounds anyway. I doubt in a race unless your a pro 5 lb. would matter anyway. Five pounds of reinforcement or even 2 would be huge on any kayak.

Thanks. The dealer has been very helpful so far and I spoke directly with the guy who owns the company before I bought it. I’m sure he’ll be helpful too. Wanted to see if it was me being paranoid or if it was something I should go back to them with.

Gelcoat does not necessarily always crack from flexing. There are at least two, or more types of gelcoat formulas and who knows how many manufacturers. Vinylester gelcoat is very flexible, or so it has been demonstrated to me.