Please examine this hull for a rank novice..... - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 06-03-2019 Thread Starter
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Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

...these are a few pictures I took of a boat that I am thinking of doing a survey on. It is a Freedom 28 Cat Ketch and I know many have strong feelings for and against this boat but I am specifically concerned about the condition of the hull. It has cratering as in the surface of the moon and the broker says just sand and paint it. I have heard that brokers sometimes "misspeak" or assume the prospective buyer, me, has more money than whomever you pray to. Does 'sand and paint' sound right to you all?

Thanks very much to all that respond.

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post #2 of 14 Old 06-03-2019
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Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

Those look like popped osmotic blisters. They are notoriously difficult to "cure" permanently. You can grind out the compromised hull material, dry them out, fill the now dry holes with new mat and epoxy, sand, then paint. Even then, there are a lot of reports of the blisters reforming or new blisters blooming. If those are osmotic blisters, then "sand and paint" won't even begin to cover the fix. This of course assumes that you want to fix them. Lots of boats are floating around with blisters that are never addressed.
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post #3 of 14 Old 06-03-2019
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Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

It is hard to tell from the pictures, but those look pretty superficial. If they are osmosis they are easy to repair, but not catastrophic if you don't. Osmosis is not usually something that gets worse. On an old boat what you see is what you get, and once repaired correctly don't typically come back.

It looks to me like what the boat needs most of all is all of the old paint removed. Some of those spots may very well be between the layers of old paint rather than in the fiberglass itself. As boats get old and the paint layers build up the paint often is applied to a less than perfect surface, and blisters form under the paint where it didnt adhere to the previous coat.

Stripping all the old paint off is something that needs to be done a few times in the life of a boat as a matter of maintenance.

As far as I'm concerned if I am buying a boat the least I would expect is that it has a reasonably fresh coat of bottom paint. If not, then I would expect it to be reflected in the price. Bottom paint is basic maintenance.

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post #4 of 14 Old 06-03-2019
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Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

I agree with mstern on this, except I think someone did a way sub-standard job of trying to fix them. I'd get a surveyor with a moisture meter and go from there. You could be looking at a waterlogged hull that could cost quite a bit to remove to the dump.

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post #5 of 14 Old 06-03-2019
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Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

If it was a new boat would be concerned as the blisters could be just a hint of what's to come. With a boat that old, most of the blistering will have already occurred. The PO didn't deal with the blisters properly, however. They are deep enough that they should be ground down and filled with random fiberglass strands and epoxy for the shallower ones and larger and divits ground into the level of the pukas, several layers of the laminate as many layers of epoxied matt and cloth as needed and ground flush. Once all the paint is removed and pukas filled in and faired seal the hull with a multi coat epoxy sealant and bottom paint. It's a messy dirty job but almost all labor if you do it yourself. Expensive to have a yard do it with their $100 plus an hour labor charges.

Then there is what the PO did, pop the blisters and sail the boat after a new coat of bottom paint and enjoy yourself. Would want to buy the boat at a price that reflect cost to fill the blisters. When it comes time to sell, a buyer is certainly going to be asking the questions you are discount the price for fixing the pukas.
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post #6 of 14 Old 06-03-2019
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Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

Sand and Paint to me, means maintaining an already maintained hull. This one hasn't been well maintained at all. I can't tell what Kind of blisters they are from the photos. some of them look pretty deep. But, I would expect to take every bit of that old paint down to the hull to see what's going on there. and that's a lot of paint! At my old man pace that could take weeks. Once all the old paint is off, you'll know what you're dealing with.

I agree with moisture meter reading. Also, I might just ask the owner to strip down an area around a few blisters to see what they are about before going any further.

If it's just too much paint poorly applied then get it all off, and barrier coat it. Lots of time! a few gallons of barrier coat and paint and maybe epoxy filler/glass. That's a bigger project than i'd want to deal with right now. As Roverhi Says, more time than money but if you're retired and have nothing but time, it's doable. If you're working full time and hitting this on occasional weekends, expect to spend much of the summer going at it.
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post #7 of 14 Old 06-04-2019
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Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

Originally Posted by sasjzl View Post
....the broker says just sand and paint it.
Sound like a broker to me. Ask if he'd feel the same, if his fee was withheld until you were happy with that repair.

