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Old 11-01-2001
shipley shipley is offline
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Opinions Please: 1940''''s Wood vs. 1960''''s Fiberglass

I''ve cruised and raced both, large and small. In my opinion, nothing feels better then sailing a wooden boat (any size). Can''t put it in words but its like driving a heavy BMW 740, then getting behind the wheel of a Chevy Vega or similiar. Can''t beat the graceful lines and sound the water makes along the hull. Despite the new epoxies/varnishes/bottom coatings yadayada that help maintain them better now a days, I would only go back to wood if I was retired, in great physical shape, bored, no wife and kids and had endless cash to pay someone to help with the upkeep. Pulling them in and out every season doesn''t help their life either. I recommend trying the maintenance of a glass boat first. After you''ve compounded, or stripped your first good sized bottom to the gelcoat (and maybe repaired a few blisters) imagine how thankful you''ll feel that all you have to do is apply paint and you''ll launching in days instead of now detecting rot, worms, and a few other things that will cost $, time, and a few more months of stiff necks and bruised nuckles. "Been there, done that". I say this because you''ll have to look hard for a truely solid wood boat that has been taken care of at that price. In any case, spend at least $1,000 on a very good wooden or glass boat & engine survey. It has always helped me, at least, renegotiate the boat price lower as something is always detected. You''ll also need the survey for a good insurance company anyway. Also, unless it is a classic like Alden, Hershoff etc...you may stand to loose allot $$$ in the end (instead of loosing $$). On the other hand, if once you removed the cancer causing paints and dust particles from your boat and say to your self, I want more to do and don''t care that this is probably the only weekend day in the summer with perfect weather conditions for a sail (lived in MN) then go for it.

PS. - once I changed from wood to glass we were able to afford the BMW and most important, my wife and kids no longer cringe and the dog doesnt run to the basement when I say "lets go down to the boat" as the word now actualy means sailing and cruising fun to them, not sanding and cursing. Good Luck
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