How wet is too wet? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 26 Old 08-30-2016 Thread Starter
Dan Courtney
 
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How wet is too wet?

I'm rebuilding a 1975 Reliance 44. I've gutted the interior and before I put in new cabinetry I checked the hull with a moisture meter. Turns out I have a spot around a through hull fitting (above the water line) of about 25 ft2 on starboard side with moisture readings ranging from about 30% to a peak of 59%. There is also a larger area (maybe 45 ft2) on the port side, also with similar moisture readings. The port side also seems to be emanating from a through hull fitting. Both through hulls will be replaced and re-sealed.

Question: What moisture level is "safe"? My meter reads "risk" for anything over 30%, but does that mean that anything over 30% will eventually rot?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 26 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: How wet is too wet?

Is this a cored hull and if so what is the core?? If a solid glass hull the moisture readings are not a big thing but would certainly want to find out where the moisture is coming from and fix it. Sounds like the through hulls need to be R&R'd at a minimum.
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post #3 of 26 Old 08-30-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: How wet is too wet?

should have mentioned that it's balsa core... about 1 inch thick. And yes, I'm going to replace and re-seal the through hulls.
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post #4 of 26 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: How wet is too wet?

30 percent is pretty darned wet.

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post #5 of 26 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: How wet is too wet?

If you're rebuilding the boat...best to replace this wet core now. Its not going to get better if you wait. Even if you stop the leaks...the moisture is still there, and the rot will continue. There is nowhere for the water to go. I've got a cored hull too, unfortunately, and I'm over the top paranoid about it.

Ideally, there would be no exterior wood at all on a sailboat. Much less wood literally sandwiched into the structure of it where it can't be inspected!

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post #6 of 26 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: How wet is too wet?

Are the thru hulls in solid FG, should be I would think. If not I would fix that. Were they added later on and not done right? If you're gutted now I would think fixing from the inside would be easier but I will admit Im no expert.
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post #7 of 26 Old 08-30-2016
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Re: How wet is too wet?

You may get lucky and find the core just wet but you'd have to be awfully lucky for that to be the case. You'll need to determine the condition of the core, replace it if it's rotten, dry it out if it's not. Others may have better ideas but using a hole saw to drill holes to find the extent of the wet core, condition and dry it out would be a start. Lot's on the net on how to replace the core. Nice boat but balsa core is a major problem if it gets wet and rots.
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post #8 of 26 Old 08-31-2016
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Re: How wet is too wet?

I've come across a lot of very wet deck core on my boat, but very little of it has been rotten, and it's been wet for years. Not that having wet core is good or anything, but it doesn't necessarily rot right away. If you drill into it and the core comes out black and mushy, it's rotten.

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post #9 of 26 Old 08-31-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: How wet is too wet?

Thanks for the input guys. I've done some reading since my post and found that at about 30% is when free water is available for bacterial/fungal growth. Free water plus oxygen is necessary for rot. So the core may or may not be rotting, but either way I need to either replace or dry it out. I don't know if the through hulls are original, but I suspect not since they're plastic. And they are through the core, although I haven't investigated to see if the core immediately around the hole was filled with epoxy or not.

I'll be jumping in to cut away small sections of the inner skin (so the hull doesn't deform sitting on the cradle) to expose the wet core. Wish me luck!
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post #10 of 26 Old 08-31-2016
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Re: How wet is too wet?

Moisture meters DO NOT measure moisture!

Moisture meters CANNOT give a percentage of moisture on, in or through fiberglass!

Moisture Meter Mythology

The hysterical laughter you hear as you drive a way in your"new" boat ..... is the seller.
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