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Culinary411 12-08-2006 12:28 AM

Delamination issue...?
Ok all....listen to this one....
I recently recieved an estimate from my boatyard pertaining to my Cal 2-27. The deck has very minor crazing only paint deep and I planned on getting it painted either by me or hiring it out. So....I removed the stanchions and all the rails to better inspect the deck and check for other problems as well.
The estimate to remove the rest of the stuff on the deck, paint and reset everything came out to a little bit over 12K. Now as far as I know my boat is worth about 7K maximum. After declining their estimate I asked them to take a closer look at the deck and stanchions. I then recieved another estimate for 8K for them to remove a 4' by 8' section, replace the balsa (due to delamination), and then glass over it again, gelcoat and finish.
Now my it worth doing this? My boat is a 1976 Cal 2-27 in damn near mint condition inside and out. Atomic 4 in almost mint condition reinstalled in '89, re-upholstered, all the toys and electronics you could possibly imagine....
Can I get this done cheaper if it really does need to get done? I was even thinking about hiring an auto body guy to come out and glass over some areas if they really needed. Is this a good idea?
I live in Chicago. Do you guys know any freelance boat craftsmen that would do something like this cheaper??


sailingfool 12-08-2006 10:21 AM

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Put the boat on the market for $5,000 and then let some lucky bargain hunter steal it for $4,000 and you'll be well ahead to be rid of it. We'll all proabably see his proud acquisition post here on Sailnet.

Put the $20K needed to properly repair the boat into something else. Whomever makes these types of repairs to an old boat gets hosed financially in the end (I know!) - you won't get back even half of what you put in. The smart move is to be the buyer of a boat into which someone else has poured their time and money.

For example, for the $20,000 repair estimate to your Cal 2-27, you could upgrade your boating to something like , save a $5-7 grand and just go sailing for the next few years. Which is a better result?

camaraderie 12-08-2006 11:42 AM obviously love the boat but you are thinking with your heart and not your head! If you had a Toyota Corolla that was worth 5000 bucks and it had repair problems that cost $10000 to fix you would not be on the "" board asking the same question.
As I see it your choices are:
1. Sell the boat
2. Sail the boat
Nothing you've reported says that the boat is falling apart. So you have some deck delamination. You're not gonna go to the bottom with that. Drill some holes and squirt some epoxy in to firm things up and keep enjoying the boat or sell it and get a bigger one!

Giulietta 12-08-2006 11:55 AM


you forgot option 3. Sell the boat while it sails!!!

sjacovino 12-08-2006 02:05 PM

I think it depends on your future plans. If you love this boat and plan to keep it for the long haul it may be worth the investment. If not then sell it before it becomes a non recoverable financial burden. I am currently spending 30-40k on deck work for a 40' 26yr old boat that probably will never be worth more than 60K due to it's unknown origin and have already spent 30k in upgrades over the last several years. But I've had both a surveyor and reputable fiberglass shop tell me they haven't seen boats built this well for 10 times the price. Since we love it, the way it sails and we also want it to look nice, the money will be well spent. However, this is a lot of money for us and we are basically stealing our own retirement. It was a hard decision whether to give the boat away for whatever we could get for it or bring it back to life as the deck was a mess and embarrassing at the docks. Good luck with your decision.

hellosailor 12-08-2006 03:47 PM

Nick, if your boat has delamination or rot in the deck, the only economical way to repair it is for someone who has more time than money to DIY. Any fiberglass shop (auto or marine) that knows how to do this work will be charging a fast $100/hr or more, and there's lots of work.

Do you really need that work...who knows. Check out West System Epoxies online, they have some articles posted about decks and deck repairs that will give you a start to figuring out what you really have.

Since a factory deck doesn't have "paint" (it has gelcoat) the odds are you don't have paint cracks. If only the gelcoat has crazed, which is possible, then you only need to deal with that. If the glass under it has cracked, you have bigger issues. If there has been water penetration and the coring degraded, again, bigger issues.

In terms of saving labor...the only "right" way to redo a deck is indeed to remove all the hardware (lots of time) and reinstall it afterwards. Some folks will leave it on and just mask around it--which still takes lots of time and never is going to look as good afterwards.

Sometimes you can do the core repair from below, but that's not so easy either.

Bottom line? You need to find out what you really have, and then weigh the options. Yes, boats have been thrown out because of deck problems that would cost more to repair than the boat is worth. I spoke to someone about a boat this summer that was beautiful below. Market price on sisterships, $35-40k. Selling price on this one? Less than $18k, because of the amount of deck work needed. The yard that had the boat estimated $20,000 to do the repair "right" in their shop.
Bargain for the buyer? Maybe. Maybe not.

sailaway21 12-08-2006 05:47 PM

First off-get a second opinion.
Second off-what is your "sweat equity" worth? Everybody that has restored something had to start somewhere. Most of them did not restore a '72 Pinto, which brings up; how much do you like this boat? If you really like the boat, are willing to spend the time, make and correct a few mistakes, lose probably a summer of sailing, and enjoy the satisfaction of doing the job yourself then repair it yourself. Otherwise sell it. The way we "save" money by doing the job ourselves is we "discount" our normal labor rate for our day job and don't keep a time-clock on how long it took us! There are numerous books out on doing this work. I'd probably start with Don Casey and the westsystem literature.

sailingdog 12-09-2006 02:58 PM

The work involved is time-consuming, but not rocket science... If you really love the boat, and have the time and space, I would say do the rebuild of the deck yourself. It will teach you alot about boat repair and maintenance, which is never a bad thing, and it will cost quite a bit less.

Also, while you're at it, you could remove the deck fittings yourself and re-pot all of the holes through the deck with epoxy, then paint the deck and you wouldn't have to worry as much about delamination recurring.

Culinary411 12-09-2006 06:22 PM

Thanks guys, you just helped me make up my mind. I'll go ahead and repaint it since I already removed all the hardware. I'll make it cosmetically perfect and then I'll sell it. I figure its only labor and with 4 guys working on it we'll have it done in a week or 2. As far as the delamination goes, I checked it over twice today and none was evident. There is some surface cracking on the gelcoat but nothing really too bad.
The next decision is on what to get my hands on. Ideally I would like a full keel bluewater cruiser/liveaboard hull no more than 36'. I want something I can feel confident in WAY offshore but I still want to be able to singlehand it.
I don't mind buying one in need of some cosmetic restoration but nothing structural. Is it crazy to think that I can find something like this for under 50K?


mike dryver 12-09-2006 06:49 PM

you can find quite a few good boats for less than that if you look around. there are four or five alberg 35s or 36s in that range right now. these are early glass boats, but they were built like tanks, and most have been rehabbed already. but there are many others out there to fit your needs and or desires. good luck mike

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