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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 1:32 pm 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:32 pm
Posts: 9
Is their anyway to help prevent softspots in the hulls (deck and side)?

I'm looking to replace 1 set of hulls on my h-18 and would like to keep it from hapening to the 2nd set.

Todd H
Thibodaux LA

1980 H-18 and Jeepen.... also a little Sucbadiving

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 3:59 pm 
Site Rank - Captain

Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 1:49 pm
Posts: 110
Location: Jamestown, RI
I think soft spots are most likely caused by some kind of impact. Something needs to separate the laminate from the foam core. Another cause could be water seeping in through a crack in the gel coat and eating away at the laminate. I'm not sure what causes soft decks, but I would guess it would be standing on or otherwise point-loading the deck, causing it to bow inwards and separating the laminate from the foam core. Another cause might be air in the hulls heating up and expanding, causing the hulls to bulge out.

As for prevention, I would say fix cracks in the gel coat as soon as you find them, make sure you keep the insides of your hulls dry, and leave drain plugs out on the beach to let the pressure equalize.

This is just me thinking outloud, so I might be totally off. Anyone else help me out here?

Narragansett Bay, RI

 Post subject: Soft Spots
PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2005 4:47 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Tue May 27, 2003 12:44 pm
Posts: 12054
Location: Oceanside, California
Soft spots can be failed lamination or a failure in the actual foam core sheet. Years ago this foam was sliced from large cakes or "bread loafs" of foam. Density and materials mix could vary depending on the area of the bread loaf a foam sheet was cut from. Some soft spots may be caused by this marginal foam or possibly dry lamination. These boats may not handle harsh conditions. Seems there is a higher proportion (from memory) in Texas. Hot conditions and humid conditions may play a role. Keep it dry and cool if possible when in storage. Do not use a dark colored cover for storage. Keep the plugs out and hatches off, but do not allow rain into the ports. Also a good idea when traveling. Be sure the hull vents when sailing. A hull that is too well sealed will have negative pressure in cool water and high pressure inside when heated sitting on a beach. This flexing of the materials is a problem. Another cause is compression on a hull surface. This can compress the foam or fail the lamination over time. You can see that more commonly in a Hobie 16 deck just ahead of the forward pylon. This is a high stress area that is also a step people use getting on and off of the boat. Also areas of the hull that are walked on (decks and sides while righting).

Matt Miller
Director of Parts and Accessory Sales
Warranty and Technical Support
Hobie Cat USA

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