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Old 20-06-2016, 22:28   #1
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Older Fiberglass Hulls

I am looking at a 1987 Southern Oceans Shipyard Hull (Doug Peterson Design) built by Camper and Nicholsons. I am a little concerned about the age of the hull. My Surveyor says it has good bones. Any thoughts are appreciated. We are planning a long term transoceanic cruise with children. Safety is paramount

Thanks
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Old 20-06-2016, 22:55   #2
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

An '87 is old???

Fibreglass will easily last 50 years plus even when mildly abused. It's two main problems are osmosis and fatigue. On the other hand, fibreglass skinned composite cored structures, especially those containing wood products, need to be carefully inspected and assessed on older boats.
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Old 20-06-2016, 22:55   #3
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

Welcome here! I don't know the boat you are referring to but I have heard the builder has a good rep. I can say though that my 1962 boat still has a very solid hull. It was hand laid up roving and thick for its size. As long as a hull is not experiencing osmotic blistering that is delaminating the fiberglass, I don't know if anyone has figured out how long fiberglass can last! I'd be more concerned how it was made and the materials used, not the age.
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Old 20-06-2016, 23:09   #4
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

Hi ZJames

Welcome aboard the forum.
My wife and I have just been through the same purchase journey and we've landed ourselves a Cavalier 39. It's built in 1975 and has a fibreglass hull.
We had it surveyed and have every confidence in it.
We went through the whole range of options from ferro to Steel and decided everything had issues but Fiberglass brought the least concern. (maintenance)
We're gearing up for an offshore trip with the kids in a year or so. One thing about the older boats that we found was that older boats tended to be built a lot heavier (more fiberglass used). Subsequently a newer hull doesn't necessarily mean a stronger hull...
If you have a good surveyor giving it the tick then age would be no concern for me... certainly 1987 doesn't sound old.
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Old 21-06-2016, 04:09   #5
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, zjames.
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Old 21-06-2016, 05:46   #6
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

If you can research the older boat and gain an understanding of how it was built your confidence in it may go way up. Our boat was built in 1977 and has a damn good reputation for its construction. One of our local brokers here had some experience selling against the model and gave me his thoughts. The builder sold direct from the plant so it can be said it was a semi custom build. His one impression of the layup that impressed him was the fact that the hulls rested in the mold for a week after layup. We dont get that effort today. Then you factor in how the boat was respected by the PO or PO's and you can make a determination. Canadian boats in mid country are laid up half of the year so a 40 year old boat well cared for may be judged as only half that old in my humble opinion.
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Old 21-06-2016, 08:50   #7
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

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Originally Posted by zjames View Post
I am looking at a 1987 Southern Oceans Shipyard Hull (Doug Peterson Design) built by Camper and Nicholsons. I am a little concerned about the age of the hull. My Surveyor says it has good bones. Any thoughts are appreciated. We are planning a long term transoceanic cruise with children. Safety is paramount

Thanks
I can't speak for a hull unseen.

Yet, all you say sounds like a very best prognostics and '87 is like new. Peterson, C&N, '87 ...

I say this from an '80 hull of 27' only, build in mass series in Sweden, and one that has sailed a rtw and then an Atlantic loop and getting ready for (touch wood, budget allowing) another one. This one has sailed well over 50k Nm by now and does not show any signs of ageing.

Let us know more of the boat. It sounds like you are on the right track to get something awesome and worthy.

b.
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Old 21-06-2016, 08:58   #8
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

Thanks so much for the great feed back. I have attempted to google Southern Ocean Shipyard quality and found nothing. I will attempt Hull Construction. I was told by the surveyor that these boats had thick hand made hulls. I have been told that 70% of the vessels sailing around the world are older vessels. I am unclear what older really means. This particular vessel has been around the world 4 time already. Thanks for the contributions and would enjoy any info.
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Old 21-06-2016, 08:59   #9
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

Many years ago I read a scientific article, where they had used different methods to estimate the lifetime of GRP. They ended up with an estimate of 30.000 years. (Not kidding). I guess that disposal will be the biggest problem.

