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Jcopper 10-25-2008 12:14 AM

boat sitting without bulkheads deformed?
First post, so here I go,

If a heavy displacement hull with a full keel and ballast and deck installed but no interior or bulkheads ever installed, sat for thirty years outside in fair weather on a wood cradle, could the hull change shape or deform?

Factory built and assembled solid GRP hull and plywood core deck, 38 foot, 27,000 lbs., 10,000 lbs. ballast.

If it could deform, how could I tell? Would it want to spread?
Would some movement matter?

All comments welcome, thanks

camaraderie 10-25-2008 12:30 AM

Welcome aboard! You should never say "all comments welcome" around here! :D

I'd frankly be more worried about the plywood core after 30 years. If the interior is wide open I think it would be relatively easy to design and fabricate appropriate bulkheads and glass them in place. Fibeglass is not going to take a permanent set, but it will easily flex or deform if not properly supported. Assuming the deck is on the boat and secured, I can't see missing the bulheads as being a significant structural issue.

That said. I am going to assume a couple of things I probably shouldn't and say: RUN FROM THIS will cost you more in time, $$, and sweat than you will EVER be able to recoup.

badsanta 10-25-2008 12:37 AM

Yes, run forest run!!!!!

Delirious 10-25-2008 12:41 AM

Is the keel fully supported? You should be able to spot deformation by sighting down the hull over the cradle supports. If it was a good cradle to begin with you may be OK. Is the deck/hull joint straight? Or hogged or sway-backed?

Is it a factory lay-up staged boat? As long as the keel is well supported and there is no rig it may be fine. The deck should have protected the bulkheads of the openings were sealed.

Get it surveyed. A bare hull should be at a discounted rate.

Jcopper 10-25-2008 12:50 AM

no bulkheads
Thanks Camaraderie

The vessel has never been in the water. Deck and was factory installed, glassed in and bolted.

So, I think you are telling me, if the vessel was free it's too much. It's not free but less than the cost of materials to build from scratch.

No mast or boom but ten year old [new] engine and transmission. no other rigging, no interior, 2000 miles to move this project.


Jcopper 10-25-2008 01:08 AM

Thanks for the advice

I am looking for a project to start new or finish a worthy project already started. I am a metalsmith/craftsmen with a large studio to move a project indoors.

I would like to have this project completed in 4 to 5 years for offshore sailing and live aboard.

Any more advice?

US27inKS 10-25-2008 01:22 AM

If it is deformed, getting it straight again may be a chore. Possibly floating it for a few months with some bracing pushing the hull back out where it's pushed in? I disagree with Cam about the fiberglass not taking a permanent set. I've seen boats that had to be pushed out from the inside and a stiffener added to keep the hull pushed out.

merc2dogs 10-25-2008 01:35 AM

I'd be sure to check any cored areas for water intrusion.
As for deformation, look for any ripples or dents that shouldn't be there, As Delirious said, being on a cradle is a lot better than sitting on jacks.

Can you get a sailplan for it? or is it a common enough boat that you can contact other owners to get specs and rig from there?

Sounds like a great opportunity to build the boat you want, I for one have never been happy with off the shelf boats, there's always a few things that I don't like about the layout so end up tearing things out and rebuilding. That boat puts you at the blank canvas stage, you can build it for your comfort and convenience.

Only other advice is to keep the purchase price down, sailboats without sails and mast are like powerboats without the engine, kinda hard to sell


sailboy21 10-25-2008 02:38 AM


Originally Posted by US27inKS (Post 390035)
If it is deformed, getting it straight again may be a chore. Possibly floating it for a few months with some bracing pushing the hull back out where it's pushed in? I disagree with Cam about the fiberglass not taking a permanent set. I've seen boats that had to be pushed out from the inside and a stiffener added to keep the hull pushed out.

Yes it certainly can deform, and it may take more than months to return to it's 'natural' state. A friend of mine had a Grampian 34 stored for just 1 winter in a yard with a misplaced jack stand. He commented the the hull still wasn't fair 10 years later! He did get some $$$ from the yard, and didn't really care about the slight deformation but it serves as a testament to what can happen.

Let here float for a while, take measurements every month or two and see if anything changes. Find out if you can if the missing bulkheads are required or not... If you don't notice and changes tab in some bulkheads. If they are put under tension later everything should be just fine if the glasswork bonded correctly. If it fails you did it wrong and need to redo it anyway so get cutting!

sailingdog 10-25-2008 06:37 AM

The question you should be asking is "Should I even bother finding out more about this boat?" not "Will the hull deform without the bulkheads in it?"

IF the boat is just a hull that needs to be finished and doesn't have any rigging, spars, or sails... and you have to move it 2000 miles—RUN LIKE H3LL. The standing rigging, mast and boom on a 38' boat is likely to cost in the neighborhood of $20,000 new, less if you can find it salvage or used.

In general, you're much better off buying a boat in decent shape, that is sailable, than you are getting the same boat in the condition this one is for free, since refurbishing it is going to cost you more than buying the one you can use right away in materials alone. That doesn't even count the amount of time, labor, sweat, or blood that you'd put into the boat.

BTW, plywood as a deck core material is about the worst material choice there is. IMHO, it's got the worst characteristics of end-grain balsa and of foam core materials. It can rot like balsa, and it can allow water to migrate long distances like foam. It is also far heavier than either, and a deck made of it is a bad compromise IMHO. If there are any deck fittings through the plywood core, it is very, very likely that the whole deck is delaminating at this point, having sat for 30 years with tiny leaks letting water into the core.

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