April 11th, 2004
A number of owners have reported problems with gelcoat cracking along the wingnet lashing rail, right in the corner where the rail connects to the cabin side. These cracks are caused by the wingnet rail flexing up and down when someone steps on the wingnets. They are mostly a cosmetic problem in the gelcoat, which is a very hard and brittle material compared to a fiberglass laminate, which is a relatively flexible material (hence its use in fiberglass fishing rods and battens).
The loads from a heavy crew member jumping on the wingnets can also be enormous, being many times that person’s weight, depending on how tight the nets are.
There is not much that can be done about these cracks, and, if repaired, they will only reappear again due to ongoing flex. There are no real structural concerns, as it is only flex in what is a brittle cosmetic material covering the structural laminate. However, if it becomes excessive over time, or crew members are particularly heavy, then rail integrity may degrade to where the glue line between deck and hull along this rail may fail, which will allow the cabin side to flex in and out. The boat is not threatened, as the wingnet rail is still bolted together, but the cabin side flex can certainly be disconcerting.
Should these cracks exist, and significant rail flex can be observed, then it is advisable to support the wingnet rail as follows:
Best material for support molding is fiberglass, and this can be made over a simple and easily made mold. Another alternative is to bend them up from an aluminum rectangular bar, minimum size being 1″ x 1/8″ (25 x 3)
Dave can make and sell these to order, and his contact email is: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Similar supports may also be available for purchase from Corsair Marine, but it has
been reported that they do not fit very well