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Melges 30 or run?

Hey guys,

I'm looking at purchasing a Melges 30 and wanted to get some sound opinions on whether to pull the trigger or walk. The boat was built by Carroll Marine in 1996 and was a prototype for the 32 when it went through its conversion in 99. Now I've heard the nightmares of the Carroll boats and their gelcoat, this seems like it may have some of the same issues just not as prevalent. The boat has an epoxy hull and carbon fiber deck. There was a survey done only noting the gelcoat as only cosmetic in nature. I know other 30's that have had all the the gelcoat removed and painted afterwards for a better bond to epoxy. I can spot repair this and hopefully it will hold up, I can have the boat stripped and painted and I'm sure it would cost more than the boat is worth or run away screaming. I have attached some photos as examples. What's your thoughts on this?
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post #2 of 9 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Melges 30 or run?

I'd suggest you run... fast.

There are plenty of better-built equivalents out there, including newer Melges 32's in far better condition than that.

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Re: Melges 30 or run?

Perhaps you should refer to this article regarding gelcoat over epoxy: WEST SYSTEM | Projects | Fiberglass Boat Repair and Restoration - Polyester over epoxy Good luck.
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Re: Melges 30 or run?

Which 30 is it? There were only a few made, and the ones left... Well they can be had cheap.

If you are serious about a 30' then get in touch with John Dane at Trinity Yachts, I think he still has Tiberon, which is a massively tricked out 30, with all the phrf toys, and a sweetheart rating. It is also boat for boat faster than the M32, and I last I heard (a few years) he was asking $25k for it. It has also spent its whole life living in an air conditioned shed and professionally maintained by the same crew who build Trinity Yachts.

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Re: Melges 30 or run?

I've seen a lot of negative references to Carrol Marine - what's the story? Did they bite off more than they could chew in terms of high tech techniques or something?

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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Re: Melges 30 or run?

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Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
I've seen a lot of negative references to Carrol Marine - what's the story? Did they bite off more than they could chew in terms of high tech techniques or something?
The 30 is.... Well it was a prett radical design in a lot of ways, and it really wasn't ready for prime time. There were some questionable design issues with the boat which is why it was built in such small numbers. From trying different material formulations (gel coat problems), to a new bulb attachment method (4 or 5 lost keels in one race), even the mast was a bit wonky (to adjustable). The 30 really was designed and used as a prototype design.

Melges then took the molds and used what they learned to make the 32, which is actually a slower and lower tech boat than the 30. But far easier to sail. As an example, the 30 has an articulating retractable bow sprit which is great for sailing deep since you can pull the tip to windward, but it causes a lot of load problems on the bow of the boat. The rig on the 30 originally has runners, check stays, diamond stays, intermediate runners and an adjustable ram on the mast base. It was incredibly tweaky and fast when done right, but it is also very easy to get wrong and snap the mast.

Luckily the 30 and 32 are close enough you can convert the 30 to a 32. It just takes a new mast, and new keel. As well as permanently removing or disabled some hardware. The 32 is still incredibly fast for a 32' boat, and very technical to sail well.

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Re: Melges 30 or run?

I meant my question in a more general sense about Carrol Marine, not just about the Melges boats.

There's a lot of trash talk out there about Carrol.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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Re: Melges 30 or run?

For 19 years Carroll Marine built a variety of popular raceboats such as the Mumm 36, Frers 33, 1D35, Corel 45, Concordia 47, Farr 40, Tripp 40, Farr 52, Carroll Marine 60, Farr 395, and a Wally 60. I didn't know their work personally but from reading about them at that time it seemed to me that that they employed a lot of bleeding edge materials and techniques. I don't think that their involvement with the Melges 30 was atypical. When you push it that hard you're going to have some failures. It's to be expected with 30 year old raceboats that were built light and raced hard.
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Re: Melges 30 or run?

All Carroll boats in the 90's have failing gelcoats from what I've come to find out. They experimented with an intermediate coat between the epoxy and gelcoat layer. Apparently this coating is water soluble so as soon as there is any stress cracking water impedes the void and boom, no more gelcoat. This was the main reason Carroll got out of the marine industry as they were bombarded with lawsuits. Many owners I have spoken with have had the entire boats stripped of the gelcoat and painted. It's a costly venture to do but the boats look great afterward. You could buy a several year old boat with 0 issues for the same price considering the repair costs.
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