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  #1  
Old 06-22-2007
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SEMIJim will become famous soon enough SEMIJim will become famous soon enough
Leaky Deck Fittings - Bah!

Before anybody jumps on me too hard: Yes, I realize that any 30 year old boat is bound to have "issues" - at least if it hasn't undergone a complete refit. That being said...

Talked to a man about a boat this morning...

Me: I realize this is subjective, but, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being "as new" and 1 being "barely floats and couldn't possibly be sailed," where would you put your boat?
Him: 8 (quick, confident answer. I'm encouraged)

Some discussion follows, then he mentions the boat only has "a couple small problems." There's a leak around one of the port lights they haven't been able to stop. No biggie, I'm sure there's a way and it's not structural. There's a leak on one of the stanchions. Okay, that's a concern, but not necessarily a show-stopper. It's leaking water around the mast step. Oh ohhhhh. He couldn't say whether it's been bad enough, long enough to cause rot or delamination.

Too bad, really. It's just not worth the $500 or more gamble a haul-out and survey would cost me, just to find out the deck needs Major Surgery (which I am most definitely not prepared to do).

I thanked him for his honesty. He possibly saved me a wad of cash. I told him I'd discuss it with the Admiral and perhaps get back to him. I could tell by the tone of his voice he knew I wouldn't. So sad

I think if I was selling a boat, I'd just go ahead and get the damn thing surveyed so I could tell prospective buyers exactly what they were getting into.

Jim
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Old 06-22-2007
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Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice
If you're looking at boats!

If you're looking at boats spend the $300.00 on a J.R. Overseas moisture meter. The first boat you use it on, and find wet decks, it will have paid for itself. I would not be caught dead looking at boats, & we looked at well over 50 this winter with close to 40 of them having serious deck problems, without my own moisture meter. It's the best $300.00 I ever spent!!

Bottom line is that owners and brokers talk in half truths. It's best to come prepared with your own moisture meter. I can tell you for a fact that the BS stops dead in its tracks whn they find out you mean business and are a prepared buyer...
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Old 06-22-2007
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Are you expecting a 30 year old boat to be like new? Are you willing to pay for a like new 30 year old boat? Have you ever owned a boat before?
Is the deck soft around the mast?

If the owner had not disclosed these issues you wound not have known about them, and a surveyor might have found them. Leaks only leak when water is running on the bad area. Surveyors don't check for this. They can find high moisture areas and soft decks, but you could do a quick check yourself.

Leaks are difficult to find sometimes. Took me three years to find one on my boat, no damage was caused. Depending on the boat manufacturer there may not be any exposed coring near the leak prone areas like chain-plates and mast steps.

In other words I would be more interested in this boat because of the owner's input.
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Old 06-22-2007
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SEMIJim will become famous soon enough SEMIJim will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Are you expecting a 30 year old boat to be like new?
Nope. (I believe I addressed that at the outset?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Are you willing to pay for a like new 30 year old boat?
Dunno. Dunno what such a thing would cost. Probably over our budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Have you ever owned a boat before?
Not, perhaps, as most here would define "boat" . (It floated and had an outboard with a temperamental starter.) My wife once co-owned a real boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Is the deck soft around the mast?
The boat's three hours away. Haven't seen it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
If the owner had not disclosed these issues you wound not have known about them, and a surveyor might have found them.
Assuming they exist (not a given, remember): I would hope the hell a surveyor would find them. That's what they're paid for, no?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Leaks only leak when water is running on the bad area.
You used to work for the Department of Obvious Truths, didn't you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Surveyors don't check for this. They can find high moisture areas and soft decks, but you could do a quick check yourself.
And of the couple of boats we've looked at so far: I have done this, to a degree.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
Leaks are difficult to find sometimes. Took me three years to find one on my boat, no damage was caused. Depending on the boat manufacturer there may not be any exposed coring near the leak prone areas like chain-plates and mast steps.
Unless they encapsulate the through-holes, how could there not be exposed coring?

I know about the difficult-to-find leaks. Read many on-line stories about them. One, in particular, I recall where the water was dripping-down from a spot 10 feet away from the leak. (The leak was in the forward hatch. And yes: The coring was wet, tho not spongy. They dried it out, injected epoxy, and sealed the exposed coring with more epoxy, then repaired the leak.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gene T
In other words I would be more interested in this boat because of the owner's input.
Hmph. I'll take your opinion under advisement. Seriously.

Thanks for your comments.

Jim
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Old 06-22-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by halekai36
Bottom line is that owners and brokers talk in half truths. It's best to come prepared with your own moisture meter. I can tell you for a fact that the BS stops dead in its tracks whn they find out you mean business and are a prepared buyer...
Funny thing, that. A couple weeks ago or so I called a broker about a boat. When, during the conversation, I mention "survey," he immediately tells me about a major leak problem he'd just discovered that would require about $3k to repair (there was rot and delamination).

We went and looked at the boat, anyway. It was pretty ravaged. (That was the one I talked about several days ago that had the mis-aligned doors that wouldn't latch.)

As to the $300 moisture meter... Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't know if I'm prepared to do that. To be honest: We so far haven't found more than a half-dozen or so boats, tops, that we're even willing to go look at. There just doesn't seem to be all that much that meets our requirements in S.E. Michigan and we just haven't gotten to the point of being willing to go "far" away, yet. So I'm afraid that $300 toy wouldn't see much use.

