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  #11  
Old 10-24-2011
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You guys have made some great points... and some things to add to the day dreams

It's really interesting to look at when boats were designed and the impact rules had on them - something I often forget. Jeff_H made more points above than I'll probably know in a lifetime. Another reason I've enjoyed this forum so much. Thx all!
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  #12  
Old 10-25-2011
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I love the swoop of a big Garden Ketch...not that it will ever be practical...but that's not the point of this thread ,is it?

I don't have a clue how they sail or what it takes make one move, how comfortable life aboard would be, or any other practical thing...but when I look at one, with all that rigging and bright work, the round portholes, classic rails and wooden wheel... something stirs...
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  #13  
Old 10-25-2011
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Many of these boats are now 40-50 years old and built at a time when glass work was just not all that good.
Although I have much respect for Jeff, I find this statement to be a bit contradictory. If a fiberglass boat has survived for 40-50 years, and the glass work is considered to be not very good, then I wonder what "good" glass work would yield...
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  #14  
Old 10-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post
Although I have much respect for Jeff, I find this statement to be a bit contradictory. If a fiberglass boat has survived for 40-50 years, and the glass work is considered to be not very good, then I wonder what "good" glass work would yield...
I will try to explain where I am coming from. Roughly ten years ago the marine insurance industry sponsored a report testing older hulls. According to the preamble of that report, there had been a consistent number of claims where the damage was in excess of what would have been expected from the impacts involved.

The testing in that report took actual panels out of older boats and examined them in a number of ways. They physically examined the layups. They looked at their strength compared to what their calculated strength should have been and compared them to panels that were laid up for the tests with a similar laminate schedule. There was also chemical testing and laminate to resin ratio testing. They also looked at standard boat building practices of the 1960's and 1970's.

The report concluded that a number of building trends were typical within the industry. The report indicated that the resins of the day were less ductile and so more prone to fatique. That the industry tended to use much higher concentrations of accelerators. The concluded that the way the glass fibers were made made them more brittle and the way the cloth were typically handled at the builders tended to snap individual fibers. The report indicated that resin mixes were not carefully formulated and so varied widely from lay up to lay up within the same section of hull. The report concluded that there was less care in laminating to assure proper resin to fiber ratios. The report indicated that there was a tendancy to use a larger amount of non-directional fabrics (mat or shopped glass, but mostly mat) as thickening method. That boats of that era lacked internal framing which tended to cause greater flexing and higher stress concentrations than the boats which followed. That this greater flexure and lack of ductility resulted in a greater reduction on strength due to fatigue and fiber break down due to work hardening.

When the historic panels were tested they were shown to produce far less strength and stiffness than would have been expected either by calculation and by comparason to the newer test panels fabricated for calibration purposes. The broad conclusion was that the strength of these older hulls were seen as being less reliable.

There is also that myth that these older boats were built stronger than modern boats because the builders did not know how strong fiberglass really was. In talking to pioneers of that era and reading the documents that existed at the time, these early designers knew precisely how strong fiberglass was. The US government and Owings Corning had published all kinds of data that had been developed during WWII. For example, guys like Carl Alberg was designing composite structure for the Military at the time that the Pearson cousins brought him back to yacht design.

In reality, the thicker hulls of the era reflected the known problems of the day achieving uniform strength levels in large laminate structures and the large amount of flexure typical of monocoque or near monocoque fiberglass structures which was typical in early glass boats. The insurance report suggests that these boats were not over-built when viewed over their entire service life.

In my own experience, when I worked in boatyards, it was not all that unusual to cut a hole for a thru-hull of some kind and discover lenses of either resin which was not fully catalyzed, resin rich pockets or resin starved mixtures. But more to the point, over the years I have seen cases where an older boat bounced off a dock once to often sheering the hull just below the deck line. I have seen cases were there are large, deep cracks (20-25% of the laminate depth) radiating out of higher stress areas.

So while these boats still exist, and are probably fine for coastal cruising, my point in saying "built at a time when glass work was just not all that good", is that I seriously question whether over time the older boats will make a good reliable choice for the day in and day out rigours of distance cruising.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 10-25-2011 at 08:48 AM.
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  #15  
Old 10-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
I will try to explain where I am coming from. Roughly ten years ago the marine insurance industry sponsored a report testing older hulls. According to the preamble of that report, there had been a consistent number of claims where the damage was in excess of what would have been expected from the impacts involved.

