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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Jeff and I have been having a discussion on the B34 and T34c threads that I thought deserved its own spot.

Starting from the acknowledgment that nothing lasts forever, newer hulls are faster and more commodious, but far more expensive than those that are on the market from the CCA era of the 60s, I began asking about the 'Moderate build quality' tag that gets thrown onto some boats (Pearsons and Bristols, mostly) from that era. Jeff pointed out two U.S. Brands that he felt were superior in their glasswork- early Grampians and Tartans, but had no experience with others he could speak to. I posit that all makes from that era are essentially handmade items and exposed to similar QI issues, making them hard to really compare, and that as there is no universally recognized system, this seems somewhat unfair to the Pearson cousins as they seem to get singled out with this, with rarely any other U.S. company other than Hinkley, and now the two above (although only in Jeff estimable opinion, which I don't doubt) ever gets mentioned as superior.
Thoughts from the rest?
Also- if you were to attempt to make a FRP boat from this era last forever, how do you do it(setting aside those of you that would say why bother- this isn't meant as a referendum on their value. Suffice that many of us like these old, slow, pretty boats and want to play caretaker to these antiques.)? And what structural upgrades could you retrofit to make them 'superior'?
 

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Grampians were Canadian.
 
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Mine is not a first-hand knowledgeable opinion. But when I had my 1968 Hinterhoeller HR28 professionally surveyed 4 years ago after I bought it, the surveyor gushed several times as to how ruggedly-built it was. He was very impressed not just at the condition, but at the overall heavily-built design.

Hinterhoeller was a well-regarded builder of C&Cs , Niagara's and Nonsuches, but his earlier Sharks and HR28s may also be deserving of some respect.

I am a happy HR28 owner.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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George Hinterhoeller left C&C because he got fed up being told by MBAs how to build boats. He took his share of the company and created the second incarnation of Hinterhoeller Yachts (Nonsuchs and Niagaras and a Frers design). Excellent boats. I am sure his earlier boats were about as good as the knowledge of that time would allow.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I think it makes sense for this thread to deal with rebuilds on older f/g boats in general. CCA was a rating rule for racing and not all boats of the time were built with an eye on this rule.
 

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What else would you, could you, should you, do for these boats other than the obvious.
I fear that my future holds a major re fit on my first boat.
Fix rot and de lamination in deck and cockpit, over drill and re bed deck hardware.
Seal and glass hull deck joint.
Re seal ports and hatches.
Replace repair and re bed chain plates.
Replace repair and re bed keel bolts and keel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
I think it makes sense for this thread to deal with rebuilds on older f/g boats in general. CCA was a rating rule for racing and not all boats of the time were built with an eye on this rule.
Yes, but I intentionally limited it to these because it effectively hit the spot I'm interested in late 50s-72 glass boats. I think 72-86 had different issues, and 86-present are vastly different in construction.
What made a boat superior in the 60s? For one that isn't or wasn't, what can you do to make her so today?
Further, other than watching for stress cracks and blistering, is there some way to tell your laminate is giving up the ghost?
 

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Stress cracks are usually just the gelcoat and blisters are rarely more than a cosmetic issue, seldom going deeper than the external mat layer.

Fiberglass that is truly "giving up the ghost" will become flexible and audibly crunch under pressure or flexure. Glass that is overstressed and failing will turn white as well.
 

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If you want to know what types of upgrades/improvements can or should be made to a classic plastic, I highly recommend that you review Tim Lackey's work. Tim's business is all about restoring classic sailboats from that era, and his website is a wonderful resource for those who are asking themselves the exact same questions you are asking. Lackey Sailing LLC | Restoring and Rebuilding GreatÂ* Boats. Tim documents each job with photos and detailed explanations of what he is doing. I'm not affliated with or even a customer of Tim's; just a very interested observer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Stress cracks are usually just the gelcoat and blisters are rarely more than a cosmetic issue, seldom going deeper than the external mat layer.

Fiberglass that is truly "giving up the ghost" will become flexible and audibly crunch under pressure or flexure. Glass that is overstressed and failing will turn white as well.
Then why all the consternation over work hardening and stress cycles. If you inspect well before voyage, reinforce your tabbing and address your rigging and hardware, should last forever, right? And if not- then when SHOULD a boat be called old and tired?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
If you want to know what types of upgrades/improvements can or should be made to a classic plastic, I highly recommend that you review Tim Lackey's work. Tim's business is all about restoring classic sailboats from that era, and his website is a wonderful resource for those who are asking themselves the exact same questions you are asking. Lackey Sailing LLC | Restoring and Rebuilding GreatÂ* Boats. Tim documents each job with photos and detailed explanations of what he is doing. I'm not affliated with or even a customer of Tim's; just a very interested observer.
Saw that. Great work, nice site. One man's (informed) opinion. More info always better, and doesn't address the 'moderate build quality' thing. More. More. Cmon guys, I know there is more out there.
 