Does 'sand and paint' sound right to you all?
The truth is, it depends. Is the hull structurally sound and these blisters only surface defects? Pictures are too hard to diagnose. For some, there is no further risk of blistering, therefore, filling, sanding and painting are fine. This requires stripping the hull, so you can barrier coat over the repairs and seal it all in. If you were small lake sailing and you considered this a nearly disposable boat, I would be even less concerned. The nuclear approach is to strip all the gelcoat and rebuild the outer layer from epoxy or vinylester, but that would be unjustified for this boat.

You really need to ask yourself why you want to buy a boat with such a defect. It may be fine, if it's literally the only thing wrong with it, the repair can be factored into the price and you can confirm it's only cosmetic. Sometimes, it's a really attractive price that gets buyers interested. Although, it could turn out to be worth even less.

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post #8 of 14 Old 06-04-2019 Thread Starter
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Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

Actually this boat is listed for 18 grand. The boat happens to be at a very reputable Marine service so I am asking them to take a serious look at this and tell me what they think. With the tiny sliver of boat hull knowledge I have so far it sounds like these lunar like craters are signs of previous blisters that have been popped and most probably not dealt with in any serious way. The boat is circa 1984 so I suppose all this means is that the previous owner(s?) did not take very good care of the boat. This is kind of ironic for me because the last boat I looked at, a 1979 model, had a hull that was the highlight of the boat. The owner had spent $4k on getting what was described to me as a vapor barrier coat put on the hull. I had it surveyed and compared to this hull it was a thing of beauty. Unfortunately the rest of the beauty was only skin deep. It is amazing how many things can be wrong with a beautiful looking boat.
It was as if everything else had been left to its own devices for the last 30 years.

I am getting a crash and expensive course in the technical builds of 30 foot, 40 ish year old sailboats so I guess I should just relax and enjoy it. I am beginning to understand why well taken care of boats cost so much. And new boats are for people who have extra homes like Senator Romney. I just wish there was some alternative to dropping a grand on a survey. I guess this is my time for self instruction.

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post #9 of 14 Old 06-04-2019
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Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

To the OP, I feel for you. The cost of boat maintenance and repair is something we don't like to think about as boat owners. For cruising sail boats, its not unusual to spend in operating cost (OPEX) the purchase price over again in a very few years...particularly if the boat is older. And boat costs are death by a million cuts. The hull, the keel, the rudder, the winches, the standing rigging, the running rigging, the sails, the galley stuff, the plumbing, the engine, the prop and running gear.....each of these costs money and its surprisingly evenly distributed. So a boat with good bones (hull, rig, rudder, keel) and a bad engine, bad wiring, bad electronics, can be as costly as a boat with bad bones (blisters, water intrusion into core, etc) to fix. It's hard as a new buyer to evaluate these costs or believe what they can be before you experience it.

So, yea, the "expensive" survey is worth it. One way to minimize this is find a friend that has owned a couple of boats and have them go with you on first looks. That might reduce the number of surveys you do. Someone here will point you at a book everyone reads on how to do your own survey, good to study this stuff too and do sort of a mini survey during first looks.

When I go out to look at a used boat, my first step is to look in the engine compartment and lift up a few floor boards. If I find a mess of old wires going no where, a grimy bilge, old plumbing going no where, etc. I walk away no matter how pretty everything looks. If things are neat and clean, no matter how old, I let myself get romanced by how the boat looks.

All in all $1K for a survey is a lot cheaper that $50K in surprises. Good luck, don't give up.
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post #10 of 14 Old 06-04-2019
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Re: Please examine this hull for a rank novice.....

Those pics look like a pretty minor or routine case of pox. If you can do the fix yourself it's not a big or skill intensive deal - just a lot of hard work. Filling with glass mill fiber thickened epoxy and a lot of sanding and coating with InterProtect 2000.

If you'll have to write a cheque to have it fixed I'd regard it as a deal killer - blister jobs are notoriously expensive - many $thousands.

I would get another broker - that one is either a liar or incompetent.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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