Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Thanked 295 Times in 228 Posts
Rep Power: 17
I use my moisture tester (the eleophysics model Sail dog recommends) on a Tanzer 26 1975.
The deck did not seem soft when walked on but the meter was pegged to over 30 in many places. I'm pretty sure I was using the meter properly. The deck was not wet. I got a low reading on areas that are seldom wet such as cabin sides. I got a high reading in all the areas typically wet such as by stanchions. I tried a neighbor boat and it red bone dry.
I did not use a hammer but the owner said someone tapped it for him and said it was OK.
I have tested several boats and most boats that test over 30 are noticeable spongy under foot. This one is not.
I can't think of what I could have done wrong. Is it possible that the Tanzer is just made with a heavy enough top skin that even with a soaked core it is not soft to the foot?
The boat sank last year in fresh water. I'm wondering if enough moisture is trapped between the headliner and the cabin top. If that is the issue it should be moldy but I slept a night in it, with the hatch open, and did not notice a problem.
What do you think is the real situation?
A reading of 30 is NOT always mush and the skins will NOT always appear mushy. It can take a long time for the balsa to delam and rot. A reading of 30 is a good indicator that you may eventually have problems. A meter should always be used with spot soundings BEFORE determining any course of action. Before any glass work an actual core sample is also a great idea. If this is on the newish end of a 30 reading, meaning recently wet, the balsa may even appear as new.
-Maine Sail / CS-36T
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