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hjubyhavn 10-27-2008 10:43 PM

Balsa Core
I have been looking at used Freedoms (80's) but have found that the builder did not seal any through-core/through-hull fittings. This becomes a problem as the boats age because it is usually the exterior caulking that gives up first and start leaking, and the interior does not leak until the core is good and wet.

How much damage is acceptable around a through hull before the whole thing has to be torn open and what is an industrywide rule of thumb for determining at what point the hull is permanenently weakened by a "peel-back" repair ???

r.furborough 10-28-2008 04:27 PM

Tillotson-Pearson made the Freedom hull and currently make the J-Boats. They are a very reputable company, pioneers in the use of cored hulls and are known for making excellent boats.

I have a Freedom 32 and have recently replaced several thru-hulls and every one I replaced had had the coring material cut out and the coring sealed, on my boat, a 1985 model I have no significant problems with moisture in the hull or deck coring except for an area around an aft cabin opening port where the sealant used has failed.

I would suggest what you are finding is bad maintenance. sealants used in manufacturing do not last the lifetime of the boat as pointed out in your own posting, exposed deck fittings are expected to be removed and resealed. It is also possible the addition of extra sail and line handling hardware added to the decks, as many boat have, was not installed correctly.

This applies to most boats as they generally all have cored decks.

What Freedoms of this era do suffer from is gel coat spider cracks that are caused by the gel coat being applied too thick and the use of an unstayed masts where the forces are transferred through the mast base and deck partners only and not via stays and shrouds as on conventionally rigged boats. Thick gel coat is not as flexible as thinner gel coat and crack rather than yields to the changing forces. This is more of a cosmetic problem as the cracks very rarely are deeper than the gel coat itself.

Regarding repairs. The extent of the repair and the effectiveness is not so relevent, it is the depth of the owners pockets. I am aware of whole decks being stripped back and re-cored, though not on Freedoms, this can be from above or from below when the original deck surfaces need to be retained for cosmetic reasons.

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