The interesting topic emerged on Chaparral Boats user forum … here


… there is one primary reason this has happened ... poor workmanship ... period.

With plastic hulls (GRP ... polyester/plastic is a key word in this acronym), the quality of fiberglass layup makes or breaks the hull. The failure might start with deficient layer of gelcoat and blisters on the outside, or with leaky boat (as most Chaps are) inside the boat where protective gelcoat is punctured by unsealed holes, or where GRP exposed to water is not protected by gelcoat at all (like most Chaps are in the midship bilge and bow bilge area).

The delamination is a result of water getting in contact with GRP plus poor workmanship resulting in voids between layers, and/or poor adhesion between layers, and/or capillary transport of water along exposed or not saturated fibers.

You can clearly see in the pictures the area which was weak and the layer of GRP (not just gelcoat) was torn away leaving the "dry" fibers ... fiberglass layer poorly saturated with resin. You can also see the area where the external layer of GRP was separated cleanly (no adhesion) from the rest of the hull ... somebody took a lunch break, or the resin cured too fast.

It's not the user fault ... period.

BTW, keep your plastic boats as dry as possible ... sounds weird, doesn't it? Use a quality barrier coat on the outside. Chase any and all leaks inside the boat till you eradicate them.

For the reference and information … The Real Story of Osmosis Blistering
Marine surveyor view and more … Are They Fiberglass Boats Anymore?


Port side … one of the examples of Chaparral Boats’ poor workmanship.



When it comes to quality and workmanship I don't buy the "it's a boat" and "the other boats are worse" argument ... it's not conducive to progress and advancement.

I wish Chaparral and Chaparral boat owners would strive to compare their boats with the best. This would really help Chaparral Boats to improve their boats' quality. The boats already look good, they need to be made better now.

Western world boating industry poor workmanship and loose quality control are embedded in the industry culture, and the industry does not see the problem with the end product.

What's coming? Same or better quality for half the price, and Made in China. This will send a shock wave throughout the western world boating industry ... and could be a devastating one. The shift has already started ... if one cannot compete on quality nor on cost, one is doomed.


Okay, the boat’s swim platform leaks ... still … at the rub rail. It used to also leak badly around upper thruhull drain of the vent that connects top and bottom of the swim platform.

That drain was not sealed at all, any rain or wash over it from wake used to put significant amount of water into the inside of swim platform that then drained to bilge. In addition, there were missdrilled thru holes under each hinge and bracket holding hatches and swim ladder. Literally and without exception, there are two additional and unnecessary holes under each and every hinge and catch … looks like Chap change its mind on hinges and hatch catches in the middle of production cycle. They were not repaired nor sealed. The correct mounting holes and screws were sporadically and poorly sealed. All this also drained into the inside of swim platform.

Another significant source of leak was anchor locker. There was a gap/crack between locker's floor and hull b/o the drain holes that were drilled too low. The cracks in the connection between locker's floor and cabin bulkhead can be also a source of water leaks.

There was also a lot of rain water coming from various unsealed ports and openings (fresh water port, waste pump out port, shower and fuse build in boxes, etc). The retractable cleats also collect some water, and the drain hoses were either not existing, not connected, or too short to divert rain water directly to the bilge. This is probably not a significant concern in Texas and Florida.

Another suspects with potential of flooding and damaging the hull's core are any truhulls, especially those which are constantly under water: seacocks, transducer, tie down eyes on transom, etc.

I did a lot of investigation and remediation of various leaks last year when the boat was still dry and on trailer. First, I identified and remediated all rain water leaks. Then I flooded the bilge and discovered some very troublesome leaks around the thruhulls ... watch for the leak around the bonding wire screw that goes all the way thru to the seacock scoop. The bonding wire screw was not sealed at all on the bilge side (which was constantly submerged with bilge water). There was no enforcement or oversized washer to spread the load so the gelcoat all around it was cracked and collapsed a bit.

In the process of repairing and resealing all screws holding seacocks inside and scoop outside I discovered that the holes drilled are oversized and go past the core almost thru the entire hull thickness to the gelcoat on the other side. They were poorly sealed as well ... yeah, you can hardly seal an oversized hole ... needs to be repaired first. The screws were just dipped in sealant and plugged into the oversized holes … they were holding nothing.

Later during the season I discovered that one of tie down eyes is leaking but that could be a result of a too aggressive tie down performed by the storage/haul people. I have removed the eye before storing the boat in a heated storage to let the hull vent and dry, and I will address this before the next season splash.

I think I repaired most of the critical leaks. Others, like the swim platform leaks via rub rail ... one more for the "before the next season" to do list.

In conclusion

Some observations based on experience:
  • retractable cleats with drain boots missing drain hoses or not connected to them, or drain hoses too short to direct water to the bilge,
  • thruhull holes for screws holding hinges, swim ladder, and other hardware being too large for the screw diameter and not sealed at all,
  • misdrilled thruhull holes concealed under hardware and never repaired with gelcoat or even sealed,
  • swim platform vent thruhull drain not being sealed at all,
  • anchor compartment drain holes drilled too low and therefore opening gaps between locker floor and hull, never repaired with fiber/gelcoat ... instead, a poor and ineffective attempt with silicon sealant was made which made it a lot harder to repair it the right way,
  • seacock mounting screws holes drilled too large for screw diameter and going thru the fiber all the way to the core ... like somebody needs more holes in the hull ... instead of using seacock mounting plates infused with fiber or glued to gelcoat,
  • many screws mounting things inside the boat are too long and/or pilot holes are drilled thru nearly the entire thickness of the hull (gelcoat micro cracks on the outside),
  • deck/hull shoebox connection under rubrail poorly sealed ... still need to investigate the details of this one,
  • and last but not least, the hose runs and levels ... going up above the drained area so it never drains.