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Old 03-16-2008
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Loose Stantions

As a first-time buyer, I'm trying to edumacate myself on things to look for when I inspect a used boat.

Just looked at one yesterday (late 70s boat) whose stantions were very loose. The decks all felt solid, and otherwise the boat seemed in very good shape for it's age (there was some "waviness" in the gelcoat, but it didn't seem a problem to my untrained eyes) . Just wondering if I'd need to be replacing those stations, or if there is a simple fix... OR is this a terrible sign of some unseen problems??
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoomDahDoomDoom View Post
As a first-time buyer, I'm trying to edumacate myself on things to look for when I inspect a used boat.

Just looked at one yesterday (late 70s boat) whose stantions were very loose. The decks all felt solid, and otherwise the boat seemed in very good shape for it's age (there was some "waviness" in the gelcoat, but it didn't seem a problem to my untrained eyes) . Just wondering if I'd need to be replacing those stations, or if there is a simple fix... OR is this a terrible sign of some unseen problems??
The decks of many production sailboats are a laminate of fiberglass with a core of some sort, most often balsa, but sometimes plywood and rarely some other product. Anywhere something penetrates the deck (all over the place on a sailboat) it creates a potential path for water to enter the core. Then several things happen none of them good, like freeze thaw causing separation of the core from the balsa (delamination) and rot of the core causing, soft, spongy areas in the deck.

Loose stantions may just be loose or they may have let water in doing signficant problems that are expensive to have fixed. Clues like signs of leakage around chainplates and stantions below decks provide clues but the only way to know how extensive these types of problems are is to have an experienced surveyor evaluate the boat for you.
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Old 03-16-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoomDahDoomDoom View Post
Just looked at one yesterday (late 70s boat) whose stantions were very loose. . . Just wondering if I'd need to be replacing those stations, or if there is a simple fix... OR is this a terrible sign of some unseen problems??
As midlife stated, deck issues would more than likely cause stanchions to be "loose". However, you weren't very specific as to whether the entire stanchion had excessive movement, or only the vertical tube fit loosely onto the base plate.

If the latter, perhaps individual stanchion assembly repair, or replacement is all that's needed. But to my logic, a base plate which moves against the FRP deck, suggests the fasteners have lost their bite - a common symptom of core problems.
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Thanks for the quick replies... I didn't notice any movement in the bases, just that most of the posts had between a "little" to a "lot" of play.
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If the latter, perhaps individual stanchion assembly repair, or replacement is all that's needed. But to my logic, a base plate which moves against the FRP deck, suggests the fasteners have lost their bite - a common symptom of core problems.
Or the material that the bases were bedded in, simply lost there bond. The bedding material goes a long way into making the connection to the deck.
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Many boats (the better ones at least) have through-bolts at each stanchion with nuts and backing plates on the undersides of the deck. If this is the case with the boat in question, the nuts may have come loose, or the core (or bedding material) has been reduced in thickness - perhaps as a result of rot caused by water intrusion.

Screws simply securing the baseplates to the top FRP layer and/or bedding compound, are subject to fail under load - subsequently exposing the core to water intrusion and the core material to rot.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoomDahDoomDoom View Post
Thanks for the quick replies... I didn't notice any movement in the bases, just that most of the posts had between a "little" to a "lot" of play.
Please realize that the base of the station is maybe 2 X 4 inches bolted into the deck. The poles ( tubes ) are 24 to 30 inches tall. Just based on leverage there will be play.
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Quote:
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Screws simply securing the baseplates to the top FRP layer and/or bedding compound, are subject to fail under load - subsequently exposing the core to water intrusion and the core material to rot.

Forgive my ignorance, but what's "FRP"?
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Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic - whether cored or solid, what most boat hulls and decks are made of.
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Last edited by TrueBlue; 03-16-2008 at 04:01 PM.
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I'd recommend having a look at your local library for a book or two by Don Casey or Henry Mustin. Also, have a look at as many boats as you can stand to get used to doing your own initial surveys.
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