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I've owned two boats of this vintage, including my present A35. Both boats were/are covered in gelcoat spider cracks which are completely cosmetic, requiring either grinding off the old gel coat or covering with epoxy primer and recoating with Awlgrip every ten years or so. The best fix would likely be to grind it all off from keel to gunwale and then laminate a completely new layer of thin epoxy/glass as a barrier coat. I haven't had the energy to do that yet:) The major structural cost issue is the commonly rotted deck core. There ain't no easy way to repair it. It's a nasty, messy, time consuming job. If it needs to be done by a boatyard, it would be very costly. I've had to drill a number of new thru-hull holes. They are all solidly laminated and very thick as compared to newer layups.

Water intrusion into bulkheads under chainplates seems to be a common problem. I moved my chainplates outboard for this reason after replacing rotten bulkheads. Once water is into wood below and trapped inside the tabbing, it's just a matter of time before the bulkheads rot. The basic design of these thru-deck chainplates is flawed because sometime water IS getting down there.
 

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You could say that the old 60's FRP boats were all the same, the same way you could say all the 60's Detroit cars were the same. No CD player, no seat belts, no rear defroster....

But they weren't all the same. Each company made different choices and built to different standards. Sure, none of them had the same new zinc-clad rust resistant fenders and they all had chrome which is now heavily pitted.

The boat builders were the same. They all hired help (more likely full-time experienced workers instead of the cheap labor often picked up in the 80's or 90's) but some looked for more experienced help. Some had a name for using balsa, for Bruneel ply, or marine plywood, or even simple exterior grade ply in their coring. Some used plastic foams.

I'd suggest turning away from the computer and getting Practical Sailor's books of old boat reviews. They discuss models in detail, with as many owners as they could find, to get firsthand information on what is or isn't holding up. Then there are other publications on classic boats, and more on surveying an old boat, and each will bring more light to the subject, often naming names.

And of course, a "better" boat isn't necessarily better than a lesser boat that has been pampered for the last 50 years. Then again, you might want one that is known to be sea-kindly, with outstanding balance and a gentle motion, rather than either of those others.

Try to bum rides, and see what you'd really like to have after you've spent some time on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You could say that the old 60's FRP boats were all the same, the same way you could say all the 60's Detroit cars were the same. No CD player, no seat belts, no rear defroster....

But they weren't all the same. Each company made different choices and built to different standards. Sure, none of them had the same new zinc-clad rust resistant fenders and they all had chrome which is now heavily pitted.

The boat builders were the same. They all hired help (more likely full-time experienced workers instead of the cheap labor often picked up in the 80's or 90's) but some looked for more experienced help. Some had a name for using balsa, for Bruneel ply, or marine plywood, or even simple exterior grade ply in their coring. Some used plastic foams.

I'd suggest turning away from the computer and getting Practical Sailor's books of old boat reviews. They discuss models in detail, with as many owners as they could find, to get firsthand information on what is or isn't holding up. Then there are other publications on classic boats, and more on surveying an old boat, and each will bring more light to the subject, often naming names.

And of course, a "better" boat isn't necessarily better than a lesser boat that has been pampered for the last 50 years. Then again, you might want one that is known to be sea-kindly, with outstanding balance and a gentle motion, rather than either of those others.

Try to bum rides, and see what you'd really like to have after you've spent some time on it.
As I just said in another thread, I often ask questions I've read extensively on or have experience in already either because I disagree with the general conclusions (60s boats are bulletproof due to their thick lay ups and the Pearson/Bristol 'moderate build quality' being examples) or because the discussions that ensue add markedly to those data that are already out there. I generalized to CCA boats exactly so one could say "Grampian did this better, but Cheoy Lee was really good at that", and further, you can fix X on a Pearson this way, and you should because...
But was attempting to limit it to boats in their 50s as I think the industry as a whole hadn't gone down the 70s tubes yet.
 

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This is a great thread topic!
I own a 1971 C&C 35 Mk I that was built at the Hinterhoeller yard.
Not sure if it's exactly in the category you're talking about, but close enough, in my opinion.

Improvements could be in all sorts of areas, to make the boat 'superior', but since the intent of the OP seems to be in the structural arena, I'll focus there.

