Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 31 Old 06-25-2012
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Re: Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time

42' wooden boat for $5K?
1968 Grand Banks Classic Power Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
Wonder why it is so cheap?
From the ad: "THERE IS A LOT OF WORM DAMAGE AND ROT BELOW THE WATERLINE. A GREAT PROJECT FOR THE RIGHT PERSON!"

This problem would not occur on a 'plastic' boat.

"The cure for anything is salt water~ sweat, tears, or the sea." ~Isak Denesen

Everybody has one:

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post #12 of 31 Old 06-25-2012
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Re: Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time

To the OP, if you're in the SF area and you're going to have a wood boat surveyed, use Kent Parker. Fiberglass for that matter too. Kent rocks, capital Period.
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post #13 of 31 Old 06-25-2012
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Re: Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time

Hi Mag,
Welcome to the wonderful world of living afloat!
You need to start with Living Aboard 101.
"Wooden Boat" is not on the curriculum.
It isn't covered in Living Aboard 201 either.
In fact, it really should be a masters program.
A lesson I learned long ago about wooden boats (I have owned, fixed, built and continue ot own them) is that the boat you can afford is a boat that needs work you don't have the time or the skills to do, and if it needs that work you can't live aboard comfortably.

You are potential newbies to
1- living aboard
2-boating
3-sailing AND
4-wood boat maintenance.
The only successful wooden boat owners I know are those who are newbies in only one category before they bought a wooden boat. ...
or those who only use their boats seasonally.

If you want character, look for an older Bayfield.
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post #14 of 31 Old 06-25-2012
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Re: Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time

Compromise. Buy a ferrocement boat. :-)
Joking.

On a less controversial note, finding a boat that suits both of you strikes me as a better solution.
There are lots of boats with very pretty and roomy interiors, nicely appointed with wood interiors. If you are looking at maintaining a wood boat because it has a nice interior and appliances, why not buy a boat with an exterior that is durable, and spend the money, blood and sweat on making the interior exactly how you want it, with even nicer appliances etc instead.

Alternatively, find a boat you both like, that suits both your needs instead of one or the other only. I bet if you both came on sailnet, and had a thread with the things you were each looking for, people could help you find one you'd both be happy with.
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post #15 of 31 Old 06-25-2012
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Re: Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time

One of our Service Techs owned a beautiful wooden 40ft raceboat. He bought it in very good condition for about $10,000.

It made you weep to step aboard she was so beautiful. She was also nimble and graceful under sail.

He did 99% of the work himself. In 5 years he spent over $100,000 in materials alone. She didn't have an engine or plumbing so these were not costs.

He sold the boat in showroom condition a few months ago for $10,000.


You will have to lightly refinish her at least once each year. You will need to haul out at least every 18-24 months and replace some planking. Plus you will need to maintain the rather complex systems of live aboard boat - AC DC electrical, plumbing, heating, etc etc.

imagine owning a house with a glossy wood exterior that needs to be varnished every year.
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post #16 of 31 Old 06-25-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time

Thank you so much for all your honest and very illuminating answers. It is clear to me now that as beautiful as the wood boat is, it can turn into ugly nightmare really soon.

@bljones, you are right, we are newbies on every one of the factors you point out, and just adjusting to our new lifestyle will be challenging enough.

We have done our homework (financially speaking), and have crunched the numbers and have set a budget (in terms of how much we want to spend on a boat, and the monthly/yearly cost of living aboard in our area. Checked 4 different marinas, and found the one we can afford and with easy commute to work for my hubby) and are comfortable taking this step.

The only (big) bump on the road was the Wood vs FG issue, and I think I like @Jgbrown idea of finding a compromise!

Thank you all again for your help!
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post #17 of 31 Old 06-25-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time

Oh wow, @WDS123, that's so incredibly sad! - If i wasn't before, I am convinced now fiberglass is the only option for us.
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post #18 of 31 Old 06-25-2012
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There are pretty FG boats out there. There are even ones built in the style of wood boats, thogh they're often narrow and dark and not great liveaboards. But you can slap on as much exterior teak as you can handle to make them pretty, hopefully without ever affecting anything structural.

If you post your budget the people here can send you suggestions.

(Full disclosure: have 60+ year old wood boat. It rocks. It has very little brightwork. Its hull is quite sound. Its still got a heck of a long todd list....)
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post #19 of 31 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time

Quick rules of thumb for figuring how much of your time a boat will take to maintain;

Fiberglass - more time than your wife wants you to spend.

Wood - more time than you have.

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post #20 of 31 Old 06-26-2012
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Re: Wood vs Fiberglass Maintenance cost/time

Where do metal boats fall along this spectrum? Lets say it started out meticulously cared for.
Is this a hijack? Ignore me if so. :-)
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