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  #51  
Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Life Span of a Boat

Depends on the boat. Laser? About 12 months.
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  #52  
Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Life Span of a Boat

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Originally Posted by ReefMagnet View Post
Woo hoo now I got 10 posts I can post a picture

Hey reef what kind of boat is that?
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  #53  
Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Life Span of a Boat

Nice write up Jeff.
Some time ago you had made reference to USN studies of FRG hulls vs. long term fatigue endurance. Ive misplaced that URL reference ... any 'reminders' where to locate?

The ultimate problem for fiberglass, like any other 'plastic', is that its not a long term stable material if constantly stressed. The very definition of 'plastic' means that the material is subject to long term deformation, called 'creep'. In addition, the glass fibers used to strengthen are really not a 'true' solid but a visco-elastic 'hybrid liquid' with long term 'easy' deformation - an example would be: take a sheet of glass and 'lean' it against a wall at a large angle for several years and that glass plate after several years will be found to be 'bent' ... all by itself, due to the material quality called 'creep'.

So after a few hundred years, your prized boat will probably be approaching the shape of a 'large puddle' on the ground, simply through the action of gravity and the nature of 'plastic' and not a true 'elastic'. "Creepy", huh? ;-)
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  #54  
Old 02-03-2013
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For some ideas and pictures of what can be done with old boats, check out Tim Lackey's site:

http://www.lackeysailing.com/

He restored his own Pearson Triton to far better than new condition, and has numerous other projects on his site. Obviously this kind of thing can involve a lot of time and money, but the boat is willing if you are.
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  #55  
Old 02-03-2013
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Re: Life Span of a Boat

Rich,
Thank you for the kind words. There are three studies that I have have quoted over the years that you may be referring to.

The first was a US Navy document produced in the early 1950's which was intended establish design guidelines for F.G. Reinforced composites. I have a copy of that in my file and have quoted from that study on occasion, and make the point that this study existed and were widely circulated. Carl Alberg more likely than had been working with those standards when he designed the Triton. Charlie Wittholz told me that he worked with those standards at Rhodes and Alden in the 1950's.

The second is a marine insurance study which looked at the strength of fiberglass over time, and with one section particularly focused on early f.g boats. That 10 or 12 year old study was available on line but was not available the last time that I looked for it. This study was significant in comparing actual sections of older boats to what might have been expected simply from an identical new section with the same level of fiber and resin.

The third study was part of a series of Naval Academy student projects exploring the new sail training boats. That study looked at the failure modes of fiberglass in an impact situation. The lessons of that study is very interesting in terms understanding the behavior of glass reinforced plastics.

Jeff

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Originally Posted by RichH View Post
Nice write up Jeff.
Some time ago you had made reference to USN studies of FRG hulls vs. long term fatigue endurance. Ive misplaced that URL reference ... any 'reminders' where to locate?

The ultimate problem for fiberglass, like any other 'plastic', is that its not a long term stable material if constantly stressed. The very definition of 'plastic' means that the material is subject to long term deformation, called 'creep'. In addition, the glass fibers used to strengthen are really not a 'true' solid but a visco-elastic 'hybrid liquid' with long term 'easy' deformation - an example would be: take a sheet of glass and 'lean' it against a wall at a large angle for several years and that glass plate after several years will be found to be 'bent' ... all by itself, due to the material quality called 'creep'.

So after a few hundred years, your prized boat will probably be approaching the shape of a 'large puddle' on the ground, simply through the action of gravity and the nature of 'plastic' and not a true 'elastic'. "Creepy", huh? ;-)
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Old 02-04-2013
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Re: Life Span of a Boat

Jeff H- ? are you aware of any estimates of the service life of currently produced hulls.e.g. scrimp,cored, carbon, current conventional layup solid glass hulls etc.
Even with solid glass the chemistry is different than it was decades ago. Thought water migration. freeze/thaw cycles, osmotic stress and well as load/unload stress had more to do with degradation and that these should be better handled with current construction techniques and materials. ?Is this just wishful thinking
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  #57  
Old 02-04-2013
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Re: Life Span of a Boat

it's a good question and a lot depends on the builder. I have seen new boats with decks so flimsy they buckle when you walk on them and older boats with the glass so thick I am surprised they float.

Somewhere inbetween is the perfect medium between strength, lightness, and durability
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  #58  
Old 02-04-2013
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Re: Life Span of a Boat

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Originally Posted by mad_machine View Post
it's a good question and a lot depends on the builder. I have seen new boats with decks so flimsy they buckle when you walk on them and older boats with the glass so thick I am surprised they float.

Somewhere inbetween is the perfect medium between strength, lightness, and durability
Strength has not necessarily to do with weight. If epoxy and infused vacuum techniques are used you will have a lighter stronger and not less durable hull.

If carbon and epoxy are used and the carbon is protected from the sun, you would have an even a lighter, stronger and also not less durable hull.

Regards

Paulo
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Re: Life Span of a Boat

It is an economical and cultural question imo, not a technical one.

The basis, the fiberglas hull, should live for ever (in humon concepts, very shortly in concepts of the life of the universe) if it is build properly. All the other stuff need to be replaced once every few decades. These things are rather expensive, but it is technically and economically feasible when for example these replacements required by age on an old boat cost you 2000$ per year (that is a new engine, rigging, sails and small stuff every 20 years) while a new boat of the same size costs 200.000$ and loses almost all of that value in 30 years.

The boat dies when these parts are more expensive than the value of the boat in good condition (with all these parts being in a good condition for at least a bunch of years to come) The value of boats of old boats purely depends on the ratio of people who like to buy shiny new stuff and support the production of more boats compared to those who prefer to buy an older boat. (even if its only a few years older)

This in turn also depends on the demographics of boaters. When there are many people who like boats in one decade and tons are build but boating gets out of fashion the next, boats will lose value fast and thus die young. Otherway around and they may never die.

Last edited by Arjen; 02-04-2013 at 11:30 AM.
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  #60  
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Re: Life Span of a Boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arjen View Post
It is an economical and cultural question imo, not a technical one.


The boat dies when these parts are more expensive than the value of the boat in good condition (with all these parts being in a good condition for at least a bunch of years to come) The value of boats of old boats purely depends on the ratio of people who like to buy shiny new stuff and support the production of more boats compared to those who prefer to buy an older boat. (even if its only a few years older)
People still miss the point. Just because something is not economical to repair does not mean people still won't do it. The heart is a terrific spender of money and time on things that make no sense to the brain. As long as there are beautiful boats, people will spend the money to upgrade and upkeep them.. even if technically worthless due to age and changing fashion.

I keep alluding to my saab, I bought the car for $900 a number of years ago. It was in decent shape, but need a transmission and a ton of little things. Many thousands of dollars later.. I have a car that worth maybe a couple grand at most.. but is beautiful, reliable, and unique.. I will never the money back I spent on getting it to this point, but it gives it back to me when I get behind the wheel and drive anywhere.

Boats are the same way. We pour thousands of dollars into them to keep them afloat and shipshape.. but in all honesty, nobody will ever get the money back that they put in. Even boats like JFK's Manitou (which is still afloat and being raced) are money pits from day one.

It is just one of those times when the heart is more powerful than the brain.. and if the heart had it's way.. no boat would be allowed to decay
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