Thanks,
Jim
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Old 06-22-2007
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Jim, one thing about coring and how boats are built. It depends on the manufacturer. The three coring materials are foam, end grain balsa and plywood. Some manufactures will not use coring in areas with holes, they use a solid fiberglass layup. Other manufactures will use plywood for stiffening in those areas and balsa in the rest of the deck. Note that balsa and foam are not good for compression so cannot be through bolted. So it really depends. Surveyors will have a pretty good idea of how that particular boat is made and will have a good idea of problem areas to check prior to even looking at it.

I generally check out the owners groups and search the web for problems with certain boats and manufactures before I go look at them myself.
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Old 06-22-2007
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Jim- Please remind me of your boat criteria.
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a quick note.

almost any boat over 20 yrs old is going to have, or has already had leaking chainplates, ports, loose stanchions, leaky mast-steps. Its the nature of the beasts. You have holes. They stay plugged for awhile. then, they don't. pretty simple, eh?

The hard part is how much water, how often, and to what extent is the damage?

Personally, I wouldn't care if water is pouring thru the portlights, as long as it hasn't stood, or hasn't leached into the core (if so constructed) that can be fixed.

Same for the chainplates. Has the deck surrounding the area been compromised? If so, how much? Have the bulkheads been compromised? If so what will it take to replace them?

mast/deckstep? how would you tell?

mis-aligned/non latching doors. Holy smokes. have you ever had a wood deck for more than a month or two? check it. The size changes with the weather. nails pull, screws pop. That can be fixed. The cause is what you're looking for.

No owner that I know of is going to commision a survey then hand you the results. It just doesn't work that way.

The whole reason to have a survey done is so YOU, the prospective buyer knows what YOU are getting.

The caveat to that is an owners survey for insurance or funding issues, but thats not a buyers survey.

Sure, some brokers have a survey done by lord knows who, or lord knows why and hands it to ya, and smile and says "see, heres a survey right here from January 2007 that should be good enough for ya" well, mebbe it is, an' mebby it taint.

While I'm at it, a person thats not real familiar with hull construction can look real stoopid real quick with a moisture meter in their hand.

Some resins will mark wet even though they've been on the hard for months, some bottom paints too.

Have a boat deck in the sun for 2 weeks in August, and the needle won't move, even though sponges hold less water.

Suffice it to say, you aren't going to find a 20-30 year old boat for 10-25k that doesn't have at least "some" if not all of the above and more issues. The question for you seems to be, do you adjust your budget, your search criteria, or your expectations.
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I think it all comes down to $$. When we were looking and found out boat, upon survey they found two wet deck areas (pretty contained) we got an estimate on the cost of repair and reduced the purchase price by that amount. The owner who was right there when the survey took place couldn't deny the needed repair and accepted the offer.

Almost everything can be fixed with money thrown at it.
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SEMIJim will become famous soon enough SEMIJim will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by T34C
Jim- Please remind me of your boat criteria.
Well, being as it seems to change a bit as we see more boats, learn more, etc., that might be kind of hard . I'd say we want a racer/cruiser, or performance cruiser, in the 28 - 30 foot range. Something that's suitable for cruising the Great Lakes, yet (relatively) fast around the cans. Tiller steering. Inboard gasoline or diesel engine. Fin keel as opposed to full keel. Prefer roller furling jib, but it's not a show-stopper. Full head. Galley. Preferably either the v-berth or an expandable main berth that'll sleep us together. I'm 6'4".

The main thing is that the hull and deck be solid. Secondly the engine, sails and rigging. (Logic: Engines, sails and rigging are "drop-in" replacements/repairs. Hull and deck damage requires surgery. Don't want to have to do surgery.) Not too worried about electrical. I can do that. Not too worried about instrumentation, for I can do that, too. (Tho I'd prefer to forgo going up the mast for an antenna or having to pull her out of the water to install a through-hull sensor, if possible. At least right off the bat.)

We value quality, so we've been looking at boats from makers that generally have a good reputation for consistently good build quality across the years, such as Sabre, Tartan, Pearson, C&C, Islander, Albin, Cal, J-Boats, S2 and Newport. (I may have missed a couple.)

Other things we find ourselves looking at is general cleanliness and whether it appears the boat has been well-cared-for. What I mean by this is somewhat worn running rigging, due to normal wear and tear, is expected. Teak that hasn't seen a good re-finishing in a while seems pretty common, and, providing it's not unsalvageable, is not a show-stopper. But a dirty, filthy engine area, a bunch of dirty water in the bilge, a generally unkempt appearance and a nasty-smelling cabin tells me the current owners just didn't care about the boat.

We could go bigger than 30', for the Right Boat. Say, 32 or 33'. Then we'd probably want to go wheel, instead of tiller. A Pearson 10M would be wonderful, but those are relatively uncommon and specimens meeting our other requirements are probably out of our price range.

Our target budget for the purchase is around $15k. It could go higher, for the right boat in the right condition.

Prefer it to have been a fresh-water boat for all or the vast majority of its life.

Right now kind of trying to limit the search to the S.E. Michigan area. (Tho we'd travel further with the proper motivation, I imagine.) Reason being is it's much easier to go see the boat, conduct business, be there for the survey, get it home, etc.

We're not in a hurry. Well, okay, kind of . But we're willing to wait however long we must, take however long it takes, for what we want to appear. (Tho impatience and frustration sometime get the better of me and I'm inclined to whinge about things like finding otherwise perfect boats, but for leaky fittings .)

I think I got it all

Jim

Last edited by SEMIJim; 06-22-2007 at 09:23 PM.
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