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Discussion Starter #1
I just purchased a 1967 Pearson Commander. The yard lifted the boat from the shipping trailer and stored on blocks. One day later they pressure washed the bottom. The boat had loose ablative paint but not too bad. After the pressure wash the gel coat is damaged and fiberglass maybe also damaged on approx 20% of the bottom.
The yard used a 5000 psi and possibly a fine/needle tip.

So... who is at fault?

Is the yard for using such an over powered pressure washer?

Was the bottom job so bad this would have happened with any wash?

Should the yard have stopped at the first sign of exposed gel coat?
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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I seems to me (and I confess to not knowing what the normal pressure is) that the wash has simply exposed a hull in very poor condition. Sounds like you have some pretty major osmosis problems and given the age of the boat this might not be all that surprising.

Lots of "ifs buts maybes" in my answer but it seems to me to be probable situation.
 
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Tartan 27' owner
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The Pearson 26' is what you are calling the Commander, I believe: PEARSON 26 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

5000 psi for a power sprayer is pretty powerful. I believe I used a 3000 psi sprayer on the hull of my 1967 Tartan 27' (cousin of your boat) and it did gouge the older layers of ablative paints off our hull in a few spots. I was doing the spraying though.

Without pictures of the damage you are asking about it will be difficult at best to fully understand the nature of it.
I'm not even sure that Pearson used gel coat on their hulls back in '67. I'm fairly sure I don't see gel coat on the hull of my boat of the same vintage; this being 45 years after it was made. I know that there are some spots on my hull that may have been repaired in the past and often require a quick patch now and then.
It is possible that a high pressure sprayer like that may have dislodged some bits of your polyester resin based hull. What does this tell you? It might tell you that the old polyester resin can crack or abrade under the right conditions. It might also tell you that you should think about filling and fairing these areas and consider taking off all the bottom paint and applying a barrier coat to the hull.

So who's at fault?

For starters, you are. You own a 45 year old boat (as do I) that is no longer under any warrantee; with boats of this age more stuff is at, or past it's expected lifetime limit and will need fixing, or replacing sooner than a boat that is 20 years old say.

Perhaps your boatyard is to some degree but you had better check your contract with them. Perhaps they would give you a good deal on the job of fixing it. Perhaps not.

You might be able get your insurance to kick in some for the damages but good luck with that. An estimate of $10,000 to really redo the hull would likely cause them to total your boat. The cost for doing some grinding, sanding, epoxy/cloth patches should not cost you more than $500 in materials, barely a boat buck.

Pictures would help.
 

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I have a 63 pearson ariel (sister ship to your commander) 26 is a different model, I do have gelcoat on mine and it was in poor shape when I removed all the bottom paint. Five coats of interlux 2000 barrier coat and she is as good as new. The fiberglass on our hulls is really thick (3" in one spot i checked under the lead) so your damage may only be on the surface. As for
pressure washing, I'd never do that to my baby....
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Absolutely:)
Thanks for the post and Correct boat (sister ship to the Ariel)
I'll send pictures soon.

CabelbD
Thanks for the post. Wrong boat
As my bad luck would have it... I've owned the boat for two days
Day one - Boat removed from trailer at local yard
Day two - without authorization the yard pressure washed the boat

I'll send pictures

Thanks
 

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Closet Powerboater
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Get a surveyor to do a damage survey. I was absolutely convinced that the boat yard had ruined my wooden boat and hired a surveyor to prove it. She explained (very nicely) to me that it was in fact not their fault, but some complicated wooden boat nonsense (lesson: don't own a wooden boat).

If it's not their fault, a good surveyor will tell you that and it will put your mind at ease. If it is their fault, the survey you get will be worth it's weight in gold for convincing the yard to fix what they've done.

MedSailor

PS Congratulation on your new boat, and condolences for the problems. Welcome to boat ownership. It has all same the ups and downs, rewards and trials of parenthood.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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I know that boat you have and I linked to the wrong Pearson 26' model (they made a few 26' sailboats, the one I linked to is the newer 26 footer).

COMMANDER 26 (PEARSON) sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

Allberg designed and strikingly similar looking to my Tartan 27' of the same year as your Commander. Of all the Pearson models this one looks almost identical to the T27 in all ways, except that the T27 has a center board in her keel. I think that they are both very pretty boats.

Alls I'm trying to say about older boats of this vintage is that you pays your price and you takes yo' chances. The long term maintenance chores on a boat this old have been building up for 45 years now. Older boats can usually be bought for a lower price because some long term maintenance has been deferred and the cost of a: new sails (btdt), boom, mast, rudder post, stuffing box, prop shaft (btdt), standing rigging, chain plates, deck re-core (ongoing), hull barrier coat, new teak (btdt), hardware, gelcoat or repaint job will be coming up very soon.

