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 What caused damaged ports?
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Nautiduck
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Initially Posted - 06/06/2012 :  19:06:27  Show Profile
Well, I am bummed. We went out to the boat for a sail after work and noticed damage to every port (window) on the boat. We are sure we have not noticed this before and are at a total loss as to what could have caused it. The rest of the boat appears fine.

Here is a photo of two significant cranks on the front port:



Here are two photos of the port in the head. Note the multiple scratches and cracks. These cracks can be felt on the outside of the port:





Here is the port cabin window:



In addition to the scratches/cracks are lots of little specks. In fact that is what first caught my attention. I thought it was raining and upon closer look saw the damages ports.

Any ideas of what could have caused this? I have thought of vandalism but the club is well watched and it just seems odd. Birds? I just cannot figure it out. Do any of you have an idea or similar issues? Not sure if I should call the insurance company or not...




We cannot direct the winds but we can adjust our sails.


Edited by - Nautiduck on 06/06/2012 19:08:38

delliottg
Former Mainsheet C250 Tech Editor

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Response Posted - 06/06/2012 :  19:44:31  Show Profile  Visit delliottg's Homepage  Click to see delliottg's MSN Messenger address
Wow, all that just showed up over night? Had any hail storms recently? Is there similar damage to your neighbor's boats?

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Nautiduck
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Response Posted - 06/06/2012 :  20:04:45  Show Profile
Did not see similar damage on other boats. We have had some storms, not sure about hail, but the rest of the boat is fine. I am stumped.

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delliottg
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Response Posted - 06/06/2012 :  20:42:44  Show Profile  Visit delliottg's Homepage  Click to see delliottg's MSN Messenger address
It reminds me of stress cracking I've see from freezing. Had any dramatic temperature drops overnight recently? I know we've had some cool evenings the last couple of weeks, but only down into the 40's and I don't recall seeing in really low temps in your area while watching NWCN, but that's hardly definitive.

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Nautiduck
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Response Posted - 06/06/2012 :  21:08:16  Show Profile
I don't think we've had freezing. A friend just reminded me that we did have a thunder/lightning storm on Monday. Could we have been hit? Could that be it? We'll go out again tomorrow and check the mast and hull and electronics.

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OLarryR
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  03:45:32  Show Profile  Visit OLarryR's Homepage
Doesn't make sense to me unless you found some debris in the cockpit that would indicate a freakish storm and that perhaps that caused the damage. If it was vandalism, it would seem that the ports with the small fizzures/cracks would be hard to accomplish - much easier to just take a hammer and give a whack which definitely show one indication of impact, not a bunch of small fizzures/cracks. Temp extremes maybe could cause it. If it was temperature induced, i wonder if Catalina would have any knowledge of this being a possibility...not that you would be inquiring like for a recall but to find out potential root cause.

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Tradewind
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  05:41:55  Show Profile
The 4th pic looks like my starboard cabin window, noticed it last week. Only thing that came to mind was that the starboard side is facing south and I thought of sun damage. Thats kinda weak so I really have no clue.

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TakeFive
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  06:00:52  Show Profile
My guesses are no better than yours (and I'm far less experienced than many of you), but here goes anyway:

The pervasiveness of it on your boat suggests something environmental. Check for a lightning strike. You might want to check ASAP, since the exit point is usually at the waterline, and can slowly sink your boat as water seeps in from wave action.

Physical impact from hail might explain some damage to the front windows, but the side windows are close enough to vertical that they would not sustain that kind of damage.

As others have mentioned, thermal cycling may cause issues like this. It makes me wonder if your smoked plexiglass windows get hot by absorbing the sun's rays all day, then suddenly get hit by a cold rain (or even colder hail), could the sudden decrease in temperature cause cracking like that?

I'd suggest you call your insurance agent, just to have the date of the occurrence on record in case you decide to file a claim.

Edited by - TakeFive on 06/07/2012 07:31:23
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watercayman
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  07:29:24  Show Profile
Randy,

My C250 had the same cracks as your 2nd & 3rd photo. On mine they were almost certainly caused by a rapid change in temperature from outside to inside - our sun here is crazy strong and after a few years of this punishment they finally gave in to the stress.

I also learned the hard way that having any type of reflector, screen, or even curtains on the inside (right next to the glass) exacerbates the problem - that massive amt. of heat needs to go through, not get reflected back onto the window.

No idea if this applies to yours, but thought I'd throw it out there :)

Edited by - watercayman on 06/07/2012 07:31:28
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Nautiduck
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  07:38:23  Show Profile
Thanks all for the ideas. The temperature ideas seem logical but we haven't even hit 80 degrees yet this year. Also, the boat is well ventilated with the head port always open and a solar vent running in the cabin. But, maybe over time the windows weakened somehow. We'll go out today to see if we can notice any signs of a lightning strike.

