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Discussion Starter #1
Thanks for taking the time to read, I appreciate it.

I guess the beginning is a good start - but that makes for a long story. So, skipping ahead to the current epoch, I just joined sail net. Hi, my name is Douglas and I'm a sailor...

This post is a plea for help and parts of it might fit better under different topic headings, so I hope this isn't too off topic.

I'm struggling with the compulsion brothers and sisters, and this time the devil really has me in hand... I'm looking at wooden boats. I'm in San Clemente California and I can see the Dana Point marina from here. Yes a wooden boat andthe the country's most expensive municipal marina. And no, I've never owned a wooden boat.

I've seen a few threads and I get the idea that there are some old hands here on sail net who reside in my area (Dana Point/Costa Mesa/Huntington Beach) in Southern California and I'd really appreciate a shout out if that fits you. If you know anything about wooden boats (and I mean anything, like knowing someone who knows someone who could do a meaningful survey on a wooden boat) I really would love to hear from you.

I've spent a few afternoons in dingies in NPB harbor and that is how much I know about the local conditions. So if you'd like to introduce yourself and help me understand the local conditions, do's and don'ts, and who's who that too would be great.

Best regards
Douglas
 

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Remember you're a womble
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Good luck, and I hope you enjoy sanding, varnishing and painting whilst gazing longingly at those unfortunate souls in plastic boats that are actually out sailing :)
 

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Douglas,
You will be fine. First turn your head, rotate your dingy 180 degrees... away from that fine ship built from recycling materials...that will need much care, replacement, even more elbow grease and safety materials to protect you, so many more times..

Now take one step, dig in with an oar.. ok that is good... the next step, oar...ok, you are doing fine keep going... YES! You can do it!.... no do not think of turning back, your blood shall turn to turpentine... That's good... keep going.

Say, did you hear there are a mess of boats for sale, just around the point?
I saw a 50' Gulfstar for about $1000/ft... it might need a bit of work...
look around!
R
Dr Ed
 

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Good luck, and I hope you enjoy sanding, varnishing and painting whilst gazing longingly at those unfortunate souls in plastic boats that are actually out sailing :)
That's medicine I need! ... but core rot? blisters? delamination? print through? separation? color fade? thigh blisters from the hot plastic?

Still you've hit the nail on the head. I think it's clear that fiber glass is wonderful material for boats. In fact it might not be too far from the truth to blame the recreational marine industry on fiberglass. I can't say exactly how much more difficult a wooden boat is to maintain. I do know that in San Francisco they beat the living tar out of folkboats - about half of which are wood. So I'm hoping the proposition isn't totally insane.
 

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Most of my maintenance headaches are from the teak that Bristol bolted to the fiberglass hull..... I can't begin to imagine if the whole thing was wood, what fun I'd have.....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Douglas,
You will be fine. First turn your head, rotate your dingy 180 degrees... away from that fine ship built from recycling materials...that will need much care, replacement, even more elbow grease and safety materials to protect you, so many more times..

[snip]

R
Dr Ed
keep it coming... I need to hear this. The big bad maintenance monster who lives under every wooden boat. Here's my level of delusion - I don't really buy it.

Consider exhibit PF (plastic fantastic) and WE (worm eaten).

PF and WE
wenches, running, standing and sails samie-samie

PF and WE
top deck, bright work and hatches samie-samie *

*okay some little PF have absolutely no bright work. Some aren't even finished on the inside of the hull other than hanging bunks. But a lot of boats do come with wooden hatches, seats and soles exactly as the wooden boat.

PF and WE
communication and navigation samie-samie

PF and WE
keel, rudder and bottom samie-samie

If we start with PF and WE new they'd both serve well for many years. As a class many fiberglass boats rely on their wooden cores for strength and to alleviate flex wear issues. To serve as mount points for power plants and provide backing for wenches. So most PF aren't free from wood deteriorating. Sure - there's a lot more of it in the WE. On the other hand you can get the wood on WE to dry out if it becomes water logged, but the stuff sealed up in fiberglass has to be cut out. I'm thinking this is a toss up - one particular WE might have a lot less rot expense than a particular PF.

And fiberglass fades. Now the WE can be (yea, alright must be) painted with a brush. Again every boat is different but in time the fiberglass develops cracks in the rounded corners, at flex locations etc. That is tedious and expensive to repair and the WE doesn't have any of these worries.

Eventually the wooden yacht will need to be pulled, partially disassembled (deck removed) and the inside of the hull attended to (maybe no more than repaint ). The plastic yacht doesn't have this step - but they also have the periodic major refit which covers a lot of the work you'd do on the wooden yacht.