The testing in that report took actual panels out of older boats and examined them in a number of ways. They physically examined the layups. They looked at their strength compared to what their calculated strength should have been and compared them to panels that were laid up for the tests with a similar laminate schedule. There was also chemical testing and laminate to resin ratio testing. They also looked at standard boat building practices of the 1960's and 1970's.

The report concluded that a number of building trends were typical within the industry. The report indicated that the resins of the day were less ductile and so more prone to fatique. That the industry tended to use much higher concentrations of accelerators. The concluded that the way the glass fibers were made made them more brittle and the way the cloth were typically handled at the builders tended to snap individual fibers. The report indicated that resin mixes were not carefully formulated and so varied widely from lay up to lay up within the same section of hull. The report concluded that there was less care in laminating to assure proper resin to fiber ratios. The report indicated that there was a tendancy to use a larger amount of non-directional fabrics (mat or shopped glass, but mostly mat) as thickening method. That boats of that era lacked internal framing which tended to cause greater flexing and higher stress concentrations than the boats which followed. That this greater flexure and lack of ductility resulted in a greater reduction on strength due to fatigue and fiber break down due to work hardening.

When the historic panels were tested they were shown to produce far less strength and stiffness than would have been expected either by calculation and by comparason to the newer test panels fabricated for calibration purposes. The broad conclusion was that the strength of these older hulls were seen as being less reliable.

There is also that myth that these older boats were built stronger than modern boats because the builders did not know how strong fiberglass really was. In talking to pioneers of that era and reading the documents that existed at the time, these early designers knew precisely how strong fiberglass was. The US government and Owings Corning had published all kinds of data that had been developed during WWII. For example, guys like Carl Alberg was designing composite structure for the Military at the time that the Pearson cousins brought him back to yacht design.

In reality, the thicker hulls of the era reflected the known problems of the day achieving uniform strength levels in large laminate structures and the large amount of flexure typical of monocoque or near monocoque fiberglass structures which was typical in early glass boats. The insurance report suggests that these boats were not over-built when viewed over their entire service life.

In my own experience, when I worked in boatyards, it was not all that unusual to cut a hole for a thru-hull of some kind and discover lenses of either resin which was not fully catalyzed, resin rich pockets or resin starved mixtures. But more to the point, over the years I have seen cases where an older boat bounced off a dock once to often sheering the hull just below the deck line. I have seen cases were there are large, deep cracks (20-25% of the laminate depth) radiating out of higher stress areas.

So while these boats still exist, and are probably fine for coastal cruising, my point in saying "built at a time when glass work was just not all that good", is that I seriously question whether over time the older boats will make a good reliable choice for the day in and day out rigours of distance cruising.

Respectfully,
Jeff
I agree with you that builders not knowing how strong fiberglass was, is a myth. I also agree with you that modern resins and layup methods are superior to the original methods and that modern yachts are stronger if industry standards are properly adhered to, and quality control procedures are implemented.

But really, these vessels in spite of their "inferior" construction have served their task, and served it well. Would a wooden boat, given the same level of hull maintenance have survived as long? Not likely. Although I'd take a new boat or a 60's boat any day, I wouldn't necessarily accept a 60's boat over a late 70's/early 80's boat. The standards may have improved, but their implementation was spotty with some builders as evidenced by all the complaints of blisters and hull core rot on this forum.

Downgrading a 50 year old fiberglass boat from "blue water" to "coastal cruiser" duty isn't really much of an insult in my book. I pounded the crap out of my '69 Coronado, and I had total faith in it. It brought me home safe, every time, with no damage. I definitely took it out in some stiff conditions and I raced it, which isn't very gentle.
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  #16  
Old 10-25-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
I will try to explain where I am coming from. Roughly ten years ago the marine insurance industry sponsored a report testing older hulls. According to the preamble of that report, there had been a consistent number of claims where the damage was in excess of what would have been expected from the impacts involved.

The testing in that report took actual panels out of older boats and examined them in a number of ways. They physically examined the layups. They looked at their strength compared to what their calculated strength should have been and compared them to panels that were laid up for the tests with a similar laminate schedule. There was also chemical testing and laminate to resin ratio testing. They also looked at standard boat building practices of the 1960's and 1970's.

