The question you should be asking is "Should I even bother finding out more about this boat?" not "Will the hull deform without the bulkheads in it?"
IF the boat is just a hull that needs to be finished and doesn't have any rigging, spars, or sails... and you have to move it 2000 miles—RUN LIKE H3LL. The standing rigging, mast and boom on a 38' boat is likely to cost in the neighborhood of $20,000 new, less if you can find it salvage or used.
In general, you're much better off buying a boat in decent shape, that is sailable, than you are getting the same boat in the condition this one is for free, since refurbishing it is going to cost you more than buying the one you can use right away in materials alone. That doesn't even count the amount of time, labor, sweat, or blood that you'd put into the boat.
BTW, plywood as a deck core material is about the worst material choice there is. IMHO, it's got the worst characteristics of end-grain balsa and of foam core materials. It can rot like balsa, and it can allow water to migrate long distances like foam. It is also far heavier than either, and a deck made of it is a bad compromise IMHO. If there are any deck fittings through the plywood core, it is very, very likely that the whole deck is delaminating at this point, having sat for 30 years with tiny leaks letting water into the core.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 10-25-2008 at 06:39 AM.