Wood is a living thing even though you have to kill a tree to get wood. The wood will move with the weather and seasons. That works against water tight joints. So there will always be more in the bilge of the wooden yacht (at least in the size I'm talking about). Now for me, the little stream of water coming down around the mast isn't a thing. I'm probably a lot wetter out in the cockpit.

The thing is I'm not looking at a new wooden boat. They still make those you know. I think a lot of the bad rap that wood has gotten is from old boats (exactly like the one I'm looking at) which need a complete redo and someone tries to do this either without the skills, or the money, or the shop. When there are 80 year old pastic boats out there (and it won't be that long now) things might look different.
 

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Remember you're a womble
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A wooden boat will last forever. But rather like the broom, it'll be 200 years old and you'd only had to replace all the deck twice, all the hull planks 3 times, the stringers twice, the mast three times ;)
 

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In reality there almost no glass boats with structural wood. Keel sumps, mast steps, engine mounts are plastic or metal. I think Catalina used some wood for mast steps for a while, causing no end of grief. Many boats do have wood cored decks, most would agree this is the biggest problem in older glass boats. There is a theme here.

Despite this I like wood boats, and have built 3 small ones. The key is maintaining them. You must be super vigilant about fresh water intrusion, this is what kills most wood boats. If you have the time (or $), and love maintaining boats as much as sailing them, it could be a good choice.

Another option is cold molded construction, some are left unpainted. You still have to maintain a U/V resistant coating, but they can look great with lower maintainence than a "true" wood boat. Search for Nightrunner a Perry desingned boat for a great example.
 

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I owned a herreshof h28 ketch I refit and "restored" and bought in alameda california...it had rot in the stuffing box plank and that was it...it leaked bad....as soon as that was fixed I had one of the most regarded heavy duty and sweet sailing wooden boats of all time

it was double diagonal planked teak on bronze screws and oak frames...one of the strongest combos

I varnised and sanded and did all work myself including recaulking decks, I also resealed the planks when needed etc...I popped a garboard strake when I tightened the rigging too much but I was only 19 at the time

sealed that up and loosey goosey and all was good

it came with a new yanmar inboard and I bought it for $2000, back in 99! ja!

I could sail that boat blindfolded I knew it so well

it was stronger and better built than most glass or steel boats I knew...but it was small, cramped...damp and wet and smelled like and old fart...

yet the decks were always cool...I could climb into the boat from the water with one hand cause it had like 12 inches of freeboard in the stern and it tracked like a train, and hove to like no other

it could also sail downwind with main only in 35 knots do 9 knots like a mack truck and feel safe

everything has its pros and cons though

so take that for what its worth

not all wooden boats are created equal and the same goes for any material boat you chose

avoid hearsay and research the boats you are looking at intensly, Im glad to offer any insight or help if I can

cheers
 
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One of None
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keep it coming... I need to hear this. The big bad maintenance monster who lives under every wooden boat. Here's my level of delusion - I don't really buy it.

Consider exhibit PF (plastic fantastic) and WE (worm eaten).

PF and WE
wenches, running, standing and sails samie-samie

PF and WE
top deck, bright work and hatches samie-samie *

*okay some little PF have absolutely no bright work. Some aren't even finished on the inside of the hull other than hanging bunks. But a lot of boats do come with wooden hatches, seats and soles exactly as the wooden boat.

PF and WE
communication and navigation samie-samie

PF and WE
keel, rudder and bottom samie-samie

If we start with PF and WE new they'd both serve well for many years. As a class many fiberglass boats rely on their wooden cores for strength and to alleviate flex wear issues. To serve as mount points for power plants and provide backing for wenches. So most PF aren't free from wood deteriorating. Sure - there's a lot more of it in the WE. On the other hand you can get the wood on WE to dry out if it becomes water logged, but the stuff sealed up in fiberglass has to be cut out. I'm thinking this is a toss up - one particular WE might have a lot less rot expense than a particular PF.

And fiberglass fades. Now the WE can be (yea, alright must be) painted with a brush. Again every boat is different but in time the fiberglass develops cracks in the rounded corners, at flex locations etc. That is tedious and expensive to repair and the WE doesn't have any of these worries.

Eventually the wooden yacht will need to be pulled, partially disassembled (deck removed) and the inside of the hull attended to (maybe no more than repaint ). The plastic yacht doesn't have this step - but they also have the periodic major refit which covers a lot of the work you'd do on the wooden yacht.

Wood is a living thing even though you have to kill a tree to get wood. The wood will move with the weather and seasons. That works against water tight joints. So there will always be more in the bilge of the wooden yacht (at least in the size I'm talking about). Now for me, the little stream of water coming down around the mast isn't a thing. I'm probably a lot wetter out in the cockpit.

