Join Date: Oct 2006
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A sailboat should be able to stand on its keel without structural damage, but (a) you don't know if this boat was designed and built to be this strong, and (b) the storm would have put a lot of dynamic loads on the boat for a lot of cycles that could damage a boat that otherwise could tolerate its weight on the keel.
I wouldn't be too concerned with the strength of the keelbolts. They can be pulled and inspected periodically. Although anyone who would use mild steel bolts was cheaping-out big time on a critically important structural system on the boat. That in itself makes me wonder what other critical corners have been cut to save a buck. Mild steel is going to corrode rapidly, so they might as well be replaced with stainless now, anyway.
It's the fiberglass structure I'd be scared of. Pounding in the storm could very well have caused layers of fiberglass to start delaminating. Once that process starts the damage continues to grow until the keel falls off, without warning, and most likely in conditions unfavorable to your survival.
Delamination occurs inside the fiberglass laminate. The inner and outer surfaces can look fine, while the interior is critically weakened. The only way to tell that things are OK is to grind off all gelcoat and/or paint both inside and outside. Good laminate will be translucent. You mentioned pink, which would be from red coloring in the resin. Delamination shows up as white layers that makes the laminate opaque.
And, if you find this, you need to cut the bottom out of the boat and make a new one.
So that's the risk this boat presents. There could very well be damage in there that would kill you without warning. It'll cost a lot of money to detect that damage, and even more (waaaay more) if you find it to fix it.
The statement that the owner planned to add new floors leads me to ask: Why? Why did he think more structure was necessary? And what the heck is this thing anyway with a wood 4x4 between the hull and keel? I can't imagine a boat leaving a reputable builder like that. Who, exactly, engineered this thing?
There are lots of boats out there. If you really, really love this one so much you're willing to potentially re-engineer and replace the bottom of the hull, then go for it. If you're looking for inexpensive, find a dirty, neglected boat that is fundamentally sound, and invest time cleaning it rather than rebuilding this one.