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post #1 of 5 Old 03-01-2005 Thread Starter
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I am in a pre-purchase situation on a sound 1980-T37c. The survey from 4 years ago describes the condition and is shown, together with photographs at:

I have discussed the situation with a local Chesapeake Bay yard and I could get a peel job for about $50.00/ft, dry it out, then apply an epoxy barrier coat. ... or I could leave it with the "minor" blisters ... or I could look for another T37c but this other than the potential bottom issue, this one is quite nice.

I am thinking of paying for the survey to determine if there is moisture in the hull. If the moisture is low, I could leave it alone. If it high, I could do the peel/dry/epoxy barrier. However, I have read on that all hulls have moisture below the hull so the article is of the opinion that moisture data is not of value... The tests conducted by the company that can peel is destructive and involves what they call a "profile" test. It includes grinding in several locations, miking the depths and testing the hardness of the materials. I have read that 99% of blisters are between the gelcoat and the outer layer of laminate. If that is true, the peel/dry/barrier coat seems appropriate, if it is repaired at all.

Thanks for any constructive comments.

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post #2 of 5 Old 03-01-2005
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I was told that bottom paint holds moisture and it is hard to get a moisture reading through the paint. Tartans are not known for having blister problems. I would get a second opinion if I were you.

Good Luck
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post #3 of 5 Old 03-01-2005
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I would hire a good surveyor, be present when he examines the boat, and ask him questions, to get his thoughts on exactly what needs to be done to the boat to put the bottom in sound condition. Then I would get an estimate for that specific work, and negotiate with the seller, to take that expense into account against the purchase price. IMHO, the old survey is too old to be reliable. It only tells you there''s a problem. It doesn''t tell you the extent of the problem. At this point you need the most reliable information you can get as to whether it''s a $500. problem or a $5000. problem.

You mention that one option is to ignore it if it''s a minor problem. Personally, I don''t like to do that, because, if you ignore little problems, they have a tendency to grow into big problems.
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post #4 of 5 Old 03-02-2005
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I was faced with a similar situation before purchasing my current 36 ft. boat last November. However, there was no question in my mind whether or not to hire a certified Surveyor. Hire the best surveyor you can afford, it''s money well spent for peace of mind and leverage for reducing the amount of your initial offer.

My surveyor removed portions of bottom paint prior to moisture testing; the bottom was relatively dry, with some spot readings in the low 80''s, but soundings indicated no nonlamination or hollow areas. His findings were recorded in the written report & backed by a CD of survey photos. He said the job was worth $9k with the seller agreeing to a $7k reduction to my accepted initial offer. This was backed by a written estimate from the reputable boatyard I ultimately hired to do the work.

The blisters were very small, but still present and after bottom stripping, drilling/grinding and pressure rinsing, the hull was fully tented with poly for 2 months of drying in a radiant slab heated shop. When moisture readings were in the single digits, certified techs worked on the final filling, fairing & spray application of InterProtect 3000 epoxy. The bottom is now fully prepared, smooth as glass and ready for bottom paint.

Consider retaining the surveyor at intervals during the drying process to certify moisture readings prior to filling. This will increase the value of the boat for the next owner and confirm that the hull has acceptable levels. Any remaining osmosis fluid may eventually return as blisters.

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post #5 of 5 Old 03-02-2005 Thread Starter
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Thanks for all of your posts.

I was not suggesting not getting a survey at all unless my decision was to not purchase the boat. My point of not correcting the small blisters relates to the previous survey and opinions that I have received from 2 surveyors on this issue. Their opinions are that the osmotic condition of a 25 year hull is essentially stable b/c the water that has penetrated the gell coat has already reacted with the chemicals underneath the gell coat, and then tends to remain stable and not propegate further into the deeper laminates. IMO, if there are pock marks or small blisters at various locations, they should be taken out so the hull is fair and proper. However, there is a price to pay (and pay) for a perfect boat! Some believe that if the condition has stabilized and there is no significant moisture or delam, then it should be monitored, but not necessarily repaired right away. I think the reasonableness of this approach depends upon the premise that the existing SMALL and not large in number blisters and pock marks are stable and are not propegating deeper or causing any structural delamination. Even though my background is Mech. Eng., I am not a certified appraiser and must rely upon their judgment for opinions on this.

I think in the end, the outcome may depend on the moisture readings, the results of the soundings and whether the seller will offer some reasonable concession in view of the findings. Also, I agree with the comment about problems with moisture readings through bottom paint. If the paint has metal/copper content, it will tend to reflect the meter output and distort the readings. I will suggest that we remove several areas for the moisture testing and I definitely intend to be with the boat during the survey.

Regards, Jim
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