On the note of blisters, I have not seen any examples of a hull that has been structurally compromised by them, except one example of a boat build in Thailand with the wrong kind of mat.
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Old 21-06-2016, 09:11   #10
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

I am not really concerned with blisters. I know the procedure of dispatching them. Even newer vessels get blisters. Most folks don't realize that GRP actually absorbs water after awhile. I would say over the long term someday there is a good chance blisters will occur.
That being said I read an article that stated that during it's lifetime GRP continues to cure and eventually gets to a place where it becomes brittle. I really like this vessel and will be traveling to see it in the upcoming week or so. The only reservation that I have had is the Hull being "87".
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Old 21-06-2016, 10:10   #11
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

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Originally Posted by zjames View Post
I am not really concerned with blisters. I know the procedure of dispatching them. Even newer vessels get blisters. Most folks don't realize that GRP actually absorbs water after awhile. I would say over the long term someday there is a good chance blisters will occur.
That being said I read an article that stated that during it's lifetime GRP continues to cure and eventually gets to a place where it becomes brittle. I really like this vessel and will be traveling to see it in the upcoming week or so. The only reservation that I have had is the Hull being "87".
If it hasn't blistered yet, I doubt it ever will. Of all the things to worry about, in your case, I'd say the hull is most likely the least of them. You can see how thick the hull is if there is a through-hull out, and usually if you look deep in the bilge or some place with no liner, you'll see how it was laid up. There is a link to a 1965 Pearson Rhodes 41 that was completely rebuilt by Hinckley. They took it down to the hull, but made no modifications or repairs to hull itself. "They don't build them like that anymore." 1987 is a spring chicken. The 1970s had issues with lower quality resins and blistering, but I believe they were mostly resolved by the 80s.
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...1&l=54dcd7dc0b
There's more of it at "refits of note" in the "Plastic Classics" social group here.
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Old 21-06-2016, 10:19   #12
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

Thanks I will check it out. I appreciate the good info.
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Old 21-06-2016, 10:46   #13
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

Quote:
Originally Posted by zjames View Post
I am not really concerned with blisters. I know the procedure of dispatching them. Even newer vessels get blisters. Most folks don't realize that GRP actually absorbs water after awhile. I would say over the long term someday there is a good chance blisters will occur.
That being said I read an article that stated that during it's lifetime GRP continues to cure and eventually gets to a place where it becomes brittle. I really like this vessel and will be traveling to see it in the upcoming week or so. The only reservation that I have had is the Hull being "87".
Please understand something about blisters. Some, as you indicate, are not deep, mostly cosmetic (at least to start) and although expensive to fix, not too big a deal. But there are others which pretty much de-strengthen a hull and make it possibly unsafe. If you buy a boat with blister history, and at the time of survey it has some, the trouble is you don't know which case you are getting. The boat could have been severely blistered, filled and temporary repaired and painted and offered for sale.
SO , do your best to buy a boat with no indication of issues, then live with what comes up.
How do I know this? It happened to me. The boat I had was so heavily blistered that some blisters were 6-8" long and maybe 2-3" wide and half or more of the hull thickness deep.
Of course 9 times out of 10 all this wont matter for the average user, but it's that 1 time out of 10 that can get you.
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Old 21-06-2016, 10:46   #14
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

If it's the boat I think it is (I won't put this on the internet since you are in negotiations), that hull is not really comparable to 1987 production boats. This was a custom build by an experienced, non-price sensitive owner at a top yard with a top designer. If any 1987 fiberglass hull is good (and most are) - this boat would be among the very best.

Given your safety interest and cruising plans, you are probably budgeting replacement of systems that have not been replaced along the way - 30 years is a reasonable "end of life" for many things. This would possibly include wiring, rig, steering gear, tanks, HVAC, genset, hoses or anything made of rubber and so forth. Easier to replace this stuff in one go than have your cruise be remembered as "boat repair in exotic locations"
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Old 21-06-2016, 10:55   #15
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Re: Older Fiberglass Hulls

Unlike many, I think there may be an age limit for fiberglass. It gets brittle, and cracks easy. But this may have more to do with the method of fiberglassing. Chopped strand glass work, even if the hull is not, seems to especially prone to this for some reason. I had a fiberglass dingy that had done nothing more than sit out in the weather and sun for years, it was so brittle, you could put your foot thru it. (eventually I did! when I decided to scrap it)
There have been instances of boats coming apart (often at the hull to deck joint) I know of 3 just from memory. One was a Cheoy Lee sailing down the pacific coast many years ago. One was Rebel Heart an older Asian built boat owned by a member of this forum. (it may be up in the air what exactly failed on that boat, the wood under or the glass, ....both I guess) Finally another recent one was a smaller 26 ft boat that came apart in the Western Carribean trying to sail into rough water. That owner also posted on this forum after. One thing the first two boats I mention had in common is the liberal use of chopped strand fiberglass. I don't know those specific boats though, but they have a rep for using some in hard to get places like the hull to deck joint.
So, bottom line is, buy the best example you can.... you will have plenty to maintain even if you do that. JMHO
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