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Old 01-04-2004
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Crackling deck on an ericson-27

I am looking at a 1976 Ericson 27 that''s for sale. It has the best looking deck I expect to ever see in a used boat. There are no cracks at all.

There is one major concern though. When standing on the foredeck and shifting weight from one foot to another I can hear a crackling sound. This problem also is on the side decks about as far back as the chainplates. This must be separation of the fiberglass skin from the core. When tapping the deck with a screw driver handle I can hear a hollow sound more often than not. The sound changes right at the bow, forward of the rode hawse. The sound there is also hollow but the sound is one I associate more with a wet core (only my best guess). None of the deck surfaces are soft. I''ve been on boats where the core is wet & the deck moves like a trampoline - that is not the case here. The deck is solid. The creaking deck problem is more extensive on the starboard side than port side. There is a hatch directly over the v-berth area on the foredeck, but the hatch appears to be well bedded.

So here is my take on what I''ve seen - There is delamination to various degrees on the foredeck & sidedecks. I am guessing that the core in these areas is dry. If there is a wet core problem, it is limited to the very nose of the boat. If my assumptions are correct, is this boat a potential headache? I don''t mind ordinary maintenance, but I do not want to be cutting decks & dealing with a delamination problem that requires repair.

My next step is to check the deck out with a moisture meter. If that works out OK, I''d get the boat surveyed.

I''d appreciate hearing any of your thoughts.
Thanks for your help. Marc
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Old 01-04-2004
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Crackling deck on an ericson-27

Crackling sounds come from delaminating fiberglass. As the strands move & break, they make noise. The same thing happens in skis. Eventually, it will weaken to the point that the deck does crack - even if it isn''t cracked yet . Water will get in, and you''ll have your trampoline. If it''s dry now, you may be able to fix it by injecting epoxy into the laminates; gluing them back together and sealing them against moisture penetration. If you can get at the spots from the underside of the deck, you won''t have to drill holes in the deck surface itself. This avoids the problem of resealing holes made in the deck and matching the deck nonskid patterns. We fixed extensive delamination and rot problems in our cabin top from the inside, and have been pleased with the results.
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Old 01-05-2004
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Crackling deck on an ericson-27

While it is hard to say definitively without seeing and hearing the boat with my own eyes and ears, this sounds like a boat that has major delamination between the core and the outer laminate. If you have not bought the boat yet I would not proceed with the purchase as this is a really tough repair to do well and permanently, and there are way too many good boats out there to mess with one with this kind of problem.

Jeff
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Old 01-05-2004
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Crackling deck on an ericson-27

I just noticed the year of this boat. Around that time Ericson experimented with a technique where they did not use ''finishing resin on the last laminate counting on paint instead. This resulted in boats that never fully cured properly and would leach out resin for years later. The boat I first saw this on was in fact an Ericson 27. If this is one of those boats then the problem can be worse than simply a poor bond between the core and skin.

Jeff
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Old 01-05-2004
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Crackling deck on an ericson-27

Thanks for your input. I have not bought the boat. The longer I thought about it, the more I figured I should be looking elsewhere. Too bad since I liked everything else about it. Thanks again, Marc
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