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post #1 of 11 Old 08-30-2015 Thread Starter
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Buying a boat with deck delam

Hey guys, I'm currently looking at a boat whose 4 year old survey mentioned delamination on the foredeck and starboard deck. The deck is balsa cored. The survey states:

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DECK: The Tramex Skipper moisture meter used on cored FRP sandwich is calibrated at
<14% = dry, 14-16.5% = moist, 16.5% - 19% damp, 20% max = wet.
4. The foredeck for its full width, and the stbd side deck for a 4-5 foot zone inboard of
the shrouds shows 16-18% moisture readings and also sounds irregularly delaminated.
The seller stated that the deck had been drilled and epoxy filled.
The current owner of the boat states that the deck has no soft spots and feels solid in these areas, and has not addressed them since the previous owner. Should I forget about this boat and look for something else, or is this repair good enough for the time being? Other than this the boat seems like a great deal with a ton of gear upgrades and the surveyor(from 4 years ago) described it as excellent and exceptional condition for its age.
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-30-2015
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Re: Buying a boat with deck delam

Not liking relying on a 4 year old survey.. lots can happen in that time.

It would help to know the size/value of the boat.. such an issue may be less of a big deal on a small 'for now' boat than for something you'd hope to keep a while. A friend bought a cheap 26 footer (<$5K) with the same known conditions, sailed it a few years and sold it the same way..

You can do your own 'tap test', say, with a screwdriver handle.. if you hear a lot of 'rap-rap-thud-thud-rap rap' the thuds indicate separation of the core and outer skin. You'll have an idea of how extensive it really is.

All that said, there are a lot of boats on the market these days, so you might want to keep looking.
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-30-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Buying a boat with deck delam

Thanks Ron. The boat is a 36 foot Allied selling for 28k. I plan on cruising down the east coast to the Caribbean and eventually across the Pacific. I do plan on getting my own survey when I put in an offer, but first I'd have to fly out and see the boat. Right now, all I have to go by is what the seller and his survey are telling me. I'm trying to decide if it is worth spending $1000 between a survey and plane ticket given this information.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-30-2015
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Re: Buying a boat with deck delam

Drilled and filled doesn't usually fix a large area of delamination. It needs to dry out completely before it will work and that will only happen with a couple of New England winters under cover or out in the desert. Moisture meter still indicates a leak that you will have to find and fix. In the end, you'll probably have to remove the the balsa from underneath and replace it. It's been done and there are numerous articles on this but it is one H___ of a job. As said before there are lots of boats on the market. 28K sounds high for a boat with this problem.

I'd also be suspect of the chain plates as well. If waters been getting in the side deck it may have been getting to the plates as well. Not good to loose your rig any where but least of all out in the Pacific.
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post #5 of 11 Old 08-30-2015
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Re: Buying a boat with deck delam

Based on what I've learned re-building a pair of delaminated balsa cored cockpit locker lids I'd pass.
Not that it was a hard job just dirty, messy and time consuming to do it right. That was with something I could remove and bring home to work on.
I imagine doing a large area of deck would be a much worse job to do yourself and expensive to have it done.
If you decide on this one make sure you can get it insured, the company may demand a new survey and deny coverage based on current condition. Or demand repairs before you can get coverage.
Lots of boats for sale out there, buyers market.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-30-2015
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Re: Buying a boat with deck delam

In April we were about 300 nm behind 'Nivana Now' when she sank on a Pacific crossing.

End events of S/Y NIRVANA NOW | Breaking Free

The Pacific is not a place to be in a boat with structural problems. Going to the Caribbean can also be brutal on boats once you turn east north of Hispaniola...3-4 days bashing into wind waves and current!

You are trying to spend a lot of money buying someone else's problems.

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Re: Buying a boat with deck delam

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Originally Posted by sk8sn0surf View Post
Thanks Ron. The boat is a 36 foot Allied selling for 28k. I plan on cruising down the east coast to the Caribbean and eventually across the Pacific. I do plan on getting my own survey when I put in an offer, but first I'd have to fly out and see the boat. Right now, all I have to go by is what the seller and his survey are telling me. I'm trying to decide if it is worth spending $1000 between a survey and plane ticket given this information.
As others have indicated, this is beyond the 'quick cheap boat' approach. Keep looking.

Ron

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post #8 of 11 Old 08-30-2015
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Re: Buying a boat with deck delam

I think I would only take on a job like this if a) the boat was special and b) the price reflected the need for a major repair. There are lots of boats out there.

Finishing our major refit. Our trip to Newfoundland is off because it is too late. Hoping to go to the North Channel instead.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-30-2015
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Re: Buying a boat with deck delam

To provide a counter-argument, if you have patience, replacing rotted/delaminated topside core is not technically difficult but it is time consuming. There are lots of good articles and videos on the matter.

Apart from a fair bit of labor, the only power tools needed are a drill, a router and a good disk sander. Repairs are such that you will also need a full topside repaint.

If you can use this situation to very significantly leverage the purchase price, localized deck delam is certainly not a matter serious enough that should automatically disqualify the boat...
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-31-2015
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Re: Buying a boat with deck delam

Quote:
If you can use this situation to very significantly leverage the purchase price, localized deck delam is certainly not a matter serious enough that should automatically disqualify the boat...
That was my thought, exactly. However, I think in this situation, I wouldn't do it because of the travel involved. If it were in my back yard, that would be a great way to get to know your new boat...

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