The report concluded that a number of building trends were typical within the industry. The report indicated that the resins of the day were less ductile and so more prone to fatique. That the industry tended to use much higher concentrations of accelerators. The concluded that the way the glass fibers were made made them more brittle and the way the cloth were typically handled at the builders tended to snap individual fibers. The report indicated that resin mixes were not carefully formulated and so varied widely from lay up to lay up within the same section of hull. The report concluded that there was less care in laminating to assure proper resin to fiber ratios. The report indicated that there was a tendancy to use a larger amount of non-directional fabrics (mat or shopped glass, but mostly mat) as thickening method. That boats of that era lacked internal framing which tended to cause greater flexing and higher stress concentrations than the boats which followed. That this greater flexure and lack of ductility resulted in a greater reduction on strength due to fatigue and fiber break down due to work hardening.

When the historic panels were tested they were shown to produce far less strength and stiffness than would have been expected either by calculation and by comparason to the newer test panels fabricated for calibration purposes. The broad conclusion was that the strength of these older hulls were seen as being less reliable.

There is also that myth that these older boats were built stronger than modern boats because the builders did not know how strong fiberglass really was. In talking to pioneers of that era and reading the documents that existed at the time, these early designers knew precisely how strong fiberglass was. The US government and Owings Corning had published all kinds of data that had been developed during WWII. For example, guys like Carl Alberg was designing composite structure for the Military at the time that the Pearson cousins brought him back to yacht design.

In reality, the thicker hulls of the era reflected the known problems of the day achieving uniform strength levels in large laminate structures and the large amount of flexure typical of monocoque or near monocoque fiberglass structures which was typical in early glass boats. The insurance report suggests that these boats were not over-built when viewed over their entire service life.

In my own experience, when I worked in boatyards, it was not all that unusual to cut a hole for a thru-hull of some kind and discover lenses of either resin which was not fully catalyzed, resin rich pockets or resin starved mixtures. But more to the point, over the years I have seen cases where an older boat bounced off a dock once to often sheering the hull just below the deck line. I have seen cases were there are large, deep cracks (20-25% of the laminate depth) radiating out of higher stress areas.

So while these boats still exist, and are probably fine for coastal cruising, my point in saying "built at a time when glass work was just not all that good", is that I seriously question whether over time the older boats will make a good reliable choice for the day in and day out rigours of distance cruising.

Respectfully,
Jeff
Great post. I did not knew that and I wonder if a similar test has been made regarding new boats even if Loyd's approval in built quality that is given to some boat builders can mean something.

What you say goes in accordance with something I had already noticed, and with a certain surprise: Insurance companies ask for a much bigger insurance tax over a 20 or 30 year old boat, even if it is of one of those that are reputed as very good blue-water boats, than for the insurance of a new mass market cruiser, like Bavaria or Oceanis.

Surveys like that one and the statistics they have regarding accidents will probably explain why.

Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 10-25-2011 at 09:57 AM.
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  #17  
Old 10-25-2011
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To add to my previous post, and get back to the topic: I ADORE the work Charlie Cobra has been doing on the wooden boats in his yard, and love the look of wooden boats in general. There's something very fitting in the organic nature of both wood, and the sea.
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Old 10-25-2011
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I like my designs because they have allowed me to make a modest living doing what I love to do.
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Old 10-25-2011
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And as a previous owner of a wooden boat let me tell you there is no comparison in working in a wood boat comparing with a fiberglass boat. The smell and touch are much nicer and if modern techniques are used a wooden boat can last for as much time as a fiberglass boat and is much more ecologic.

Pity that those techniques just make a new boat very, very expensive. The only affordable way is epoxy saturated plywood. Many boats are made that way.

Regards

Paulo
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Quote:
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I like my designs because they have allowed me to make a modest living doing what I love to do.
Bob, I don't believe that. You like them because you have make them the best way you knew of, for the job they were intended to perform, and certainly you know a lot

You certainly have put a lot of care on each boat you have designed and that makes you love your work. A guy that does not love his own work, specially if it is a creative work, is a bad professional, a thing that obviously you are not.

When we do something the best we can and are knowledgeable about the subject only good and nice things can result even if from my own experience, sometimes clients can spoil part of it.

Regards

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