Boat Inspection Trip Tips - Page 9 - SailNet Community
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post #81 of 198 Old 03-30-2009 Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by JimMcGee View Post
Great Post! Here are a couple of things that came to mind while reading through the thread.

- No matter how knowledgeable you are get a survey. I went over my current boat in detail. The surveyor found a couple of things I missed and I picked up a couple of things he missed. Between the two of us I had a really good snapshot of the boat.
My post was never intended to replace a proper survey... just help eliminate the boats that aren't worthy of investing the money for a survey.

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- For every electrical upgrade or bit of electronics added take a look at the electrical installation. My boat was OK, but I've seem some things that made me cringe.

- Before looking at the boat spend some time online researching both the boat and the engine. Knowing what problems are common to a certain model can save you a lot of time, heartache and dollars.

- CAREFULLY read what is supposed to be included with the boat. I found two versions of the listing for my boat. The first one listed a dinghy and outboard the second didn't. It turned out the seller was no longer in the area and the broker was trying to keep the dinghy and motor for himself. The "oversight" was only corrected when I pushed the issue with the broker.

Jim
Very good points... and many boats have issues that are common to the make and model, especially for specific years, like the Catalina "Smile" and the plywood keel stub support.

Sailingdog

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post #82 of 198 Old 03-30-2009
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Thanks Ed so I assume surveyors if there unshore of the outside of a hull after pounding on it will then maybe use the meter or is a meter really mainly used for the decks?? I would think if there doing a moisture test they would need to fully dry off the boat before so.

Thanks sailingdog I know you were just giving pointers for someone to save a little money and i truely appreciate that because that is a fear of what if I go see a boat I like it and use a surveyer and he finds stuff that makes me not want the boat I just wasted 500+

Thanks,
Chris
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post #83 of 198 Old 03-31-2009
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Moisture meters

If you buy or borrow a moisture meter to use while looking over a boat for possible purchase there are a couple of things to keep in mind:

1. The meter measures the radio frequency electrical conductivity of the material it is in contact with (and below the surface to a variable depth). The meter does not directly measure water. Many materials, including fiberglass laminate and various gelcoats and paints, have some RF conductivity. You will not get a zero reading even on "bone dry" fiberglass. It will vary to some degree with the type of resin and fiber (typicall about 10%-15% on the "wood" scale see #2 below). Of course, water saturated materials do have higher RF conductivity. Primarily what I look for is large variations around chainplates, deck mounted Genoa track (often a culprit), and other penetrations.

2. The "Percent" scale is for WOOD only - not fiberglass. On fiberglass you can only use it for relative measurements. Look for anomalous areas - real wet deck core usually will "peg" the meter.

3. If the boat is wet stored, or has only recently been hauled, the meter will not tell you very much about the bottom below the waterline. You probably need several days and perhaps more, depending on how long the boat has been in the water. All resins (including epoxy and vinylester) have a finite diffusion coefficient for water (i.e. they all will absorb some molecular water over a long enough period of time). In New England, where boats typically spend less than 6 mo/yr in the water, the bottoms should dry quickly. In Florida and TX where they sit in hot water for years at a stretch, resins will absorb quite a bit of water over that time. On a 1 hr quick-haul for survey (normal here in TX) the bottoms ALWAYS read wet on a meter.

Hope this helps you-all.

J Stormer
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post #84 of 198 Old 03-31-2009
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A nit...

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1. The meter measures the radio frequency electrical conductivity of the material it is in contact with (and below the surface to a variable depth). The meter does not directly measure water.
According to the manufacturer, pinless meters (ie CT-33) actually measure the capacitance, that is the ability of the material to store an electrical charge. In effect the back of the meter has an electric plate, which acts as one plate of a capacitor. The water, which is conductive, acts as the other plate, and the fiberglass, which does not, is a dielectric between the two plates. This is why moisture (dew) on the surface of the fiberglass dry will give spurious (high) readings.

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Primarily what I look for is large variations around chainplates, deck mounted Genoa track (often a culprit), and other penetrations.
Right on!! The theory of how they work is less important than where and how you test, and interpret the results.

I bring a deck / hull diagram with me, and make sure that my meter is calibrated immediately before I use it (it can vary from day to day with humidity) and try to establish a baseline on the particular boat that I am checking. The baseline reading is at a point that I feel confident has not been compromised by moisture. I then at moisture prone areas, and only look for large variations in the readings. I have found that most decks that I have checked have a baseline, on the CT-33 meter, between 5 and 10. When I see the needle pass 25% I note that area as being "moist" on my diagram. I then search around the deck and continue to note the 25% moisture cline on my diagram as I scan around.

HTH!

Ed


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post #85 of 198 Old 03-31-2009
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Thanks J stormer yeah I was thinking here in Louisiana boats are always in the water so useing this meter below the waterline here is kinda pointless but yeah i can see how it could be used up north more. The more I keep reading the more I feel like i need to try and buy something on the north east coast although it may cost me more to get it back here it maybe better off in the long run.

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post #86 of 198 Old 03-31-2009 Thread Starter
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Most bottom paints would throw the meter off in any case, since they're full of metallic salts...
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Thanks J stormer yeah I was thinking here in Louisiana boats are always in the water so useing this meter below the waterline here is kinda pointless but yeah i can see how it could be used up north more. The more I keep reading the more I feel like i need to try and buy something on the north east coast although it may cost me more to get it back here it maybe better off in the long run.

Thanks
Chris

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post #87 of 198 Old 04-01-2009
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thanks, I sure do like that little moisture meter i may ahve to get one. I was telling ag uy at work about it and he never heard of it either
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post #88 of 198 Old 04-02-2009
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post #89 of 198 Old 04-02-2009
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Inexpensive meter

JStorm and Ed are correct about the meters and how to use them to spot wet areas.

For inspecting boats, and just trying to identify wet deck cores, I'm thinking this $35 meter from Woodcraft might do the trick.

It would also be a good idea to check around any stains in plywood or wood trim to get an idea if there are any leaking hatches.

Great thread SailingDog!

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post #90 of 198 Old 04-03-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimMcGee View Post
JStorm and Ed are correct about the meters and how to use them to spot wet areas.
Thanks for the confirmation!

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For inspecting boats, and just trying to identify wet deck cores, I'm thinking this $35 meter from Woodcraft might do the trick.
Unfortunately, this meter won't work - at least for checking moisture in the core of a fiberglass hull or deck. If you watch the video, you'll see that the moisture probe requires pulling the black cover off the pins, and then inserting the pins into the surface of the object that you wish to test. (This is a resistance type meter.) Before you stick pins through the fiberglass and into the core of any part of the boat, you better check with the owner..

Quote:
It would also be a good idea to check around any stains in plywood or wood trim to get an idea if there are any leaking hatches.
Evidence of moisture here usually dosen't require a meter. You can either see tracks of stain, or (in several boats that I've seen) the wood has begun to decay.

- Ed
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