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 Windows cracking on 1998 250
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Goebeld
Deckhand

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USA
3 Posts

Initially Posted - 04/14/2021 :  04:26:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Everyone, I am new to this group and this is my first post. I have read extensively as I have purchased a 250 in the fall and have been renovating her all winter. I bought her in Miami and hauled her to Georgia back in November. Some background. The boat was leaking everywhere and the electronics and systems needed a lot of work. About a month ago I finally was able to raise the mast with the boat on the trailer in my backyard. A few days after I noticed the windows starting to crack/get hazy. I suspected a lightning strike but then ruled that out since none of the electronics were affected. I then thought maybe there was some electrical current in the hull from possible faulty wiring but then ruled that out because the battery did not drain quickly. The cracking seemed to continue to get worse and then seemed to stop. I put the boat in the water mast up and notice that the cracking has again began to get worse. Has this happened to anyone else? Any ideas what it could be? The windows were perfect when I bought her and now some I can barely see out of.

98 Catalina 250 Wing Keel
M36, Sunrise Cove Marina
Lake Lanier, GA
Come say Hi!

Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8727 Posts

Response Posted - 04/14/2021 :  07:38:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome Darren! How tight did you make the stays and shrouds? The forestay and backstay in particular can cause the hull to flex, and are not meant to be board-tight. And if they're too tight, the can cause "mast pumping" in certain wind conditions--like super-deep bass vibrations. The upper shrouds are meant to keep the mast vertical and centered, while the lower shrouds keep it in column, but they don't need to be cranked down hard to do either. I'll leave the specifics to some C-250 folks...

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV,
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 04/14/2021 07:41:10
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5596 Posts

Response Posted - 04/14/2021 :  08:40:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome to the forum. I hope we can help.

I think we can only guess here. Lexan (a polycarbonate) and plexiglass (acrylic) are commonly used for windows on boats. Conventional wisdom says that in a few years Lexan will fog over from exposure to the sun. Acrylic (Plexiglass) doesn't seem to be affected by the sun. Lexan has a higher impact resistance, but that doesn't seem to be enough of a difference to be important. Acrylic is as strong as it needs to be. I had the windows replaced on my C&C 35 Landfall, and the installer used acrylic, which has performed very well.

There are different types of cracks that affect these windows. There are running cracks, similar to what happens when a pebble hits your car windshield creating a little star mark, which then runs all across the windshield. Those cracks will leak water. There is also crazing, in which thousands of small cracks appear all throughout the window. I have a small window on my C&C that is crazed. It looks like it's on the verge of shattering, but it still seems to be strong and it doesn't leak. I think crazing is generally superficial.

Boat windows generally don't tolerate harsh chemicals or abrasives. Abrasives will scratch the surface, and I'm told that harsh chemicals, especially ammonia and bleach, will cause them to become cloudy and crazed. It's best to only wash them with plain water. If you've used such chemicals to clean the windows, that might by why the conditions appeared suddenly.

Some say you can repair the crazing and clouding. I've never tried it. Here's a link that has suggestions. My advice is that you do a more thorough search online for how to repair crazed and cloudy plexiglass, to be sure you're getting the most up-to-date, reliable techniques. https://expandusceramics.com/qa/quick-answer-how-do-you-fix-cloudy-lexan.html

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

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Djibouti
8727 Posts

Response Posted - 04/14/2021 :  09:22:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Another thought: The windows were "perfect" last November... Do you have any indication (such as in the listing for sale) that they had been recently replaced? If so, is there any clue on what was used and/or by whom? My earlier thought about the rig has to do with the suddenness and timing of the cracking. Most boats flex fore-to-aft a little when put into or taken out of the water. If you have a wing keel (?) that was supporting a fair amount of the hull's weight on the trailer, that becomes part of the flexing forces, which will change when launched. It's the suddenness and timing that makes me suspicious. (Mast up--cracks appear. Launch boat--more cracks...)

BTW, this and other questions often involve some specifics on the boat, such as wing keel or water ballast (centerboard), vintage, rig (standard or tall) and sailing venue. You'll see most of our members list those things in a "signature" that appears automatically at the bottom of each post (as on this one and Steve's). You can set that up in your Profile (on the header menu).

