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      This unfortunate incident took place in Preveza Ionian in May.
      The boat was launched immediately after the gel coat repair and sailed for five weeks in all conditions then hauled out with no apparent problems.
      I notice the exchange I had with PBO is reported in their August edition, which is copied for your convenience below. (Note the answer is published before the question below. I was very relieved to receive Tony’s opinion a great service)
      In addition I also contacted Bavaria Yachts in Germany, and was very surprised to get an encouraging answer (about a month later). They pretty much confirmed there was no need for strengthening internally, and said if only the gel coat was cracked then the repair would be all that was needed. The yard did not entertain liability, but they said they would only lift and launch the boat by the high lift webbing straps in future!

      If anyone has any advice or comment on this matter I would be pleased to hear from you

      “Dear Malcolm, here’s a reply from our Expert,  which I hope is helpful to
      you.  Regards Roz Jones Editor’s PA

      Hello Malcolm.

      Sorry to hear of this problem. Clearly it is very difficult to give a
      succinct opinion without seeing the boat but I would say that the problem
      is more likely to be due to the trailer than the hull. The hull has
      obviously flexed in the area of the crack due to the placing of the
      support pad. It would need a lot of stiffening to prevent the hull from
      flexing locally and this may cause it to flex elsewhere. If it were my
      boat I think I would not stiffen the hull but in future try to ensure that
      the support pads on the trailer are positioned in areas where there is
      already internal stiffening on the hull. The possibility of getting any
      recompense from the boat yard is probably slim (although they may cover
      the cost of the GRP expert’s time and materials) but if you make your
      displeasure known they should take more care in the future!

      Tony Davies

      Dear PBO, ask the expert

      I have a 36 foot Bavaria yacht
      It is 10 years old and I have owned it for 5 years in the Ionian,
      I am not aware of any previous damage and it has always been stored out
      of the water on a steel cradle and is used for 2 six week cruises each
      year with myself on board at all times.

      The yacht has been free of problems until this year. On being launched
      at an Aktio boatyard in Preveza (it was the 22nd lift by the same hydraulic
      sledge trailer with 4 pads, used over the past 5 years) the hull
      developed a horizontal split on the starboard side approx 25cm below the
      waterline in the gellcoat 4cm above and parallel with the rear support
      pad and about 50cm long. The yacht was transferred to canvass strops on
      a heavy lift gantry and the split closed up.

      A GRP expert came and and ground out the gellcoat around the crack and
      said there did not appear to be any damage to the GRP. He strengthened
      the patch with more GRP and epoxy. He suggests the area must be weakened
      and should be strengthened with additional GRP inside the hull.
      To add strengthening to the hull inside will mean removing the chart
      table and a half bulkhead with all the cabling passing through them to
      access the hull at floor joist area, between the battery locker and the
      chart table. Inspecting this area (with difficulty) there is no sign of
      anything untoward.

      I have no evidence to say the hull is weakened, and wonder if this is
      only a ploy to excuse an event with the hydraulic trailer where perhaps
      the support was not equal on all surfaces. It happened as the tractor
      was towing the trailer in the yard, and my wife had the opinion they may
      have been travelling a bit fast on stony ground.

      I would be most grateful for suggestions that may determine whether it
      is believed to be the yacht or the launching technique at fault.

      With many thanks

      Malcolm Tindley


        Just sent an article to PBO regarding your, ‘Ask the experts, gel coat crack’. I have a Bav 34 same vintage and have had some experience of using hydraulic sledge trailer. They may publish as I have written for them before but if not I will put it on line for the benefit of other members who may be interested.
        If you would like a copy then contact me direct. My email is alanburns1@talktalk.net

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