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Thread: Ericson 32-3 cracks on the deck (bow area)

  1. #1
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    Ericson 32-3 cracks on the deck (bow area)

    Hello,

    There are cracks on the deck around anchor locker (both bow cleats and bow pulpit deck connections).
    Is it bad? Can it be easily fixed? Is boat structural integrity affected?

    Thank you
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  2. #2
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Question Questions...

    Just to eliminate possible causes (since this is very uncommon)--
    Has there been a collision repair to the bow since you owned it? Prior to your ownership?
    Kind of grasping at straws, but am wondering about something that caused that area to flex.

    The discoloration makes me suspect that the cracks have been there a while and I certainly would want to inspect the underside carefully. Removing the anchor well can be tedious, and I helped a friend with that work on his 32-3. However, it is really the only way to assess what's going on.

    Have you checked those narrow deck areas with a moisture meter?
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 04-15-2018 at 11:29 AM.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
    Sail # 28400
    Betamarine 25 (new 2018)
    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  3. #3
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    Looks like these cracks have been there for a while.

    This is not my boat (not yet anyway) - current owner seems not to be bothered by it.
    I inspected the boat and placed an offer (my boat knowledge and experience is limited) - now I am looking for good sailboat surveyor.
    However, few things keep popping in my head as possible deal breakers (more serious than I first thought) and these cracks are at the top of the list.

  4. #4
    1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
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    If this current owner is not bothered by cracks in his boat, that have probably leaked water into the balsa core, I wonder what else he has been ignoring, and how serious he has been with maintenance. I would be very leery about buying it cause of this, unless the survey is very, very positive, which I doubt it will be. I agree with Loren that those cracks are very unusual.
    Frank
    Last edited by Frank Langer; 04-16-2018 at 09:33 AM.

  5. 04-15-2018, 03:42 PM
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  6. #5
    Fwiw a surveyor, may want to tap the area with a light ball hammer and listen for soft spots If done correctly a dry spot will sound more like a ping a wet spot or core more like a thud. My boat has some spots with air trapped between the gel coat and fiberglass around that area due to the sharp areas during construction.



    Another time is was worried about a spot on a boat of mine with a leaky navtec chain plate. I took it to a good boat yard. He was great. Walked down to the boat. Inspected the area. Told me what was causing the issue. Told me not to get overly concerned etc.. I went over how I might repair the area. He agreed and ten minutes later I was on my way. I did the repair with some g10 and west system. Better than ever.

    I would guess this area is a leaky anchor locker. Check inside the vinyl wood etc for water. Get an expert to look at it. May be better or worse than expected

    Other owners may know. Not all boats have the entire deck cored. There may be areas such as where the cleats are mounted that are not cored. You may be able to take a few pics / movies of where the cleats are mounted from inside the boat with a phone and some light. Rusty bolts, depressed washers, excess caulk may be sign that more investigation is needed
    Last edited by e38 owner; 04-15-2018 at 03:56 PM.

  7. #6
    Principal Partner Afrakes's Avatar
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    Cracks

    When I removed my leaking anchor pan there was no coring in the deck area around the cleats and pulpit bases. I'd be concerned if the cracks were displaced. Meaning that deck on one side or the other of the crack was higher than the opposing deck surface. To me that would indicate a possible flexing of the pulpit. If both sides of the deck cracks are in alignment the problem may be cosmetic or even a manufacturing defect. Try to measure the depths of the cracks to determine their severity. You may be able to do that with a very thin sewing needle. Gel coat is not very thick. Is the boat deck riddled with cracks like this or are these the only ones?
    Al Frakes
    1987 E-28 Reba Gee
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  8. #7
    Moderator Christian Williams's Avatar
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    As I recall, it is possible to touch this area from the V-berth using the usual circus contortions.

    I base this on a memory of tightening bolts on pulpit stanchions bases, but could be wrong.

    If the crack doesn't go all the way through, I 'd just shrug.

    Look for evidence of the bow pulpit being crushed or lifted , which might raise the deck at the cracks. Trucking or Travelift accident maybe, or dock trauma.

    The cracks would not keep me from paying for a survey if I otherwise liked the boat.
    Thelonious II, E381 hull 513 (1984) Universal 5432
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  9. #8
    Sustaining Partner Kenneth K's Avatar
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    These cracks have been talked about before on this site. They seem to happen in the same place as yours. Check out this post from an E35 owner in 2016: http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...-anchor-locker

    I have the same crack as you on my '85 E323. Previous owner was not too concerned about it but offered a $300 concession for a gelcoat repair. Another E323 owner on this site looked into buying "my" boat before I bought it. I talked to him about the crack. He knows a lot more than I do about boats and he said it didn't give him much concern.

    When I got the boat, I covered over the crack with hardware-store epoxy just to try to keep water out of the crack (until I could take the time to do a proper repair). That temporary epoxy fix has been on for nearly two years now, and I have had no signs of water intrusion or further propagation of the crack.

    I have no idea what causes these cracks, but on my boat I'm pretty confident it's not from a collision type impact--there's just no other evidence of collision damage. This boat was kept on a trailer 8 months out of the year in Montana. I've wondered if the crack was from hull stresses from sitting on a trailer versus in the water. No way to for me to know, but the crack has been no problem for me.

