How long will a fiberglass boat last - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 12 Old 04-29-2008 Thread Starter
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How long will a fiberglass boat last

Hi Everybody, I have a 1973 Crown 23 footer. I love this little boat and was wondering how long before the fiberglass is no longer safe. The old girl is 35 years old now and been in the salt for all of those years

It does have apx. 10 loonie size blisters. I've only had the boat 1 year now and don't no if the blisters happened long ago and not getting any worse, I'll know
next haul out I guess.

Will a hull thats saturated (if mine is) with water be unsafe and just break apart and sink. What would the first sign of real trouble be ?

Thanks so much for your thoughts on this....

Terry

A King needs a Crown
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post #2 of 12 Old 04-29-2008
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You're ok..it will not desintegrate...

Just get the blister repaired and sail another 30 years...
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post #3 of 12 Old 04-29-2008 Thread Starter
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Hey thats good news, can anybody comment a hull where Blisters are not repaired..What would eventually happen to the hull. I am debating just not fixing the blisters and letting nature take its course.
Can someone comment on what I would see as the hull became more and more saturated with water ?

A King needs a Crown
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post #4 of 12 Old 04-29-2008
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I think a large portion of the boating world is waiting to hear what happens if blisters are just left alone. I have a blister problem but I am going to address it next fall.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
Shakespeare, Julius Caesar IV, iii, 217
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post #5 of 12 Old 04-29-2008 Thread Starter
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Has any body just left Blisters alone for years ? I'de love to find out if I can get away with out fixing them. In My small mind if there are no rottable materials inside the hull (she's solid glass) , A saturated hull should theoretically be viable. or maybe I'm just dreaming...
Thanks for your thoughts on this it means a lot to me...

A King needs a Crown
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post #6 of 12 Old 04-29-2008
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Has any body just left Blisters alone for years ?
Yes - it is a fairly common act amongst lazy or uneducated boaters.
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I'de love to find out if I can get away with out fixing them.
Get away from what ? Safety? Security ? Seaworthiness ? Resale value ?
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In My small mind if there are no rottable materials inside the hull (she's solid glass)
I am absolutely NOT going to share any of the caustic, sarcastic comments that spring to mind here regarding possible alternative locations of the rottable materials...
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A saturated hull should theoretically be viable.
Nope.
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or maybe I'm just dreaming...
Thanks for your thoughts on this it means a lot to me...
Get up, fix the blisters.

You're welcome
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post #7 of 12 Old 04-29-2008
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I have a slightly larger and slightly older boat. She has her issues, but I certainly think fiberglass is not one of them. As a sign of my confidence, I keep upgrading her and spending money on stuff, and I certainly hope to keep sailing her as long as possible.

Time will tell, of course, but I am guessing you have at least one more year Mine is 1972.

A year or so ago at a marina I used to stay owner had a number of old abandoned sailboats reposessed and disposed of. May be 3 or 4 old hulls, in 23-29 foot range, all looked like they were build in 70s. They were certainly neglected for many years and all their equipment was thoroughly rusted, rotten etc. They were piled up on shore and workers with chainsaws started cutting them into pieces (if you want to see the saddest sight of all, that is it). Anyway, I noted the amount of effort that went into cutting these boats apart. Once the job was done, I went and inspected the cuts of fiberglass and the pieces. I can say one thing - across the cut fiberglass on these boats looked nice, green, dense and most certainly had shown no signs of weakness. Cutting it apart was clearly a tough job. And this was universally applicable to these few boats of different makes and models. So, in my personal (completely unprofessional and unqualified ) opinion - fiberglass isn't what destroys boats. It would appear to be the last thing to go.
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post #8 of 12 Old 04-29-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailbot View Post
Hi Everybody, I have a 1973 Crown 23 footer. I love this little boat and was wondering how long before the fiberglass is no longer safe.
Nobody knows for sure because the first fiberglass boats ever built are still around and going strong. It's probably safe to say that properly maintained, your boat will outlast you.
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post #9 of 12 Old 04-29-2008
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Keep it out of the water and you'll be fine.

“Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.”
Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.
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post #10 of 12 Old 04-29-2008
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Had a few blisters on mine when I bought it a few years back. Last spring I had the boat hauled the blisters professionally repaired, the bottom resealed with an epoxy sealer and new antifouling paint applied. The surveyor at the time of purchase told me that the slight pox problem was not a real problem and repairing the blisters were not necessary other than to increase the value and give me peace of mind.

Boat in the PNW and I'm in the Middle East. #@%$*
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