Moisture...how big of deal is it? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-02-2009 Thread Starter
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Moisture...how big of deal is it?

We just had an 1981 Catalina 30 surveyed prior to purchase. Other than a lot of little issues, the survey came back with "high" moisture readings along the side decks and the top, but no delamination. It seems that most boats we look at of this age have some kind of moisture problem, so my question is this: how big of a deal is it? Should we run from this boat, get it fixed, or just live with it and do the maintenance necessary to keep it from getting worse?
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post #2 of 13 Old 04-02-2009
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To get the most out of Sailnet, you should use the search function. You will find many posts like your own. There is little I can add to those posts save to say my own experience with core repair was dreadful and I lost two years of sailing doing the repair. The cost of having it done might be as much as the purchase price of the boat, you were not real specific on the number of square feet of deck involved. That's why the boat is cheap.

"Ulysses" - Alfred Tennyson
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post #3 of 13 Old 04-02-2009
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IF you've got high moisture content and a cored deck, then you have an issue, and likely a very expensive repair. Wet core material doesn't dry out without a lot of work. If it isn't dried out, it will generally rot at some point or delaminate... in which case you have to do a core replacement.

Without more specifics, I can't say that you should run, but I would, especially if the boat is priced low for that type and age boat. I'd also point out that a boat that has a lot of little issues probably didn't see the maintenance it should have, and that is usually a good indicator that other things will not be as they should.

I'd also recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether other boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey for boats that aren't worth looking at further.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-02-2009 at 07:50 AM.
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post #4 of 13 Old 04-02-2009
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The single most common issue of older sailboats and many power boats. Start by realizing that on a 20 year old boat the deck core is almost certainly wet if not rotten. Repairing this type of damage may cost almost as much as the boat itself so forget about fixing it. Yes the deck may be a little soft and the gelcoat cracks are unsightly but you will not fall through the deck and it won't sink the boat. I certainly would not recommend a boat with rotten decks go bluewater sailing but be honest most of you are just doing weekend fairweather cruising. You don't need to buy a moisture meter or hire a surveyor to determine if the core is wet just lightly tap with a small brass hammer or a $2.00 coin you will quickly learn the difference between the clear sound report of dry core, the clack of core separation or the dull thud of the soft wet core variety. If the deck core is a bit wet but all else is OK and you like the boat.... lower your offer accordingly and go ahead. Remember that when you sell that boat the next buyer will also lower his offer when he hears that dull report. If you want a fracture free, dry deck core, go to the boat show and add another $100k to that $20k you had budgeted for a 28 footer or buy the 20k boat and go sailing.

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post #5 of 13 Old 04-02-2009
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I have benn helping a friend look all spring AND there is NOT a 20+ year old boat on the market with a dry deck in this area

And these are boats that look perfect inside and out





This Pearson was the cleanest boat i have evey seen with NO leaks and it still gets the thumb down from the meter

1970 Cal 29 Sea Fever

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post #6 of 13 Old 04-02-2009 Thread Starter
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Sorry for starting a common thread topic. I did do a search and found many threads related, but still am looking for comments on my specific situation. Excuse me, please.

Here's the deal: the boat was listed at 18000, and we are offering 15000. The survey issues may bring it down to 8000...that's 8000 for an 81 Catalina 30T, with great sails and rigging, good interior, good electronics, some minor tech issues (no biggies), and approximately 20 sf of "wet" deck, but no delamination.

We'll be doing mostly weekend cruising in the Great Lakes, a probably a yearly weeklong trip. We'll be taking her across Lake Michigan on occasion, but will avoid severe weather as much as possible.

Any more comments?
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post #7 of 13 Old 04-02-2009
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How high is high??

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #8 of 13 Old 04-02-2009 Thread Starter
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Don't know all the numbers (won't get the report until tomorrow), but in the "red" on the meter...25 to 30%.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-02-2009
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Fan,

Six months ago, I was in exactly the same situation, with exactly the same questions, with virtually the same boat. Check out the thread "Drying Out the Core". I decided to take a chance on the boat because 1) there was no delamination or visble deck compression to be found anywhere, 2) the decks were solid underfoot, 3) there was no sign of water leaking through the cabin top, 4) the rest of the boat and accessories was exactly what I wanted, and 5) after beating up the seller with the surveyor's report, the boat was dirt cheap. In my case, taking the chance paid off. Maybe I just have more luck than brains, but I havn't found any of the horrible, scary stuff. I'm not planning to cross any oceans, but I do have a decent, affordable boat that will do everything that I want it to do. Send me a PM if you'd like to hear more about my experience.

- r - google mail same handle

Are we there yet?
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Last edited by rayncyn51; 04-02-2009 at 11:08 AM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-02-2009
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I have a couple spots on my deck about 1x3ft on both sides near the shrouds and a 1.5x1.5ft spot on the front cockpit floor.They are not horrible but i want to prevent it from spreading.I am restoring an old corvette at home and have grown to hate fibreglass work and know how hard it can be to get a nice finish so I am sending the boat in to have it fixed by the pros.
The repair will be 6k and im expecting by the time its done that will climb to 8k.i have had a previous estimate near 15k where i bought the boat.
its a nasty job and most dont wat to do it so they charge high if there going to get into it.
I got my boat for a good price and there was some sentimental attachment so i planned for this.
i dont know what a catalina 30 of that vintage is worth but that should give you an idea on what these repairs cost.

c&c 33 tall rig
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