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Old 03-10-2009
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Info older boats, moisture in solid FRP hull

Hello all!Just seeking advice. We are seeking to purchase a 1980 Whitby 42 and have done a preliminary survey since it is out of our region. The surveyor has found elevated moisture levels in the hull, 15- 20%. He believes this is in the outer surface plys of fiberglass. The Whitby is solid , thick fiberglass, and there are no apparent blisters or delamination. There are some hairline cracks oozing brown liquid. The surveyor believes the moisture ingress will be slow, and that , possibly, it could be another 20 years before those surface plys need replacing. Also, he states this is a common finding in older boats, and he believes this to be a Whitby in good condition. We are doing a more extensive survey soon. We were under the impression that a little mositure on the deck of older boats is common, but I have not heard about it being common in the hull. Does anyone have experience with this issue?
MANY THANKS
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Old 03-10-2009
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Moisture in the decks of an older boat is never a good thing under any circumstance, and so while common, would normally suggest either a give away price or walk the other way.

Moisture in the hull below the waterline is more common and acceptable.That said, although its hard to say for certain without seeing the boat, hairline cracks with brown liquid oozing out is not a good thing. The brown liquid could easily be tannic acid one of the surest signs of osmotic blistering and a potential sign of much greater problems. 1980 was the heart of the period when blister problems were at their worst and you may be looking at a boat that had bad blisters, and a blister repair job that is failing.

Jeff
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Old 03-10-2009
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We get a lot of folks that stop by asking for boat buying advice. The collective wisdom here invariably emphasizes the need to hire a competent surveyor when evaluating a serious prospect. So, if you have an experienced surveyor with solid references, it would be a bit hypocritical for us to second guess his opinion, he having seen the boat and us not.

That said, Jeff has pointed out some inconvenient truths about boats from that era. And when you write:

Quote:
There are some hairline cracks oozing brown liquid.
that sort of description sets off all kinds of alarms in folks who have been around boats for a while. It may be nothing serious, or it could be as Jeff suggests a festering problem. More info would be helpful, especially photos if you have them.
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Old 03-10-2009
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Get another surveyor !
The Whitby 42 is balsa cored below the waterline to within about 15" of the centerline. This makes moisture a far greater concern.
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Last edited by boatpoker; 03-10-2009 at 09:37 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-10-2009
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Whitby 42

Check out my blog;

The Incredible Hull

and drop me an e-mail at whitby42 at gmail.com

Gerry
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Thanks all for your time and advice. The moisture, especially the brown oozing liquid has me very much concerned. We have a thorough, well recommended surveyor who will do a complete survey this Friday ( yes, I know Friday the 13th). I Appreciate the extra information. By the way, it is my understanding from alot of reading , that the Whitby is solid FRP to the edge of the waterline, and balsa core from the waterline up. Is this correct? Thanks Cruisingmom
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Last edited by boatpoker; 03-10-2009 at 08:52 PM. Reason: Old news
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Old 03-10-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
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What did you say?

Cruisingmom, as you can see we like to kid around quite a bit here, so don't take Boatpoker's comments as anything other than a little kidding.

Boatpoker posted the note above about the balsa coring extending to within 15" of the hull centerline, which would put it well below the waterline. You should mention this info to your surveyor, and you should be able to find evidence of this when you inspect the inside of the hull during survey.

Good luck and, please, consider giving us an update after the survey is completed. We're curious too.
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thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
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Thanks boatpoker, I did hear you and appreciate your input . In fact, I copied it to a document to give to our surveyor. I was just under a different impression, one which we will verify.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRPollard View Post
What did you say?

Cruisingmom, as you can see we like to kid around quite a bit here, so don't take Boatpoker's comments as anything other than a little kidding.

Boatpoker posted the note above about the balsa coring extending to within 15" of the hull centerline, which would put it well below the waterline. You should mention this info to your surveyor, and you should be able to find evidence of this when you inspect the inside of the hull during survey.

Good luck and, please, consider giving us an update after the survey is completed. We're curious too.
Many many thanks for your wise input, John. I copied your info for the surveyor as well. Just want to gather as much information as possible before making the decision. We have looked at alot of Whitbys, but this is our first survey. In fact, we looked at a Pearson 39 , which the owner claimed was not balsa cored below the waterline, and we were able to find evidence to the contrary all by ourselves.thanks again will keep you posted
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