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Old 27-04-2015, 10:07   #16
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats

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Guys, I ran across a Very interesting older (late 70's) aluminum sailboat, online, which has really piqued my interest. However, I could genuinely use a bit of help in getting educated on what to look for/ask about in such a vessel. Especially as she's non-local, so some of the pre-purchase "studying" on her would have to be done via remote control.
- Which is another item I could use some schooling on ;-)

I'm real familiar with what to check in a composite boat, & questions to ask, etc. And obviously, most of them apply regardless of hull material. I also know a bit of the theory behind audio gauging a metal hull. But don't have any practical, hands on info or experience with such. That, or with any other key, different, specific questions to ask about metal boats.
Obviously, a good barrier coat, between the hull & the bottom paint is key. As too are good anodes.

But if you guys could help me learn the Cliff Notes version of what to look at, & specifics to ask regarding older aluminum yachts, I'd surely appreciate it. Ditto if you have tips/links on good websites that you might recommend to help me with my (abridged) metal boat schooling. And on how to gather most of the info for doing a lot of the pre-purchase stuff on a boat via remote control.

I know that she was built in Australia, for the Admiral's Cup, with fairly heavy plating, & framing. Also, that her topsides have been bare, for many, many years. And that she's has done quite a bit of cruising, since hanging up her serious "racing spurs", years ago. But that's about it.
I'll try & think up what I'd suggest a newbie do, were he in my shoes. As well as taking a step back, & turning my adrenaline down a notch or three. Plus, being able to "think aloud" on here, while simultaneously asking questions surely helps.

And, as for your shared tips & wisdom(s), I'll offer my thanks in advance.
As Steady Hand said it is reminiscent or Homeless' Braking all the Rrules.

Suggest you read through it, you will find it enlightening.
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Old 27-04-2015, 10:28   #17
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats



Stress cracking does occur as the boat flexes. Look for signs of that. If it does have them, they will likely come back even if repaired.


If the boat doesnt have corrosion issues by now it's probably good. I have seen an alum powerboat that corroded completely thru within a year of launch.


If the boat has severe pitting etc, don’t consider it repairable. Some aluminum plate has been sold and found defective. (have experience with at least one… fortunately that defective plate was admitted to by the aluminum manufacturer and was only on the transom which could be replaced.)


Look closely under the floors etc at welds… any cracked welds? And (as mentioned) also look under stringers etc for corrosion beginning.


Don’t expect to keep paint on an aluminum boat. Some of them just have very bad problems with that. Others not so bad. My friends had a 48 ft alum boat that was painted 3 times in 10 years. Once by a very high end yard in Fl, once in Trini and once in Columbia. It really didn’t matter who painted it.

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Old 27-04-2015, 10:47   #18
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats

You also have to careful about what kind of aluminum is used for the construction and repairs, and what wire was used for the welding. Aluminum comes in several different grades and only a couple are suitable for marine applications, it has to do with the nickel content of the metal. I assume if the vessel was intended for Americas cup level competition they used the best plate available at the time, however if subsequent repairs were not made with the same composite, those places could prove to be problematic. The good news is you can cut it out with a skill saw and replace anything fairly quickly. One of the things you cannot do remotely, is sighting down the side of the hull, to check for "oil canning" you need to look for depressions of the hull between the ribs if there are significant depressions between the ribs; then it is an indication that the vessel is been flexing.
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Old 27-04-2015, 11:00   #19
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats

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The good news is you can cut it out with a skill saw and replace anything fairly quickly.
cut it out yes, easy, make a good weld , years of practice
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Old 27-04-2015, 11:07   #20
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats

Aluminium has some quirks including:

1) it always has a finite life based on dynamic and fatigue loading. Steels almost universally do not when dynamic loads are below the threshold. The hull will unlikely be an issue but look closely at the tabs, fittings and highly loaded items.
2) Aluminium performs much better when its not coated and the naturally forming oxide layer either remains in place or is able to self heal. Its nearly always repairable in the field.
3) Careful selection of parent material, filler and post heat treatment can result in great performing welded structures. If the vessel has lasted 40 years and passes a thorough visual inspection then you can likely assume its been well built.

Are you able to fully inspect the hull inside and out? If so a visual inspection will suffice providing you either have the skills or know someone who does. You need a combination of aerospace and oil and gas metallurgy background. Not either or but both.

If you can see it as bare metal that is ideal.

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Old 27-04-2015, 11:10   #21
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats

Of course.
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Old 27-04-2015, 23:13   #22
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats

Would it be named "Runaway"?

1977 2 Ton IOR Sloop Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 27-04-2015, 23:28   #23
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats

I ha've operated several commercial work vessels that would be similar in size to a yacht, and I've encountered some real dogs dinners. To say they should be built professionally is understating the facts, they should be built by a good reputable yard with experience working with aluminum.

Aluminum is difficult to weld (compared to steel) so bad and damaged welds seem to be a very common problem. I remember leaving dock once in moderate sea conditions on a 60' aluminum cat and upon arrival at our destination 8 hours later discovering cracked welds in two of the columns abducted about half a dozen frames.

Check the welds carefully, particularly around structural welds on columns frames and around the corners of hatches.

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Old 29-04-2015, 23:12   #24
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats

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That'd be the one. She started out life as "Nyamba", & has had a couple of others in between her current handle. Although it seems that all of her 2ndary owners don't know protocol for vessel name changes. As you can still see "Nyamba" emblazoned (in chrome I think) on the main electrical panel.

I saw the boat AGES ago, in a Patagonia catalog, & fell heavily into Lust (with her, & the owner's GF, who was also in the pic) back then. The lust has faded a fair bit, since. But I still have the original page clipping with the pic, as well as an e-copy on my computer, from her then owner, Mark Callanan of the Photography Co. in Mexico. Though, I think that he finally made it back home to Australia... Looong circumnavigation.

I'll do some digging, & try & sketch out, as well as research Long Range boat; inspecting, buying, etc.
IE: The vital things to ask the current, & former owners, prior to spending any $ on Professionals to look her over, or on plane tickets, etc.
Not that I damn sure couldn't use a vacation ;-)!!!
Which is likely what the owners will say when I send them a 15pg survey/inventory checklist!

Fortunately, years ago, I had the good occasion to talk to someone who crewed on her, short handed, for quite a while. And he had naught but good things to say about her manners & sea keeping abilities. To the point where he said he'd be more than happy taking his family for a trip around the globe on her.

But... the (Big) catch: If I buy her, given where she is, I'm thinking that any nautical gear that I need for her would likely run close to 2x what it would here on the mainland. So that's a BIG factor right there.
As, unless I split the cost of a cargo container with someone, there's no cheap way to get goods in quantity to HI that I know of. Not to mention possibly/probably selling most of my household stuff on short notice. A task somewhere between a 1st & a 2nd (time, lifetime chore - er, adventure).

Thoughts? And does anyone have any resources, & or ideas on sending semi-bulk equipment to HI?
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Old 30-04-2015, 01:25   #25
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Re: "Education" needed on buying Aluminum Boats

if you go as far as a survey make sure you hire a surveyor with ABYC Corrosion Analysis Certification. You can find one here. I just took their course and it's a tough one requiring 83% to pass.
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