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    Last edited by Kenneth K; 04-15-2018 at 09:56 PM.
    Ken
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  10. #9
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    And then, there is another cause of cracks in gel coat on any molded-out parts. If the initial thickness is over XX number of thousands due to overspraying the initial color/finish coat in the mold, that exterior layer will shrink a tiny bit and show checks and cracks after XX decades. I have seen this all over (!) the cabin and deck of an older Islander sloop. Looked bad, but when it is time to repaint all those get ground out and faired in before the LPU is applied, and will likely never reoccur.

    It's most common on sharper form changes, like an edge to a combing or any other place there is a 70 to 90 degree change in surface --- in the mold all of those are sharp inside corners that are more difficult to control the spray amount. Also true of laying up the initial matt and then the layers of cloth in the resin.
    I have observed a line of small holes in the gel coated surface of a sharp raided toe rail on an 80's O'Day where there was never any fiber against the gel layer and any later knock with any hard object would chip out the surface and reveal the shallow void (s) beneath.

    Strictly IMHO: building parts from molds is an awesome way to produce a complicated (and stylish) finished part with less labor cost in the production phase, but there are also lots of places where a moment's inattention or lack of skilled labor will cause problems -- some sooner and some later.

    Given the heavy pressure to crank out hulls quick at the lower end of the production boat spectrum, it's kind of amazing that they hold up as well as they do. Friend of mind used to work at Bayliner for a while and said that because molds are expensive and there was a huge push to turn out hulls, they would routinely remove (physically) "hot" hulls from a mold and immediately start laying up the next one.

    At the semi-custom end of the trade, I recall visiting Cascade Yachts and watching workers lay up the hull and then let that boat continue to cure further in the mold while structural parts were glassed in. Small company- one boat at a time.

    So, perhaps the cracks in question are not serious. If my boat, I would certainly grind 'em out and fill and gel coat them. Hardest part of the job (!) would be matching the color.

    Last edited by Loren Beach; 04-16-2018 at 12:02 PM.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
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  11. #10
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    checked under anchor pan

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth K View Post
    These cracks have been talked about before on this site. They seem to happen in the same place as yours. Check out this post from an E35 owner in 2016: http://www.ericsonyachts.org/infoexc...-anchor-locker
    I did pull out the anchor pan and check under this cracked area. There is substantial plywood underneath and a fairly good layer of plastic. The cracks appear to be a surface feature.

    The deck under the anchor pan has a very thin lip that is sure to be cracked where the hold down screws go through. These were the source of the leaks I worried were coming from what appears to be cracks in the gelcoat.

    There is repaired bump on hull (looks about dock height) but I could not find any other signs of stress from a collision.
    Mike Field
    "Jenny" E35-3 #251
    San Francisco

  12. #11
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    Drain in 32-3 anchor well

    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Beach View Post
    (snip) Removing the anchor well can be tedious, and I helped a friend with that work on his 32-3. However, it is really the only way to assess what's going on. (snip)
    Wondering about your comment in the thread above.
    I want to pull my well out to inspect what's under it ... to see if the headwater/spring that's pool I always find in the bilge is under the anchor well, to inspect backing plates, etc, for bow cleats, stemhead fitting, etc.
    There's a whole lot of screws around the upper edge of the well that obviously have to come out - my question is: how did you and your friend disconnect the drain at the bottom from the tube underneath that leads from the bottom of the well to the little drainage hole just above the waterline of the bow?
    More to the point - how does one hook it up again without leaks when reinstalling the anchor well
    E32-3 #655
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    drain hook up

    Quote Originally Posted by nquigley View Post
    how did you and your friend disconnect the drain at the bottom from the tube underneath that leads from the bottom of the well to the little drainage hole just above the waterline of the bow?
    There should be a glassed in copper tube through the bow and a flexible tube to the anchor pan.

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    Last edited by mfield; 04-16-2018 at 02:32 PM. Reason: rotate pic
    Mike Field
    "Jenny" E35-3 #251
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  14. #13
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by nquigley View Post
    Wondering about your comment in the thread above.
    I want to pull my well out to inspect what's under it ... to see if the headwater/spring that's pool I always find in the bilge is under the anchor well, to inspect backing plates, etc, for bow cleats, stemhead fitting, etc.
    There's a whole lot of screws around the upper edge of the well that obviously have to come out - my question is: how did you and your friend disconnect the drain at the bottom from the tube underneath that leads from the bottom of the well to the little drainage hole just above the waterline of the bow?
    More to the point - how does one hook it up again without leaks when reinstalling the anchor well
    It's been a few years, but I recall that it was really difficult for him to get the hose mated back up with the tube.
    (It's easy on the Olson because the anchor well is shallow in comparison, so there is room to work (very tight quarters) under it.l)
    1988 Olson 34 #8
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  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Beach View Post
    It's been a few years, but I recall that it was really difficult for him to get the hose mated back up with the tube.
    (It's easy on the Olson because the anchor well is shallow in comparison, so there is room to work (very tight quarters) under it.l)
    On the E35 it takes two people. One to hold up the front of the anchor pan 1" and the other to slip the hose on the copper tube. The the anchor pan can be lowered and the clamp tightened.
    Mike Field
    "Jenny" E35-3 #251
    San Francisco

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    no access to anchor well through forward berth

    My 32-3 (1985) has a solid wooden panel at the forward end of the forward berth. It's tempting to cut a door in it to access the area under the anchor well to avoid having to unseat the anchor well pan, but i'd probably make a mess of it.
    i think my anchor well has never been disturbed (there's no excess caulk around the lip, all screw heads are identical and seem not to have ever been disturbed), so it's hard not to imagine a sleeping dog.
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