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Old 10-20-2006
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Blisters, bottom jobs, epoxy, and barrier coats

Another series of questions on the road to buying my first boat....

I just finished reading "Things I wish I'd known before I started sailing" and figured that 32' is the maximum size for my first boat (as attractive as those Sabre 426s are....). So I've been reading a lot of ads on Yachtworld, trying to compare features, apply what I've learned by reading, and thinking about how, where, and with whom I'll be sailing.

One subject is causing me concern and confusion - hull integrity. Seifert's book "Offshore Sailing" generally makes light of blisters as a cosmetic problem. People on here say it's much more serious, and must be handled immediately. Other people on here side with Seifert.

At the risk of creating a flame war....

Let's say we're talking about a stable of late 70's Columbia 9.6 boats. We could talk about S2s, or Ericsons, or Pearsons. I don't think it really matters. Given the state of fiberglass production at that time, and the average build quality of that line of boats, how would you rank the following four categories, in terms of confidence in hull strength and the likelihood of future problems:

- Boats where the seller doesn't say anything about blistering. I assume this means original hull with only occasional bottom paint.

- Boats with blisters "professionally repaired" (or whatever terminology they use).

- Boats that have been barrier coated, but don't mention anything about blistering or other osmosis problems.

- Boats that have been stripped, epoxied (or vinylester resined, or whatever), and then barrier coated.

Engines I can learn to tinker. Rigging I can hire someone to replace. Electronics I can install. Interior improvements I can do. Soft decks and soggy hulls scare the heck out of me. Also, will a survey be able to find ongoing osmosis problems?

Cheers,
Phil
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