Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: Advice on Beneteau 473 looking to purchase
I would emphatically say run, don't walk the opposite direction. In recent years there has been a lot of study of boats which have lost their keels or almost lost keels. One of the preliminary findings is that by the time that internal framing has been visibly damaged, there is likely to be large scale delamination in the hull surrounding the framing.
The delamination is hard to detect in a survey since it is often confined to the area closely surrounding and above the keel. But this delamination is thought to be the primary failure mode or major contributing factors in these keel loss cases.
To repair this properly, the ballast keel needs to be removed and the bottom of the boat carefully surveyed for delamination. If delamination is found an area of the bottom of the boat needs to be cut away and then a new section of the hull laminated. Similarly the hull framing would need to be cut away and new frames constructed.
This is a huge operation that is very costly. Few boatyards can do this kind of work to an acceptable quality.
I would also like to comment that there is very little relationship between the way that Cheeky Rafiki was constructed and the way that a 473 is built. Cheeky was a First 40.7 and these were heavily engineered racer-cruisers. That meant that there was theoretically a smaller safety factor, but it also meant that there was much higher care given in the layup and testing. This included much better materials and much more sophisticated laminating techniques. In other words, despite being engineered to a smaller safely factor, in practice this should have resulted in a relatively stronger and more reliable construction.
The report on Cheeky's keel loss included internal testing data that was specifically done on each 40.7 including Cheeky. That level of care was not given to the 'number series' at Beneteau. In other words Cheeky began life as a much better built boat than the 473's. But it also gets to the point that any boat which has had enough damage to crack internal framing needs to be treated as very suspect.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay
Last edited by Jeff_H; 12-18-2016 at 09:51 AM.