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Discussion Starter #1
Let's say you are looking at a boat, you like it, but the boat has high moisture content in the hull's core. What are your options?
Let's say you don't do anything about it (the core is wet in a large area and repair might be too expensive and thus impractical). How long do you have before the boat becomes unsafe. And what are the biggest risks and symptoms of the decline?

Here is one boat like that: 1972 Van Dine Cutter Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
 

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One of None
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3 choices, 1-Don't buy it. 2-Don't buy it. 3-Don't buy it.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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Good question. $3000 (asking) boat. I wonder how many years you could get out of it before it started to fall apart? Remember also that you would have to pay the cost of disposal at some point. It is pretty-looking boat, I might be tempted for using coastal in nice weather. I wonder if you could fix the core over a number of years? First thing to know is where is the water in the core coming from. If you could stop that you could tackle the repair.
 
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This is a horror story. What if you sanded the hull down to bare fiberglass and added enough epoxy and glass in multiple layers to make the core unnecessary. That is about the only reasonable fix I can think of.
 

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The boat goes on the hard and then they hook up a vacuum pump to the hull, for a few months, and preferably indoors. They draw down the pressure in the core and theoretically it dries out. That's one method I have heard of. Very costly. I can't imagine it being worth the effort.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Good question. $3000 (asking) boat. I wonder how many years you could get out of it before it started to fall apart?
That is precisely my underlying question. How long before it falls apart and what are the signs that it is about to happen?
I'm not really thinking about buying this boat. But I would have been if I was actually ready to cast off.
 

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There's an article in GOB this month on this subject. A fellow logs his journey from mapping his cuts to laying the new core. Glassing is next month. The gist that I get from it is that reglassing a rotted deck is reserved for a boat you've loved into her old age, not something you plan on from the first date. If you really LOVED Arlberg designs and found a beauty for a song, something you could rebuild to better-than-new and were willing to sacrifice for several years, maybe. Otherwise, run with you wallet firmly gripped by your wife. It is anyway.
 

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The boat goes on the hard and then they hook up a vacuum pump to the hull, for a few months, and preferably indoors. They draw down the pressure in the core and theoretically it dries out. That's one method I have heard of. Very costly. I can't imagine it being worth the effort.
This rarely works. To get the preassure down far enough to have much effect you also need to ensure that the entire area is airtight (under vaccume). It's a difficult enough task when using vaccume bags, let alone trying to do it for a delaminated sandwich in the middle.

Keep in mind that in order to reduce the preassure to the point where water will boil off under low preassure you have to get the preassure inside the target area to about the same point as when vaccume infusing fiberglass. Then hold that for hours while the water constantly boils off. Ideally you would heat the area at the sameness time to help reduce the needed preassure, but it's a slow process.
 

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I guess I will be the outlier here. If you really like the boat, I would not let it be a deal killer. That looks like a lot of boat for $3,000 and likely will take a grand for it. Really depends on how big the areas are. You can cut them out and replace core, and put back together with another layer or two of cloth on top, barrier coat and paint. Seems it would be easier to do than deck as there is less in the way. But this has teak decks that will likely also be letting moisture into the deck as well. So factor that in too.

I like the boat's looks and seems like if it appeals to you it might be project worth doing. But only if you have a place on your own property to do the work. Yard fees will eat you up, and fewer and fewer yards let you do your own work, especially fiberglass and bottom work.
 

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At some point you'll have to have the boat hauled for maintenance. A boat with an unrepaired hull with a wet core will continue to absorb water at a fast rate. When you finally have it hauled for maintenance, the marina workers will have a hard time finding solid areas to position the jackstands. I have seen boats on jackstands with deep depressions in the hull under the jackstands because the coring material was rotted away. As long as the boat is in the water, sitting calmly in it's slip, the hull will appear fairly normal, but what do you do when the hull can't support it's own weight, either on dry land or when pounding to weather?

I agree. Walk away.
 

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I don't see any reference to that hull being cored - it just says moisture levels in the hull. Considering how "interpretive" moisture meters are it could be nothing.

'72 is pretty early for a cored hull, particularly a design like that.

As to repairing a cored hull - forget it and scrap it. Not the same thing as a deck recore which is actually not that difficult - just time consuming.
 

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I don't see any reference to that hull being cored - it just says moisture levels in the hull. Considering how "interpretive" moisture meters are it could be nothing.

'72 is pretty early for a cored hull, particularly a design like that.
I was thinking the same thing. A boat from 72 should have a solid fiberglass hull.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I don't see any reference to that hull being cored - it just says moisture levels in the hull. Considering how "interpretive" moisture meters are it could be nothing.

'72 is pretty early for a cored hull, particularly a design like that.
Back then quite a few custom boats had hulls built of marine plywood which was later covered on both sides with fiberglass. I have seen a couple of those over the years and this is what thought this hull might be, especially given the price. Once water gets into that plywood core the process of rotting away takes off.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
For a boat that like you:

1 - sail it a few years and then throw it away (donate away)
2 - you start removing the core for the inside and replacing

if you really want the boat I think #1 is the best answer.
I would also be leaning towards #1. If I could get 3 years out of this boat, it would be worth 3 grand to me. Then most likely part it out and keep the better stuff for another boat. This is my ideal size boat anyway.
 

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Having way more experience with wet coring than I really want I will say it depends. A moisture meter can pick up high moisture in a solid hull, in the bottom paint, gel coat who knows.
I have cut into hulls and decks that showed high moisture only to find the balsa is almost imperceptibly damp but still solid with no delamination. It is still a strong structure.

It depends.
 

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I agree with Jon. I doubt it is a cored hull. That shape of hull is very unlikely to have been built of plywood and glassed over either.

If it is not cored all it needs is 6 months on the hard to dry out and a barrier coat.

Doubtful the previous owner would have re-done the decks without fasteners if the hull was that bad as well.

Looks like a nice boat at a great price. I would investigate it further.
 

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I would also be leaning towards #1. If I could get 3 years out of this boat, it would be worth 3 grand to me. Then most likely part it out and keep the better stuff for another boat. This is my ideal size boat anyway.
Seems like you're making an effort to talk yourself into this one. For starters, you have to know whether their is a core and whether it is wet, not guess.

But seriously, the planet is so full of $3k boats, I just can't imagine why I would even think of a disposable one, like your above logic suggests. Maybe your pockets are so jammed with 100 dollar bills that you can toss a few dozen down the drain every few years, just to lighten the load. :)

Never fall in love with a boat until you already own it.
 
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Discussion Starter #20
Never fall in love with a boat until you already own it.
No love here. I'm not ready to buy this kind of boat, not yet. It is more like a prequel to buying a boat. But in about 2 years it will be a real project. I liked this boat and thought that I would be seriously considering buying it if the time was right.
 
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