Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: New England USA
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Which boat to choose
I have a mid-70''s limited production solid glass hulled boat. The most visible thing you can see is, if you sight down the topsides, you will see an outline of every single bulkhead or stringer, represented as a "wave" in the topsides. This is due to the fact that the solid glass flexes, but not at the area tabbed to the bulkhead or stringer. If the bulkhead or stringer was tabbed directly to the hull, you will develop stress in the glass, and over time possible delam issues. In an attempt to mitigate this, manufacturers would place a hard "sponge" of some sort of foam between the edge of the structural member and the glass of the hull. I can attest that while it may help in the areas of reducing stress fatigue, you will still see the outline of the structural member on the outside of the hull. The greater stiffness of the cored hulls eliminates this "waffle-ing".
As in anything, when looking at an older boat, a real determining factor in the health of the hull is how it has been cared for. Did the previous owner(s) take proper action to prevent osmosis, were through hulls regularly re-bedded, was the boat left with standing water in the bilge? Were any hull repairs completed in a proper, structural manner, or just cosmetically "touched-up"?
With no currently reliable method for checking core moisture, "Caveat Emptor" is the guiding principal. Do your due diligence, and if anything seems "off" steer clear and look for another vessel.