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Old 10-11-2007
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Thumbs up Composite Hulls - Advice Needed.

Hi all,

been busy researching and looking at various boats. I recently came across this 1956 Alden Malabar 33 foot sloop, good looking boat for its age and looks fairly well appointed on Yachtworld. see link below.



http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...g_id=1438&url=



Questions: being that this is an older wood boat essentially, what are some of the pros and cons of a composite hull versus a fiberglass hull?

Also, what is the deterioration rate of a composite compared to a fiberglass hull. Are they more likely to crap out and require a lot of attention? I know that even fiberglass can be a disaster if poorly laid out. As evidenced by one very nice new C & C 40 something foot ultramodern 1 year old that came into the boat yard for extreme delamination problems on the keel and undersides. So much for modern technology.

Seems to me if a boat like this has been cared for, then it may be just fine. Also, does it mean that this boat had a wooden hull and was epoxied or fiberglassed over to add durability at a later date? Or if I remember right, this was the era that fiberglass and epoxy started making an entrance into the boating market and this is how the boat came out.



Many thanks in advance for your input or any advice you could give me on the subject.

If you own or have owned an older composite hull I would love to hear from you.

Cheers,

M.
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You need a good surveyor for this. In 1956 they didnít make an epoxy cold molded hull so this might be a carvel planked boat that was freshened up with a cold molded skin. If done right this is a good way to get years of life in an otherwise tired hull. But the hull is only a small part of the problem. Its fresh water that rots a boat and the rain leaking into deck hardware or under the cover board might have caused lots of problems and you need someone who knows what to look for before you can say how much, not if, but how much work the boat requires. Now having said this if you arenít a wood boat person and able to take care of her yourself you are picking the wrong boat. Yard maintenance will cost more then the boat cost you. You need to be ably to do the work yourself and more then that you need to understand wood boats because itís easy to damage them if you donít understand the limits.
Good luck with the search and all the best,
Robert Gainer
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Old 10-11-2007
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This is way, way too much money for a wooden boat.
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Properly done, a cold-molded, epoxy/wood boat is going to be far stronger and more resilient than a fiberglass boat. It will also be warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer, and have fewer fatigue issues. However, as Robert has pointed out, the boat you are looking at can't be a cold-molded epoxy/wood composite boat, but is rather a wooden boat with a composite overlay... and does not have the same durability and longevity of a true cold-molded epoxy/wood composite boat.

Unless you are, as Robert pointed out, very familiar with the care and feeding of a wooden boat—walk away.
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Properly done an epoxy saturated, cold molded hull will be stronger, stiffer and more durable than a glass hull but this is not truely an epoxy saturated cold molded hull. It appears to be a carvel planked wooden boat that has been encapsulated in glass and epoxy. This is a way of extending the life of a worn out wooden boat but at great weight which generally damages the boats sailing ability and carrying capacity. Unfortunately this is a temporary fix at best. In other words, as much as I love old wooden boats, this is a run don't walk the other way....

For what it is worth in their day Malabar Jrs were great boats, but I never especially liked the the Sr.

Jeff
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despite the wording, this is not a cold-molded hull. This is a carvel planked hull that has been covered with fiberglass.

* Hull Material: Mahogany planking with an epoxy cold molded fiberglass overlay
* Stringers and cross members: White oak frames
* Mahogany with epoxy fiberglass overlay cabin exterior

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very pretty boat though.....................
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good to know

Cool. thanks for the advice. Yep, the freshwater is something I overlooked, but knew about since one of my liveaboard buddies has a 35foot wooden Swiftsure, and that is killing the boat. And he lives on it!! He's always fixing it, and can never keep up.

While the lines are nice on that boat and it has all the right elements of a passagemaker, it seems that while I am very capable in carpentry and refinishing, I don't want to be stuck with a fixer. More to the point - I don' t want to be fixing a boat at sea or after a voyage. Been there, done that. I prefer sailing!!

Are there more modern versions of the Able around?? I mean what models would one be looking at in the same 35 footish range? Different name? Can't seem to find many listings for Able of that size, yet they are reportedly some of the best boats to own.
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They're nice boats for sure but a lot of other nice boats have been designed and built in the last 40 years.

If you are looking for a $30,000.00 low 30's cruising boat, check out Albergs, Cape Dory's, Bayfields, Westsails, Bristols, Tartans, Cascades, Vancouver, Albin, Luders, Aloha, Cal, Westerly, Ontario, Niagara, et. al ad nauseum...
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