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post #1 of Old 04-29-2009 Thread Starter
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Deck Issues?

I was looking at a mid-80's vintage CAL 33 the other day. The broker said it had a cored hull. I couldn't peer into most of the lockers, but I could not find any evidience in the lockers that I did look into that it was... Does any one know if CAL used solid or cored hulls?

The broker discolsed that the boat had some minor "crazing" that all CALs seemed to have. "It is merely cosmetic" the broker assured me ...

The day was clear and dry, so I puled out my moisture meter, and found a few small wet (30%) spots, and a couple of damp (15%) spots. Most of the deck was fine, but there were some cracks that disturbed me. I would like to get some opinions from the good folks in the forum:

If you look closely, you can see that there are cracks in the coachroof from the clutches to the cabin side. I suspect that the clutches were not installed properly, and need to be remounted with proper backing. This area measured 15% on the meter.


These cracks along the stbd toe rail showed about 20% moisture... I know that the chainplate on this side needs to be rebedded. The Chainplate registered 30%.


Finally, these cracks near the anchor locker... Again, elevated moisture, but not what I would call "wet."


I understand that I will need to get a surveyor before I get serious. All comments will be taken with a grain of salt, and you're all off the hook in terms of liability.

However, I've been looking at boats for the past 2+ years. EVERY boat that I have inspected (and there have been over a dozen) has had moisture in the decks . This is the first boat that I've considered having surveyed.

All comments appreciated!
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post #2 of Old 04-29-2009
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I am not an expert or anything and am still learning a lot myself but also spent a lot of time going over boats before purchasing mine 2 years ago. For a boat of that age I certainly don't think its the end of the world to have some crazing and some minor moisture in the decks in those areas. Frankly just about every boat of that vintage I looked at had some degree of this. Certainly it can be a problem if it were in more critical areas but I don't think so for what was shown.

I have also heard and seen about some Cals with these same problems.

Good luck if you do have it surveyed though

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post #3 of Old 04-29-2009
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Just for fun, have you ever tried your meter on a brand spanking new boat? I wonder what the reading would be. Can't remember where I read some surveyor saying that all hulls he had measured in his career showed a relatively high moisture reading (I suppose this was on boats drydocked).
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post #4 of Old 04-29-2009 Thread Starter
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Thanks!... Actually, I've tried the meter on a friend's 98 Catalina. NOWHERE on the deck measured over 5%. I also calibrate the meter before I use it. While I've never tried it on a bran'spaknin' new boat.. the 98 Catalina is as close as I'm likely to come.
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post #5 of Old 04-29-2009
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If said Cal boat is built similar or equal to my Jeanneau, which was also a parent bangor punta boat. The area around the anchor hatch, is probably straight fiberglass, not core in the deck. Along the edges where the stanchions are, also, there is not core. Now where the clutches and winch is, there may very well be a wood core!

On my boat, the cored deck is mostly in the middle, not at the edges. In the anchor locker area, open the locker, and feel the thicknes to the edge, I'll swag pretty thin! ie 1/4" or there abouts, vs what will feel like about an inch if there is a wood core.

My 85 Jeanneau, has similar cracking/hazing along the stanchions, I do not have the cracks issues on the cabin top. Not sure what to say about that pic/issue

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post #6 of Old 04-29-2009
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did you ever find a dry spot on that boat to get a base line. i know you said a friends boat read less than 5 %. i would try to alot of spots and see if you can find a >5% area for a base line. if the lowest you can get on that boat is 10 % there might be something in the glass and gel coat throwing of the reading
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post #7 of Old 04-29-2009
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That is gel coat, not fiberglass or coreing. Those areas are the product of the fiberglass flexing, thus cracking the gelcoat. Very normal.
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post #8 of Old 04-30-2009
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To be honest, that looks like a decent boat for a mid 80's Cal. If those are the worst areas, you may have a keeper. They appear to be superficial gel coat. Certainly get a survey, but she looks good from your pics.

keep us posted,

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post #9 of Old 04-30-2009
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The moisture readings are very high. A moisture of maximum 15 to 18 % wood scale is asking for trouble. The original moisture of fiberglass is about 10% of wood reading. Avoid this boat if possible.
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post #10 of Old 04-30-2009
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Given the age of the boat, and the fact that it looks like the original gelcoat, it isn't in that bad a shape. I'd also point out that the moisture meter could also be picking up the backing plates... if the plates are metal, it would affect the moisture meter reading.

In many cases, the cored section of the deck/cabintop does not extend all the way to the toe rail... so the cracks at the stanchion base may or may not be affecting the core. A bigger worry, IMHO, is if the hull is cored. Cored hulls, if not properly designed and maintained, are a much bigger problem.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-30-2009 at 07:42 AM.
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