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Old 06-09-2012, 19:34   #16
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

Sorry folks.. mini thread drift here...

Is there a life span for a well built balsa cored hull?...

Say, one that's built in the old days when we still thought SCRIMP was something you put on a barbie.

i.e. does the likelihood of de-lamination increase with age and use? Does it "wear out" sooner than solid glass.
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Old 06-09-2012, 19:47   #17
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

Whether or not the hull is still good is not specific to its age but to its construction.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:28   #18
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

Interesting thread.
I have had my 1977 Tartan for 17 years now and know her very well and I know how well she's holding up. The top-side gell coat is still looking great, still shows glossy. The deck gell coat is faded and there is some crazing (spider cracks) that have been there since we bought her. The non-skid gel coat is still in like-new condition, which thankfully is the majority of the deck. I have been reluctant to paint any part of the boat because once you go down that path, you are committed to paint it every 5 to 10 years. I figured that the little bit of chaulky gel coat is pretty much cosmetic and I can live with the spider cracks.
I recently installed a thru-hull and the laminate is a full 1-1/4", but not totally saturated with resin. There were some dry looking fibers like it was resin starved, but at that thickness, I still have great confidence in the integrity of the hull as a whole. You can't get a complete picture from a small plug sample. Other thru-hulls that I have installed in the past showed solid laminates.
Long story short, my 35 y.o. boat is still solid and not showing any severe fatigue.
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Old 07-09-2012, 07:43   #19
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Re: Fiberglass hull life span ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Blanket quotes are interesting and almost always wrong.

Not all fiberglass hulls are the same. It is dependent on individual hull design, materials, layup and maintenance.
I agree. My Slocum built in Tiawan is 27 years old and has spent most of her life in sunny Florida. From keel up she is solid with absolutely no UV crazing anywhere on deck. I would take this boat ANYWHERE as long as there's six feet of water.

I have a 1963 Allied Seawind next to my house that is still sound and doesn't even have a soft spot on her balsa cored deck. It IS a matter of construct detail.

RT
PS A well built FG boat (any age) will out last you with standard maintainence.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:40   #20
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

I treat my forty year old fiberglass boat as if it may disintegrate at any moment, but it continues to support my full time cruising. I've put more cruising miles on my boat than purchase dollars. I could lose it all and not consider that it wasn't a valuable choice. An older fiberglass boat can provide the greatest number of years of debt free cruising.
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Old 07-09-2012, 08:56   #21
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

Quote:
Originally Posted by neelie View Post
Sorry folks.. mini thread drift here...

Is there a life span for a well built balsa cored hull?...

Say, one that's built in the old days when we still thought SCRIMP was something you put on a barbie.

i.e. does the likelihood of de-lamination increase with age and use? Does it "wear out" sooner than solid glass.
I have a 1984 Pearson 34 with a balsa cored hull and deck. If I had listened to internet forums I would not have bought the boat. The general consensus was that it will fall apart and we will die! It even had lots of small gell coat blisters! I've epoxied the bottom with laminating epoxy and all through hulls are in solid glass. It may hurt the resell value but since the economy tanked it doesn't have much value anyway. She's nice looking and we have real teak on the inerior.

That being said, we looked at old boats that had soft cored decks that we walked away from.

Dale
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Old 07-09-2012, 10:27   #22
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

A related thought- Before computers a ship designer would overbuild when in doubt. Now they can closely analyze the loads and make things just strong enough to meet "expected conditions". That is why modern ships sometimes suffer extreme failures during extreme conditions while many older ships survived. It's sort of opposite of what you would expect. Reason? This makes new ships less expensive to build. Sorry that I can't remember where I read this but I didn't make it up.