1. remove all bottom paint, repair blisters, re-bed keel 'smile', repaint with Barrier coat, sand very smooth.
2. As Desert Rat stated - rebed all deck hardware by over-drilling and filling with epoxy slurry, before bedding with butyl tape. Seal all ports and hatches with butyl tape.
3. Review and reinforce the chainplate attachments below decks.
4. reinforce rudder post tube at deck and hull joints to eliminate possibility of water ingress.
5. Improve my own maintenance of the engine (A4, in my case) to eliminate nasty fluid buildup in the bilge.
6. Use Spar-Tite at mast partner to severely minimize or eliminate water ingress and movement of the rig.

In other areas, I think the obvious improvements to classic boats like this are the installation of such equipment as:
Roller furling
adjustable backstay (hydraulic or otherwise)
if necessary, a re-designed (balanced) rudder

Andy
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
As the OP, I intended and welcome all sorts of thread wander. I generally have heard people split into pre1972 and post 72 for build quality, but if you have a compelling argument about that, let's hear that, too.
But three things I'd really like-
1. 'Superior build quality' 60s boats and why. Names, makes, years, tabbing done this way not that, etc.
2. How would you make a 'moderate build quality' boat into one that rivals a superior one?
3. All the rest of the mods you've made that you think are improvements (which is where people mostly have focused so far)
 

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As the OP, I intended and welcome all sorts of thread wander. I generally have heard people split into pre1972 and post 72 for build quality, but if you have a compelling argument about that, let's hear that, too.
But three things I'd really like-
1. 'Superior build quality' 60s boats and why. Names, makes, years, tabbing done this way not that, etc.
2. How would you make a 'moderate build quality' boat into one that rivals a superior one?
3. All the rest of the mods you've made that you think are improvements (which is where people mostly have focused so far)
I can't answer 1 any better than has already been described here; I just don't know enough.

I don't understand the distinction you are making between your questions 2 and 3. You can't make a moderate quality boat into a superior quality boat any more than you can make a Chevy into a Lexus by modifying the Chevy. The basic infrastructure of the hull can't be changed. The layup is what it is. Isn't everything else (upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems, cabinetry, etc.) the same as the mods you describe in your question 3? You can pimp out an Oday all you want, but in the end, its still a pimped out Oday, not a Hinckley.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
I can't answer 1 any better than has already been described here; I just don't know enough.

I don't understand the distinction you are making between your questions 2 and 3. You can't make a moderate quality boat into a superior quality boat any more than you can make a Chevy into a Lexus by modifying the Chevy. The basic infrastructure of the hull can't be changed. The layup is what it is. Isn't everything else (upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems, cabinetry, etc.) the same as the mods you describe in your question 3? You can pimp out an Oday all you want, but in the end, its still a pimped out Oday, not a Hinckley.
Ah- that is the heart of it. Is it really all about the glass work of the hull? Or are there other things? And how do you determine other than reputation that YOU got a good or bad hull from that era? Jeff threw out Tartan as a superior builder, but then pointed out that their quality control declined to that of Pearson and Bristol so that the Pearson may actually have been better at some point, then Tartan came back, but Pearson didn't. If they're all handmade, who knows if your Tartan is better built than my Pearson? And was Hinkley all that I the 60s, or did they just do really nice interiors and if I'm a custom cabinet maker, can I pimp it to the point that my boat is better than a Hinkley (setting aside resale- I want to talk apples to apples quality, not resale) if that was really all there was to it. I've not seen or read anywhere a complete answer to this question, and most of the time it has come back to the interior finishings, which have next to nothing to do with sailing, and even less to do with build quality(unless the cabinetry is integral reinforcement and is structural).
The car boat analogy is often used, and may be not be accurate. If you're in a CCA era boat, you're not in a sports car of boats. And you're probably more worried about reliability and the thing not coming apart around you, as well as some design aesthetics, otherwise you'd be in a J, or an Island Packet if you just wanted a floating condo.
 

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"You can't make a moderate quality boat into a superior quality boat any more than you can make a Chevy into a Lexus by modifying the Chevy. "
Au contraire!
There are people who have intentionally bought bare racers, so they could refit an interior without ripping out the old one first. People who have modified their boats by removing the furniture in the forepeak, and laying up extra layers of carbon fiber, or steel tire belting, to harden the bow against collision damage.
And of course, I'd bet that a C&C owner could permanently get rid of the C&C smile by engineering better attachment of the keel, perhaps widening the entire keel/hull joint as well as adding bolts. Or at least, rebidding with 5200.

The only real question is, how far does one want to go? To what expense, and to what degree?
 
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