Hair line cracks in gelcoat

-- Last Updated: Aug-27-15 2:23 PM EST --

I have a Sawyer canoe, in golden glass layup I believe. Hull is in pretty good shape for a 1986, very few scratches or nicks. The only problem with this boat is along the radius where bottom transitions to side there are several hairline cracks in the gelcoat about 5 or 6 feet long. I suspect these were caused by previous owner hauling the boat on a roof rack with over tightened straps as this is how he told me he transported it. Not really sure though, they could be from over flexing during impact or just from the age of the hull. Anyway should I repair the cracks or just leave them alone? To many to fix individually, repair would require grinding off a strip of gelcoat on both sides about 6 or 8 inches wide and replacing.

Thanks John R

As an old guy who was known a few
Old canoes, I believe they are cosmetic and repairing them is unlikely to look better.

Sawyer cruiser???

– Last Updated: Aug-27-15 2:21 PM EST –

I am not that concerned about the asthitics although it is a nice looking canoe, they don't really bother me. I am just curious as to wether they would harm the canoe over the long haul by letting water get into the underlying layup??? I am no expert and i am not sure about this so I thought I would see what other paddlers thought.

John R

It will let water in…
…fill them (about a foot at a time) with zap-a-gap super glue. Let it capillary down into the crack for about 30 seconds. Then with a quadruple folded paper towel pat away the residue, do not rub or smear…pat it quickly or the towel will stick. For the remainder of the residue remove with a paper towel very lightly soaked with lacquer thinner.

gelcoat is a cosmetic layer

– Last Updated: Aug-27-15 5:02 PM EST –

in most cases a spider crack will not let water into the fiberglass matrix. In many cases the cracks you repair will reappear due to what made them appear in the first place: flexure. Maybe this boat's construction is an exception.
I have a 12 year old kayak with gelcoat cracks on the deck and hull, no sign of water penetrating through resin and fiberglass.

Not sure about Sawyer, but well-made …
… composite boats of today don’t have any voids within the fabric of the hull. Perhaps, since there may be a tiny bubble here and there, it would be more accurate to say that there is no network of voids which would allow the entry of water. Spaces within the weave of the fabric should be completely filled (sealed) by whatever type of resin is used. In short, well-made boats don’t absorb water via cracks or scratches.

no sign of X

– Last Updated: Aug-27-15 6:32 PM EST –

but keep an eye on that....

West Marine sells a gelcoat in small tube...called GELCOAT FOR DUMMIES....excellent consistency.

clean crack with ? ..Meguiar Red.... acetone ? Gumout ?...CHOH ? Sand removing oxide...

then nylon body spatula the gel coat in...swipe it down the zip zip...sand maybe for cosmetics or lump removal and just do it.

and wait for more cracks...

if there are MORE cracks....consult an expert.

your canoe will not be in the water long enough to bother the under lying glass unless it;s in all the time.Press lightly on the bottom and see if flexure is why it cracked. I cracked or fracture the bottom of a composite kayak on a roller ramp which I was leery of. I heard some bad noises when coming out. I put some glass on the inside and left the cracks alone because it doesn’t flex anymore.