Getting back to life span of hulls (or other parts for that matter) if you build strongly enough so that things don't flex and that stresses are far from the yield point then fatigue life increases greatly. (Several Mechanical Engineers have made that point to me.)
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:10   #23
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

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Neither concrete nor fiberglass truly breaks down or loses strength on their own. They require other causes.
The Pantheon, in Rome, was built of concrete in 31 BC. It is still standing, and is still perfectly solid. One wonders if 2,000 years from now there will still be circa 1980 fiberglass hulls floating around. I doubt it, but I don't think it is impossible. As others have said, we truly do not know how long a fiberglass hull can last, just like we truly do not know how long a concrete building can last.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:36   #24
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

Yeah, but the Parthenon doesn't float. And how many Roman boats are still on the market?
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:49   #25
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

I've got an Alberg 35 built in 1963 (hull number 32) and she's still very sound. With over an inch thick hull below the waterline, I have a feeling she'll still be around after I'm gone. No spidering or crazing in the gel coat, sails smooth and easy, can't go wrong with her. According to the OP's article, she should have been scraped 29 years ago. I have a feeling that if she'll have to be deliberatly sunk to ever get rid of her.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:51   #26
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

Quote:
Yeah, but the Parthenon doesn't float. And how many Roman boats are still on the market?
A few I suspect.. The Ferro Hull was originated in Italy ya know ; -)
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:07   #27
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

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I just read a chapter in a book by Hal Roth concerning different types of hull materials. He said that after 20 years fiber glass starts to loose it's integrity, weaken, and tend to be not so reliable. I have seen many boats well over the 20 year age still to sea, should I avoid buying an older glass boat ????

thanks Bob


Note that the OP got this idea from a book by Hal Roth. I'm guessing it was a fairly ancient book. A lot has changed in the world of fiberglass.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:09   #28
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

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A few I suspect.. The Ferro Hull was originated in Italy ya know ; -)

Switzerland, actually. The first ferro boat ever built was actually sunk in Lake Geneva for over a hundred years before she was raised again, still in good shape.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:17   #29
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

I have a fiberglass boat built in 1977. Specifically, it is a Bayliner. Would I buy this boat again? Absolutely! Here's why...

I have very recently had the transom core and stringers replaced. There was also a considerable amount of rotted wood coring in the area near the engine compartment bulkhead. After 35 years of existence, there are NO signs of delamination whatsoever. The osmosis in the transom core and stringers is expected. The fixes have been performed properly with the use of wood penetrating resins. The transom core and stringers will now outlast everything else on the boat.

With that said, you will be very likely to encounter core rot on older boats, especially on the transoms of powerboats with sterndrives. If you are willing to tackle that part of it, you have addressed a very big concern people are facing with older fiberglass hulls. On sailboats, the coring on decks have also become an area of concern with respect to older hulls.

I would much rather have an older fiberglass hull and address the core rot issues than a newer fiberglass hull. I have seen enough poor workmanship and cutting of corners with respect to materials in newer hulls to convince me older fiberglass hulls are a better choice.

This is of course my opinion only and informed only by my own observations. To each their own, but I have seen enough to make a strong case.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:28   #30
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Re: Fiberglass Hull Life Span ??

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Originally Posted by Astral Blue View Post
I have a fiberglass boat built in 1977. Specifically, it is a Bayliner. Would I buy this boat again? Absolutely! Here's why...

I have very recently had the transom core and stringers replaced. There was also a considerable amount of rotted wood coring in the area near the engine compartment bulkhead. After 35 years of existence, there are NO signs of delamination whatsoever. The osmosis in the transom core and stringers is expected. The fixes have been performed properly with the use of wood penetrating resins. The transom core and stringers will now outlast everything else on the boat.

With that said, you will be very likely to encounter core rot on older boats, especially on the transoms of powerboats with sterndrives. If you are willing to tackle that part of it, you have addressed a very big concern people are facing with older fiberglass hulls. On sailboats, the coring on decks have also become an area of concern with respect to older hulls.

I would much rather have an older fiberglass hull and address the core rot issues than a newer fiberglass hull. I have seen enough poor workmanship and cutting of corners with respect to materials in newer hulls to convince me older fiberglass hulls are a better choice.

This is of course my opinion only and informed only by my own observations. To each their own, but I have seen enough to make a strong case.

Wow, I've replaced a whole lot of Bayliner transoms and stringers. Penetrating epoxy is NOT a proper fix for this. The transom core and stringers will certainly not outlast the rest of the boat. The only way to properly fix that is to cut out the wet rotten material and replace it with material that doesn't rot. We live in Bayliner central, I have had many employees that got their start at the Bayliner factory. The guy who ran their production floor for the last twenty years is my neighbor...
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