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  #1  
Old 06-22-2007
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Deck questions!

I currently have a Catalina 27 and we are looking for something larger for the family. I did find a boat that is a fixer upper and I wanted to enlist some opinions.


Said boat has deck issues( wet core). I am willing to replace and fix but I want some opinion on the matter. There is a soft spot that would have to be replaced as well as a rotted brace below deck.

Has anyone had experience with this sort of repair?

I have done all kinds of fixes and am not scared of fiberglass repaire but I am thinking about getting the boat for a song and then work it back into shape.

Thoughts. I know I am going to get the stay away stay far away, but I really don't mind rehab the thing.

km2x
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Old 06-22-2007
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Tough call. Deck issues can be a lot of work, but not necessarily expensive if you do all the work yourself. A big question would be what is the core material? Balsa, foam or plywood. If the deck is soft I would guess plywood. I have heard of repairs from the underside, thereby preserving the nonskid/deck.

It also depends on what you want. Restore or use? To make a boat safe and usable could be cheap and easy. Restoring a boat is a sliding scale of how good do you want it?

Rotted braces can be replaced, just depends on your abilities. But like you say - get it for a song. More important might be engine, sails, i.e. the things you need to spend money on.
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Old 06-22-2007
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km2x

I bought an old boat a few years back with decks in the same type condition. They were soft and spongy underfoot with a myriad of horrible repairs. The core was balsa. I tore off (not cut, pulled up by hand!) the deck, scraped/sanded all the old core out and then did a total recore complete with lamnating a new deck. A TON of work, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat if it meant that I got an otherwise great deal on the boat I wanted. Boats with serious deck issues scare off a lot of prospective buyers, and rightly so, but if you don't mind the immense time and work involved in the repair, it is a good way to get what you are looking for at a great price.

My suggestion is to focus on finding a boat that doesn't need work in the areas that YOU don't want to deal with (ie sails, engine etc as GeneT said) and you'll end up with a project that you enjoy that will turn into a boat you can enjoy. Good Luck!
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Old 06-25-2007
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I did this probably 5 years ago on an Endeavour with a desk stepped mast - compression post underneath. When they through bolted the tabernacle they just drilled through the deck and bolted on. No isolation of the core.

Anyway, I did it from the bottom to preserve the upper deck and nonskid. Tore out the head liner as well as some interior cabinetry, the head, and cut open the underside with a rotozip. The core was plywood squares and somewhat deteriorated over about 20-25 square feet. Epoxied new plywood squares (approx 5") in place put new fiberglass in place and otherwise put everything back together. It took a loooong time, was very messy and cost me a sailing season but the boat is a solid boat now. I did it myself because the projected cost of the repair could have easily exceeded the value of the boat.

It would have to be a great boat for me to undertake somthing like this again.
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Old 06-25-2007
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Deck core problems can be expensive to fix. Have some soft spots on the coach roof of my 36 foot sailboat, 1982. Some moisture got into the core over the years where hardware is thru bolted into the deck. Just got an estimate to repair the damage in the amount of $3,500. Am going to make the repair since the boat is sound in all other respects and I am still well below replacement cost in the money I have in the boat. Thought you should know.
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Old 06-25-2007
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Recoring is a messy, frustrating, smelly job - but not too difficult to do. If you decide to do it, don't underestimate the amount of time it will take you. If you rush, and make a mess - the boat will be worth a lot less than you paid for it. If you do it properly, the boat MAY be worth a very little bit more than you paid for it - so the question is "Is this particular boat something that I want to invest the time and money in ?"

If the answer is yes - then I would suggest that you do it from underneath, as it is darn near impossible to finish the top of the deck to look like the original.

Think about using closed cell foam rather than balsa, and if you know where you are going to be placing hardware, then try to build those areas up out of layers of glass rather than coring them.

Good luck !
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Old 06-25-2007
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Small areas of soft deck aren't too bad to repair, and can often be done from below, to avoid the re-finishing issues mentioned by others. Larger areas or multiple smaller areas are a lot more work and much more difficult to repair IMHO.
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Old 06-27-2007
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With all the very nice boats for sale with no or minor problems,and being in the business, it never ceases to amaze me that someone would spend the time and money to fix extensive coring issues. The boat would have to be one of a kind, some historical artifact. If you want to do it for the fun of it go ahead but it will cost you more than buying a boat without the problems, will always be worth less and you'll be out your time. Kind af like marrying a drug addict. But if this kind of thing makes you happy--i've just seen so many people do this, then they justify it in hindsight because their ego gets wrapped up in it.
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Old 06-27-2007
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Extensive coring issues are no big deal in the deck,hard work,fairly inexpensive but time consuming.They are an easy way for the average joe to get a boat cheap and fix it properly without much experience.I don`t see where the ego of cutting through a deck and getting covered in dust comes to play,the ego might be buying a new boat every other year if you cannot really afford to.Now if you are getting into coring issues in a hull ,that`s getting into a whole other game.The drug addict i`m married to is always looking for more money.She`s 37 years old and weighs 8 tons and stands 36 feet long.Years ago i picked up a P30 for 4k,nice sails ,diesel,well maintained except for half a dozen wet spots some the size of square foot.I repaired it in a couple of weekends and probably saved 4 grand.People get scared off,if you pay someone to do the work ,don`t buy it.What about the guy that wants to build the entire boat himself,that`s crazy,when there are so many good hulls laying around.
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Old 09-06-2007
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I am soliciting opinions on the following question:

I am considering purchasing a used boat for a heavily discounted price, a fraction of what a 'good' boat of this model would go for, knowing that this boat has problems. According to a recent survey, the hull is fine , but the decks have extensive delamination on the fore and side decks. The decks and cabintop feel soft and springy. The important areas however, such as near the mast, under the winches etc, seem fine. My question is this: Since the boat is keel-stepped, will the soft decks compromise structural integrity to the point of being a safety hazard, or can I sail the boat, performing the repairs and balsa core replacement on an ongoing basis?
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