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OLarryR
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  08:51:16  Show Profile  Visit OLarryR's Homepage
By the way, if and when you decide to replace the ports, Catalina (the maker) will support. I would check with them by forwarding an EMail. As long as the ports are not the old style like on the older Cats and do not have an aluminum frame, then they support as they did for me. In my case, they requested I trace the outline of the port on tracing paper (I taped tracing paper sheets together to cover the area) and then forward to them. They had provided me an estimate beforehand and it was something like $25 for a long port/lexan window. They will also supply the adhesive and they have a sketch which shows the install process (which I have tucked away somewhere). I have not replaced my port window that had a vertical crack because I had applied 3M4200 to it and it has not leaked in 2 years...so i have delayed the install process. But the port they furnished is identical to my cracked 22+ yr old port and beveled on the edges just as the original. Since it was probably over 2 years ago and your ports are different size configuration and newer vintage, the cost may be slightly higher.

Edited by - OLarryR on 06/07/2012 08:52:45
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John Russell
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  09:15:55  Show Profile
The temperature thing makes some sense but, I'm skeptical. If that were an issue, I doubt that, after 15+ years of manufacturing 250s, this would be the first reported case on this forum. But, could be. Besides, why would the scratches/cracks stop short of going from edge to edge if it was heat/cold shock? I think the caulk/sealant holding the panes in place should handle the slow expansion and contraction due to weather changes. Heat shock typically requires a sudden dramatic change of temperature, not the changes found in weather.

The first thing that came to my mind was vandalism. That was immediately followed by road damage while trailering. When was it last on the highway? If that's the case, you should probaby find similar scratches, dings and dents in the hull although it will probably be much less obvious.

Has the marina been power washing the slips lately? They could have kicked up debris not realizing the damage it was doing. Particularly if the high school kid they just hired was doing it.

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Davy J
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  10:07:02  Show Profile
The cracks in the front port look different than the others.

I'll just throw this out there, since I use acrylic sheets in my shop. When the acrylic is exposed to some solvents, they will craze. Similar cracks to the ones in the side ports, but usually smaller, form almost instantly.

"CRAZING - A series of or the forming of very fine cracks in the surface of a material, usually a polymeric substance. Crazing is generally caused by chemical attack or other degrading agents such as ultraviolet radiation. (See "STRESS CRACKING")"

Is it possible the marina had someone pressure wash the docks with some sort of chemical?

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delliottg
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  10:42:30  Show Profile  Visit delliottg's Homepage  Click to see delliottg's MSN Messenger address
Davy's response got me thinking, don't you use one of the Teflon impregnated cleaning products on your deck? I wonder if the Starbrite stuff is safe on the acrylic windows?

If it were thermal expansion, I'd think our boat would be exhibiting similar problems. It started life in AZ and I know from working in the desert close to AZ, the temperatures can easily swing from below freezing to over 90ยบ F in the matter of a morning. We'd show up on site (surveying for the Imperial Valley prison) to iced over puddles before sunrise, and by 10am we were stripped down to just shorts, t-shirts, hats and sun screen. I don't know how long SL was down there, but I think it was for at least five years or so. If she were kept on a lake, the body of water would have moderated the temperature swings somewhat, but I'd think it'd still be far more than Nautiduck experiences in OR.

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Nautiduck
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  14:23:08  Show Profile
OK, we went to the boat earlier. Rule out lightning, no indication of that at all. Spent some more time looking at the windows. Interestingly, the scratches/cracks can be felt on the outside but not the inside. They do not go all the way through. I am starting to think that Davy is on to something and maybe David too. I need to go read the back labels on the deck cleaner.

So, if the scratches/cracks are exterior only could I polish them out?? We note that the windows are tinted but in such a way that looking in they are dark but looking out they are clearer. Is there a coating on the outside or are these windows the same throughout?? Note that in the photos, especially the first, the scratches/cracks appear to have a surrounding area that is impacted almost like peeling. I am guessing there is an exterior coating or lamination. Any ideas?

Edited by - Nautiduck on 06/07/2012 14:27:06
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delliottg
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  14:47:55  Show Profile  Visit delliottg's Homepage  Click to see delliottg's MSN Messenger address
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">Note that in the photos, especially the first, the scratches/cracks appear to have a surrounding area that is impacted almost like peeling. I am guessing there is an exterior coating or lamination. Any ideas?<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">

I've wondered about this as well. I've been thinking about polishing the port windows with one of the plastic car lens polishing agents to help clear the scratches. It's not so bad that you can't see out, but we definitely have scratches that blur our view a bit.

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zeil
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  19:16:52  Show Profile

Last year while in Havasu, AZ a professional boat polisher working on a boat next to ours came over and removed all scratches and pitting on our port windows.

Using a compound and polishing machine he spent some time removing and making the windows of our 1995 C250 look like new. Especially the deck forward lights had some deeper scratches.