Sorry to hear that you came up against this on your 2nd day of ownership. Please don't be too discouraged. That Commander is a beautiful boat and needs a good steward/caretaker.
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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Interesting stuff and obviously my ponderings were off the mark but my earliest glass boat was of similar vintage and while its a few years back now the only time she was harmed by pressure spraying was in an area that had a spot of Osmosis which is why I thought perhaps the same cause for you.

Anywho ... sorry for any misleading thoughts, hope it all works out for you and your newun.

Cheers

Andrew B
 

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Get a surveyor to do a damage survey. I was absolutely convinced that the boat yard had ruined my wooden boat and hired a surveyor to prove it. She explained (very nicely) to me that it was in fact not their fault, but some complicated wooden boat nonsense (lesson: don't own a wooden boat).
If it's not their fault, a good surveyor will tell you that and it will put your mind at ease. If it is their fault, the survey you get will be worth it's weight in gold for convincing the yard to fix what they've done.
She may have been correct and honest as the day is long. However, keep in mind that surveyors make their livings in boat yards. Many will be reluctant to point fingers at the yard in anything but the most egregious case.
Regarding pressure washers: I wouldn't let one near my boat unless I planned to refinish the finish surface anyway. I see people using them on topsides all the time. I'll say "don't you think that's abrading your gel coat?". They reply "No, it's not that strong". I'll ask: "Then...whats all the white stuff in the water?" No reply!
I use soap and a brush top side. A hose with a good nozzle to prep my ablative bottom.
 

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Isn't pressure washing "required" in a lot of areas? I thought it was routine, some kind of environmental cross contamination safety thingy?
 

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The yard used a 5000 psi and possibly a fine/needle tip.

So... who is at fault? Is the yard for using such an over powered pressure washer? Was the bottom job so bad this would have happened with any wash? Should the yard have stopped at the first sign of exposed gel coat?
All good questions. Typically a yard would use a tip with a wide spray pattern to avoid damaging the gel coat. The goal here is to wash the bottom, not remove it.

Look at it this way, in a twisted sort of way the yard has done you a favor. If this hadn't been done you'd be floating around on a boat wondering why your water line is getting lower. Next step would be to have someone hit the hull with a moisture meter so you can decide the next course of action.
 
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You need to pressure wash to remove growth and alge to minimize sanding of antifouling as its not allowed in most yards. Shouldnt hurt the boat. They may have used a sand and water pressure wash that can do big damage if done wrong.
 

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Even with the proper nozzel and pressure, a careless worker can do damage to the hull. For example, try putting that nozzel and inch away from the hull a leave it there and see what happens. It really depends on how aggressive the pressure washer is set up. I had a haul out several years ago and apparently damage was done to the depth transducer. I wish that I had made some pictures, but I really was uncertain if the pressure spray caused it and did not try persueing it with the yard. I'm now a little more vigilant when watching the haul out.
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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If there were a lot of blisters under the bottom paint I could see an aggressive pressure washing cutting into them. Surveyor (independent) would be in order at this point.
 

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Barquito
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Ask the yard owner to put that 5000 psi beast up against the hull of his boat (or car)... no? Then ask for a discount on yard fees, while you repair the bottom. Probably it just exposed issues that were already there, and saved you hours of scraping and sanding.
 

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I really fail to see how ANYBODY can comment at this point without at least some pictures of what we are wildly guessing about ?
 

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Barquito
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I really fail to see how ANYBODY can comment at this point without at least some pictures of what we are wildly guessing about ?
I think we are assuming there is some damage. The question is, could it have been caused by pressure wash that had too much psi, or too concentrated stream.
 

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I can't think of an advantage for a yard to use such a high-pressure washer with a needle point.
A spray head will be faster.
A lower pressure will be safer.
Unless they do most of the bottom painting themselves and think they can reduce prep time.
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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I can't even imagine why a boatyard would have a 0 degree nozzle for their pressure washer. Most either use a rotating head multi jet nozzle or a fan. Even with 5000 psi I think you would have to work at damaging FG in good condition with either of those nozzles.
 

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The actual pressure of the pressure washer is pretty much irrelevant by itself. The spray head used and the distance between head and work area is just as important as the pressure rating. I can peel paint off with a 4000 PSI unit but if I know what I am doing then it will never get to that stage by accident.
I find it surprising that a yard would use a 5000 PSI unit because if handled by somebody inexperienced it can cause a lot of damage (I would not be surprised if it could cleanly cut the boat in half). In addition to the danger of damage, it takes a lot of horses to generate that kind of pressure and the washer would be disproportianately expensive. Cleaning effectiveness is also highly dependent on the water flow rate - a 3000 PSI washer with 10 gal/min will be much cheaper to buy, to run and more effective than a 5000 PSI unit at 2 gal/min.
To sum it up, yes an inexperienced operator can cause lots of damage (even with a 3000 PSI unit) but you need an independent qualified professional to make that determination (as has been mentioned)
 
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