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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Alright, I own a 1981 Morgan 382 with a mild case of blistering on the starboard side of the hull. There are several dozen dime sized blisters scattered about - primarily on the starboard side. Before I purchased the boat last spring, the boat had been kept in the water year-round for 20 years in the Baltimore, MD region of the Chesapeake.

Post survey, I hired a gent named Mike Previti out of Solomons, MD to assess the extent of the problem. Mike apparently opened the first Osmotech blister repair facility in this area and was in the business for some time. He eventually got out of the blister repair business to start his own surveying company. I figured that he would know blisters pretty well, and, since he was no longer in the repair business, he wouldn't try to sell me something that I didn't need. I was pretty pleased with Mike's thoroughness, and her certainly seemed to know what he was talking about.

Mike sounded the entire hull with a hammer (inside and out) as well as investigated with a moisture meter. In addition, he opened one blister to see the extent of the damage. The blister that we opened up was affecting the first layer of CSM. It didn't appear to affect the mat or roving. His assessment was that I shouldn't do anything to repair them... just monitor the blisters for a few seasons to see if they progressed. He rationalized that, since the boat was over 30 years old and had been kept in the water for at least 20, the problem was about as advanced as it was going to get.

Here is my question... is Mike nuts? :)

I'm getting ready to go cruising for several years starting next season. We're heading to the warm waters of the Caribbean, and I've read that warm waters make blister problems worse. If I need to fix the blisters, I'd rather do it now while I'm still employed. However, I don't want to waste precious time and money on a problem that may not really be a problem.
 

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Wiser heads than mine have pronounced in the past that no boat ever sank from blisters.. Your own expert has pronounced the hull sound, with the osmotic exceptions; and to keep an eye on it for a few years.
What "conundrum"? IMHO? Use the (many) dollars saved to go cruising! :)

just my $..02
 

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One of None
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Really not something to loose sleep over, but they are easy to fix. Not cheap if you don't DIY.
 

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Is the boat is out of the water now, or are you going to haul it for fresh bottom paint before you leave? If the blisters really bother you, just grind them out individually, let them dry a day or two, and fair them in with epoxy & microballoons. Slap on bottom paint and go. The next time you haul the boat you'll probably have some more blisters, but so what? Like the previous poster said, the boat is not going to sink.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm hauling the boat this weekend, and it will spend the winter on the hard. I've considered repairing them on a case by case basis. I'm not worried about the boat sinking, but I'm concerned that if I don't address them now it will be an even bigger job later.

Of course, if the surveyor is right, he doesn't think the problem will get worse.
 

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I say fix each blister as needed and carry on. f you are concerned about the problem getting worse buy and use a moister meter to read the hull to get a base line. Check with the meter each time the boat is hauled to compare numbers.

John
 

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If it were my boat and if it were going to be out of the water over winter, I would ground out the individual blisters at haulout, let them dry over winter and fill them in spring.

Disclaimer, my boat had blisters for nearly a decade before I bought it and did a full peel. Non of the blisters on my boat would have compromised the structure, I just don't know how to leave well enough alone.
 

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The Morgan 382 is a really nice boat, so long term may be the way to think. If it were me, I would grind out the few blisters there are, fill and fair them. Then I would put a barrier coat the whole boat before putting on the bottom paint(just a couple of coats, not going crazy). Why go through the trouble of the barrier coat? It will let you sleep better knowing as much as been done as possible so you will ever see another blister. Just be sure to do the coating exactly as recommended by the maker. You will likely see some at some point, but seems to me the additional cost of barrier coat is fairly minimal compared to the peace of mind.

Now if I were going to just be sailing coastal and pulling out every winter then I would just grind them out, fair them and put bottom paint on it. But if I were going to be in far off lands with unknown supplies availability I would do all I could to prevent future issues.

As I said make sure you do the prep work right and exactly as they recommend. Seems I read about lots of bad barrier coat jobs. I in fact would only do this if I were doing it myself, or a very very experienced yard, and I would be watching over there shoulders at every chance I had.
 

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I'm getting ready to go cruising for several years starting next season. We're heading to the warm waters of the Caribbean, and I've read that warm waters make blister problems worse. If I need to fix the blisters, I'd rather do it now while I'm still employed. However, I don't want to waste precious time and money on a problem that may not really be a problem.
The most complete way to eliminate them is peel and let the boat dry for several months. If you plan on hauling out for the winter, then I'd just wait and do it then.

If you pay someone to just do the peel, you can get by at <$1000 to do the peel, but you'll have to handle regular power washing, final fairing, and application of barrier coat and bottom paint. For our 30ft boat, we were quoted $700 for peeling only, $3500 for someone to manage the entire process from peel to paint. That's in FL, where such work is cheaper than up north, so YMMV.

IMO, if you plan on keeping the boat for several years and using it extensively, it's worth fixing them. If anything, you'll get better speed and won't have to worry about it. We noticed an improvement of two knots after taking down our badly blistered barrier coat. You also won't have to worry about it when you resell the boat, some buyers won't come near a boat with blisters on it.
 

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Where moving the boat to warm water will be a macro change in its environment, I would think the likelihood of the problem expanding greatly would be high. Peeling the bottom is a drastic and expensive repair, if the boat does not have an epoxy barrier coat or its real old, I would cleanup the blisters and apply an Interprotect or similar barrier coat, plenty of DIY threads on that.

If severe blisters occur in the warm waters, then maybe a peel job would be next.
 

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SJ34 - Before you fixed them, did you notice that the blisters got worse over time? Or, did they progress to a certain point and then stop.
In my case it was a problem with the lay-up timing. The builder allowed the gelcoat to sit too long before laying up the glass. I did the blister repair exactly a year after the haul-out survey and yes, there were more blisters and there were a few that were over an inch in diameter but none would have caused a problem structurally... the problem was with me, I lose sleep over stupid things like that.

In your case it makes almost no sense to ignore them. It is way too easy a repair. I would not go the full peel route though. If you haul the boat for paint every couple years, just spot repair as needed. I also would not waste the effort and expense of a barrier coat. Just spot repair and seal with epoxy at each haul-out.
 
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