When you are talking Beneteau
(and similar others), you are not dealing with vessels built up to a standard of quality, but instead down to a price
. Moulded and bonded floor grids are the cheapest and fastest way of putting something looking like a structure in the bottom of a vessel. Incidentally, it is also very fragile, extremely difficult to repair and at least as fragile afterwards.
The first FRP yachts I know of that featured internal moulded shells were old Dufour
boats from the late 1960s and those shells only covered the hull sides and provided attachment points for the plywood
accommodation. Fair enough, but I would rule
out any hull where I can't actually see and access the hull laminate in the bilges.
I had taken a First 35S5 across the English channel
for a sailing school
in 1992 with a strong following wind forecast
. It was a near-new boat they had leased to increase their fleet. Turned out to blow up straight onto our nose and much stronger. We just shouldered it at moderate speed under deep-reefed main and got across. By the time we reached France
that boat was leaking like a sieve from mysterious, invisible and inaccessible places, even at rest, but the floor grid looked great. We had been bailing the boat out at sea with a bucket now and then - you just keep your boots on down-below, bail before the water
gets too deep for them and it is no worries really. I would write it in the owner's manual. All the saloon
accommodation had long collapsed into a big heap of scrap ply in the middle due to the hull flexing, with the water tanks
following suit and also dumping their contents into the bilge
. The mast
had buckled under compression
during the night, but the S-bend in it looked quite trendy and we were still sailing.
I wrote them a report and the owner's insurer wrote the boat off. We had just sailed it conservatively across the Channel on a bad autumn day.
I have since come up with a few thoughts. There are things in life that can harm your health
. Throwing yourself underneath a bus, drinking battery
acid for breakfast or going to sea in some cheap
French piece of plastic all fall into that category.