Deducting from the work he did, I would not hesitate to use a fine abrasive polishing compound to remove the pitting and scratches. Our lights appear to be tinted as well. No change in tint was observed after the work was done.

I'm at a loss as to why overnight damage occurred...


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TakeFive
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Response Posted - 06/07/2012 :  20:21:56  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Nautiduck</i>
<br />...Interestingly, the scratches/cracks can be felt on the outside but not the inside. They do not go all the way through. I am starting to think that Davy is on to something and maybe David too. I need to go read the back labels on the deck cleaner.

So, if the scratches/cracks are exterior only could I polish them out?? We note that the windows are tinted but in such a way that looking in they are dark but looking out they are clearer. Is there a coating on the outside or are these windows the same throughout?? Note that in the photos, especially the first, the scratches/cracks appear to have a surrounding area that is impacted almost like peeling. I am guessing there is an exterior coating or lamination. Any ideas?
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
A couple of comments from my own experience:

The light transmission of these windows is almost certainly the same in both directions. They look so much darker looking in than looking out because it is much brighter outside than it is inside. It's just like the "one way mirrors" that they use for psych studies. The experiments are done in a brightly lit room, while the guys with the clipboards sit in a dimly lit room.

I think the tinting is uniform throughout the acrylic, not because of any thin film laminate. There could be a laminate for some other reason (abrasion resistance?), but I have never seen a sign of any laminate on these windows. If there was a laminate, you would probably not want to polish the windows.

If cracks are forming on the outside but not the inside, this could be consistent with extreme heat from the sun, which would tend to heat the outside of the acrylic more than the inside.

Another possible environmental factor that nobody has mentioned is acid rain, which might cause crazing, although I am not familiar with any specific chemistry between weak sulfuric acid and PMMA (the most likely chemicals in this situation) that would lead to cracking or crazing.

I have polished my side windows, but have not yet gotten around to doing the front windows. I used Presta Ultra Cutting Creme with a heavy duty rotating polisher, which is the same stuff I was using to polish the surrounding fiberglass. I saw no signs of damage from this. The Presta creme is not specifically made for acrylic, but seemed to be the appropriate softness to not do any damage to is, so I tried it while I was doing the fiberglass.

I have also polished my sliding companionway hatch using the Novus polish kit (as reported on other threads). This polish is specifically formulated for acrylic, which is what my hatch and windows appear to be made of. You might consider it if you just want to polish the windows. It is a multi-part kit, where you start with a coarser polish and work your way down to finer grit.

I would be careful about using the polish that is used for headlights. Headlight lenses are made of polycarbonate, which is much harder than acrylic. The polishes might be much more abrasive, and perhaps too aggressive for acrylic. I have no data to back this up - do your own homework to determine whether it would work, and report back your results here so I can stop spreading misinformation.

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Davy J
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Response Posted - 06/08/2012 :  05:12:19  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">So, if the scratches/cracks are exterior only could I polish them out?? <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
My experience with crazing, is that it is not repairable. The cracks you see are not just on the surface of the material. The cracks penetrate the plastic to a depth that is too deep to polish out. Of course, it won't hurt to try.

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John Russell
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Response Posted - 06/09/2012 :  09:06:31  Show Profile
<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by Davy J</i>
<br /><blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote">So, if the scratches/cracks are exterior only could I polish them out?? <hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">
My experience with crazing, is that it is not repairable. The cracks you see are not just on the surface of the material. The cracks penetrate the plastic to a depth that is too deep to polish out. Of course, it won't hurt to try.
<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></font id="quote"></blockquote id="quote">Of course, that assumes that crazing is the issue. I take crazing to mean what it does in ceramics. (I'm a potter as well as a sailor) Crazing occurs in the glass surface (glaze) of a ceramic pot because the surface heats, expands, cools and shrinks at a different rate than the substrate. I don't think that's the case in acrylic since it isn't "layered" but, rather, a continuous material.

I buffed out scratches in the forward windows with the same boat polish and buffer that I used to polish the hull.

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GaryB
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Response Posted - 06/10/2012 :  11:00:17  Show Profile
What's interesting to me is that in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th pictures the bigger/deeper looking marks looks like they were created by something moving horizontally, not vertically. In fact, most of the marks inthe those same pictures look like they were moving along and not down the windows.

As Randy mentioned, I also see in the 1st picture what appears to be a "skin" peeled back along the edges. I've seen plastics/acrylics do this when something hot was moved along the surface.

The tinted windows on my '89 have lines similar to the ones in the 2nd and 3rd pictures above which I attribute to many years in the Texas Gulf Coast sun.

I'm thinking the pressure washing theory has some validity!

Then again it could have been caused by Venus passing in front of the Sun the other day!

Edited by - GaryB on 06/10/2012 11:05:36
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