Crack in deck near anchor locker


Member III
I have a thin crack in the deck at the rear corner of the anchor locker. Probably due to flexing of the deck. I expanded it with a dremmel, filled it with thickened epoxy and a small patch of cloth. I then smoothed it over with some gel-coat (hence the color mismatch in the photo). After a couple of months the crack has reappeared. It's a tough place to get into to add some additional layers of fiberglass or some reinforcement. Is this a common problem and any advice how to fix it?



Member III

u might have to remove the anchor locker and put down a layer of epoxy and cloth. and a piece of reinforcing wood. It would be interesting to know the cause of the stress.
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Sustaining Member

Definitely time to pull the anchor pan out and see what's going on underneath. What you're seeing on top maybe revealing something more going on below. Especially since you tried the cosmetic fix and that didn't solve the problem. Certainly an odd place to have a crack.


Member III
anchor locker deck crack

I have the same crack on my E-38. I was just going to hog it out, fill with epoxy and add a gel coat much as you did. I had my anchor locker pulled out a month ago and didnt notice anything suspicious going on underneath. As the area of the crack is near the bow I would have thought it to be one of the strongest areas of the hull as it is a narrow area with converging details (both hull sides, decks, bulkhead). I also have a slight cracking of the deck area above the anchor locker latch. Most likely the result of some P.O's mishap. Let us know if you get the issue resolved and how you did it.

Good Luck and keep the round side down !!

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Gel Coat thoughts

Once an frp boat gets over about 15 years old, the original gel coat can develop surface cracks in any area where it is thicker than nearby areas. This is more common on hard-angle corners but can occur anyplace anywhere. Further, when the resin and hardner are auto-mixed and applied, it is possible for there to be an occasional chemical problem in the material or setting on the pumps.
Production boat builders have this tightly controlled, for the material itself and training of the applicator.

Thickness is usually the culprit for checking in mature gel coat surfaces. You want enough surface layer for lasting gloss that can take repeated UV damage over the decades and be polished and cleaned and still look good. Too thick and you get cracking/checking. Too thin and the next layer (a different color shade) starts to show through before 20 or 25 years.

* in our moorage we have a lot of "classic plastic" boats. Quite a few boats built in the 70's are showing this thinning of the original get coat on their decks where the UV has been deteriorating the surface since the 70's and early 80's. It's common to pretty much every make of boat, including some Ericson's.

As the original gel coat ages and continues to "cure" over time, it slightly shrinks. The flexibility seems to diminish. The area pictured in this thread should not have any structural "flex" to cause a crack, so it seems likely to be a result of aging and application. Note that in the picture the surface nearby has eroded enough to show the substrate color.

Observation: At some point in the getting-nearer future, the deck will need a re-coating. Done on the cheap, most of the fittings are masked off and a one-part epoxy paint is rolled on.....
Done right and not cheap, all hardware is removed, surface sanded smooth, and all fastening holes are over drilled and re-drilled and all hardware dry fitting done.
Then the separate gloss and non-skid areas are shot with LPU paint, several coats. Finally all the hardware is fitted with new sealant.
Then it's lovely for about 20 years or more.
We have a number of boats in our moorage done both the cheaper/faster way and the more-expensive 'Remanufactured' way.

Caution: these comments may be: 1) partly true, or 2) not applicable to the boat in question. That's the problem with observations by laymen. We see a lot over the decades but lack training or actual paid employment in the field.

On the plus side, I have been privileged to repeat-visit a lot of major restorations in high end shops and yards, for over 25 years.

Apropos of Whatever.... that restored/remanufactured Cascade 36 moors next to me.

Use the Archives icon in the lower left corner look through the work. The owners are still working away on the new interior.

The gloss on that hull represents (IIRC) three color coats minimum and five clear coats over that.

Our boat still looks "great" after a buffing, but is way short of the gloss on the LPU surface on that Cascade. And, while our old non skid collects dirt and mold, the LPU surface next to us is pretty much sealed and impervious to all dirt and stains. i.e. everything just hoses off.

So best of luck on the repair of the boat this thread. Our boat has a few similar small cracks where there were sharp corners in the mold, but we are probably ok for another 8 or 10 years before needing a repaint.


ps: after all this pontificating, there's no harm in adding a layer or two of bi-ax underneath, if you can get to the area. (!) :)
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Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Blogs Author
Yes, I am amazed at what painting old gelcoat with two-part paints can do. Several boats near me have been done over recently by one freelance guy, using roller and brush--while in the water.

They look brand new. I had my E38 transom done--big shadow there from an enormous old vinyl application, sanded through the gelcoat to get it off--and the result is perfect. $300.
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Member III
Thank you all for your comments. The hairline crack did go all the way through the deck and I was afraid of leaks. I was hoping you would all say that the deck near the corners of the anchor locker was a weak spot and the cracking was common but I guess I'll have to dig through the goop on top of the screws holding the anchor pan in and see what lies beneath.

I can't find any sign of trauma that might have caused the cracking, may a heavy human standing with a heavy anchor. I'll let you know what the investigation yields.


Innocent Bystander
Maybe somebody stood there yanking on a well-set anchor? Or there was a sawhorse or other support there holding up an unstepped mast that was loaded unkindly?

I don't like the looks of that crack, but not so much for structural reasons - it's going to let water in, which will rot the core and create a very messy project down the road.

Could you cut matching pieces of 1/8" thick G10, taper the fore-and-aft edges, and run them along both sides of the anchor locker, painting them white or a contrasting color so they look like trim? Or you could paint them with KiwiGrip so they'd be good places to stand whilst futzing with the anchor.

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Blogs Author
Pulling the anchor chain pan shouldn't be that big a deal. If the sealant is a problem, a Dremel multimax or similar oscillating blade may help.

We need to have a look at that area anyhow, drain tube, cleat backings, wiring and so on.


Member III
crack resolved

I thought I had followed up with another message on this thread but better late than never.

I did pull out the anchor locker, not too much of a pain but it did make me realize that the lip holding up the pan is pretty inadequate and is prone to split where the screws hold the pan down. Much repairing and sealing to stop any water getting in.

The crack on the deck at the corner is above a solid piece of plywood and does not appear to have caused any leaks. A superficial repair of the gelcoat is really all that was required. I think there is a thin layer of fiberglass over the thick layer of plywood and an even thinner layer of gelcoat on the top. Perhaps the layers were not completely flat causing some flexing when stands on the area.