The thing is I'm not looking at a new wooden boat. They still make those you know. I think a lot of the bad rap that wood has gotten is from old boats (exactly like the one I'm looking at) which need a complete redo and someone tries to do this either without the skills, or the money, or the shop. When there are 80 year old pastic boats out there (and it won't be that long now) things might look different.
Douglas, I answered your "should you buy" thread about the 18ft Peterson. However.. the above that you wrote.. and I'm tryig to say this kindly, but it you need to learn allot more about boat building and construction of wood and fiberglass. The way wooden boats are built is hundreds of years old. The type of hull construction needs to be determined before we can advise you on more.

Here's a young lady doing "routine" work.
 

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One of None
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This guy has a whole series of you tube vids that can teach you allot!
 

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Seriously, intervention?
OK, here goes. I've sailed on and operated a great many wooden vessels over the last 50+ years and I love them, each and every one.
The oldest I've sailed on was built in 1886, the oldest I've operated professionally was built in 1906 and the oldest I've owned was built in 1909 and she brought me to a safe harbor after 5 days in a SoPac hurricane at 65 years old.
You can't ignore things like annual haul outs on a wooden boat; there are creatures that eat the wood if the antifouling isn't working (or gets dinged by something you hit, but isn't even big enough you know you hit it), and even if the paint is fine, they can get through the seam compound and then into the wood. There are frames, ribs, ceiling, planking, floor timbers and butt blocks (just to name a few), all subject to rot, which is in many cases invisible, without dismantling the vessel from outside (removing planks). Wooden boats work and hog and they change shape if the rig is too tight or loose, sometimes causing problems that can cost many times the value of the boat, to repair.
Even a newer wooden boat can develop serious problems. Ask the crew on vessels like the Spirit of South Carolina and Virginia, just to name two.
Whatever fastening was used to attach the planking to the ribs can corrode, have electrolysis or just plain rust. You can spring a plank while sailing, opening a huge hole in your boat, but have no notice in advance that it might go. The seams need to be caulked periodically and I'm guessing it's pretty expensive to get it done these days, as it's a dying art (this I know for a fact, but that's a story for another post). If you get caught in heavy weather, a wooden boat, even a well caulked one, can spit out her caulking and begin to leak pretty seriously (another story).
I could go on, but perhaps this much has made that intervention successful.
Again, I love wooden boats; the feel, sea kindliness and warmth cannot be beat. But owning a wooden boat today, especially a classic, is for the very rich, and not a sailor's pastime; it's a career.
 

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I disagree...if you are patient and your love for the boat EXCEEDS common wisdom youll be fine! ajajajajajajaja

slight bad joke but seriously some great deals can be had...just pay attention to the particular issues of said boat you are seeking and that applies to all forms and material boats...

cheers

ps. while caulking is a dying art that doesnt mean you cant do it

I did in panama using wool and 5200 instead of other more traditional materials...I also used syringes and boatlife or whatever pleased me at the time...

water in the bilges is a way of life...make sure its saltwater and dont let it get too high and your fine

pay attention to garboard strakes under the mast and the keelsun and keel attachment method...most wooden boats have nice hung rudders that are easily serviceable

mine floated! jajaja
 

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Courtney the Dancer
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Our boat is fiberglass (it had teak decks that we removed) and the small amount of teak (cap rail, hand rails, trim pieces, etc) require at least three times the total amount of maintenance for all the other exterior surfaces. Just sayin.
 

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Douglas, I answered your "should you buy" thread about the 18ft Peterson. However.. the above that you wrote.. and I'm tryig to say this kindly, but it you need to learn allot more about boat building and construction of wood and fiberglass. The way wooden boats are built is hundreds of years old. The type of hull construction needs to be determined before we can advise you on more.

Here's a young lady doing "routine" work.
Lisa caulking hull - YouTube
I think he's just practicing "creative writing."
 

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Hi Douglas , What kind of boat do you want ? I assume a sail boat . But what size ? How much are you willing to spend ? Are you going to be on a trailer or a slip ? I know you talked about Dana , but still I ask . One reason is that I know a guy that built one little fine sailboat (24ft.) and he keeps it on a trailer half the season . I call him Wooden Boat Bill . He helps me with wood projects, he is a craftsman/artist . He might have a wooden boat for you. If you are interested please contact me and I will PM you . Also please note I have not contacted Bill about this first , But I really like your enthusiasm . I'm sure Bill would too .
 

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I've noticed that owners of plastic boats often show interest in classic woodies. Hard to tell if it's awe, sympathy or ignorance. Done right, owning a wooden vessel puts you way above the herds of unimaginative conformists .On the other hand, it could leave you in the yard all May and June enjoying the learning curve.
 
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