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Buying boat with epoxy blister repair--advice?
I am interested in a mid-1980s aloha sailboat which had blisters. It was apparently hauled for six months to dry, and then the gelcoat was peeled (assume this was done with a peeling machine, professionally), and the bottom was then coated with epoxy and bottom paint. The work was done in 2003, and there has been no indications of problems since. The boat is moored year round in the pacific northwest.
I would appreciate any comments on whether you think a boat with a "new" bottom like this is better than the original, whether you would trust this to have repaired the problem (assuming quality professional work), or whether you would consider a boat that required this work to be "suspect" for life, and to be avoided as a boat purchase.
I am also looking at another boat a 1983 ericson 30, which had been trouble free but showed about 20 "thumbnail size" blisters when hauled in 2005. The blisters were ground out and faired at that time. This boat is priced better than the first one, is better equipped, but a few years older and I am concerned that although the 20 blisters were fixed, there is no assurance that other blisters won't appear on an ongoing basis--ie. this boat may be prone to blisters, even though ericsons have a good reputation.
I have done alot of reading on blisters/osmosis. Increasingly, the studies seem to show that all boats absorb water through the gelcoat over time, and for various reasons, some end up with blisters. It seems that small blisters between the gelcoat and laminate are simply a cosmetic issue, and not really of concern; if they are large, accompanied by delamination of the underlying laminate, it becomes more serious and a potential structural problem. The recommended repair seems to be peeling the gelcoat, re-coating with expoxy, but I have not been able to discern if that repair then makes the bottom stronger and less permeable than a regular boat with gelcoat, or if the repaired boat is still more vulnerable.
I would appreciate any comments on this, and thoughts on whether you would consider either boat as a potential purchase--pros and cons.
Thanks for any replies.