Re: Questions OF ETAP
I have an Etap 26. Etap's don't have a cored hull in the traditional sense. Etaps have an inner hull which is inserted into the outer hull and bonded in place. Then they foam the space between the hulls. The space that gets foamed is very large, enough to provide positive bouyancy for the whole boat. You can see the 2" diameter plugs in many places where they poured or pumped in the foam. So in the sense of coring, the foam is not structural. I don't doubt that it stiffens the hull though just by backing it up.
My boat does have water between the hulls. I know because I have drilled 4 or 5 3/4" diameter holes in various places. I found water almost everywhere. I don't believe the water is getting in anywhere on the hull. I think it comes in from deck leaks, because I know I have a couple of deck leaks. Etap's also have liners over head, there is no raw fiberglass visible anywhere on the boat, even in the lockers. That overhead liner though can direct a deck leak over to hull sides. The space between the deck, which is cored, and the overhead liner is not foamed. They actually put nearly all the foam below the waterline. So I have drained all the water out that I can. I expect that once I get her back in the water and start heeling the boat, that more will come out. I'm working on the deck leaks now.
Does the foam get waterlogged? My boat was on a mooring year round for 25 years. At some point at least 10 years ago the rudder was damaged by ice floes and had a large hole in it. I split the rudder expecting the worse. None of the foam was deteriorated or wet! I dug every last bit out, and re-foamed it when I put it back together. The rudder shaft was aluminum and had aluminum bars welded on inside the rudder. All of it was bright and shiny! I did have severe corrosion on the shaft, above the rudder where COPPER bottom paint was used. Everywhere else it was bright and shiny. I ground out the damage and welded it up.
On a quality basis an Etap is a step above the Hunters, Catalinas, Beneteaus, etc. They are very cleverly designed, used good materials and are very comfortable because the hull doesn't sweat with all that foam. That said, my 26 with a retractable keel has a major structural design flaw that caused hull and deck damage. I don't believe any of the fixed keel Etaps would have a problem like this.
Hope this helps,
Gary H. Lucas