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV,
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.

Edited by - Stinkpotter on 04/14/2021 09:25:27
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Steve Milby
Past Commodore

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USA
5596 Posts

Response Posted - 04/14/2021 :  10:35:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Incidentally, these materials expand and contract from heat and cold. Therefore, when they're installed, they need to have a little room all around to expand. If they're cut too generously or are installed too close to one side of the opening, the pressure created when they expand can break them. I've never heard of that being a problem for Catalina factory-installed windows, but it could be a problem with owner-installed windows.

Steve Milby C&C 35 Landfall ("Captiva Wind"); Cal 25 ("Fahrvergnügen")
Past Commodore
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Russ.Johnson
Commodore

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USA
794 Posts

Response Posted - 04/14/2021 :  20:16:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Darren,

I have not heard of this problem.
Which portlights are cracking?
Forward of the mast, Port or Starboard aft of the mast?

Depending on the C250 model, there can be 2 locations for the chain plates.
The wing-keel always have the chain plates on the cabin top.
The original water-ballast has the chain plates at the hull/deck joint.
The "newer" water-ballast has the chain plates on the cabin top. I can't remember which location was used on the 1998 model.
It might help us to know the chain plate location for your boat.

Russ Johnson
2005 C250WB Hull 793

Edited by - Russ.Johnson on 04/14/2021 20:18:23
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Goebeld
Deckhand

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USA
3 Posts

Response Posted - 04/15/2021 :  03:03:13  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Stinkpotter

Welcome Darren! How tight did you make the stays and shrouds? The forestay and backstay in particular can cause the hull to flex, and are not meant to be board-tight. And if they're too tight, the can cause "mast pumping" in certain wind conditions--like super-deep bass vibrations. The upper shrouds are meant to keep the mast vertical and centered, while the lower shrouds keep it in column, but they don't need to be cranked down hard to do either. I'll leave the specifics to some C-250 folks...



Dave you might have solved the mystery. When I raised the mast in my backyard I didn't tighten the stays at all since I had no plans to put up the sail. We had a storm the night before I noticed the first cracks. Then I took the mast down and the cracking stopped. Mast back up late on a Sunday evening in the Marina and I just motored to the slip without tightening the stays. More cracks next morning. I now have the stays tight to specifications - I think 500-600... Does that sound right? Been like that a few days and I haven't noticed anymore cracking. It is a darn shame that I made this mistake... BTW she is a wing keel.

98 Catalina 250 Wing Keel
M36, Sunrise Cove Marina
Lake Lanier, GA
Come say Hi!
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Goebeld
Deckhand

Members Avatar

USA
3 Posts

Response Posted - 04/15/2021 :  03:05:20  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Russ.Johnson

Darren,

I have not heard of this problem.
Which portlights are cracking?
Forward of the mast, Port or Starboard aft of the mast?

Depending on the C250 model, there can be 2 locations for the chain plates.
The wing-keel always have the chain plates on the cabin top.
The original water-ballast has the chain plates at the hull/deck joint.
The "newer" water-ballast has the chain plates on the cabin top. I can't remember which location was used on the 1998 model.
It might help us to know the chain plate location for your boat.



Hi Russ. Thanks for replying and the question. Chainplate is on the cabin top and she is a wing keel. See my comment to Dave. I think you guys may be on to something.

98 Catalina 250 Wing Keel
M36, Sunrise Cove Marina
Lake Lanier, GA
Come say Hi!
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Stinkpotter
Master Marine Consultant

Members Avatar

Djibouti
8727 Posts

Response Posted - 04/15/2021 :  07:01:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
With very loose rigging, your mast may have been swaying in the wind and waves enough to put shock loads on the chainplates and cabin. I hope you're onto the explanation.

Next step: membership! It supports the infrastructure for this resource.

Dave Bristle
Association "Port Captain" for Mystic, CT
PO of 1985 C-25 SR/FK #5032 Passage, ex-OUPV,
Now on Eastern 27 Sarge (but still sailing when I can).

Passage, Mystic, and Sarge--click to enlarge.
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